The Armenian Foreign Ministry said that Mirzoyan thanked the pontiff for his “numerous calls for peace” made during and after the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Minister Mirzoyan briefed His Holiness on the situation in the region, emphasizing the importance of addressing humanitarian, and in this regard passed on to the Pope a message from the Armenian prime minister,” the ministry added in a statement.
Mirzoyan spoke with the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, about regional security in greater detail at a separate meeting held on Tuesday. He presented “the consequences of the military aggression carried out by the Azerbaijani forces” last month. Azerbaijan’s “maximalist ambitions” and regular use of military force are the main obstacles to regional peace, Mirzoyan told Parolin.
Francis publicly prayed last month for at least 280 soldiers killed during the September 13-14 fighting on the Armenian border and urged the conflicting parties to respect the ceasefire. He did not blame either side for the hostilities.
Later on Tuesday, Parolin celebrated Mass in Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Armenia. In his homily cited by the Vatican News service, he spoke of a “special bond” between the two states and noted the Roman Catholic Church’s “respectful dialogue” with the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Parolin also pointed to the opening of the Vatican’s diplomatic mission, the Apostolic Nunciature, in Yerevan in October 2021. He described it as “an important sign of how the Holy See and Armenia are continually developing their relations in a friendly and earnest way in various fields.”
Francis and Catholicos Garegin (Karekin) II, the supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, most recently met in October 2021 during an international conference of religious leaders held in Rome. The two churches had essentially ended their long-standing theological differences with a joint declaration issued in 1996.
Successive Armenian governments have similarly sought closer ties with the Vatican. Mirzoyan was reported to tell Francis that those relations are based on “identical spiritual values.”