“The Holy Father’s visit to Armenia is a visit of appreciation, encouragement and consolation.”
7 June, 2016
May 18, 2016
–What is the purpose of the visit of Holy Father?
-If the Holy Father comes to Armenia, it means that there is a goal, there is a reason. If we examine our conscience and try to understand our identity, who we will find the following: as Armenian people, we are an ancient nation that have proudly kept our Christian identity. This identity has given millions of martyrs for Christ over the centuries. As a father and head of the Universal Church, it is clear that the Pope thinks to value our Christian witness. Therefore, it is honor for us that such a value and appreciation is given to our nation and to our martyrs, whose descendants we are today.
Therefore, it is natural that such a visit is going to take place. At the same time, this visit awakens the memory of historic step by Pope Francis in The Cathedral of St. Peter in Rome on April 12, 2015, by which he protected our human rights, declaring that the first genocide of the 20th century took place against the Armenian people. This visit is also a good opportunity to express our gratitude to the Pope and the Catholic Church for such a step.
-Why did the Holy Father decide to visit Gyumri?
-Pope will visit Armenia, not only Gyumri. Armenia is not only Yerevan, Armenia has many places worth visiting. He will visit not only Gyumri, but also Khor Virap and live in Echmiadzin. Coming to Gyumri is a natural phenomenon from another point of view. Do you know that the Catholic Primate Center is Gyumri, and the Holy See in Rome has confirmed and given life to this See? It is natural, that the Pope will visit his Catholic people, see his flock. These are the words of His Holiness Garegin II. I hope that my answer will cover all the questions.
-Will the Pope’s visit promote the development of Gyumri?
If there are flaws in our lives, let this visit of Holy Father become an occasion for the development of Gyumri, as well as for the other cities in Armenia. First, this is an opportunity to promote the Christian experience in the hearts of all of us, and I am sure that we will draw many useful things from his message, when he gives it in the homily. However, I would like this opportunity be spiritual awakening for us to live our Christian responsibility more seriously and develop the spiritual, moral and social values in our families.
-What role can play the Holy Father’s visit or message for the establishment of peace in Karabakh?
The Holy Father’s visit to Armenia is a visit of appreciation, encouragement and consolation. It is not only our desire but the Pope also wants that peace reign in the world and in our region. The Pope’s visits have never had and will not have a political character. However, this visit may also have important fruits in this field as well. As we saw last year, shortly after the Pope’s message on April 12, the European Parliament adopted an important resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide.
Interview was conducted by Fr. Joseph Galstyan
Translated by Narine Aghasaryan