The "Armenia-Rome–2,000 Years of Relations" Exhibit officially opened in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel on March 25th. Present for the opening ceremonies were His Holiness Karekin I–Catholicos of All Armenia’s along with Armenian President Robert Kocharian. Also–present were several other notable clergymen along with dignified guests from Armenia and all parts of the Diaspora.
The exhibition which was organized apropos of the 1700 anniversary of Christianity in Armenia will last until June 16. Sources from the Ministry of Culture–Sports and Youth Affairs have noted that according to the Italian press–as many as 50,000 people visit the exhibition per day. Furthermore–on Easter Sunday the number of visitors was overwhelming–surpassing the 100,000 mark.
Also according to Italian newspapers–Pope John Paul II–in a recently published article–out of the over 500 samples testifying to the lasting and influential power of Christianity on exhibit chose three as worthy of special attention.
The first is the "Noah’s Ark" cross–gold and silver plated and covered with precious stones–courtesy of the museum of St. Etchmiadzin.
The second item is a group of letters kept in the Vatican archives written between Pope Innocent III and the Armenian king Levon I which were stamped with a royal golden seal. The third item is a Greek man’script written in 907 which bears the Armenian signature of Nerses of Lampron.