Pope Francis has called for the continued growth of fraternal relations between the Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic Church of Cilicia.
The Holy Father received His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Cilicia, in audience at the Vatican this morning.
In his address, Francis thanked the Lord for the growth of fraternal relations between the Churches, saying he considered it a true gift from God.
The Pope said the Catholicos’ commitment to the cause of Christian unity is known to all.
“You have been especially active in the World Council of Churches and you continue to be most supportive of the Middle East Council of Churches, which,” the Pope stressed, “plays such an important role in assisting the Christian communities of that region, as they face numerous difficulties.”
The Holy Father said he is convinced that in “our journey towards full communion, we share the same hopes and a similar sense of responsibility.”
“The history of emigration, persecutions and the martyrdom experienced by so many of the faithful has inflicted deep wounds on the hearts of all Armenians,” Francis said, and compared their wounds to Christ’s.
The Pope stressed that trust and hope are needed. He added they are needed by more than just Christians in the Middle East, but also by all other Christians, who run the risk of forgetting God, disputing with others, or succumbing to sin.
The Holy Father recalled how the faithful need to prepare “to relive the miracle of the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the nascent Church” in these days before Pentecost, and closed invoking the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Mother.
After exchanging gifts, the Pope and Catholicos both shared a moment of prayer together in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel. (D.C.L.)