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July 23
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YEREVAN. – President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan on Tuesday addressed the Bishops’ Synod of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church.

The full text of the speech is as follows:

“Your Holiness Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians,
Your Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia,
Your Eminences,

I am glad to be here, at the Armenian spiritual center, at the Holy See of Mother Etchmiadzin which is precious to us all. I cordially welcome you all, all Bishops of the Armenian Church and particularly spiritual leaders who have arrived to the blessed soil of our Motherland from the remote Armenian communities spread all over the world. Taking this opportunity, I would like to say that I am well aware of your patriotic undertakings aimed at the preservation of the national identity and I thank you for them.

I am thankful to the Catholicos of All Armenian for extending invitation to me and for the opportunity to address you with welcoming remarks. As any son of our nation, being present here I deem it necessary to once again express my filial affection, devotion and support to the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church.

People who are familiar with the ups and downs of our history can duly appreciate the vital mission which the Armenian Church has been performing and continues to perform today. This spiritual institution, which had been established through the efforts of the Apostles, for the stateless and world-spread Armenian nation never lost its ties with the uppermost values which bond together the Armenian identity. The lamp ignited by Saint Gregory the Illuminator today too continues to spread light among us, while the servants of the Armenian Church continue their devoted services, faithful to the behests of Saint Sahak Partev, Mesrop Mashtots, Nerses Shorhali, Grigor Tatevatsi and brilliant Patriarchs Nerses Ashtaraktsi, Khrimian Hayrik, Vazgen I and our other spiritual fathers.

It’s been twenty-two years since we have restored our independent Armenian statehood; however in the Armenian national life the national preservation role of our Church continues to be important just as much. Today, more than ever we have to strengthen spiritual values which link us together and make us one united Armenian nation.

Through the power enshrined in our Constitution, the Republic of Armenia recognizes the exceptional mission of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church in the spiritual life of the Armenian nation, development of our national culture and preservation of the national identity. It is with great pleasure that I state close cooperation between the State and the Church and our ability to complement each other in the resolution of our national issues.

Eminent Spiritual Fathers,

Motherland Armenia is home to all Armenians while the Mother Church is the cornerstone and pillar for Armenia and Armenian nation. For centuries, the glance of the devout Armenian nation has been directed to Holy Etchmiadzin. Right here the heart of our Mother Church is throbbing, nourished with the love and prayers of the millions of our faithful brothers and sisters.

Now, we are witnessing the epoch-making event indeed. For centuries, due to different circumstances, and particularly in the last six centuries, it was not possible to invite a bishops’ synod of the Armenian Church. I am glad to state that currently it has become possible to overcome that problem and to convene the Bishops’ Synod at the Holy See of Saint Etchmidzin, on our native land.

This event is a major signal to our devotees and is called upon to prove the Mother Church’s dedication to the mission of uniting the world-spread Armenian nation. I am confident that this conclave will manifest new process in the Armenian spiritual life and will allow the entire Armenian nation to take upon the realization of all-Armenian issues with new vigor and energy.

With the convocation of this meeting, the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church is ushering a new era of its history. It gets the opportunity to find answers to multiple questions of our spiritual and moral life, to streamline its reforms and modernize its work according to the current challenges.

I know that the agenda of your works is rather exhaustive. I believe one of the issues under discussion deserves special attention: it pertains to the important initiative of canonization of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

On the eve of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, our entire nation continues to say “No” to the crimes against humanity. It is our duty to our forefathers, to our innocent victims and to the entire human kind so that new genocides may be prevented in the future. With this regard, the anticipation of our entire nation from the Armenian Church and its Bishops is great.

Devastating civil war in Syria is going on; it has become a grave challenge for the Armenian-Syrian community. Situation in Syria is our greatest pain and our number one concern every day. At the direst for our nation times, the people of Syria received with open arms those who narrowly escaped the Genocide and shared with us whatever they had. We wish that the situation is resolved through the political means as soon as possible and the bloodshed is stopped in this friendly state.

The responsibility to preserve the Christian faith, love and morals, our devotion as the apple of our eyes is a blessing for us all. I am deeply convinced that all this for centuries has been embodied and fulfilled in the life of our nation by the Armenian Church with all its dioceses, parishes, communities and structures. This is an institution which is to be loved, cherished and preserved by every Armenian as the guarantor of our nation’s unending journey to eternity.

Asserting once again my joy on the Bishops’ Synod of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church, I remain hopeful that it will be convened regularly in the same spirit of unity for the glory of our faithful believers. I wish you all success and fruitful work.

God bless and preserve the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church and our Armenian world.
Thank you.”

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