VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis I on Tuesday offered his blessings to the Armenian nation after a brief meeting with Armenia’s Ambassador to the Vatican Mikael Minasyan.
The pope hosted a reception for ambassadors accredited to the Vatican and during the traditional reception he spoke with Mikaelyan, conveying his blessings to the Armenian Nation and the leadership of Armenia and the Armenian Church.
In June, Pope Francis – during a meeting with a delegation led by Nerses Bedros XIX, Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholics, at the Vatican – reiterated his earlier recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
During the visit, the pope met with members of the delegation, when one of them said that she was a descendant of Genocide victims, to which the pontiff responded: “The first genocide of the 20th Century was that of the Armenians,” thus reiterating his earlier recognition of the Armenian Genocide while he headed the Catholic Church in Buenos Aires as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.
During events marking the 91st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Buenos Aires, then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio urged Turkey to recognize the Genocide as the “gravest crime of Ottoman Turkey against the Armenian people and the entirety of humanity.”
Director of the Armenian National Committee of South America, Dr. Alfonso Tabakian at the time explained that this was the first such statement from the pontiff since being elevated to Pope and leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
Tabakian called the statement “very important since his words transcend any state or religion.”
“This recognition of the Armenian Genocide as the first genocide of the twentieth century reaffirms the statements of John Paul II [which were made] upon his arrival in Armenia on September 25, 2001, demonstrating that more and more states, parliaments and international organizations are adopting this position against the denial of history perpetrated by the Turkish State,” added Tabakian.