HH Karekin II Receives Mikael Saakashvili, President of Georgia

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Information Services
Address: Vagharshapat, Republic of Armenia
Contact: Foreign Press Office
Tel: (374 1) 517 163
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March 15, 2004

His Holiness Karekin II Receives Mikael Saakashvili, President of the
Republic of Georgia

In the morning of March 13, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and
Catholicos of All Armenians, received Mikael Saakashvili, the new President
of the Republic of Georgia, in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Mr.
Saakashvili is in Armenia on his first visit since his election.

Welcoming the President’s visit to the worldwide spiritual center of the
Armenian Church, the Pontiff of All Armenians congratulated President
Saakashvili on his recent election victory, and offered a prayer asking for
God’s support to help the new president bring his services to the Georgian
nation. His Holiness further expressed hope that the Georgian people and
state will live peaceful and prosperous lives, noting that Armenia and her
neighbor to the north are closely linked and interrelated to one another.

His Holiness and President Saakashvili also spoke about the fraternal
relations which exist between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Georgian
Orthodox Church. In addition, they discussed issues existing in the
Armenian Diocese of Georgia and concerns related to Georgian Armenians.

The President of Georgia thanked the Catholicos of All Armenians for the
warm reception and conveyed the brotherly greetings and kind wishes of His
Holiness Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. Mr. Saakashvili
touched on some of the problems facing the two republics and expressed his
hope that due to the centuries-old friendship and cooperation among the
neighbor states, it will be possible to provide solutions that will lead to
prosperity for both the Armenian and the Georgian nations.

“I have a feeling of deep respect towards Your Holiness and the Armenian
Church, and as the President of the Republic of Georgia, I will make every
effort to foster and develop the relations existing between our two brother
nations and Churches,” noted the President in his remarks.

At the conclusion of the meeting the President visited the museum inside the
Pontifical Residence and lit a candle in the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin.
His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of
Georgia; Very Rev. Fr. Arshak Khachatrian, Chancellor of the Mother See; Mr.
Vartan Oskanian, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia; Mr. Georgi
Khosroyev, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the Republic of Georgia;
Mr. Nikoloz Nikolozishvili, President Saakashvili’s Representative in the
Region of Javakhk; and members of the Governments of Armenia and Georgia
attending the meeting.