The President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, who is concluding today his official visit to Lebanon, met earlier this morning in Beirut with the Supreme Patriarch of Cilicia, Aram.
During the meeting, which took place at the Armenian Catholicosate, in Beirut, the President stated: “It is with deep humility and profound honour that the members of my delegation and I are paying this solemn visit to the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia today. Our presence is a reflection of the strong and sincere bonds that Cyprus shares with both Armenia and the Armenian diaspora in Lebanon and elsewhere, throughout times.
I had the opportunity to visit Yerevan in 2015 on the solemn occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, where we commemorated the memory of the one and a half million lives lost. The visit gave me the opportunity to also meet with President Serzh Sargsyan, with whom I share excellent relations, and discuss means to further develop bilateral relations and cooperation.
Since your consecration as Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia more than two decades ago, you have worked tirelessly to promote the Christian faith and unity. You have been a strong proponent of interfaith dialogue, sparing no effort towards bringing different faiths together in a spirit of cooperation and shared vision.
I wish to take this opportunity to praise your personal commitment and involvement towards alleviating the suffering in neighbouring Syria, where the ongoing war has had indescribable humanitarian consequences for the people of Syria.
The war and destruction did not spare either the Christian minority or the religious sites. The destruction of Christianity in Syria and the wider region constitutes an immeasurable catastrophe for humanity at large, a prospect that should force the international community to act decisively before it is too late.
Cyprus, an island of peace and tranquility in a highly turbulent region continues, however, to remain divided due to the ongoing illegal Turkish military occupation, despite our persistent and sincere efforts towards finding a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.
Today, the Armenian Cypriots, who were also forced to abandon their homes, churches and schools in the occupied area of the island, form an integral part of Cypriot society. They enrich the island’s multireligious and multicultural mosaic and are exemplary citizens of their adopted homeland in all walks of life, serving as a social and cultural bridge between Cyprus and Armenia.
In concluding, allow me to express once again our sentiments of deep appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity to visit Antelias and renew our bonds of trust and friendship.”
On his part Patriarch Aram said, inter alia, that the long standing relations between Cyprus and Armenia as well as their respective Churches have existed in the course of history and referred to the close and excellent relations in the political and economic field.
He added that advance collaboration continues to be motivated by economic and political interests, traditions, perspectives, human rights and human values as well as dignity.
He pointed out that in the last few decades human rights are predominant when it comes to this collaboration, since both Cyprus and Armenia share the common goal for the restoration of the human rights violated by Turkey.
He also referred to the Armenian genocide saying it is “the first crime against humanity in the 20th century.”
Patriarch Aram also referred to the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey and the destruction of cultural heritage and religious monuments in the occupied areas, adding that “our nations seek justice with renewed efforts”, and expressed gratitude for Cyprus’ continuous support of the Armenian struggle and for embracing the Armenian religious group in Cyprus.
After the meeting the President visited the monument dedicated to the victims of the Armenian genocide, at the Catholicosate./IBNA