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January 23
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YEREVAN. – Pope Francis has awarded Armenian President Armen Sarkissian with the highest order of the Holy See, the Grand Collar of the Papal Order of Pius IX, which Sarkissian was awarded in recognition of his great contribution to the development of relations between Armenia and the Holy See, as well as being Armenia's first ambassador to the Vatican, Armenian News-NEWS.am has learned from the President's office.

"The Pope has instructed me to present to you the highest award of the Vatican," said Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, the Substitute for General Affairs of the Holy See, who is on an official visit to Armenia. “This is the evidence of the unique relations between our countries. By opening the [Vatican’s] Apostolic Nunciature [office] in Yerevan, we want to establish a very high level of relations and show the world the importance of the first Christian nation in history for us.”

It was noted that President Sarkissian is the first in Armenia and the only one in the region to be awarded the aforesaid highest order of the Holy See.

Considering it a great honor to receive this high award, President Armen Sarkissian particularly noted: "I have always worked for close relations between Armenia and the Vatican. So I accept this [award], promising to do more.”

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