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2006: Pope meets Armenian Patriarch in Istanbul

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 PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:44 am    Post subject: 2006: Pope meets Armenian Patriarch in Istanbul Reply with quote Back to top

Catholic World News
Nov. 30, 2006

Pope recalls Armenian genocide

Istanbul -Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) brought up the sensitive topic of
the Armenian genocide-- although he did not mention it explicitly-- during a November 30 meeting with the Armenian Apostolic Patriarch of Istanbul,
Mesrob II.

In his greeting to the patriarch, the Holy Father praised the Armenian
people for their faithful witness to the Gospel, even under "truly tragic
conditions, like those experienced in the past century." He was clearly
alluding to the slaughter of Armenians under the Ottoman empire.

To this day the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge the genocidal
campaign of 1915- 1917, in which an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were
killed during massacres and forced marches, as the government of the "Young
Turks" forced the relocation of an entire people. The Armenian Apostolic
Church remains the largest Christian community in Turkey, but today numbers
only about 50,000 faithful; in the late 19th century the number was several
million. There are about 2 million members of the Church living in the
country now known as Armenia.

In his remarks to Patriarch Mesrob, the Pope expressed regret over the
divisions among the Christian faithful, repeating what he had said to the
Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew: that these divisions are "a scandal to the
world" and a handicap to effective evangelization.

The Armenian Apostolic Church dates back to the year 506, when the Christian
leaders of the region broke away from the Catholic Church over disagreements
with the doctrines put forth by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Those
theological disputes have been resolved, and in 1996 Pope John Paul II (bio
- news) and the former head of the Armenian Church, Karekin I, jointly
signed a document affirming that the two churches have reached accord on the
Christological issues that originally caused their separation.

Pope Benedict joined with the Armenian patriarch in a prayer service at the
Armenian cathedral in Istanbul. Later he would meet with the city's grand
rabbi, then end the day at a dinner with the Catholic bishops of Turkey.

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