Armenian Monks Urged to Help Ecumenical Effort

VATICAN CITY, JULY 8, 2001 ( John Paul II urged a group of Armenian monks to take part in “frontier ecumenism” with Christians in their homeland.

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The Pope on Saturday received in audience monks of the Abad Mechitar Congregation of the Armenian Catholic Church.

The Holy Father is expected to travel to Armenia in September, although the trip is yet to be officially confirmed.

The Pontiff asked the monks to cooperate with Christians of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which separated from Rome more than 1,500 years ago. In 1996, John Paul II and Armenian Patriarch Karekin I signed a joint declaration, putting an end to language differences over the nature of Christ, the theological issue that caused the original separation.

The Holy Father described this opening toward brethren of the Apostolic Church as “frontier ecumenism” typical of monastic life.

A monk, according the Pope, “does not withdraw into isolation and fundamentalism, but knows how to welcome a brother he meets on the way, in the common search for the face of the Father.”

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