Cardinal Sandri Leads Vatican Delegation to Armenia

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri (second from left) and Armenian Catholic Patriarch Gregory Peter XX (second from right) consecrate a new church in Gyumri on September 24, 2015 (Source: RFE/RL)
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri (second from left) and Armenian Catholic Patriarch Gregory Peter XX (second from right) consecrate a new church in Gyumri on September 24, 2015 (Source: RFE/RL)

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri (second from left) and Armenian Catholic Patriarch Gregory Peter XX (second from right) consecrate a new church in Gyumri on September 24, 2015 (Source: RFE/RL)

ROME (Vatican Radio)—Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Oriental Churches, has just returned from a visit to Armenia during which he met with President Serzh Sarkissian to highlight the importance of good relations with the Holy See. He also thanked the Armenian people for the welcome they have offered to thousands of refugees fleeing from the conflict in Syria.

During the meeting with the Vatican delegation, the Armenian president stressed his gratitude for the Mass that Pope Francis celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica on April 12 to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide

During the September 25-28 visit to Armenia, the Cardinal had an audience with the Catholicos Karekin II, bringing Pope Francis’ greetings to the Armenian people. He also attended a Divine Liturgy and an ecumenical prayer service in Etchmiadzin Cathedral and took part in an encounter with leaders of the other Christian communities in the Caucasus country.

Cardinal Sandri also visited a community of the Sisters of Charity in Yerevan, set up by Mother Teresa of Calcutta to care for abandoned and sick children.

On the final morning of his visit, the Cardinal led a Vatican delegation to pray at the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial, as well as to the recently inaugurated museum. Recalling the suffering of Armenians killed a century ago, Cardinal Sandri also prayed for peace in the Middle East today, especially in Syria and Iraq where “senseless violence continues to sow death and destruction.”

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