Pope Francis to meet descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors in Yerevan

Pope Francis will meet with descendants of Armenians who fled persecution by the Ottoman Empire a century ago during his visit later this week to Armenia, according to the Latin American Herald Tribune.

The meeting will take place at the Tsitsernakaberd monumentin Yeevan which commemorates the approximately 1.5 million Armenians victims.

The encounter will be “a very moving” event and one of the most important activities during the pope’s trip next weekend to Armenia, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

Francis will lay a wreath at the monument and will greet a group of children who will show him pictures and items related to the “Medz Yeghern” (The Great Evil).

The pope will then enter the monument within a circle enclosed by 12 huge, slanted stone walls and will stand before the eternal flame that honors the victims.

Francis will attend the planting of a tree that will memorialize his visit to Tsitsernakaberd.

Later, Pope Francis will meet a dozen descendants of the 400 Armenian orphans who were rescued in 1915 and lodged at the papal Castel Gandolfo residence near Rome.

Francis’s visit to Tsitsernakaberd is expected to be the highlight of his trip to Armenia, the 14th journey outside Italy during his papacy.

In April 2015, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass at the Vatican to commemorate the centennial of the massacres, calling them “the first genocide of the 20th century.”

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