Hosted by the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay, Bishop Peter Comensoli welcomed His Grace Bishop Haigazoun Najarian of the Armenian Apostolic Church and dignitaries and members of the Armenian community, along with Bishop Robert Rabat of the Melkite Catholic Diocese, Bishop Bill Wright of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Fr Basil Sousanian of the Armenian Catholic community, representatives of the Greek Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, and Uniting Churches, and other religious, ecumenical and civic leaders.
In his homily, Bishop Najarian described the history of Armenian Christians which has been one of repeated struggle under persecution and at the same time resilience forged through faith and hope. Bishop Comensoli observed the genocidal impulses of our own time that link us to the remembered events of a century ago. Prayers were read by representatives of various Churches, with the variety of liturgical vestments and customs mingling colourfully in a vibrant ecumenical tapestry.
An Armenian choir and a Catholic choir led the congregation in song, a remembrance wreath was laid at the Paschal candle (a symbol of hope and resurrection) and a minute of silence observed. The participation of Catholic and Armenian youth was a living symbol of hope. Parishioners of Our Lady of Dolours offered warm hospitality and supper. As Parish Priest Fr Paul Finucane noted, the evening was a truly ecumenical experience of prayer and solidarity.
Among the dignitaries attending in the service were Fr Shenouda Mansour, General Secretary of the NSW Ecumenical Council; Sr Elizabeth Delaney, General-Secretary of the National Council of Churches Australia; Sr Giovanni Farquer, Sydney Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission; Mr Peter Hamill, Director, Broken Bay Catholic Schools Office; The Hon. David Clarke MLC, representing the NSW Minister for Multiculturalism; Councillor John Hooper, Willoughby City Council.