ANTELIAS–Lebanon–His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia was bestowed highest medal of honor Wednesday by Lebanese President Gen. Emil Lahoud during a ceremony at the presidential palace.
Lahoud honored the Catholicos for his work in the international arena on behalf of Lebanon and his recent re-election as the chairman of the World Council of Churches.
Following commendations and congratulatory remarks by President Lahoud–the Catholicos said that the medal was an honor for the entire Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia–for which Lebanon plays an integral role.
Aram I explained that following the Genocide–Armenian flocked to Lebanon as refugees–adding–however–that they did not remain in that status and went on to become Lebanese citizens–working toward the perseverance and enhancement of Lebanon’s statehood–independence and unity.
"Lebanon is and must remain a bastion for diverse cultures and religions–a nation of independence and a bridge between East and West," commented the pontiff.
In conclusion–Aram I expressed solidarity to President Lahoud–personally and on behalf of the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia.
Present at the ceremony were several visiting prelates–members of the Catholicosate Central Executive Council–Lebanon Tourism Minister Arthur Nazarian–current and former members of parliament–the Armenian and Canadian ambassadors to Lebanon and representatives of various Armenian organizations.