Following his visit to the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II on Wednesday afternoon, the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias concluded his two-day visit to Georgia. Georgia is one of the countries that adopted Christianity between the 3rd and 4th century maintaining a long tradition in the Orthodox Church.
During the meeting of the Patriarchal Synod and the Greek Mission, the Religious leader welcomed the Greek Minister and thanked him for his presence there, reminding him of the long relationship between the two peoples with Orthodoxy as a common trait. The Patriarch also stressed the need for love and peace in the world stressing the necessity of religion as a bearer of love and peace.
Nikos Kotzias on his part, thanked the Georgian Patriarch for his hospitality, noting that the purpose of the trip was to develop relations between the two countries and to help Georgia in its European course. He referred to the unity and harmony of the Orthodox Church,to cast aside human nature and leave spirituality in Orthodoxy lead the way of the Church.
It’s worth noting that the Church of Georgia did not participate in the Great Synod of the Orthodox Church which took place in the summer in Crete. Finally, the Greek Foreign Minister invited the Patriarch and the Georgian Church to participate in the International Conference on "Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East" that will take place in Athens on 1-2 November 2017.
The Greek Foreign Minister also visited Jvari Monastery and the Cathedral Complex Svetiskhoveli as well as the Treasuries of Georgia.
Meanwhile on Wednesday afternoon Nikos Kotzias arrived on a two-day visit to Armenia on 9-10 March.
On the first day of the visit, the Minister's program includes a wreath laying ceremony at the Genocide Monument and a series of meetings with members of the Armenian Government. In particular, he will meet with the Prime Minister, Mr. Karapetyan, the Chairman and the Vice President of the Armenian Parliament, Mr Sahakyan and Sharmazanov respectively, and then will attend a working lunch with the Armenian Minister of Defence, Mr. Vigen Sargsyan. Mr. Kotzias will also have a meeting with the Patriarch of Armenia, Mr. Karekin II.
On Friday, March 10, the Foreign Minister will travel to the Foreign Ministry of Armenia, where he will meet with his Armenian counterpart, Mr. Edward Nalbandian and a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Diplomatic Academies of Greece and the Armenian Foreign Ministries will be signed. After the talks, the two ministers will hold a joint press conference.
Kotzias will visit Yerevan State University, where he will give a lecture to be followed by a Ceremony during which he will be made an Honorary Doctorate.
Finally, the Foreign Minister will travel to the Presidential Palace where he will be received by the President of Armenia, Mr. Serzh Sargsyan followed by a dinner in honor of Kotzias by the Armenian Foreign Minister.
Greek-Armenian relations have a long historical background and are associated with the coexistence of Greeks and Armenians during the Byzantine period and the Ottoman Empire. Greece is among the countries that have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide by the Ottomans, which took place in 1915. Similarly, the Armenian parliament has recognized the Genocide of Pontic Greeks.
This visit takes place over a time period which coincides with the completion of 25 years of diplomatic relations between Greece and Armenia. The two countries maintain an excellent level of bilateral relations, respective of centuries of ties between the two peoples, who are seated at the base of the common culture, religion and traditions and the presence of numerous expatriate communities in both countries. The long teaching of the Greek language and Greek culture in higher education institutions of Armenia, is emphasised, which creates multiple benefits for the strengthening of mutual relations of friendship and esteem.
Greece and Armenia exchange contacts at a high level with great frequency, as a culmination of close bilateral cooperation. The visit of the President of Armenia to Greece, in March 2016, is one such example, as well as political consultations which were held at the Greek Foreign Ministry, last February, and the convening of the 5th Joint Ministerial Committee between Greece and Armenia in Athens in March 2016.
The two countries cooperate well in the economic sector and many opportunities for further strengthening of bilateral cooperation have presented themselves, particularly in the construction sector whilst there are good prospects for attracting investment./ΙΒΝΑ
Photos: IBNA/Spiros Sideris