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Riga is the capital of Latvia.

Saint Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church

Last week, His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, made a pontifical visit to Riga, Latvia, where he consecrated a new Armenian Church.

His Holiness arrived in Latvia on Wednesday, June 29, 2008 accompanied by Bishop Yezras Nersissian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of New Nakhichevan and Russia, and other clergy. The Catholicos met with Latvia’s President Valdis Zatlers, who congratulated the Armenian community on the construction of the new church.

On Thursday, June 30, government officials and ecumenical leaders attended the consecration service of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church. A celebratory banquet followed services.

Some 3,000 Armenians live in Latvia, many of them in and around Riga. The city’s Armenian community formally organized a parish in 1993, and in the late 1990s began construction of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church—a project that was completed earlier this year. Riga is also home to a large Armenian khatchkar dedicated to the victims of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia.