Photo Credit: Diocese of Europe
By Canon Meurig Williams on the Diocese of Europe website
Bishop Geoffrey [Rowell, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe] visited Armenia from Friday 23 August until Tuesday 27 August. This was a farewell visit to Catholicos Karekin II and the Armenian Apostolic Church before Bishop Geoffrey retires in November.
In his role as Anglican co-chair of the theological dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox Churches of which the Armenian Church is one, Bishop Geoffrey has a long standing relationship going back many years. He has accompanied both Archbishops George Carey and Rowan Williams on their official visits to the Armenian Church and was present also at the 1700th anniversary of Armenian Christianity.
Bishop Geoffrey and his chaplain and commissary, Fr Meurig, received the warmest of welcomes. He was able to talk to Catholicos Karekin about Anglican-Armenian relations, the forthcoming meeting of the theological dialogue and the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 2015.
On Sunday morning Bishop Geoffrey and Fr Williams attended the Holy Liturgy in the Cathedral at Etchmiadzin. In the evening Bishop Geoffrey presided at the eucharist for the newly re-established Anglican congregation, now led by Deacon John Barker, which meets in the ancient Armenian church of Saint Zoravor, Yerevan, where hospitality is generously given by the Armenian Church.
On Monday Bishop Hovakim organised a visit to the newly established diocese to Artvik of which he is the bishop as well as heading up the ecumenical relations of the Armenian church. In the evening the British ambassador to Armenia, Her Excellency Kathy Leach, generously hosted a reception for Bishop Geoffrey and leading Armenian religious and cultural figures.
Bishop Geoffrey commented " I have been delighted to be once again in Armenia, a country and church which has suffered much in the past. The warmth of the welcome we have received reminds us of how much we share in our common Christian faith and how valued these ecumenical relations are."