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Well wishes for the Pope: Vatican highlights messages from Armenian Patriarch, Taiwan’s president

July 08, 2021

In his July 7 update on the Pope’s condition following surgery, the director of the Holy See Press Office said that “Pope Francis is touched by the many messages and the affection received in these days, and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer.”

In its front-page coverage of the prayers and well wishes, the Vatican newspaper reported:

Among the many messages Pope Francis has received, the testimony of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians, stands out. In a message yesterday he addressed his “Beloved brother in Christ,” assuring the Pope that, “We pray to the Heavenly Lord to guard and protect you in His mercy, granting you longevity and many fruitful years in your pontificate.”

Since 1999, Karekin II has led the Armenian Apostolic Church, an Oriental Orthodox church that ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451).

Turning to the well wishes offered by “several heads of state and government [who] also wished to express their closeness,” L’Osservatore Romano led with the message sent by the president of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Tsai Ing-wen. The Holy See is one of the few states to maintain full diplomatic relations with the democratic nation—angering the Communist government of the People’s Republic of China.

The Vatican newspaper also cited messages from

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
  • Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades
  • Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and former Communist Party leader Raúl Castro
  • Polish President Andrzej Duda
  • Archbishop Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, the president of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM)
  • Cardinal John Dew of Wellington, who said that “every New Zealand Catholic will mention Pope Francis in their prayers”
  • Rabbi Arthur Schneider, president and founder of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation

During the July 6 White House press briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked, “Pope Francis is still in the hospital recovering from surgery. I was just wondering: Has the President reached out to him at all? Has there been any contact? Anything the White House wanted to say?” She replied:

I don’t have any contact to read out for you. Certainly, the President wishes him well and a speedy recovery, of course.


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