All quiet on the Eastern front? Not, in any case, regarding papal diplomacy. After a visit to Moscow by Msgr. Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary of the Holy See for relations with States, on October 9, 2021, it was the turn of the Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretary of State, Msgr. Edgar Peña Parra, to go to Armenia for a very political visit.
On October 29, 2021, the senior diplomat, all smiles, presented the insignia of the Grand Collar of the Papal Order of Pius IX to the President of the Armenian Republic, Armen Sarkissian, in Yerevan, capital of Armenia.
The Papal Order of Pius IX was created on June 17, 1847, by the Bull of the pope of the same name, in order to reward distinguished actions and marks of special dedication to the Holy See.
This is a reward that Armen Sarkissian has earned, he was Armenia’s first Ambassador to the Vatican, and has just allowed the opening of a nunciature in the capital, the first in the history of country.
“The Pope has instructed me to present you with the highest award of the Vatican,” Archbishop Parra said.
“This is evidence of the unique relations between our countries. By opening the Vatican’s Apostolic Nunciature in Yerevan, we want to establish a very high level of relations and show the world the importance of the first Christian nation in history for us,” added the Roman diplomat, during the ceremony of handing over the Grand Collar of the Order of Pius IX.
The Armenian head of state was proud to be the first, in his country, to be awarded such a distinction: “I accept it as an appreciation of my modest work and also as a recognition of the fact that I have been the first Armenian Ambassador to the Holy See.”
“I have always worked for close relations between Armenia and the Vatican. So, I accept this award, promising to do more,” said Armen Sarkissian.
Already, on October 11, the man who presides over the small parliamentary republic weakened by its recent defeat against Azerbaijan and Turkey, was received at the Vatican by the Sovereign Pontiff, who had expressed “satisfaction with the development and strengthening of bilateral relations between the Holy See and Armenia, a country of ancient Christian tradition.”
In any case, it is one of the most unwavering allies of Vladimir Putin that the Vatican has just honored, a few days after the visit of the number three man in the Secretary of State to Moscow, where he was able to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
The Holy See no longer conceals seeing in Russia a factor for peace and stability in the region.