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    Monday, March 20, 2006

    2,000 year old Church works for unity with 1,700th anniversary Armenian Church

    This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon, accompanied by members of the patriarchal synod and by a group of pilgrims.


    In his address, the Pope recalled the history of the Armenian people over the centuries, in particular the suffering "they underwent in the name of the Christian faith during the years of terrible persecution, which remain enshrined in history with the sadly meaningful name of 'Metz Yeghern,' the great evil."

    The Holy Father then indicated how "various Churches that recognize St. Gregory the Illuminator as their common founding father are divided from one another, although over the last few years they have resumed a cordial and fruitful dialogue with the aim of discovering their shared roots. I encourage this renewed fraternity and collaboration hoping that it may give rise to new initiatives for a joint journey towards full unity, ... with its own hierarchy, in fraternal interior harmony and full communion with the Bishop of Rome."

    "One comforting sign of this hoped-for unity was the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the foundation of the Armenian Church, with the participation of my beloved predecessor John Paul II."

    Benedict XVI concluded by saying: "We all wish to be instruments at the disposal of Christ. May He - Who is Way, Truth and Life - enable us to continue with all our strength, that, as soon as possible, there may be one flock with one pastor."

    The years involved here are extraordinary! I think Catholics always
    understand things in the long term, over many centuries if necessary..... 17
    centuries in this case.

    As does Jesus, who will return in glory at the Father's appointed


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