The Support Staff at the
April 17th, 2006 - Post No. 57
As I pack my bags and prepare to leave the Catholicosate in Antelias for the next stage in my Ecumenical Pilgrimage among the Armenian Orthodox, allow me to express my gratitude to members of the Great House of Cilicia who rarely figure in the photos I have posted from Lebanon. These are the members of the support staff (more than 40 in all and only half of them pictured here) at the Catholicosate and at the Seminary, who labour behind the scenes and who have extended to me many kindnesses over the past 84 days.
Heartfelt thanks ... Shnorhagalem, tsdesutyun!
Today, Easter Monday (April 17) is one of five annual memorial days in the Armenian tradition. This morning Arpie-Taline Gondjian, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Tripoli last week, came by the Catholicosate to take me to visit Sourp Nishan, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in downtown Beirut. It just didn't seem right to leave Beirut without visiting the Cathedral of the Diocese of Lebanon! We arrived in time for today's Requiem Badarak, and this was followed by a visit to the Armenian Orthodox cemetery in Bourj Hammoud which was full of families visiting the tombs of their loved ones on this day of remembrance.
Arpie's neice Tamar and her husband Rasmig (pictured here, front row, from the left, next to Arpie, front right) invited me to join the family for an Easter Monday lunch, and what a spread! A full course of mezze, then a variety of kebobs, and lots of fresh fruit and pastry delights. Best of all, wonderful company.
This evening Drs. Stacy Churchill and Isabel Kaprielian kindly invited me to supper at the local Armenian restaurant -- given the size of the midday meal, we agreed to have a light supper, with a bit of Arak to help with the digestion. It's been so good sharing the past two weeks with these very friendly Canadians. So now, my bags are packed and farewells extended ... my ride to the airport leaves at 5 a.m. so it is time to get some sleep.
Farewell Lebanon, may God bless me with a return visit soon!