YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–During his official visit to Egypt–His Holiness Karekin I–Catholicos of All Armenia’s–met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Jan. 18. Among those participating at the Sunday morning meeting was Armenian Ambassador to Egypt Edward Nalbantian.
At a press conference following the meeting with President Mubarak–the Catholicos relayed that Mubarak expressed his fondness of the Armenian nation and insured the Pontiff of Egypt’s continual support of Armenia. Karekin I–in return–on behalf of all Armenia’s–expressed his respect for Egypt–condemned terrorism and maintained that Egypt has always been and remains a country of peace. The Catholicos also shared with the President his concern regarding the current condition of Jerusalem and urged that it should remain a bastion for all world religions.
His Holiness Karekin I also met with Patriarch Shnuda III–head of the Coptic Church–and Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa.
In St. Mark Coptic Church of Cairo–Shnuda III–introducing His Holiness to more than five thousand attendees–referred to Him as "one of the spiritual pillars" of the Christian world. Following Shnuda’s remarks–the Catholicos delivered a sermon.
During a one-hour meeting with Foreign Minister Musa–Karekin I thanked Egypt for providing the Armenian community with the opportunity to prosper. The Minister praised the Armenian community and stressed its significant role in the economic–political and cultural life of the Egypt.
His Holiness also visited the Main Spiritual Center of Moslems-Sunnites–Al-Azkhar–which is home to 1.5 million students–to meet with the Rector of Al Azkhar University–the spiritual leader Sheikh Tantawi. During their discussion–both spiritual leaders placed importance on maintaining dialogue between their two religions in order to achieve peace and friendship between states with different national religions.
The Armenian General Benevolent Union of Egypt–upon the initiative of the Armenian Embassy in Egypt–sponsored a concert at the Evert Hall of the American University of Cairo in honor of Karekin I. Those performing included Armenian actors and singers–who were in Cairo to attend the Festival of Culture and Art.