Today, in Geneva President Armen Sarkissian met with His Holiness, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I. President Sarkissian once again congratulated him on the 50th anniversary of his spiritual mission, wished him health and long years of service.
“For fifty years, you have been serving devotedly our Apostolic Church, our Fatherland and the entire Armenian nation,” the President said and expressed confidence that Aram I has yet many things to accomplish because Armenia, Artsakh and Spyurk need his active work not only in Antelias, different centers of the Armenian Apostolic Church but also in the framework of diplomatic and political resolution of the Armenian issues.
The President expressed confidence that just as 50 years ago, today too and in the future, Catholicos Aram I will serve the Church, Fatherland, and our nation with the same vigor, spirit and youthful agility.
Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia expressed thanks for the wishes and noted that Fatherland, national, cultural values, the Armenian Cause have always been the pivots of his fifty years long service. In his turn, Aram I hailed services rendered by the President to Fatherland. “President of Armenia, prime minister, those who serve Fatherland are, in a certain way, apostles, those who have a sense of duty.” His Holiness said Armenia must be on the first place for any member of the clergy. “I assure you that I will continue to serve Armenia and the Armenian people with the same dedication and a greater vigor,” Catholicos Aram I said.
The President and the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia spoke about the role of the Apostolic Church, defining it as one of the axles of the national identity.
“I agree that if we have a number of vital axles of national identity and statehood, the first among them is the Armenian Apostolic Church which for over 700 years substituted statehood, preserved our national identity, united the people, helped to preserve the language, culture, live with hope and to make that hope a mission to have our own independent statehood and state,” President Sarkissian said. As you said, those in the state service and members of the clergy are apostles, people who have a mission and that mission has different objectives. We have accomplished one of them – on the small part of our historical Armenia we established statehood, and not one but two; however, our mission doesn’t stop there. Missions are huge, thus it is extremely important that the people are filled with respect for our two states – Armenia and Artsakh and also feel pride for their national identity and appreciate the mission which the state and our people have, and appreciate the role of the Apostolic Church which is our national pivot.”
According to Catholicos Aram I, in the absence of statehood, the Church was our spiritual Fatherland, and State-Church relations and cooperation have always been close. “Naturally, each of them has different functions, however, in the end they cross at one point. That point is the nation, Fatherland. Thus, I believe that in Armenia and in Spyurk cooperation with the Church should be unconditional and comprehensive. Fatherland belongs to us all, and we own to the empowerment of Fatherland”.
President Armen Sarkissian once again thanked His Holiness for his devotion.