09, 2019

President Sarkissian’s address at the official opening of the Residence of the Catholicos

“Your Holiness,

Distinguished Mr. Karapetian and representatives of the Karapetian family,

Dear compatriots and guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Over 1700 years ago, the Main Cathedral had been built on this territory which later became a wonderful compound.

It had created around itself a special environment – spiritual, Christian, and of course, Armenian.

Today, that compound is a spiritual center and a pilgrimage site for our entire nation.

Among the structures of the Holy See, the Residence of the Catholicos of All Armenians and his official office occupy a special place.

In Holy Etchimiadzin one comes close to the spiritual Armenia, while the spiritual Armenia is not just a spiritual script or a site.

The spiritual Armenia is also the faith and love, art and culture, power which reigns here, among these walls.

That power inspires and motivates, encourages and urges to live, to create, to build, and help others. Our Fatherland, we all need that power, as well as the energy, efforts, actions, and creativity born from it.

Nowadays, we often witness systems of values being distorted in the different parts of the world, civilizations being sacrificed in the name of politics, human relations forfeited for the sake of geopolitics or political interests, people becoming indifferent toward each other or even becoming strangers. Meanwhile, we, Armenians need to be even more united and caring about each other and not only about each other but also about our common Fatherland - the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh, about our state, our Church, our entire nation and every Armenian, about the Army, and our national values.

Armenia is located on the crossroads where civilizations not only meet but also clash.

The Armenian Church and our faith have been the anchor and the pivot of our national identity.

Dear Friends,

Soon, we will celebrate the 28th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Armenia. One of our Church’s prominent figures, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople Maghakia Ormanian used to say, “The Church became the visible spirit of the non-existent statehood.”

It was in the times when statehood was just a dream. For the last 28 years that dream has been a reality.

Today, here at the Residence, I would like to recall the brilliant words of Catholicos Vazgen I, “To create Fatherland is a heroic act, to build Fatherland is a mission.”

Today we have that Fatherland – the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh. To build them we need to work all together.

Dear Friends,

With the sense of the deepest appreciation I acknowledge the input of His Holiness Garegin II to all this.

It is symbolic that the renovated Residency opens its doors on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Vehapar’s enthronement.

My congratulations, Your Holiness.

Dear Friends,

When at the beginning of the 20th century through the donations of the great benefactor Alexander Mantashiants this edifice of the Residency was built, it was also part of building the Fatherland.

Not accidentally, Mantashiants wrote in Armenian “With the help of God” on all his official documents. The Residence was constructed in 1910-1915. The Residence not only saw the presence of the Catholicos but also was filled with orphan kids fleeing from the Mets Eghern of 1915. This Residence became also a national center where we all together sheltered our children, where our great national poet Hovhannes Tumanian brought his contribution to the children’s education. That was the beginning.

The attitude and reverence toward the Holy See and the Residence is continuous, and we see that continuity today in the rebuilt Etchmiadzin.

I express my profound thanks to all benefactors who are present here and those who are not.

Dear Friends,

Dear Samvel Karapetian and members of the Karapetian family.

Your activities in Armenia, Artsakh, Russia and elsewhere deserve the greatest admiration.

These are one of best examples of charity, investments, and dedication in Armenia.

Through the charity and donations of the Karapetian family multiple programs have been called to life, about some of them we have learned today thanks to this short video.

But I personally know that this charity and donations are actually much greater. From the bottom of my heart I wish excellent health and all the best to Samvel Karepatian and his wife Eteri Karapetian, to your entire family, your children Tatevik, Sargis, and Karen.

I am confident that very soon the newly renovated Residence will fill with the Armenian kids but this time they will use this splendid structure and the territory of the Residence for singing, joy, creative work and demonstration of their creations. I have no doubt that this splendid hall will be used to promote the Armenian culture. I will be delighted to attend future concerts, exhibitions worthy of this wonderful hall and the Residence. Minutes ago, I shook hands with our great maestro Tigran Mansourian. Maestro, I believe your glorious music and this glorious structure deserve each other.

I congratulate you, Mr. Karapetian. You have accomplished the dream we once spoke about. Your beneficial work has a number of goals, and one of them is the Church. This Residence makes us all proud.

Throughout my life, I have been to many residencies and large Christian centers, from Etchmiadzin to Jerusalem, Vatican, and others. But this Residence makes us proud today, it is one of the best, if not the best. Thus, my congratulations and best wishes.

In conclusion, I would like to wish the Karapetian family, Samvel Karapetian: Let all your undertakings, in Mantashov’s words, be fulfilled with the help of God, and always successful.

I conclude with the words of the Patriarch’s prayer:

Lord, hold fast the Altar you founded.” 

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