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YEREVAN. – The visit of the Holy See Secretary for State Relations, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, is the next major step in developing bilateral relations between Armenia and the Holy See, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said during a briefing with the archbishop.

 “It is symbolic that the visit of my colleague coincides with the 5th anniversary of his tenure. This is symbolic, as Archbishop Gallagher made a huge contribution both to the deepening of interstate Armenia-Vatican relations, and simply to international relations.  As you know, despite the fact that our historical ties and relations have a long history, however, they received a new momentum after Armenia’s independence,” Mnatsakanyan said.

Armenia and the Holy See also have a long history of cultural cooperation, he added.

The minister recalled that in the beginning of the 90s, the Pope, now St. John Paul donated the Tiramayr Narek hospital to Ashotsk district, and the hospital has been working free of charge.

“The Armenian people warmly recall the visit of a high-ranking delegation led by Pope John Paul II to Armenia in 2001 in connection with the 1700th anniversary of the proclamation of Christianity as Armenia’s state religion. I can say that thanks to this visit, relations between Armenia and the Vatican raised to a qualitatively different level,” he said.

Another significant event was declaration of Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church by Pope Francis.

“I should note that the high level of bilateral relations between Armenia and the Vatican is also the result of the personal interest of His Holiness, and we are grateful for this. I would like to reaffirm Armenia’s interest in deepening relations with the Holy See, based on common values ​​and coinciding approaches regarding problems in the field of international relations,” Mnatsakanyan added.

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