Conference on International Religious Freedom and Peace in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

The two-day international conference "International Religious Freedom and Peace" launched on September 9 in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin with the blessing of the Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II. Representatives of churches, international religious organizations, scholars and experts gathered at the Old residence to discuss the issue of preserving the world's spiritual, cultural and historical heritage.

At the beginning of the conference Chairman of the Committee on Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of Artsakh His Holiness Archbishop Vigen Haykazyan invited those present to honor the memory of the innocent victims of the 44-day Artsakh war with a minute of silence.

Then the Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II conveyed his message and blessing to the conference participants.

In his welcoming speech, the Catholicos of All Armenians emphasized the role and activities of the clergy in matters of religious freedom and peace.

"Spiritual Fathers, Ladies and Gentlemen! We are glad to welcome you to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin on the occasion of an international conference on religious freedom and peace. The efforts of the Committee for the preservation of the cultural heritage of Artsakh deserve a high assessment. The issues of freedom and peace that have existed throughout the history of mankind are still relevant today, especially when the existence of violence, conflicts and wars in different parts of the world is often tried to justify the false agenda of establishing freedom and peace,” said the Catholicos.

In his speech, Garegin II mentioned the 44-day war, emphasizing its consequences: “Recently we have experienced very painful events. Azerbaijan has unleashed a large-scale war against our people living in Artsakh. During the hostilities, in which the Turkish armed forces and international terrorist groups participated, phosphorus weapons and other prohibited measures were used against the civilian population. As a result of these tragic events, thousands of people died and became disabled, hundreds of settlements were destroyed, tens of thousands of families became refugees, and many of them were captured and to this day they are being held in cruel conditions in Azerbaijan, with rude violations of international humanitarian law. We would like to once again express our gratitude to all international humanitarian and church organizations for their work on the release of Armenian prisoners of war and the preservation of religious and cultural values. " Possibilities of access to churches located in conflict zones, issues of protecting religious and ethnic minorities, preservation of spiritual and cultural heritage and other topics were discussed at the conference.

The participants were greeted by the Secretary General of the World Council of Churches Father Ioan Sauca, President of the Conference of European Churches Father Christian Krieger and Secretary General of the National Council of Churches of the United States Jim Winkler, Primate of the Coptic Diocese of the Orthodox Church in London Archbishop Angelos, Patriarchal Vicar of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Belgium, France and Luxembourg Archbishop George Kourie, Bishop of the Anglican Church in Gibraltar Robert Innes, Secretary of the Department of Ecumenical Relations of the Malankara Orthodox Church of India Father Abraham Thomas.

Apostolic Nuncio in Armenia Archbishop José Bettencourt conveyed a message from His Holiness Pope Francis, Deputy director of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church Father Filaret Bulekov conveyed a message from the director of the same department Metropolitan Hilarion.

The reports were followed by discussions.

WP Radio
WP Radio