June 25, 2016 - 10:08 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Pope Francis on Saturday, June 25 visited the Armenian Genocide memorial and the Museum-Institute.
The pontiff was accompanied by the Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II, President Serzh Sargsyan and a number of top officials and clerics.
The guests laid flowers at the memorial to pay tribute to the 1.5 million victims of the massacres and prayed for their souls.
Also, Francisgreeted descendants of the Armenian orphans who were taken in by Pope Pius XI in the 1920s and housed at his summer residence south of Rome.
The pontiff on Friday described the mass killings of Armenians as genocide for the second time, having done so last year as he served a holy mass on April 12 at the Vatican’s St Peter’s Basilica.
Speaking about last year’s mass, he said that the liturgy commemorated “the centenary of the Metz Yeghérn, the “Great Evil” that struck your people and caused the death of a vast multitude of persons.”
“Sadly, that tragedy, that genocide, was the first of the deplorable series of catastrophes of the past century, made possible by twisted racial, ideological or religious aims that darkened the minds of the tormentors even to the point of planning the annihilation of entire peoples,” Francis said.
Francis arrived in Yerevan, Armenia on Friday.
His plane landed at the Zvartnots International Airport at 3:00pm local time.
The pope was greeted with the Hrashapar (wondrously glorious) service, which is traditionally offered as a service of welcome to top religious clerics.
The pontiff then arrived at the presidential palace and was greeted by Sargsyan. The two headed for the receptions hall for an auditorium.