"I am very excited to visit Armenia, Holy Etchmiadzin, and especially His Holiness Karekin II," remarked Fr. John. "Our relationship with the Armenian Church and St. Nersess Seminary goes back almost half a century, yet this is the first time that a Dean of St. Vladimir's has been given opportunity to visit Armenia. I am very thankful to Fr. Mardiros for making this trip possible, and I am eager to explore various ways of further collaboration."
During this historic visit, Fr. John has met with His Holiness Karekin II, whom he first met in 2010, when His Holiness and St. Vladimir's Seminary both received awards from the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations, headquartered in Moscow. Fr. John has also met with Bishop Gevork Saroyan, Superintendent of Theological Schools of Armenia and the Very Rev. Fr. Garegin Hambardzumyan, dean of Gevorgyan Theological Seminary of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, to further discuss the inter-seminary collaboration between Gevorgyan, St. Nersess and St. Vladimir’s Seminaries. As a result, an agreement of collaboration was signed between St. Vladimir’s and Gevorgyan Seminaries, where there will be an exchange of faculty and students, courses of study, and library books. St. Nersess Seminary served as the intermediary. The three deans initially met in April when Fr. Garegin was visiting the Eastern Diocese and traveled to St. Nersess in Armonk, New York, as well as St. Vladimir's.
Fr. John and Fr. Mardiros have had an opportunity to address seminarians and meet with faculty at Gevorgyan Theological Seminary. They have also visited and addressed the students of the Vaskenian Seminary of Sevan. They will visit the Matenadaran Library in Yerevan as well as other historical sites before returning to New York.