On Tuesday, May 24, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. The Armenian delegation headed by the Catholicos included Bishop Masis Zobouyan, Prelate of Aleppo; Hagop Pakradouni, representative of the ARF Central Committee of Lebanon and of the Armenian bloc in the Lebanese Parliament; Jirayr Reisian, Syrian Parliament member; Vrej Yacoubian, representative of the ARF Central Committee of Syria; Sunbul Sunbulian, chairman of the Executive Council of the Prelacy of Aleppo; Hrach Hagopian, member of the Central Executive Council of the Catholicosate, and benefactor Souren Vartanian.
His Holiness and the delegation were warmly received by President Assad. He remembered the Armenian Genocide and underscored that the story continues in Syria. He also remarked the Armenian contribution to the development and progress of Syria and stated that the Armenian community is an inseparable part of the Syrian society.
His Holiness Aram I hailed the support of the Syrian government to the recovery of the Armenian community after the civil war and assured that Syrian Armenians will be supportive of the reconstruction of the country.
Regional issues were also discussed, as well as the difficulties confronted by the Syrian Armenian community. As the meeting came to an end, His Holiness presented President Assad with a copy of the Gospel of Partzerpert and the Arabic translation of his book “The Armenian Church.”