Catholicos Karekin I Heads for Far East

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)His Holiness Karekin I–Catholicos of All Armenia’s left for Singapore Sunday–on a tour of Southeast Asia and Australia.

The Catholicos is scheduled to also visit Bangkok–following which he will visit Armenian communities in Australia.

He met with French President Jacques Chirac met Thursday in Paris.

The French president and His Holiness held a 40-minute private meeting–following which Chirac presented the "Orders of Honor" awards to His Holiness and Archbishop Kyut Nacashian.

Chirac stressed the importance of the roles of the Catholicosates of the Holy Sees of Etchmiadzin and Cilicia–noting his activity in bringing closer the two catholicosates.

He expressed his appreciation to Arch. Nacashian for his service to the Armenian community of France. Chirac noted that the Armenian community of France is the biggest in Europe and "in both World Wars it shed its blood for our homeland France–and now it is giving France its talent."

During his visit to France–His Holiness had the opportunity to also discuss Armenian-French relations and other issues of common concern.

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