Karekin II Leaves for Vatican

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Accompanied by 17 clergy men–the head of the Armenian Church His Holiness Karekin II left for Vatican on November 8 at the invitation of Pope John-Paul II to express his respect for the Catholic Church and its leader.

The meeting of the spiritual leaders of the two churches will take place on November 9 at the Pope’s residence. Karekin II is also scheduled to meet with Cardinal Edward Idris Kasidi and other senior clergymen.

In a solemn ceremony scheduled for November 10–Pope John Paul II will turn the relics of St. Gregory the Illuminator over to the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The transfer will occur as part of an ecumenical service held in St. Peter’s Basilica–at which the Holy Father will preside along with Catholicos Karekin II.

The relics of the saint that have been kept in a Naples cathedral for years will be moved to Yerevan–Armenia–where the Armenian Apostolic Church is building a cathedral dedicated to St. Gregory.

During the course of a four-day visit to Rome–Karekin II is expected to issue a formal invitation for Pope John Paul II to visit Armenia. The Pontiff had planned to make such a visit in July 1999–but postponed the trip because the previous head of the Armenian church–Karekin I–was terminally ill.

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