VATICAN–Armenia officially opened an embassy in Vatican Friday, bringing together hundreds of guests representing both the secular society and the clergy. Rome’s Palazzo della Cancelleria was the venue for the reception dedicated to the opening of the embassy at the Holy See, the 22nd anniversary of Armenia’s independence and the launching of the “St. Gregory the Illuminator: Common Christian Heritage” exhibition.
The Armenian delegation headed by Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches Leonardo Sandri and Armenian Ambassador to the Holy See Mikael Minasyan delivered opening remarks at the ceremony.
“This is a symbolic day, as Armenia – the first nation to adopt Christianity as state religion – is opening a diplomatic representation in the Holy See,” Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in his opening remarks.
“Our cooperation has deep historic roots. Christian belief has served as a basis for these special ties,” Minister Nalbandian said, adding that prominent figures like St. Nerses Shnorhali, Mkhitar Sebastatsi and others.
The Minister said Armenia highly appreciates the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Holy See in 2000 and its reconfirmation in 2001.
“Opening of the Armenian Embassy is an evidence of the high level of friendly relations between Armenia and Vatican, but also an expression of the will of the two countries to further deepen these relations,” the Foreign Minister said.
In his remarks, Cardinal Sandri said in his speech that the Holy See has always had a special attitude to the Armenians, knowing the nation’s ancient Christian history well. He expressed belief that the opening of the diplomatic mission will help broaden the rich history of mutual assistance.
BBC’s Mark Grigoryan, who was a special guest at the exhibition, told Tert.am that “I have attended many events in many different countries. This was one of the best ones. I can give 100 percent assurances from both the invitees’ point of view and the event’s organizational aspects.”
The ceremony was attended by 350 people, including Secretary for Relations with States in the Roman Curia Dominique Mamberti, Holy See’s head of protocol Jose Bettencourt, Polish Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church Zenon Grocholewski, as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See,Armenian Apostolic Church, representatives of the Armenian Catholic Church, Armenian and Italian members of parliament, Ambassadors accredited to the Vatican, heads of European and Italian NGOs, businessmen, representatives of the Armenian community and renowned singer Charles Aznavour, who is Armenia’s Ambassador to Switzerland.