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Program announced for papal journey to Armenia

May 16, 2016

The Holy See Press Office has released the schedule of Pope Francis’s upcoming apostolic journey to Armenia, which will take place from June 24 to 26.

Armenia, a nation of 3.0 million, is one of three Caucasus nations that the Pope is scheduled to visit this year. The Pope will make a three-day visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan beginning September 30.

St. John Paul II visited the nation, which is 6% Catholic, in 2001. 93% of Armenians are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451.

On June 24, Pope Francis will arrive in Yerevan, the nation’s capital, and travel to Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, where he will pray and meet with Catholicos Karekin II, the church’s head. The Pope will then travel to the presidential palace, meet with President Serzh Sargsyan, and address the diplomatic corps, before meeting privately with Karekin II.

The following day, Pope Francis will visit Tsitsernakaberd, the nation’s memorial to the Armenian Genocide, and travel to Gyumri, the nation’s second-largest city, where he will celebrate an outdoor Mass and visit the Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Catholic cathedrals. Returning to Yerevan, the Pope will join Karekin II at an outdoor ecumenical prayer vigil for peace.

On June 26, the Pope will meet with the Armenian Catholic bishops before taking part in an Armenian Apostolic divine liturgy at which Karekin II will preach. Following the liturgy, the Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Catholic bishops will dine together, and a joint statement will be published. The Pope will then visit the historic Armenian monastery of Khor Virap before returning to Rome.


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