Church & Ministry of Defense Sign Cooperative Agreement

ECHMIADZIN (Noyan Tapan)–A Cooperative Agreement on the spiritual service of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the National Army of the Republic of Armenia was signed at the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin on September 14.

Per the Agreement–the field of spiritual service is clarified and specified. According to the Agreement–the structure of spiritual service makes part of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia and is directed by the Army Chaplain appointed by His Holiness Catholicos of All Armenia’s.

His Holiness Garegin II–the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenia’s–and Serge Sargssian–the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Armenia–were present at the signing ceremony. The Agreement was signed by Bishop Navasard Ktchoyan–the Vicar General of the Ararat Patriarchal Diocese–and Major-General Mikael Grigorian–the Deputy Minister of Defense.

His Holiness congratulated the people in attendance on the occasion of signing the Agreement. His Holiness expressed confidence that the Armenian Church servants’ spiritual mission in the Army will strengthen the national and Christian spirit of soldiers and will lead them to more zealous service.

In order to inspire the soldiers with Christian and moral principles and to train them in national-patriotic spirit–spiritual and religious knowledge–the graduates of the Theological Academy have been performing a spiritual mission in the Army since 1997. Presently–there are 20 clergymen in the Army who serve as spiritual guides.

Signing the present Agreement will put the article of "Memorandum of Understanding" into practice–which was signed between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Government of Armenia in March of this year–under which joint activities and work in soldiers’ military-patriotic training and spiritual life are foreseen.

Dr. Konrad Reiser–the Secretary General of the World Council of Churches–who was on a three-day official visit to Armenia–and Bishop Yeznik Petrossian–the Secretary General of the Department of Inter-Church Relations of the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin–were also present at the ceremony.

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