02, 2009

President Sargsyan hosted the Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II and members of the Supreme Spiritual Council

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In the evening of February 26, President Serzh Sargsyan hosted the Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II and members of the Supreme Spiritual Council.

Noting, that the previous meeting of the kind was held days before the ceremony of Blessing the Sacred Myrrh, the President of Armenia said that he was happy to once again host the Catholicos of All Armenians and members of the Supreme Spiritual Council and was ready to continue the dialogue on the issues of cooperation between the state and the church, as well as on the other issues of interest.

Serzh Sargsyan noted with satisfaction that close cooperation between the state and the Holy See of Etchmiadzin strengthens day by day and that he is pleased with the fact. He added that that’s the way it should be. “It should not be dependent on any particular period of time,” – said the President of Armenia, – “it is the mission of the state and the church. Both of them have a mutual need to complement each other.” According to the President, “in the course of shaping a new society, and our society is in the process of shaping, these relations are extremely important.”

Stressing that in dire times the faith in God has always been the ultimate hope of our people, Serzh Sargsyan said that it is through the prayers of our people and the great endeavors of the Church that we had been able to pass the crossroads of history, became an independent state in the end of the 20th century, and were move forward.

President Sargsyan also expressed confidence that the mission of the church has not diminished with our independence and bringing our people to safe harbor. On the contrary, new challenges and new problems arise constantly and if in the process of the resolution of these problems our state and our church share the common ground we would be able to achieve a greater success.

In President Sargsyan words “the Armenian Apostolic Church is one of the oldest intuitions in the world functioning for over 1700 years with no interruptions. It is also our oldest cultural and educational establishment. There can be no more experienced or a more influential partner for the Armenian state structures.”

Serzh Sargsyan stressed the importance of the Supreme Spiritual Council in the coherent development of relations between the Armenian Apostolic Church and sister churches and in the preservation of the unity of the Armenian Church.

According to the President of Armenia, the ongoing financial and economic crisis does not relate exclusively to economic and financial problems and there is a possibility that it can develop also into a crisis of spirituality. Understandably, the anticipation of assistance during hardships grows, and the people know that in calamitous times both the state and the church render their assistance. He also said that “current steps undertaken by our Government inspire hope that we will be able to minimize the repercussions of the crisis. However, we should be able not just minimize them but at the same time encourage patriotism and high morals. This is the only way to move forward.”

The President of the country also noted that “for the years to come our state will not be able to provide diplomatic or other official representation that can match that of our Church. Thus, in representing Armenia’s problems and protecting her interests as well as in the interaction with our Diaspora, the Armenian state will be greatly dependent on the assistance of our Church, and we still have a lot to do to find the best mode for the most efficient cooperation.”

Serzh Sargsyan reaffirmed that the Republic of Armenia would continue to assist the Church in the preservation of the monuments and development of spiritual, cultural and benevolent institutions under her patronage.

Noting, that the extended meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council takes place twice a year in the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, Catholicos Garegin II said that the agenda of first meeting of the year includes not only issues of the internal organizational matters but also those related to the Holy See, relations with sister churches and particular phenomena of our national life.

According to the Catholicos, each student of the seminary is being educated in the understanding that his service is justified through the service to God and the Motherland, through bringing a small and humble contribution to the strengthening of the Armenian statehood and its security. He added that the Armenian Apostolic Church spares no effort to insure that its mission and support are potent and coherent - for the benefit a strong and prosperous Armenia and a better future.

Later, the parties engaged in a discussion on the issues of interest for the high level clergy. In particular, they stressed the importance of holding in the National Assembly a discussion on the inclusion in the list of the holidays the Day of National Identity, spoke about the problems facing Armenian Church in Georgia. They referred to the necessity to enroot stronger sense of Armenian identity in the Armenians of other confessions or converted Armenians both in Armenia and in the Diaspora and need for a more efficient cooperation between the Armenian communities of different faiths.

The Catholicos of All Armenians welcomed the President’s approach on national issues and his forthcoming attitude toward our Church and issues that are of great importance to her.

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