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Nikol Pashinyan’s official visit to Italy kicks off; PM visits Mekhitarist Congregation


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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has arrived in Italy on official visit.

The Prime Minister’s visit started in Venice. The Premier first visited the Saint Lazarus Island where the Mekhitarian Congregation is located, a religious and cultural organization with a history of about 3 centuries.

The Head of Government toured the site, where Pontifical Delegate of the Mekhitarist Congregation, Prelate of the Armenian Catholic Church in Turkey Archbishop Levon Zekian briefed him on the consequences of the latest flood in Venice. According to him, the ground floors were filled with water, the south gate was ruined and some manuscripts and ornaments were damaged in the disaster. A sailboat called Armenia collided with a berth, but the Congregation did not suffer serious cultural damage. The scale of the damage is being estimated at this point of time.

Prime Minister Pashinyan expressed solidarity with the members of the Congregation, stating that he was glad that no irreversible losses had been caused to the Mekhitarists’ cultural assets. Following the Lord’s Prayer, Nikol Pashinyan lit a candle and later called at the Congregation’s library to sign in the Golden Book. “We have come to express our support to the flood-hit Mekhitarist Congregation, I am happy that no irreversible damage has been inflicted. I would also like to express the Armenian people’s appreciation to the Mekhitarist Congregation considering that it is a source of our modern education, science and arts. At the times when the Armenian identity was jeopardized in the Motherland, the Mekhitarist Congregation became a temple for preservation of our language, history and identity. I bow to all devotees of that sacred mission,” the Premier wrote.

Later on, the Prime Minister met with Pontifical Delegate of the Mekhitarist Congregation, Prelate of the Armenian Catholic Church in Turkey Archbishop Levon Zekian.

Greeting the Prime Minister, Archbishop Levon Zakian noted:
“Mr. Prime Minister,

I wish to greet you with a poetic line by Shiraz. “Our hopes are being renovated as we see you: today is a moment of resurrection. Much can be said about the Mekhitarist Congregation. We have a history of three hundred years. The Congregation has gone through many hardships, but it was always restored and reinstated. We faced difficulties recently, but we are confident that we will be able to defy them with the help of God, strong with the support of the Armenian people and the Armenian state.”

Thanking the Archbishop, Prime Minister Pashinyan said:
“Father Levon,

Of course, it is a great honor for me to be here. I am sorry that my visit came to be associated with the flood. But, on the other hand, I am really happy that no irreversible damage has been caused, and as I had the opportunity to write in the Guest Book, the Mekhitarist Congregation has a very important role to play in our reality.

At a time when our identity was endangered in the Motherland and was even on the verge of destruction, the Mekhitarist Congregation became a focal venue where our history, our language, our science and art were studied, and its role is invaluable in this respect.

I am very much moved to be here and I am convinced that the Congregation, this monument of scientific research, Armenian studies, history and culture will continue to play a symbolic role for many years ahead. Also, I would like to believe that it will play a practical role in the future. I am happy to be here.”

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The Congregation of the Mekhitarist Fathers is an Armenian Catholic monastic order founded by Mekhitar of Sebaste in 1700. During its activity, the Mekhitarist Congregation has published numerous Armenological-philological, religious and other scientific works.

Samvel-Muradyan School (France), Mourat-Raphaelian School (Italy), Mkhitaryan Schools are currently operating in Buenos Aires and Aleppo under the auspices of the Venice Mekhitarist Congregation. Mekhitarist Congregation Bookshelf is the third largest collection of Armenian manuscripts in the world after the collections of Matenadaran and the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

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