21 March 2006

Head of the Armenian Catholic Church visits Rome

“Vatican Information Service” reports that on 20th March 2006 Pope Benedict XVI received Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch Catholicos of Cilicia for the Catholic Armenians, accompanied by members of the patriarchal synod and by a group of pilgrims.

In his address, the Pope recalled the history of the Armenian people over the centuries, in particular the suffering "they underwent in the name of the Christian faith during the years of terrible persecution”.

The Pope praised the Armenians “who have always sought to integrate themselves with hard work and dignity in the societies in which they found themselves”.

He highly valued the role of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate saying: "Providence placed the patriarchate of the Armenian Catholics in the Middle East, in Cilicia and, later, in Lebanon. All the Armenian-Catholic faithful look to that patriarchate as a solid point of spiritual reference for their centuries-old cultural and liturgical tradition."

The Pope referred to the efforts of the unity of the Armenian Church. He said: “One comforting sign of this hoped-for unity was the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the foundation of the Armenian Church, with the participation of my beloved predecessor John Paul II."

Compiled by Azad-Hye


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