Pope Francis en route to Armenia

Photo: AFP


Pope Francis is on his way to Armenia, the “first Christian nation,” for a three day pastoral visit, teh Vatican Radio reports.

Francis departed Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 9.30 am; he is due to arrive in four hours’ time at ‘Zvartnots’ international airport in Yerevan, at around 15:00 local time (12:00 GMT). Following the airport welcoming ceremony with local dignitaries, the Pope will pray at the apostolic Cathedral in Etchmiadzin. For the duration of his visit, Pope Francis will reside at the Apostolic Palace, seat of the Supreme Patriarch (Catholicos) of All Armenians, Karekin II.

The focus of the visit will be to consolidate ecumenical relations with the Armenian Apostolic Church, to encourage the small, local minority Catholic Church, and to show the Pope’s closeness to Armenian Christians who historically, suffered periods of persecution and massacres.

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