On October 12, in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; received the President of the Republic of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic who was in Armenia for an official state visit. The President was accompanied by the Republic of Armenia Foreign Affairs Minister Edward Nalbandian.
Welcoming the visit of the President of Serbia to the Republic of Armenia and the spiritual center of All Armenians; His Holiness expressed his satisfaction on the joint steps being undertaken towards expansion and development of inter-state relations. His Holiness stressed that the President’s visit strengthens the foundations of cooperation and friendship between the two peoples, and the two states.
During the meeting, the Armenian Pontiff and the Serbian President reflected on the historical connection and spiritual commonality of the two nations. “Although we are somewhat geographically far from each other, in terms of shared values we are the same carriers of the system of values”, stated His Holiness. They also discussed the tragic pages in the histories of Armenian and the Serbian people. His Holiness mentioned, “We are a people who have seen suffering and difficulties, but the Christian faith has endowed us with optimism and hope, which is also characteristic of the Serbian people”.
In his remarks, the Catholicos of All Armenians noted that the historically close relations forged between the Armenian Apostolic and Serbian Orthodox Churches continues to present day with the same spirit of friendliness and brotherhood. His Holiness conveyed his fraternal greetings to the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Irenaeus, Patriarch of Serbia; expressing confidence that in advance of the invitation for 2015, Patriarch Irenaeus will bring his participation to the events dedicated to the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
At the conclusion of the meeting the Pontiff of All Armenians asked that God support the Serbian President, to guide the people’s wishes and dreams and implement them zeal; and wished for the Serbian people strength in their faith and optimism; overcoming all difficulties they face.
President Nikolic and his delegation also visited the Mother Cathedral and the Cathedral Museum.