Vatican Officially Announces Pope Trip to Armenia

VATICAN CITY (Reuters)–The Vatican on Wednesday officially announced Pope John Paul’s July 2-4 trip to the former Soviet republic of Armenia.

During the three-day trip the 79-year-old Pope will make stops in the capital–Yerevan as well as the towns of Etchmiadzin–Khor Virab–Ashotsk and Gumri.

The visit coincides with celebrations marking the 1,700th anniversary of Armenian King Trdat III’s proclamation of Christianity as state religion in 301.

The official commemorations of the anniversary began in 1997 and will peak in 2001.

The trip will be the Pope’s first to a former country of the Soviet Union since he visited the Baltic states of Estonia–Latvia and Lithuania in 1993.

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