Britain’s Prince Charles ended a three-day private visit to Armenia on Thursday with a meeting with Catholicos Garegin II at the Echmiadzin headquarters of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
A spokesman for Garegin, Rev. Vahram Melikian, said the supreme head of the Armenian Church briefed the prince of Wales on its “historical mission in the life of the Armenian people” and “important role in the restoration of independent statehood.” He also spoke about “close links” existing between the Armenian and Anglican churches, Melikian said.
The former Anglican pontiff, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams visited Echmiadzin in 2007. He and Garegin attended a reception that was organized there by the British Embassy in Armenia to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday.
Garegin then took Charles on a tour of the Armenian church’s Mother See in the town 20 kilometers south of Yerevan, showing him its main cathedral, an adjacent museum of church treasures, and other buildings.
One of those buildings serves as a repository for church manuscripts and other religious books. It was constructed last year with the financial assistance of Vatche Manukian, a British businessman of Armenian descent.
Manoukian arrived in Echmiadzin to attend a reception that was held at the repository in honor of Charles. Armen Sarkisian, a London-based former Armenian prime minister who organized the prince’s visit, was also in attendance.
According to Melikian, Charles also visited three medieval Armenian monasteries during the trip. “The prince listened to information that was presented to him there with great interest, and I think that he thoroughly enjoyed his visit,” the church spokesman told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).