On the occasion of the end of his four years of being in service in Lebanon, on Thursday, the 29th of December 2005, the extraordinary and plenipotentiary Ambassador of Armenia Arek Hovhanissian gave a farewell visit to the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate, where he was welcomed by His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Catholicos Patriarch. The general representative of the Eparchy of Lebanon, the Very Honorable Bishop Vartan Ashkarian, Honorable Fathers and Virtuous Sisters, Deputy Serge Toursarkissian, ex-Minister Jack Tchoukhadarian, Ambassador Vatche Nurpetlian and some Armenian Catholic personnel were all present during the visit. The visit was an occasion to take a retrograde glimpse on the productive activities of the Armenian Embassy during the past four years, which contributed to the development of the Armenia-Lebanon brotherly knots, and to the economic, commercial and cultural cooperation, as well as to the increasing support of the Lebanese-Armenians for the Motherland.
The Ambassador Hovhanissian declared his satisfaction of the warm welcome he received during his stay in Lebanon and his pain that the country that had turned so dear to him is in difficult situations during the time of his departure.
As recognition of his very productive activities, His Beatitude the Catholicos gratified the Ambassador Arek Hovhanissian with the St. Vartan Decoration. Before the gratification, the Very Honorable Bishop Vartan Ashkarian spoke and praised Mr. Hovhanissian's four-year work in Lebanon.
After the gratification, and in his recited speech of thankfulness, the particularly touched Mr. Hovhanissian declared his recognition and gratitude for the unconditional help the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate and the community presented, ever since his first day in Lebanon, to the Armenian Embassy. He pointed out that his gratification by the president of the Republic of Lebanon Emil Lahoud is a high recognition to all the Lebanese-Armenians. And finally the Ambassador reassured that wherever he will be called for service he will consider himself a representative of the Armenian Catholic community as well.
After the gratification ceremony the Ambassador, in his turn, presented souvenirs to His Beatitude the Catholicos, after which an intimate conversation took place between Mr. Hovhanissian and the presents. The main subject of the conversation was the issue of Armenians living outside their Motherland bearing an Armenian passport. The Ambassador gave hope that the rules concerning this issue are being worked on.
The visit ended with the exchange of wishes of well being and of total peace of Lebanon by Mr. Hovhanissian.