Catholicos Karekin II
WCC president (Oriental Orthodox)
Catholicos Karekin studied at the Kevorkian Theological Academy, the Faculty of Divinity in Vienna, the University of Bonn, and the Faculty of St. Serguey Monastery’s Academy of the. He was ordained Bishop and was elevated to the rank of Archbishop. He created the Vazkenian Seminary in Sevan. Through his efforts, the former Communist Pioneer Palaces were converted into church-sponsored youth centers for religious and artistic education of young men and women. He created the Christian Education Center.
On October 1999, was elected. Since his election, he has begun the difficult work of the restructuring and reorganization of internal church life, the revitalization of the theological seminaries of the church, strengthening Christian education, and the reconstruction of churches and monasteries. Special emphasis has been placed on the preparation of a new generation of clergy to serve throughout the world.
Placing importance on the fostering of ecumenical ties, he has paid visits to the sister churches and their heads. On the occasion of his visit to the Vatican (November 2000) during the solemn ecumenical celebration, Pope John Paul II returned to His Holiness the relics of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the first Catholicos of the Armenian Church. Catholicos Karekin and the Pope have signed a joint communique, in which the massacres of Armenians by the Turkish state and authorities are characterized as Genocide. He met representatives and heads of other religions.