Prince Charles at the Armenian Church of Nativity in Bethlehem

Prince Charles Visits Bethlehem Armenian Church, Armenian President Attends Auschwitz Program


JERUSALEM (Combined Sources) — On January 24, Prince Charles of Great Britain visited the Armenian Church of  the Nativity Church in Bethlehem.

Prince Charles was welcomed by Archbishop Sevan Gharibian, the Canon Sacrist of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and  presented him the history of the Armenian presence in the Holy Land  and the mission carried out by the Armenian Patriarchate. On behalf  of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem His Eminence gifted HRH an  Armenian ceramic handmade plate.  He also recited the  famous sentence of Hitler “Who after all remembers the Armenian  Genocide?” And hoped that instead of might the justice will become  right.

Prince Charles, as well as many leaders from around the world, were in Jerusalem to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

President Armen Sarkissian and his wife, Nouneh, with Armenian Church leaders in Bethlehem

On January 23, the Fifth World Holocaust Remembrance Forum  was held in Jerusalem. It was attended by Israeli President Reuven  Rivlin, the head of the Israeli government Benjamin Netanyahu, as  well as the heads of state and government of about 50 countries,  including Russia and France.

Among those leaders was Armenian President Armen Sarkissian, who held talks with US Vice President Mike Pence, Prince  Charles, French President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

Sarkissian participated in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Memorial, created by sculptor Nathan Rapport.

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The forum was held in the memorial complex of the history of the Holocaust Yad Vashem, before its opening, Israeli leaders met with  foreign guests as part of bilateral and multilateral meetings.   Speaking at the Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin recalled that  about 40 percent of Jewish victims of the Holocaust were citizens of the  USSR. He also noted that before the trip , descriptions of the camps, made by Soviet officers. And  that the Soviet command is not allowed revenge in the liberated  territories.

Sarkissian raised the issue of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Knesset.

Sarkissian said at a meeting with Knesset President Yuli Edelstein and his wife Irina Nevzlin that condemning the shameful pages of history should not depend on today’s political interests.

“The recognition of the Armenian Genocide is first and foremost a moral obligation and a tribute to the memory of the innocent victims,” Sarkissian said.

“At the same time, it’s an important contribution to the global effort to fight genocides and crimes against humanity.”

Edelstein said, meanwhile, that the Armenian President’s visit and Yerevan’s decision to open an embassy in Israel will boost the development of relations.

President Armen Sarkissian with Archbishop Sevan Gharibian

The Armenian government approved the opening of an embassy in Israel in September 2019. Armenia and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1992 but have only had non-resident ambassadors so far. Israel is home to a large Armenian community.

Also, Sarkissian hailed Israel’s experience in advanced technologies and innovation and said he is visiting the country to identify areas of cooperation.

On January 25, Sarkissian met with Palestine National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Sarkissian’s Office said in a news release.

During the meeting Sarkissian thanked Abbas and the Palestine National Authority government for “everything they are doing for the Armenian church.”

Sarkissian said that the Armenian church of the Church of the Nativity is not only a part of history and Christianity, but also a part of Armenia, the Armenian culture and heritage, and most importantly the Armenian Church.

“We are grateful for your support for the preservation of the Armenian spiritual-historic legacy and Christian values,” Sarkissian said.

Sarkissian and his wife, Nouneh, visited the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem. They were greeted by the Grand Sacristan of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Sevan Gharibian.

The President and Mrs. Sarkissian toured the Church, lit candles and listened to the Armenian spiritual songs performed by the Armenian clergymen and prayed together with them.

On behalf of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Gharibian welcomed the visit of the President and his spouse to the holy town of Bethlehem and noted that Armenians presence here is of great national pride.

President Armen Sarkissian with Palestine National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

In the section of the Church of the Holy Nativity administered by the Armenian Apostolic Church, Sarkissian conversed with the clergy and said in particular, “Your mission, which started hundreds of years ago, at the beginning of the 21st century has the same value and the same meaning as it had on the day when Jesus Christ was born here. Thus, departure form that historic day doesn’t mean that its significance for the world and our people diminishes. On the contrary, it increases because the world needs more than ever to appreciate faith in God and in human values. That’s exactly what you do – devotion to God and preservation of human values, and I highly appreciate that. Historical, spiritual Armenian trace is here and one who enters this cathedral can really feel Armenian presence.

Sarkissian added, “It is very important to deepen the relations between the Holy See of Echmiadzin and Jerusalem, to make it more vital, and at the same time deepen your ties to the Fatherland.”


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