Catholicos of All Armenians Meets with Head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland

Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – 25/3/17

HELSINKI, FINLAND: On March 20, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; met with Archbishop Kari Mäkinen, Archbishop of Finland and Turku and Head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The meeting was held in the Lutheran Evangelical Cathedral Hall of Helsinki, as part of His Holiness’ Ecumenical visit to Finland.

Following the remarks of Archbishop Kari Mäkinen, the Catholicos of All Armenians conveyed his blessings and message to the Lutheran clergy and faithful in attendance.

In his remarks His Holiness stated in part: “…Today We extend glory and thankfulness to our Lord in the Highest who has again granted Us with an opportunity to visit your beautiful country upon the invitation of Your Eminence, and His Eminence Leo, Archbishop of Karelia and All Finland, Head of the Orthodox Church of Finland, as a testament to the love and fraternal relations established between our Churches.

We remember our visit to Finland thirteen years ago with great gratification, and extend glory to the Merciful God that fraternal relations between our Churches keep developing and strengthening… Today, when the world faces ecological and philanthropic crises, national-religious clashes, realities of daily growing intolerance, acts of terrorism, as well as troubling genocidal crimes; we are deeply concerned about the perils that human lives are facing, the challenges that need to be quickly resolved, and the difficult situation in the Middle East. In the mentioned region, because of the warfare instigated by ISIS, the historical presence of the Christians is being diminished. A part of which are the Armenians in Iraq and Syria.

The Armenian Church is making her efforts in the epicenters of conflicts to secure stability and peace, to strengthen the willingness to respect the philanthropic values, to keep unshaken the safe and creative life and to bring all possible support to the victims of warfare, and asylum seekers. The peace-making mission of our Church is also carried out in the activities towards the resolution of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Today, our people under the daily danger of war, being threatened by Azerbaijan, under the conditions of a blockade, and often through the bloodshed of her sons; preserve the free life and independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, her historical motherland. In the efforts towards the resolution of this conflict, the input of Finland, one of the first co-presidents of the Organization for Security and Co-operation Minsk group, as well as the activities of the Finnish diplomats involved in this endeavor, are appreciated.

…On the occasion of our meeting and common prayer, we convey our words of gratitude and appreciation to His Eminence Archbishop Leo, Head of the Orthodox Church of Finland; the Sister Churches of the Lutheran and Orthodox Churches of Finland, and to the benevolent authorities of Finland for the goodwill and friendship offered to our nation’s children. This is an expression of God’s message of love for thy neighbor, which throughout the history of the pious Finn people, has led the mission of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland to different countries of the world.

…In this soul-reviving moment, we extend our prayers for the peace in the world that is shook by the various conflicts and clashes, so that humanity may overcome the current hardships and challenges and may be able to build its peaceful and prosperous future. May the Heavenly Lord strengthen and reinforce truthful fraternal sentiments and love in His holy Church, granting grace and blessings to all the Christians that believe in His Name for the glorification of the one and united Holy Universal Church, now and forever and ever… Amen.”

Following an Ecumenical prayer for establishment of peace in the world, especially in the Middle East and Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh); the official meeting of the two Church leaders and exchange of gifts was held in the Cathedral Hall.

The meeting was also attended by Mr. Artak Apitonyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden and Finland to the Republic of Armenia.