07, 2008

Speech of President Serzh Sargsyan at the ceremony dedicated to the 650th Anniversary of Holy Cross cloister in Crimea

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I am happy to be here with you at the ceremony dedicated to the 650th Anniversary of the foundation of the ancient Armenian Holy Cross cloister. This momentous event brought us all together. The Crimean Peninsula has always been a habitat for different peoples of different faith.

It is symbolic that this Anniversary and consecration of the church coincide with another solemn and meaningful event – the 1020th Anniversary of the christening of Russia.

The Armenian Apostolic Church has always had its special place in the lives of the Armenian people. During the centuries, in the absence of statehood it was the Church that assumed the mission of leading the Armenian people. It is no coincidence that wherever in the world Armenians go they always build churches and schools. They build and create, struggle and survive.

As a result, unlike other ancient people, the Armenians continue to live and create, presenting to the world the kaleidoscope of its cultural heritage – works of art, many of which have become the symbols of friendship and cooperation.

The Holy Cross cloister is the spiritual center of the Armenians of Crimea, one of the most prominent historical monuments. Today when we witness numerous instances of intolerance, interfaith and intercultural struggle and antagonism, we also see how our two nations not by word but by deed, sincerely and confidently revisit the pages of our common history when we not only existed in the same geographical space but also lived and worked together.

The Holy Cross cloister is not only an indivisible part of our spiritual culture: it is also one of the gems of Crimea. Any architectural monument is in harmony only within the context and the landscape it was created in. I am confident that the renovated Holy Cross can become one of the tourist attractions of Crimea. Today I offered President Yushchenko to instruct our Ministries of Foreign Affairs to take necessary steps for the inclusion of the Holy Cross on the UNESCO’s list of the world cultural heritage.

We already have successful examples of such cooperation. Quite recently, three Armenian monuments located in Iran were included on that list.

We are grateful to the authorities of Ukraine for their great work in reconstructing the cloister, to the authorities of Crimea, all architects and construction workers who participated in this project.

I would also like to congratulate our compatriots living in Ukraine, especially those in Crimea, and thank them for their active participation in the reconstruction of the church.

I am certain that today’s event will add a new page to the glorious annals of the centuries-long friendly relations of our peoples, will foster further development of the Armenian-Ukrainian relations not only in the humanitarian but also in political, economic and other areas.

I wish long life to the renovated Holy Cross cloister so that for the next 650 years it continues to stand not only as a temple of hope and faith but also as a symbol of interfaith appreciation, understanding, and friendship.

I congratulate all of us on this outstanding occasion and would like to once again express my sincere gratitude to all those who participated in this project and helped to preserve, renovate this church; I also thank them for their warmth and hospitality.

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