VATICAN CITY—Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian is on an official state visit to Italy, where he will meet with Italian leaders and will participate in a Mass in memory of the Armenian Genocide at the Vatican.
President Sarkisian will visit the Vittoriano Museum of Rome to view an exhibition titled “Armenia: People of Ark,” dedicated to the Armenian Genocide centennial.
On Saturday, the President will participate in a Mass to be celebrated by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and Cardinal Sepe at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Naples. As part of the ceremony, a replica of one of the ancient cross-stones of Jugha, which were destroyed by the Azeri government, will be unveiled in memory of the Armenian Genocide.
On April 12, the Armenian President will visit the Vatican, where he will attend a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica lead by Pope Francis to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
“For Armenians, this centennial won’t feel much different a year, two, five, six, seven or even 200 years from now,” Mikayel Minasyan, Armenia’s Ambassador to the Vatican, said. “Armenians have been fighting their own inner war against injustice and ignorance for 100 years. This anniversary is important for the world, for Armenians, at this point, it doesn’t really change much, but it’s a way for the world to hear the truth.”
Armenia’s ambassador says history is now repeating itself. “Christians from Iraq and Syria are using the same escape routes that Armenians used 100 years ago. Why? Because governments deny history, they avoid speaking about the truth. They use cynicism to address political and historical facts.”
During Sunday’s Mass, which will follow the Armenian rite, the Pope will also officially name Armenian Saint Gregory of Narek as a Doctor of the Church.