Pope Francis sent a video message to the people of Armenia ahead of his visit on Friday, June 24. Below is the text of the message, Asbarez says:
“In a few days I will have the joy of being with you, in Armenia.
Starting from this moment I invite you to pray for this apostolic journey.
With the help of God, I am coming to you to undertake what the motto of my journey is- the “visit to the first Christian nation.” And I am coming as a pilgrim in this Jubilee year to embrace the ancient wisdom of your nation and plunge into the source of your faith, as solid as your famous rocky crosses carved in stone.
I am coming to the enigmatic heights of Armenia as a fellow brother in pursuit of seeing your faces, praying with you and sharing the gift of friendship.
Your history and the events that occurred to your beloved nation give rise to admiration and sorrow in me. Admiration, as it was from the cross of the Christ and from your talented minds that you drew strength to rise again even after the most horrific of sufferings that history can remember. Sorrow, for those tragedies that your fathers felt on their skin. Let us not allow those painful memories command our hearts. Not even surrender onto the continuous attacks of the evil. Let us act as Noah who was tirelessly looking up into the skies after the flood and would send the dove a few times until it returned with the freshly plucked olive leaf. It was a sign that they could start a new life and that hope would rise.
As a servant of the Gospel and messenger of peace, I want to be among you to support you in every effort in the pursuit of peace and walk the path of reconciliation that brings hope. Let the great saints of your nation, and the Doctor of the Church Gregory of Narek in particular, bless our meetings which I am anticipating impatiently. I am especially looking forward to embracing my brother Karekin again, and together with him to give new impetus to our path towards full unity. Last year you came to Rome from various countries in the world and we prayed at the tomb of St. Peter all together. Now I am coming to your blessed country to strengthen our communion, move forward along the path of reconciliation and empower with hope. Thank you, and see you soon.”