Prayers Urged for Ailing Catholicos

ETCHMIADZIN–The press office of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin issued a statement Monday urging all Armenia’s and parishioners to pray for the health of the ailing Catholicos of All Armenia’s–His Holiness Karekin I.

The announcement added that the Catholicos’ health declined between 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday evening–but was later stabilized.

The clerics gathered at Holy Etchmiadzin prayed for the Catholicos.

Karekin I remains in grave condition.

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 Karekin 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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