07, 2019

Working visit of the President Armen Sarkissian to French Republic

President Armen Sarkissian, who is France of a working visit, met in Paris with the Nuncio of the Mkhitarian Congregation of Venice, His Eminence Ter Levon Archbishop Zekian. They conversed about the works of the Mkhitarian Congregation, current difficulties and problems, particularly, about the future of the Mouradian School and the cultural center.

After the meeting, the President of Armenia and His Eminence visited the Samuel Mouradian School and the cultural center located in Sevre community of Paris.

The School, which is situated in the middle of the Golden Triangle of the Greater Paris and is considered to be one of the landmark institutions of Spyurk and is a property of the Mkhitarians. The school was created in 1834 by the order of King Louis-Philippe, started functioning in this building in 1928, and educated multiple generations of the Armenian teenagers and young people. In recent years, it has been facing many problems. The Mkhitarian Congregation doesn’t possess sufficient funds for its renovation and currently it is not fit to serve as a cultural and educational center. Attempts are made to find proper solutions.

President Sarkissian walked through the territory of the school and cultural center and observed the existing conditions. “Today I am fortunate enough to be in the heart of the one of our nation’s treasures,” he noted. “I would like to appeal to all our compatriots - when you are in France, in Paris, there is a nice site, this educational center which has been serving for over two hundred years and continues to serve the Armenian nation.” Armen Sarkissian said that as an Armenian, he was greatly honored to be at this place. “Every Armenian will be honored to visit this place, to come to learn about our history, its roots, and assets,” the President said. “Diderot died in one of its rooms; it was a home of the chief cartographer of the French Emperor. This is French and at the same time Armenian history. It’s good occasion to thank the Mkhitarian Congregation once again for preserving and maintaining this great asset for our nation.”

Levon Archbishop Zekian said that the visit of the President of Armenia to the school was a historic event. “I am happy to meet with the President and host him in the school. It’s not every day you see the President of Armenia here. Mr. President is a wise and reputable person, and I consider his presidency a blessing for our Fatherland, for the entire Armenian world,” he said.

The Archbishop informed that renovation process has started in all establishments which belong to the Mkhtarians. “The main issue is that buildings of historical and cultural value are not for sale,” he said. “It means that this estate, which has a territory of 13500 square meters, continues to be a Mkhitarian estate.” He added that they were thinking of creating a center of Armenian studies worthy of the building’s history. It will comprise a scientific and research unit, space for official events, and will become a hospitable place for researchers.

In the rear of the building, according to Levon Archbishop Zekian, it is envisaged to build a commercial area. “If in the next eight months an organization, Armenian institution, or individual comes forward and offers terms better there were before, there is no doubt that the doors are open and we will sit down immediately for negotiations to discuss the terms and to come to a conclusion,” he said.

Member of the Mkhitarian Congregation, Director of the Samuel Mouradian School and cultural center in Sevre Harutyun Vardapet Pzdikian said that this old school has a rich history and is among the Mkhitarian Congregation’s leading educational institutions.

“It’s a home for Armenians, a small part of Armenia, rich with historical and cultural values,” he underscored. Speaking about the situation with the building, President Sarkissian said in particular, “Today we have reached a milestone when decisions need to be made. Mkhitar Abbot was not only a spiritual leader, a philosopher, and a literary critic. He was also a brilliant entrepreneur. It was his vision to create the Mkhitarian Congregation which had and has immense riches all over the world. It is time that we, as Armenians, come and stand by the Congregation so that that the cultural, educational, and material wealth is preserved and protected. It is one of the purposes of my visit – to prove that we are not indifferent. We are not indifferent as Armenians, as citizens of the Republic of Armenia, and in my personal case – as the President of Armenia. I am glad that during our conversation His Eminence was convinced that the Republic of Armenia is not indifferent, moreover it is ready to assist in finding proper solutions, solutions which will assist the Congregation in solving difficult financial and economic issues it faces, to assist in making the center serve not only the Congregation but the entire Armenian nation.

The doors will be open for eight-nine months, and any Armenian, Armenian organizations can make a proposal on how this historic structure can be restored and made it serve the Fatherland on a higher level. It’s a difficult task but it is doable.

I believe from this day on, all our compatriots should try to make their input.” 

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