Friday 28 February – Archbishop Haigazoun Najarian accompanied by Father Avetis Hambardzumyan and Diocesan Council Chairman Mr Sarkis Der Bedrossian, welcomed His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of North America and Chairman of the Mother Cathedral Restoration Project Committee, at 9.00 a.m. for a three day visit in Sydney to present details on the progress of the restoration work, for which an international fundraising campaign has been organised by the Mother See. Barely stepping foot in the Diocesan Centre, where he stayed, the Archbishop commenced on his mission by visiting the seniors citizens’ social support of the Armenian Community Welfare Centre where he expressed his heartfelt words and blessed the elderly, providing a brief explanation of the works of the Mother Cathedral and stressing that the aim is for each Armenian to participate in this fundraising drive with his heartfelt gift. It is with these gifts that our nation that will restore the Mother Cathedral. Archbishop Najarian thanked his spiritual brother and our elderly fathers and mothers.
Without wasting any time, the two Archbishops with Fr Avetis and Mr Der Bedrossian visited the Hamazkaine Galstaun College and AGBU Alexander School, where they were welcomed by principals, teachers and students. Archbishop Derderian spoke to the students who showed great interest. They responded to questions posed by the Archbishop and similarly posed questions to him. The Archbishop showed a video on how the restoration of the Mother Cathedral is progressing, which greatly impressed the students. He encouraged them and filled their hearts with patriotism and a love for the church. When the Archbishop asked the students what Etchmiadzin meant to them, one student responded, “Etchmiadzin is the expression of our identity.” The Archbishop was delighted by this answer and retold this encounter at every subsequent event.  At the Alexander School, the students presented a short play dedicated to the heroes of Vartanants. The Archbishop gifted booklets, prayers, and videos he brought with him to both schools. Beautiful cards with a picture of Holy Etchmiadzin printed by our Diocese were distributed to all the students. His Eminence returned to the Diocesan Centre greatly impressed