“There is no alternative to peace, and it’s time to put an end to all the pain and suffering, especially when it affects the civilian population,” said Cardinal Leonardo Sandri.
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches reaffirmed the appeal for peace made in 2016 by Pope Francis and Armenian Catholicos Karekin II, during a Mass on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Armenia, in the Roman church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, of the Pontifical Armenian College, reported L’Osservatore Romano.
Cardinal Sandri recalled the symbolic image that sealed Pope Francis’ trip to the Caucasus country in 2016: the release of doves near Mount Ararat in Armenia. The Pontiff and Catholicos Karekin II released together two doves, in sign of peace and in remembrance of Noah’s dove.
“Ideally, we dream and desire “ that these doves pass “through the profundity of divisions, of hatreds and of wars . . . and return bringing in their beak a branch of peace for all peoples of the Caucasus and of Anatolia,” said the Cardinal.
In his homily, Cardinal Sandri also retraced with “gratitude” the numerous stages that have marked the bonds between the Holy See and the Republic of Armenia.
Among them, the Apostolic Journeys of Popes John Paul II, in 2001, and Francis, in 2016; the visits of Armenian Presidents to the Vatican; the great celebration of 2015, on the occasion of the centenary of the Armenian genocide, and the proclamation of Saint Gregory of Narek (around 950-1005) as Doctor of the universal Church.
They are “pages of friendship” between Armenia and the Holy See, stressed the Cardinal. They constitute “a veritable gift of God” and are founded on the “common patrimony” which is faith in Christ. The faith that was witnessed for centuries “by the martyrs, sons of the nation and of the Armenian Church.”