Joint statement on the apostolic visit of Pope Francis to Armenia

Joint statement
by the Primate of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church Diocese of Canada
and the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
on the apostolic visit of Pope Francis to Armenia

It is with great joy that we, the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and His Grace Bishop Abgar Hovakimian, Primate of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church Diocese of Canada, announce to our faithful that upon the invitation of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, along with the Government of the Republic of Armenia, together with the Armenian Catholic Ordinary, His Holiness Pope Francis from June 24 to June 26, 2016, will pay an apostolic visit to the first nation in the world to formally adopt Christianity – Armenia, which did so in 301.
Under the gaze of the Mountains of Ararat, where according to the Biblical narrative Noah’s Ark landed to give a new birth to life on Earth (Gn 8.4), His Holiness Pope Francis will be welcomed by, and will pray together with, His Holiness Karekin II, in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. This momentous ecumenical gathering will take place where Saint Gregory the Illuminator in a vision saw the Only Begotten Son of God descend.
On April 12, 2015, Pope Francis proclaimed the 10th century Armenian monk, Saint Gregory of Narek, Doctor of the Universal Church. The solemn proclamation took place during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, in commemoration of the 100th year of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey, and was attended by the Armenian Catholicos and Bishops together with other members of the clergy and faithful of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Catholic Church.
Please join us in prayer for our spiritual leaders — His Holiness Pope Francis and His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. Let us make our own the words they shared in Rome in 2015: that with the martyrs we “gather together and implement unified efforts for the sake of the establishment of love, justice, and peace in the world, and the promotion of dialogue between civilizations and religions” (Patriarch Karekin), recognizing “the saints teach us that the world is changed beginning with the conversion of one’s own heart, and that this happens through the mercy of God” (Pope Francis).

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, OMI
Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

His Grace Bishop Abgar Hovakimyan
Primate of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church Diocese of Canada

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