In Armenia the meeting with His Holiness Karekin II
The Grand Master is received by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all the Armenians
During his state visit to Armenia, on Sunday 23rd October Fra’ Matthew Festing went to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, where he was received by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all the Armenians.
In his talks with the Grand Master, Karekin II said that during his pontificate he had received numerous ambassadors and representatives of the Sovereign Order of Malta on the occasion of religious encounters and ceremonies. His Holiness expressed his satisfaction at the Order of Malta’s past and present humanitarian commitment in the various sectors.
Numerous topics were addressed during the cordial meeting with the spiritual leader of some nine million Orthodox Christian Armenians worldwide, such as Pope Francis’ recent visit, the dedication to dialogue with other churches and religions as well as Armenia’s current challenges and needs.
At the end of the meeting, Fra’ Matthew Festing presented Karekin II with an icon of the Madonna of Mount Philermos, the Order’s patron since the time of its presence on Rhodes.
The visit to the Khor Virap Monastery
On 26 October the Grand Master visited the Khor Virap Monastery, one of the most important in the country and where St. Gregory the Illuminator, thanks to whom Armenia became the first Christian nation in the world, was imprisoned. Accompanying Fra’ Matthew Festing was Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisyan, Director of the External Relations Department of the Armenian Apostolic Church.