VATICAN – His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia held a private on June 5, with Pope Francis I. Following the meeting, Pope Francis met with the Catholicos and his delegation.
Aram I spoke of the special relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Catholicosate of Cilicia both during the time of the Kingdom of Cilicia and after the Genocide when it settled in Antelias, Lebanon.
The focal point of Aram I’s address was highlighting the role the Vatican has played in the pursuit of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, as well as the Pope’s own statement reaffirming the Genocide and condemning Turkey for its dneial.
In discussing the 2015 Centennial of the Armenian Genocide and spoke of the 1.5 million Armenians who had lost their lives and of the churches, homes, sources of livelihood, spiritual and cultural heritage that had been lost as a result of the Genocide.
“Your solidarity with the Armenians during the 100th Anniversary Commemorations of the Genocide will be a valuable contribution to our just cause,” said Aram I, who also paid tribute to Pope Benedict XV who denounced the Armenian Genocide in a letter to Sultan Mehmet V in 1915.
Referring to the Armenian Genocide, the Pope said that “the Armenian people represent a part of the Christian world that is irrevocable marked by a history of trials and sufferings courageously accepted for the love of God. The Armenian Apostolic Church has had to become a pilgrim people; it has experience a singular way what it means to journey toward the Kingdom of God.”
“The history of emigration, persecutions and martyrdom experienced by so many of the faithful has inflicted deep wounds on the hearts of all Armenians. We must see and venerate these as wounds inflicted o the very body of Christ, and for this very reason a cause for unfailing hope and trust in the provident mercy of the father,” added Francis I.