YEREVAN (Armradio) — The Holy See’s Apostolic Nunciature office opened in Armenia today. Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of the Holy See Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra participated in the ceremony.

As the two countries mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, the Holy See sees it as a further opportunity to look “at building a prosperous relationship for the benefit of all Armenians.”

The relations between the Church of Rome and Armenia go back to ancient times, almost to the very origins of Christianity, when faith in Jesus spread from Jerusalem to the “known world,” where meetings and commercial and cultural exchanges between peoples became an occasion for debates that touched the “meaning” of life and existence.

Over the centuries, this ancient and prolific relationship between Armenia and the Holy See has grown in strength. Official diplomatic relations in modern times can be traced back to May 23, 1992, after Armenia gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Since then, the Holy See has continually maintained diplomatic representations to foster relations, along with other initiatives and channels of various Catholic institutions. The first apostolic nuncio appointed to Armenia was Monsignor Jean-Paul Aimé Gobel (1993-1997).  The current Holy See’s representative since 2018 is Archbishop José A. Bettencourt.

Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of the Holy See Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra delivered remarks on the occasion of the opening of the Apostolic Nunciature.

In his speech, Minister Mirzoyan, in particular, noted.

Your Eminence,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today is, indeed, a symbolic day․ The Holy See opens a resident apostolic nunciature in the heart of the first Christian nation, which marks the beginning of the new stage of the cooperation between Armenia and the Holy See. We highly appreciate this decision of His Holiness Pope Francis, which once again demonstrates the attitude of His Holiness the High Priest to the Armenian-Vatican interstate relations.

This year is significant for our bilateral relations, as it marks the 20th anniversary of the visit of St. John Paul II to Armenia and the 5th anniversary of the visit of His Holiness Francis. These historical visits will always remain  in the hearts and minds of our people.

Another demonstration of the strong solidarity between Armenia and the Holy See is the confession of the honorary title of “Doctor of the Ecumenical Church” and as one of the 36 greatest thinkers of the Catholic Church to the genius son of the Armenian people – St. Gregory of Narek, as well as the solemn opening of the statue of St. Gregory of Narek in the Vatican Gardens. I should also mention the Mekhitarist Congregation, which has a significant role in the development of the educational, scientific, cultural life of the Armenian people and consolidating the value and spiritual links between Armenia and the Vatican.

Today, on behalf of Armenia and the Armenian people, I would like to once again express gratitude to the Holy See for adopting an unequivocal and principled position on the Armenian Genocide, thus contributing to the process of prevention of such crimes in the future.

We also highly appreciate the calls of His Holiness during and after the war  unleashed by Azerbaijan against the peaceful population of Artsakh, as well as on the immediate release of the prisoners of war.

Dear attendees,

Armenia’s relations with the Vatican have always been marked by a high-level political dialogue, based not only on Christian values, but also on a common historical and religious heritage, and similar approaches to the challenges of the modern world.

Indeed, our historical relations and ties come from the depths of centuries, but they got a new impetus after the declaration of independence of the Republic of Armenia. Guided by the determination of further deepening our bilateral relations, Armenia established a resident Embassy in the Holy See in 2013. And today, with the opening of the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican demonstrates its readiness to further develop the relations, to deepen the existing cultural and religious ties between our two countries.

We will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries next year, which will be a good opportunity to outline the steps aimed at ensuring the further development of the relations between Armenia and the Vatican.

I once again congratulate all of us on the occasion of the opening of the resident nunciature of Holy See.


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