YEREVAN (AFP)–Dozens of representatives of Christian churches from around the world prayed Friday for victims of last week’s suicide attacks on the US as Armenia marked 1,700 years of Christianity in the country.
Delegations from the World Council of Churches–the Conference of European Churches–the Lutheran Church of Denmark–the Evangelical Church of Germany and the Orthodox Indian Church descended on the Armenian capital for the historic occasion.
"This is a totally unprecedented event in the history of Christianity," said the organizer of the week-long celebrations–Archbishop Hovnan Terterian.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexis II is expected in Yerevan on Saturday–but is leaving before Pope John Paul II begins a three-day visit here starting on Tuesday. Together with the head of the Armenian church – or Catholicos – Patriarch Karekin II–the foreign dignitaries paid homage to the thousands who died in last week’s terrorist attacks on the United States–as they joined in a ecumenical prayer in the Khor Virap monastery 40 kilometers southwest of Yerevan.
"Let us pray for them–so that the American people should never grieve and shed tears like this again," Karekin II said.