His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, have arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh on a joint visit supposed to bolster the spirit of Armenians fighting for their identity in a beleaguered land.
The visit was first announced in early April when Nagorno-Karabakh was still under attack from Azerbaijan. Nearly four days of intense fighting left scores of Armenian and Azerbaijan soldiers killed and wounded, ending in a verbal ceasefire agreement that has largely held until today despite sporadic gunfire and continuing fatalities at the line of contact.
In Stepanakert, the two Armenian church leaders met with Nagorno-Karabakh President Bako Sahakyan.
The latter’s press office reports that “a wide range of questions covering the state-church, Homeland-Diaspora ties was discussed at the meeting.”
The sides also reportedly discussed issues relating to the large-scale combat operations launched by Azerbaijan from 2 to 5 April and their consequences.
President Sahakyan noted that “during this ordeal the entire Armenian nation demonstrated exemplary unity and cohesion, fervent patriotism and self-dedication highlighting the role of the Armenian Apostolic Church in this process.”
He acknowledged the visit of the church patriarchs, pointing out its historic significance from spiritual and political points of view as well as in terms of patriotic upbringing of the younger generations.
Primate of the Artsakh Diocese Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan and a group of supreme ecclesiastic representatives of the Armenian Apostolic Church also attended the meeting.