Official Visit of His Holiness Karekin II to Finland Concludes

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Information Services
Address: Vagharshapat, Republic of Armenia
Contact: Rev. Fr. Ktrij Devejian
Tel: (374 1) 517 163
Fax: (374 1) 517 301
E-Mail: [email protected]
June 11, 2004

Official Visit of His Holiness Karekin II to Finland Concludes

On June 7, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos
of All Armenians, concluded his official ecumenical visit to the
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and returned to the Mother
See of Holy Etchmiadzin. The Pontifical delegation had departed for
Finland upon the invitation of the Most Reverend Dr. Jukka Paarma,
Archbishop of Finland and Turku, Head of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church of Finland.

During meetings with Archbishop Paarma and His Eminence Archbishop
Leo of Karelia and All Finland (Finnish Orthodox Church), the
three spiritual leaders underlined the importance of inter-church
and ecumenical relations. The Armenian Pontiff expressed hope that
cooperation would be continued not only between the Heads of Churches,
but also between church-based organizations and structures.

In the course of the visit, His Holiness met with Mr. Matti Taneli
Vanhanen, the Prime Minister of Finland. His Holiness spoke of the
great tragedy which befell the Armenian nation and people at the
beginning of the 20th century in the Ottoman Empire, and expressed
regret that there are still many states which have not officially
recognized and condemned the Armenian Genocide, which was one the
gravest crimes committed against the whole of mankind.

During the five-day trip, the Catholicos of All Armenians and
the Pontifical delegation visited the Finnish Bible Society, had
meetings with the administrative staff of the Department of Theology
of the University of Helsinki and became acquainted with the work
and activity of the scientific/research centers of the Department.
His Holiness was also received by the philanthropic organizations of
both Finnish Churches.

His Holiness also met with the local Armenian community, giving them
his Pontifical blessing and encouraging them to remain steadfast
in their faith, continue to love their homeland and to be loyal,
contributing and honorable citizens of the Republic of Finland.

His Holiness Karekin II was accompanied during the journey by His
Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Krikorian, Pontifical Legate for Central
Europe; His Grace Bishop Yeznik Petrosian, Director of Inter-Church
Relations; His Grace Bishop Yezras Nersissian, Primate of the Armenian
Diocese of New Nakhijevan and Russia; and Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamian,
Staff-bearer of His Holiness. Mr. Vladimir Karmirshalian, Ambassador
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the
Republic of Finland, Kingdom of Denmark and the Kingdom of Norway,
accompanied the Pontifical delegation in Finland.