Catholicos Condition Remains Grave but Stable

ETCHMIADZIN–The condition of His Holiness Karekin I–Catholicos of All Armenia’s–continues to remain grave but stable–said an announcement issued Friday by the Holy See of Etchmiadzin.

According to his personal physician–the heart function and the blood pressure of His Holiness are within normal.

His Holiness is communicating with the relatives at his bed side–the members of the Religious Order of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the medical personnel taking care of him.

In the past several days–the Catholicos of All Armenia’s has received numerous telegrams expressing kind wishes from all the parts of the world. Telegrams have been received from His Grace George Carey–the Archbishop of Canterbury–the World Council of Churches–other International and Armenian Organizations.

His Holiness the Catholicos expresses his deep gratitude for the prayers by the numerous faithful people and the kind wishes–and gives his patriarchal blessing to everybody.

Pope John Paul is sending the head of the Vatican’s Council for Christian Unity to meet the ailing head of Armenia’s Apostolic Church on his behalf–the Holy See said on Friday.

Cardinal Edward Cassidy will visit the Armenian capital Yerevan on July 1-3 and will meet Catholicos Garegin I on July 2 to pass on a personal message from the Pope–chief Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.

Armenian and Russian media have recently reported a sharp decline in the health of the Armenian cleric–who is suffering from cancer of the thorax.

The Pope himself had been due to visit Armenia from July 2-4 but canceled his trip because of the Catholicos’ poor health. During the Pontiff’s recent visit to Poland he made an impromptu plan to fly on from his homeland to Armenia–but was forced to cancel that too after catching flu.

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