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Reflection on Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

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I was honored and fortunate to be a participant of the "Leadership in the Light of Our Lord" pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Led by Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, 34 young leaders from parishes throughout the Eastern Diocese traced the footsteps of Jesus Christ through Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, and Jerusalem.
I was truly overwhelmed walking into churches such as the Virgin Mary, the Holy Sepulcher, and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and seeing the Armenian presence. Looking up at the lanterns and seeing the ivory colored eggs which signified Armenian ownership was awe inspiring. Every day we had Bible studies that related to the region we were visiting and made this experience spiritual and meaningful; it was the Bible coming to life! We reflected on the verses and how they related to our lives in today's world; it also built a special bond between all of us. We also talked about leadership, identity, and our future in the Armenian Church.
It was very interesting to witness both the birthplace as well as the tomb of Christ in one day. Experiencing the Holy Land from swimming in the Dead Sea to going to Badarak at the Holy Sepulcher at 3:00 a.m. were memories I will never forget. I was also very happy to see His Beatitude, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the Patriarch of Jerusalem (and former Primate of our Diocese); he enlightened us with his words of wisdom. Deep appreciation goes to Mr. Aso Tavitian for his generosity in sponsoring this memorable trip.
Submitted by Karen Dardarian, Central Council Vice Chair, Detroit, MI