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Pope Francis: the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christian unity

Catholic World News - May 08, 2014

Pope Francis received the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church in audience on May 8 and said that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christian unity.

The Pontiff’s remarks come one year before the centenary of the Armenian genocide, in which an estimated 1.5 million Armenians perished at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish regime.

The Armenian Apostolic Church is among the Oriental Orthodox churches that ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451). Since Vatican II, ecumenical talks have produced closer ties between the Armenian Church and the Holy See, and in 1996, Armenian Patriarch Karekin I, the predecessor of the current prelate, joined Pope John Paul II in a common statement of faith, ending the theological disputes that had divided their churches.

After paying tribute to the progress made in relations between the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church, Pope Francis said that “the number of disciples who shed their blood for Christ in the tragic events of the last century is certainly higher than that of the martyrs of the first centuries, and in this martyrology the children of the Armenian nation have a place of honor.”

“As in the ancient Church the blood of martyrs became the seed of new Christians, so in our day the blood of many Christians has become the seed of unity,” the Pope continued. “The ecumenism of suffering, the ecumenism of martyrdom, the ecumenism of blood is a potent reminder to walk along the path of reconciliation between the Churches, with determination and trusting abandonment to the action of the Spirit.”

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  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - May. 08, 2014 9:10 PM ET USA

    I think that the blood of today's martyrs needs to be mixed with proper catechetical formation from our shepherds and teachers in order for unity to come back to the Church.

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