YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Hundreds of people took part in a candle-lighting ceremony on Saturday held in front of the French Embassy in Armenia and then in Yerevan’s France Square, in memory of the victims of terror attacks in Paris, which took place late Friday night, rocking the French capital.
President Serzh Sarkisian, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan and other officials also took part in the ceremony, as reported by a NEWS.am correspondent.
Sarkisian laid red roses at a statue by French sculptor Auguste Rodin and bowed in memory of the victims.
Attendees of the ceremony brought posters that read, “Our prayers, hearts and souls are with French people,” “We pray for Paris,” “Vive la France” and “Stop Terrorism.”
The square in the heart of Yerevan was renamed France Square during a visit of then French President Jacques Chirac to Armenia in 2006. 5 years later, during his visit to Armenia in 2001, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed to install the sculpture of Jules Bastien-Lepage by world-known sculptor Auguste Rodin in the square.
Meanwhile, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, sent a letter of condolence to French President Francois Hollande.
“Today, when our nation commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we remember with gratitude that our sons and daughters were rescued by the French navy during the defense of Musaler, and along with our indebtedness, offer the sincere sympathy and condolences of our nation to the families and relatives of the French nation,” the Catholicos’s message read.
“We strongly condemn the terrorist actions against innocent French civilians. Terrorism knows no nationality and is aimed at all of humanity, at the world’s well-being, and at the safe and creative co-existence of people and nations. We believe that your leadership will guide France to prevail over this situation, and that the people of France will overcome the pain of loss and continue to fight resolutely against terrorism inflicted upon humanity, to prevent future atrocities and crimes.”
His Holiness prayed for peace to the souls of the dead and comfort for their relatives, and a speedy recovery to the victims of the terrorist attacks.
French Ambassador to Armenia Jean-Francois Charpentier responded to the outpouring of support from Armenia, saying that the government and people of France are grateful to the Armenian people for their sympathy.
Charpentier spoke to NEWS.am on Saturday evening, noting that the flow of Armenian citizens to the French embassy had not stopped since the early morning the day after the deadly attacks in Paris.
“Innocent people are once again falling victim to such terror attacks; this is a result of a certain expression of religious intolerance. Judging by the condolence letters addressed to us the whole day, we can say that everyone is determined to unite against in the struggle against this dreadful evil,” Charpentier said.
The French Ambassador took part in the candle-lighting ceremony held in Yerevan on Saturday along with President Sarkisian and other officials.