The Holy See and the Republic of Armenia
The Apostolic Nunciature (Embassy of the Holy See) in Yerevan is a sign of Pope Francis’ solidarity with the Armenian Nation. Even before the Holy See and the Republic of Armenia established diplomatic relations in 1992, world events of the 20th century brought the Holy See and Armenia closer together.
Pope Benedict XV (1854-1922) counts amongst those honoured by Armenia for his diplomatic engagement and appeal for Armenians. In 1946 Pope Pius XII chose to create an Armenian prelate, the Servant of God Gregorio Pietro XV Agagianian (1895-1971), a Cardinal and Prefect of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. Pius XII entrusted him with a “ministerial” function, as a representative of the Holy See with a wide international scope.
Once the oppressive Soviet Regime fell, Cardinal Achile Silvestrini, Prefect for the Congregation for the Eastern Churches was able to visit Armenia in October 1992 and establish direct contacts. 20 years ago on 25 September 2001 Saint John Paul II himself visited Armenia. More recently, in April 2015, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass for the faithful of the Armenian rite in Saint Peter’s Basilica, which was attended by the highest civil and religious Authorities. On 12 April 2015, Pope Francis proclaimed St. Gregory of Narek, Armenian writer and monk, doctor of the Universal Church. On 24 June 2016, Armenia received Pope Francis, who made stops in Yerevan, Etchmiadzin and Gyumri. Over the years, various Roman Prelates have visited Armenia.
For Armenia’s part, the highest Authorities of the country, including Presidents and Ministers of Foreign Affairs, have visited the Vatican on several occasions. Armenian religious authorities have also made important visits to the Vatican. Of particular significance are the visits made by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, to Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis over the years.
The Holy See has been unceasing in its appeals for dialogue, and peace in the South Caucasus. Pope Francis was the first world leader in July 2020 to appeal for peace in the Nagorno-Karabakh war and continues his clarion call to this day, engaging the Holy See’s diplomatic network to work for dialogue and lasting understanding in the region.
The new residential Apostolic Nunciature in Yerevan is an important signal for Armenia and to the international community. The opening of the Holy See’s diplomatic mission in Yerevan speaks to the foreign states, the international organizations, the humanitarian agencies and all those engaged in dialogue and peace in the region.