Last week, His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, embarked on a Pontifical Visit to the Armenians of Italy, stopping in the cities of Milan and Rome, and meeting with Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church. In Milan, he presided over the 60th anniversary celebration of the Armenian Church of the Forty Martyrs, where the Catholicos commended the community for its religious zeal and loyalty to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. He exhorted them to “stay strong in your national consciousness, and to “keep the lantern of St. Gregory the Illuminator,” before praying for peace and the well being of the people.
At the Church of St. Blaise in Rome, His Holiness was greeted in a hrashapar service attended by the Eternal City’s Armenian inhabitants, members of the diplomatic guild and dignitaries from the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. He held a brotherly meeting with Pope Francis on October 24th, at the Vatican, wherein the two noted the hardships of the Armenian people, while exalting the patience and persistence that allowed them to recreate national and ecclesiastical life.
Welcoming Catholicos Karekin II to Rome was Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, former Primate of the Eastern Diocese, and currently the Legate of the Armenian Church in Western Europe and Pontifical Envoy of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin to the Vatican.