Armenia Rome Exhibit Opens in Vatican

VATICAN CITY (Noyan Tapan)–Headed by President Robert Kocharian and His Holiness Karekin I–Catholicos of All Armenia’s–and attended by Pope John Paul II an exhibit marking 2000 years of cooperation between Armenia and Rome was officially inaugurated at the Sistine Hall in the Vatican Wednesday. The exhibit is dedicated to the 1,700th anniversary of Armenia’s adoption of Christianity.

The exhibit was declared open by Karekin I. Joining the Pope were officials from the Vatican–Armenia’s ambassador to Great Britain–Northern Ireland and the Vatican Armen Sarkissian–as well as benefactor Vatche Manoogian. Religious–cultural and academic leaders were also on hand for the opening.

The exhibit includes artifacts and works of art brought together from the Holy See of Etchmiadzin–the Madenataran–the Hermitage in St. Petersburg–Russia–the Armenian National Museum–as well as pieces from 30 Italian cities.

The exhibit will close on July 16 and is deemed as an expression of friendly relations between Armenia and the Vatican.

"The Armenian people made its historic decision in 301 to adopt Christianity as its official religion and until today it devotedly preaches peace–human rights and harmony and continues to advance its theological-cultural traditions while–at the same time–advancing mutually beneficial relations," said Kocharian in his remarks–in which he also praised the Holy See and the Vatican for their efforts in organizing the exhibit.

In his remarks–Kocharian reflected on a 1996 joint declaration by Karekin I and Pope John Paul II–which provided a new impetus to cooperation among the two churches.

"Justice–morality and peace are indivisible values for us–and for that reason we are pursuing the rebirth of historical justice–an expression of which is the recognition of the Armenian Genocide," declared Kocharian.

The president added that the exhibit was an expression of friendly and cooperative relations between Armenia and the Vatican.

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