The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin issued a statement referring to the post-election tensions in Armenia which became a topic for speculation in different circles.
"We highly appreciate our people's good sense, which guaranteed the conduct of a peaceful and a civilized election. Considering the reports on and assessment of the February 18 presidential election by the Central Election Commission, observation mission, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has clearly expressed its stance on the election results. We consider all attempts of making the Holy Church, the Armenian Catholicos, and the Gospel of the Virgin Mary [which is used during the swearing-in ceremony of Armenia's President] a target of political manipulations to be inadmissible.
At this period of Lent, we invite our nation's children to pray. We call on them to be guided by the spirit of brotherly love and solidarity and keep away from intolerance and hatred.
We also urge [Heritage party leader] Raffi Hovannisian to stop his hunger strike in Freedom Square, and to choose a more constructive means of political struggle. The Church does not accept a hunger strike because it threatens God-given life."
Addressing people in one of his rallies in Freedom square, Raffi Hovannisian, the official runner-up in February's presidential election, said, "If on April 9, Serzh Sargsyan takes a fake oath on the Bible, and if the Catholicos desecrates the Bible, they will do it over my dead body!"