Reception hosted by Armenia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Holy See and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
In honor of RA President Serzh Sargsyan, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, a dinner was hosted by Mikael Minasyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Over two hundred guests attended the reception which was held in the world-renowned art gallery, the Doria Pamphilj Palace on the evening of April 5, 2018.
Statement by Mikael Minasyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the Holy See and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Distinguished Mr. President,
Esteemed Lieutenant of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta,
Your Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians,
Your Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia,
Your Eminence Leonardo Cardinal Sandri,
Dear representatives of the Holy See, the Sovereign Order of Malta, Italian, Armenian authorities and the Diplomatic Corps,
Reverend Fathers and friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
With great pleasure, on behalf of my colleague Victoria Baghdasaryan, I wish good luck to this evening, which is meant to celebrate the official opening of the statue of Saint Gregory of Narek in the Vatican Gardens.
I am very glad that there are people here who supported us all the way through a busy road that has led us here.
The road that led to St. Gregory of Narek’s being conferred upon the title of Doctor of Church, and the successive initiatives such as today’s event, was long. It started with a petition by Nerses Petros XIX, continued with the tireless efforts of those present here today, Archbishop Zekiian, Cardinal Sandri, Cardinal Coch, Cardinal Amato.
Your work reached the petition out to His Holiness Pope Francis, who confirmed it in February 2015. On April 12, 2006, we attended a liturgy at St. Peter’s Cathedral, during which St. Gregory of Narek was proclaimed Doctor of the Church.
With pleasure, I remember the ecumenical spirit that reigned in that unforgettable event. It still continues to fuel our relationships. The evidence is today’s discreet prayer. And I hope this spirit will also be present in the future when the second statue is placed in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin according to the wish of His Holiness Karekin II.
I express special gratitude to the President of the Republic of Armenia for backing this project as he asked the Pope two years ago in Armenia while presenting to the Supreme Pontiff the small-scale model of the statue to install its larger copy in the Vatican Gardens. And I express my deepest gratitude to His Holiness Pope Francis, mentioning him in my prayers.
I would like to once again thank Cardinal Sandri for his best efforts, Archbishop Barsamian and Monsignor Borgia for supporting us throughout the whole process.
I thank the author of the sculpture David Yerevantsi for communicating Saint Gregory of Narek with the complex universe by means of a bronze statue. Thank you for this extraordinary job.
Thanks to my friend Artur Janibekyan, who joined me, generously funded the implementation of this statue. I extend a vote of thanks to Mikayel Hasratyan for architectural support, the Vatican Administration’s Technical Services Office, as well as Don Rafael Garcia de la Serena, architect Barbara Bellano, engineer Marco Barcelelli and all those who have contributed to the project. Special thanks to program manager Vardan Karapetyan who played a crucial role.
Armenia’s Embassy in the Holy See has launched a number of initiatives to popularize the name and work of the Saint. An initiative close to my heart was the collaboration with the choir of the Santa Cecilia National Academy of Rome, Alfred Schnittke’s concerto intended for mixed-type choir. Note that Schnittke composed the concerto after reading the Book of Lamentations by St. Gregory of Narek. Today, we listened to part of that work.
Thank you everyone.