Pope Francis meets Catholicos Aram I in Vatican

Pope Francis meets Catholicos Aram I in Vatican

PanARMENIAN.Net - Pope Francis on Thursday, June 5, met with Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. The two men also prayed together in the Redemptoris Mater chapel in the Apostolic Palace, Vatican Radio reported.

His Holiness Aram I was also scheduled to visit the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and other dicasteries of the Roman Curia during his 3-day visit to Rome.

“One month ago, I had the pleasure of receiving His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II. Today I have the joy of welcoming Your Holiness, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. Together with you, I give thanks to the Lord for the continued growth of fraternal relations between us. I consider it a true gift from God that we can share this moment of encounter and common prayer,” Pope Francis said.

“Your Holiness’s commitment to the cause of Christian unity is known to all. You have been especially active in the World Council of Churches and you continue to be most supportive of the Middle East Council of Churches, which plays such an important role in assisting the Christian communities of that region as they face numerous difficulties,” he noted.

“Your Holiness represents a part of the Christian world that is irrevocably marked by a history of trials and sufferings courageously accepted for the love of God. The Armenian Apostolic Church has had to become a pilgrim people; it has experienced in a singular way what it means to journey towards the Kingdom of God. The history of emigration, persecutions and the martyrdom experienced by so many of the faithful has inflicted deep wounds on the hearts of all Armenians,” Pope emphasized.

Photo: Armenian Orthodox Church
The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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