The Pope will be in Armenia on September

For a year, it has been discussed whether the Pope will go to Armenia. The announcement from Etchmiadzin, the main religious center of the Armenian people, has seemingly ended this discussion.

Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) President Berge Setrakian, General Vicar of Patriarch in Turkey Archbishop Aram Ateşyan, the Metropolite of Diocese of Armenian Church of America (Eastern) Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America Hovnan Archbishop Derderyan attended the meeting held in Etchmiadzin on February 20. 

The meeting was led by the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II and it is announced that Pope Francis will be visiting Etchmiadzin. 

Pope Francis’ use of the word ‘genocide’ during Vatican mass commemorating 100th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide on April 2015 disturbed Turkish government and Vatican’s Ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, where he was presented with the message that Turkey was “deeply sorry and disappointed” and that Pope Francis’ statement had caused “a problem of trust.” This was followed by Turkey’s envoy to the Vatican, Ambassador Paçacı being called back to Ankara for consultation. Prime Minister Davutoğlu said that the statement “did not suit the Pope and the position he occupies”.

In 2001, Pope Jean Paul II and Catholicos Karekin II released a common declaration, in which what happened during 1915 was mentioned as “what is generally referred to as the first genocide of the twentieth century." However, in 2015,  a pope used the word "genocide" for the first time. At the commemoration ceremony in 2015, Pope Francis said: “In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered 'the first genocide of the twentieth century' struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenceless children and the infirm were murdered."

La Republica Newspaper reported that Pope Francis plans to go Armenia for the 101st anniversary of the genocide, but he considers to schedule this visit on May instead of April for avoiding a possible negative reaction from Turkey. 


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Aline Ozinian