February 29, 2024 - 14:43 AMT
Pope Francis prays for Armenia, Karabakh

The dire geopolitical situation in Armenia, the importance of collaboration with the country’s Orthodox Church, and the need for bishops to be close to their flocks.

These were the themes at the centre of Pope Francis’ address to the Bishops of the Armenian Catholic Church on Wednesday, February 28 morning, Vatican News reports.

As the Pope is recovering from a cold, his speech was read aloud by Msgr. Filippo Ciampanelli, an official at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

Last year, more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians were forced to flee Nagorno-Karabakh after a military offensive carried out by Azerbaijan. There are fears that another attack may follow.

“Your Beatitude, dear Brothers,” Pope Francis said, “how can we not turn our thoughts to Armenia, not only in words but above all in our prayers, particularly for all those fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh and for the many displaced families seeking refuge?”

“The First World War,” he continued, “was supposed to be the last …Yet since then, how many conflicts and massacres have we witnessed, always tragic and always pointless?”

“Let us all take up the cry for peace,” the Pope urged, “so that it may touch hearts, even hearts untouched by the sufferings of the poor and lowly. And above all, let us pray. I pray for you and for Armenia.”