Catholicos Aram I President Khatami Meet

TEHRAN (Combined Ssources)–Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I–met with Iranian president Mohammad Khatami in Tehran on Saturday–and discussed current world and regional developmen’s.

President Khatami said Iran has consistently been tolerant of different religions–and that a peaceful coexistence is in place.

The Catholicos described the that co-existence as "among the cherished values of the Islamic Republic of Iran." He said that religions are currently in danger and the followers of faiths must emphasize dialogue to strengthen the role of religion in human life.

Referring to "hidden forces" that seek to disrupt Lebanon’s stability–President Khatami praised the role of religious and ethnic leaders in preventing crises. "The Lebanese people must prove to the world they are able to safeguard stability and security in their country."

The two leaders also discussed Iran’s position on the Mountainous Karabagh conflict. Khatami said Iran promotes negotiations–and urges a peaceful resolution–emphasizing the issue must not be considered as a conflict between Muslim and Christians. "Territorial problem can be solved through discussions and logic."

During his 14-day visit to Iran–His Holiness will tour the provinces of Isfahan–Markazi–West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan.

Catholicos Aram I arrived in Iran on May 12 to conduct two weeks of official meetings.

He presided over a special ceremony on May 13 in Tehran’s "Ararat" sports’ complex and dedicated the 10th anniversary of his enthronement and the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Seminary in Antelias–Lebanon.

On this occasion His Holiness said: "I renew my vow to continue the mission of Antelias dedicated to the church–our nation and our homeland."

Highlighting the Catholicosate’s mission–he said that Antelias forms individuals–and enhances spiritual formation–and is also an expression of the will to build a homeland and a pioneer in the fight for justice.

"Jubilees are nothing without man’s readiness for devotion. The Catholicosate of Cilicia–with its brotherhood–seminary–dioceses and structure–flourished the lives of our church and nation during the last 75 years. One of the first victims of the Armenian Genocide–the Catholicosate of Cilicia prepared new manpower and formed spirits as a response to the inhumanness of the perpetrator and in place of the ruins and destruction," said His Holiness.

The ambassador of Armenia to Iran–Iranian deputies–representatives of organizations and unions–as well as a large number of Iranian Armenia’s were present at the ceremony.


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