The Catholicos Patriarch of All Armenians, Karekin II, on Saturday (5 June) travelled to Stepanakert on his first visit to Nagorno-Karabakh since the 44-day war last autumn.
The Patriarch met with the president of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Arayik Harutyunyan, who emphasised the importance of the visit in the post-war period. "I am convinced that the Armenians of Artsakh need your patriarchal word and presence. And the caring support that the people of Artsakh will receive these days, conditioned by your visit, will greatly help to overcome the difficult situation,"Arayik Harutyunyan stressed.
His Holiness noted that his stay in Artsakh is a comfort for him, an opportunity to pray with the faithful, to support him through the Gospel. "I am sure that with God's help, our people of Artsakh will be able to get out of this difficult situation through national efforts. We face many challenges."
"To overcome them, the Armenian Apostolic Church will continue to bring its support to our children in Artsakh," said the Catholicos.
During the meeting, the current challenges and opportunities for overcoming them were discussed. Harutyunyan explained to the Patriarch the problems that arose in the post-war period and the possibility of joint efforts in their solution. Afterwards the two visited a military unit, and the Patriarch sent his blessings and paternal wishes to the officers and soldiers. Karekin II affirmed that the Church has always been and will always be a supporter of the Armenian Army, adding that even during the most difficult moments of the war, the clergy were by the side of the Armenian soldier. The Catholicos of All Armenians later visited the Gandzasar monastery complex and made patriarchal prayer.