May 15, 2009
Pope Benedict XVI continues his mission of unity. The Vatican reports:
At 11 a.m. today the Holy Father visited the Armenian Patriarchal Apostolic Church of Jerusalem, where he was greeted by Patriarch Torkom Manoukian.
The faithful of the Armenian Apostolic Patriarchate in the Holy Land number some 10,000, present in the Palestinian Territories, Jordan and Israel.
“I count it a great blessing”, said the Pope in his address, “to have met in this past year with the Catholicos and Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians Karekin II and with the Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I. Their visits to the Holy See, and the moments of prayer which we shared, have strengthened us in fellowship and confirmed our commitment to the sacred cause of promoting Christian unity”.
The Holy Father also mentioned his appreciation for the commitment of the Armenian Apostolic Church “to the continuing theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. This dialogue, sustained by prayer, has made progress in overcoming the burden of past misunderstandings, and offers much promise for the future. A particular sign of hope is the recent document on the nature and mission of the Church produced by the Mixed Commission and presented to the Churches for study and evaluation”. In this context he expressed the hope that the work of the commission may “bear abundant fruit for the growth of Christian unity, and advance the spread of the Gospel among the men and women of our time”.
Pope Benedict gave assurances of his prayers that the Armenian Community in Jerusalem “will constantly draw new life from its rich traditions, and be confirmed in its witness to Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection in this Holy City”.
“I ask you in turn to pray with me that all the Christians of the Holy Land will work together with generosity and zeal in proclaiming the Gospel of our reconciliation in Christ, and the advent of His Kingdom of holiness, justice and peace”, he concluded.
After the meeting, the Pope returned to the apostolic delegation in Jerusalem. He subsequently travelled by helicopter to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv for the departure ceremony.