Secretary for Relations with States of Holy See, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher thanked Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan for warm reception and invitation to visit Armenia.
“As I informed the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister this morning, I am pleased to convey greetings from His Holiness Pope Francis I to the Armenian authorities, as well as his blessings and prayers for the further development and peace of the Armenian people and harmony. The purpose of this visit is an expression of friendship that characterizes our bilateral relations,” Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher said during a joint briefing in Yerevan.
“Bilateral relations between Armenia and the Holy See were established in May 1992, but our interaction has a longer history, especially because your country is the first Christian country in the world. Regarding the last several decades, I want to note that thanks to the donation of the Italian Caritas Foundation, the Tiramair Narek hospital was donated to Ashotsk by Pope John Paul II and was opened in 1991.
Ten years later, in 2001, Pope John Paul himself paid a visit to Armenia, and in 2015, Pope Francis served the Holy Liturgy at St. Paul's Cathedral of the Vatican. In 2016, Pope Francis personally visited Yerevan, Etchmiadzin and Gyumri. The top leadership of Armenia visited the Holy See for various reasons. Similar visits were also made by the supreme church leadership of Armenia. In particular, I note the visit of His Holiness, Catholicos Karekin II. At the same time, I want to emphasize that our relations are much wider than these relations at a high level. They include charity and social support, cultural programs, frequent bilateral meetings on regional issues and broader international relations.
Our cooperation is also quite active in the field of human rights protection and Christian values.
Later in the day I will meet with the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.
I want to reaffirm that the Armenian Catholic Church also contributes to the prosperity of the Armenian society, ” said Archbishop Gallagher.