His Beatitude was accompanied by members of the patriarchal synod as well as a group of Armenian pilgrims.
The Holy Father
began by speaking about the history of the Armenian people over the
centuries, particularly addressing the suffering "they underwent in the
name of the Christian faith during the years of terrible persecution,
which remain enshrined in history with the sadly meaningful name of
'Metz Yeghern,' the great evil."
said, "the Armenians, who have always sought to integrate themselves
with hard work and dignity in the societies in which they found
themselves, continue even today to bear witness to their faithfulness
to the Gospel."
geographic diversity of the Armenian-Catholic community, which is
spread over many countries, the Pope said that "Providence placed the
patriarchate of the Armenian Catholics in the Middle East, in Cilicia
and, later, in Lebanon. All the Armenian-Catholic faithful look to that
patriarchate as a solid point of spiritual reference for their
centuries-old cultural and liturgical tradition."
"various Churches…recognize St. Gregory the Illuminator as their common
founding father”, he lamented that they are “divided from one another,
although over the last few years they have resumed a cordial and
fruitful dialogue with the aim of discovering their shared roots.”
The Holy Father
encouraged this “renewed fraternity and collaboration hoping that it
may give rise to new initiatives for a joint journey towards full
unity, ... with its own hierarchy, in fraternal interior harmony and
full communion with the Bishop of Rome."
He said that
"One comforting sign of this hoped-for unity was the celebration of the
1700th anniversary of the foundation of the Armenian Church, with the
participation of my beloved predecessor John Paul II."
added that "We all wish to be instruments at the disposal of Christ.
May He - Who is Way, Truth and Life - enable us to continue with all
our strength, that, as soon as possible, there may be one flock with
Benedict XVI called today for greater unity--both internally, and with
the See of Rome--for the Armenian people as he met with His Beatitude
Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians in