(Agencia Prensa Armenia)—Pope Francis gave a press conference during the flight from Armenia to Rome on Sunday, where he referred to the influence of the Armenian community of Argentina in his vision of the Armenian Genocide.
“In Argentina, when you spoke of the Armenian extermination, they always used the word genocide. I didn’t know another,” said Pope Francis. “At the cathedral in Buenos Aires, we put a stone cross in the third altar on the left, remembering the Armenian Genocide.” Pope Francis also said that he often shared Masses with his “Armenian friends” like Archbishop Kissag Mouradian and Bishop Vartan Boghossian. He also recognized that in the original speech the word genocide was not written and he added it.
“When I arrived in Rome, I heard other terms: ‘The Great Evil’ or the ‘terrible tragedy,’ but in Armenian, I don’t know how to say it…and they told me that that is offensive, and that you must say genocide,” added the Pope. He specified that he had always spoken of three genocides: the one by the Turks, by Hitler and Stalin.
“A lawyer told me that the word genocide is a technical word. It’s a word that is not a synonym of extermination. You can say extermination, but declaring genocide brings with it actions of reparation… Last year, when I was preparing the speech, I saw that St, John Paul II had used the word, that he used both Great Evil and genocide. I cited that one in quotation marks… and it wasn’t received well.”
“I was very happy last week when I saw a photograph of President Putin with the two Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents… at least they’re speaking! And also with Turkey and the president of the Republic in his welcoming speech spoke clearly, he had the courage to say: let’s come to an agreement, forgive each other, and look to the future. And this is a great courage for a people who have suffered so much, no? It’s the icon of the Armenian people,” concluded Pope Francis.