VATICAN CITY — Rome’s Palazzo della Cancelleria hosted a reception dedicated to the opening of the Armenian Embassy at the Holy See, the 22nd anniversary of Armenia’s independence and the launching of the “St. Gregory the Illuminator: Common Christian Heritage” exhibition.

The reception hosted by the Armenian Ambassador to the Vatican featured Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States, clergymen of the Armenian Apostolic Church, representatives of the Armenian Catholic Church, high-ranking clergy from the Holy See, Armenian and Italian MPs, Ambassadors accredited to the Vatican, heads of European and Italian NGOs, businessmen, representatives of the Armenian community.

“This is a symbolic day, as Armenia – the first nation to adopt Christianity as state religion – is opening a diplomatic representation in the Holy See,” Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in his opening remarks.

“Our cooperation has deep historic roots. Christian belief has served as a basis for these special ties,” Minister Nalbandian said, adding that prominent figures like St. Nerses Shnorhali, Mkhitar Sebastatsi and others have contributed to the development of these relations.

The Minister said Armenia highly appreciates the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Holy See in 2000 and its reconfirmation in 2001.

“Opening of the Armenian Embassy is an evidence of the high level of friendly relations between Armenia and Vatican, but also an expression of the will of the two countries to further deepen these relations,” the Foreign Minister said.

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