Pope Francis in Armenia
During his historic visit to the first Christian country, Armenia, from June 24-26, His Holiness Pope Francis met with many religious, political and public figures.
On June 25, he visited Tzidzernagaberd, the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex and Museum, reminding the world once again that the Armenian Genocide should never be forgotten or repeated. In the Memorial’s Guest Book he wrote: “Here I pray with sorrow in my heart, so that a tragedy like this never again occurs, so that humanity will never forget and will know how to defeat evil with good. May God protect the memory of the Armenian people. Memory should never be watered-down or forgotten. Memory is the source of peace and the future.”
Later that afternoon, His Holiness Pope Francis visited Gyumri and in the Vartanants Square of the city celebrated a Holy Mass and gave a powerful message to the thousands who had gathered to welcome him. “Faith is not a thing of the past, like an artifact in a museum. Rather, it is kept alive through continuous encounters with Christ,” he said. “Once it is locked up in the archives of history, faith loses its power to transform, its living beauty, its positive openness to all.
Pope Francis along with His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians held an Ecumenical Ceremony and Prayer for Peace at Republic Square of Yerevan, later in the evening . Pope Francis concluded his message saying, “May God bless your future and grant that the people of Armenia and Turkey take up again the path of reconciliation, and may peace also spring forth in Nagorno-Karabakh…”
At the conclusion of his two day visit, Pope Francis participated in the Sunday morning Mass at Etchmiadzin, which was held outdoors on the grounds of the Cathedral, where thousands of people had gathered to listen to his final message before his return to Rome.
On the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit, thousands of Armenians and guests from different countries and denominations were present in Armenia. The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), expresses gratitude to the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, for the invitation extended to its leadership to participate in the Papal visit reception and ceremonies. The Armenian Evangelical Community was represented by Rev. Haroutune Selimian, President of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria.
“Pope Francis is a champion of Truth and Justice. He is a man of Peace,” said Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO. “His words spoken on Armenia’s soil will long resonate in the ears of mankind and inject Hope to the poor, the oppressed and the destitute.”