TEHRAN — The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton visited the Armenian Holy Savior Cathedral in New Julfa, Iran on March 10.
Ashton first paid a visit to 350-year old St. Joseph of Arimathea Church of the All Saviour’s Cathedral, which is famous for its spectacular frescos. “Komitas” choir performed hymns conducted by Armen Amirkhanian. The EU High Representative and other members of her delegation listened to the hymns and watched the picturesque frescos of the church, which introduce the whole history of the Old and New Testaments, commandments of the Church, the passions of St. Gregory the Illuminator, as well as Paradise and Hell.
Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Isfahan, Bishop Papken Charian expressed gratitude to the European Union for recognizing the Armenian Genocide and referred to the ECHR ruling on Armenian Genocide denial case.
He praised the constant support of the Iranian authorities to the maintenance of the Armenian Churches and cultural values, and reminded a few years ago neighboring Azerbaijan demolished the Armenian cross-stones in Old Julfa, which was a cultural genocide. The Primate voiced hope that the European Parliament will condemn the vandalism to prevent the reoccurrence of such genocides elsewhere in the future. Catherine Ashton assured she would pursue the protection of human rights.
At the end of the visit Ms. Ashton left a note in the memory book of the museum.