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From 9 until August 14, the Armenian Church Youth European Conference took place in Romania with the assistance of the Armenian General Benevolent Union /AGBU/.

The event was held in Bucharest and in one of the most beautiful areas of the country, Bukovina in Suceava city center, the former capital of Moldova (1388-1565 AD).

The conference was organized and coordinated by the bishop of the Armenians in Romania - bishop Datev Hagopian, with the blessing of Karekin II, supreme patriarch and catholicos of all armenians. The seminar involved around 100 participants from 33 Armenian dioceses. The delegation of Bulgaria was headed by His Reverence Archimandrite Isahak Poghosyan, head of the Armenian diocese in the country. Its members included representatives of AGBU YP - Sofia AGBU YP - Plovdiv, among whom were members of the board of AGBU YP - Plovdiv: Nashan Derkalestanian and Verzhin Hugasyan, Hary Chalgadzhiyan of AGBU YP - Sofia, Inesa Gevorgyan of AGBU YP - Plovdiv and Minas Movsesyan of Burgas.

The main focus of the conference was "The church and the family". During the discussions the representatives of the Armenian Apostolic Church encouraged young Armenians to love and have faith in the Lord and honor the three main pillars in shaping our lives, which are: family, church and school.

Every participant had the opportunity to network with the spiritual leaders of the Armenian dioceses and with each other as well.

Attendants were able to further explore the Armenian culture, religion, history, language and traditions. Furthermore, some volunteers took part in the preparation of the traditional soup "Aganch abur", and learned other traditional Armenian recipes.

In addition to lectures and discussions, the program also included visits to various historical, cultural and natural attractions such as the Armenian Church in Bucharest, the famous "Foreign painted monasteries" in Bukovina, Armenian monasteries "Hadzhigadar" and "Zamka" and Armenian churches in the town of Suceava - "Surp Simon" and "Surp Hach".

Particularly fascinating to everybody appeared to be the monastery "Hadzhigadar" also known as "Monastery of desire". It was built in 1512 by Astvadzadur Donavadzhiyan. Inside the building, every visitor wrote on a piece of paper their wishes and put them inside a special box. On the day of his visit - August 13, the Feast of the Assumption and Transfiguration, thousands of people were crawling up the hill to the monastery, then again they crawled in circles so that they may heal and help their wishes come true.

On behalf of AGBU YP - Bulgaria we are expressing our kindest regards to NP Archbishop Datev Hagopyan for organizing this unique event and for his personal invitation.

Photo: Verzhin Hugasyan