|Later in the morning of Friday, 15 May 2009, the Holy Father went
to the Armenian Apostolic Patriarchal Church of Jerusalem, at the
Monastery of St. James, where he met with the Patriarch His Beatitude
Torkom II Manoukian. After an address by His Beatitude, the Holy Father
gave the following discourse.
I greet you with fraternal affection in the Lord, and I offer prayerful
good wishes for your health and your ministry. I am grateful for the
opportunity to visit this Cathedral Church of Saint James in the heart
of the ancient Armenian quarter of Jerusalem, and to meet the
distinguished clergy of the Patriarchate, together with the members of
the Armenian community of the Holy City.
Our meeting today, characterized by an atmosphere of cordiality and
friendship, is another step along the path towards the unity which the
Lord desires for all his disciples. In recent decades we have witnessed,
by Godís grace, a significant growth in the relationship between the
Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church. I count it a great
blessing 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.
In a spirit of gratitude to the Lord, I wish also to express my
appreciation of the unwavering 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. Together let us entrust the work of the Mixed
Commission once more to the Spirit of wisdom and truth, so that it can
bear abundant fruit for the growth of Christian unity, and advance the
spread of the Gospel among the men and women of our time.
From the first Christian centuries, the Armenian community in Jerusalem
has had an illustrious history, marked not least by an extraordinary
flourishing of monastic life and culture linked to the holy places and
the liturgical traditions which developed around them. This venerable
Cathedral Church, together with the Patriarchate and the various
educational and cultural institutions attached to it, testifies to that
long and distinguished history. I pray that your community will
constantly draw new life from its rich traditions, and be confirmed in
its witness to Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection (cf. Phil
3:10) in this Holy City. I likewise assure the families present, and
particularly the children and young people, of a special remembrance in
my prayers. Dear friends, 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.
Your Beatitude, I thank you once more for your gracious welcome, and I
cordially invoke Godís richest blessings upon you and upon all the
clergy and faithful of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the Holy Land.
May the joy and peace of the Risen Christ be always with you.
The Holy See Press Office
15 May 2009