Rome Newsroom, May 29, 2021 / 08:00 am
Pope Francis paid tribute to the late Armenian Catholic Patriarch Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan in a letter read aloud at his funeral on Saturday.
Patriarch Ghabroyan, who led the Armenian Patriarchate of Cilicia in Lebanon, died on May 25 in Beirut at the age of 86.
“I remember well that when he was elected, in the summer of 2015, before accepting he wanted to ask me for a special blessing, to be able to lead the Patriarchal Church despite his advanced age,” Pope Francis wrote in the letter that was read at the funeral in Beirut on May 29.
The pope wrote that Patriarch Ghabroyan had “faced the loss of his physical strength with dignity” in the “last period of his earthly pilgrimage.”
“During these years, as a caring pastor, His Beatitude presided over the Patriarchal Church of Cilicia of the Armenians, establishing contacts with various civil and ecclesiastical institutions, so that a number of initiatives of solidarity with the most tried populations, especially in Syria and Lebanon, could be supported,” he said.
Pope Francis recalled “many special moments” in which he was able to be close to the patriarch.
“And, with him, to the beloved Armenian people, who have suffered so much throughout history but have always remained faithful to their profession of faith in Christ the Savior,” he wrote.
The pope remembered in particular his apostolic trip to Armenia in 2016 and the 2018 inauguration of a statue of Saint Gregory of Narek in the Vatican Gardens.