• His Eminence Raphael Archbishop Minasyan’s speech to Pope Francis, on June 25, 2016

    We owe to Archbishop Raphael Minassian for organizing the Pope’s historical visit to Gyumri.

    29 June, 2016


    Although we don’t speak about it widely, but it must be said that for the historical visit of Pope Francis to Gyumri we greatly owe to His Eminence Archbishop Raphael Minasyan- the Head of Armenian Catholics in Armenia, Georgia, Russia and Estern European, who hinted about the possible visit to Gyumri and told about the difficult living conditions of Gyumri and nearby areas, the hard experience they hav had, the consequences of the disaster of 1988, as well as about the spiritual advancement of the Armenian Catholic communities. The Holy Father immediately decided to visit Gyumri and meet with the suffering but exemplary people with its fighting spirit, which, according to God’s will, became a reality.


    All preparation works for the Pope’s visit to Gyumri were also organized and led by the efforts of Archbishop Rafael Minasyan.


    On June 25 during the Holy Mass, Archbishop Raphael Minasyan also addressed his speech to the Pope Francis:


    Your Holiness,


    After offering the Holy Mass and listening to Your words full of affection and love addressed to our Armenian nation, which gave millions of martyrs to the Church in past centuries, and still today continue to bear sufferings and persecutions for its Christian faith and national identity, I can say only one thing -a heartfelt Thank You.


    The joy that we lived with You, Most Holy Father, together with our Catholic faithful present here and with those around the world that are watching us, is shining in the words of the psalmist. “Open to me the gates of righteousness, I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord” (Psalm 119), and to these aspirations in response the Lord says: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Mtt. 25, 34).


    Thank you, Your Holiness. Thank you, Holy Father Pope Francis for such spiritually precious moments.

    This appreciation comes from the hearts of the children of this afflicted land, the children of the people that still believe in the Resurrection, that have witnessed and continue to witness their faithfulness to the Gospel, they witness by shedding their blood. Children, who hope and rely on the Cross, to the extent that they are called people worshipping cross.


    A whole people, a Christian nation thank you, Your Holiness. A people, a nation, that witness its belonging to God’s people not only by martyrdom, but also in everyday life, in the family, in society and in politics, though the facing problems are not few, began with family-related issues, a family, that is the basic cell of the society, and has to stand up against evil and irregularity of the century, and that is so near to your heart and that of Christ’s Church.


    Thank you, Your Holiness, for this providential visit and I wish it to be a seed of true union – union of churches and nations, and a course to the only goal- the Risen and his prayer: “That they all may be one.”


    I thank you cordially, Most Holy Father, for this expression of love that encourages us all -the church, believers and institutions, to be firm in faith, as we are the sons of the world’s first Christian nation, to protect our identity, witnessing our tradition and the identity of our nation that seeks peace and brotherhood.


    Right here, in front of You and through You, Your Holiness, I wish to thank His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, for his generosity and fatherly care towards the Armenian Catholic Church in Armenia. Thank you, Your Holiness.


    Your Holiness, let me ask a grace, a special grace.


    While various parts of the world are filled with lots of innocent blood, while the Christians are subjected to martyrdom, thus persecuted, expelled and forced to leave their land and properties searching a quiet corner … and there are a lot of Armenian families among them… while the world often lives in indifference, I would like our nation, through Your prayers and Your blessing, in this Year of Mercy, to be devoted to the Divine Mercy and to the Sacred Heart of the Virgin Mary.


    Your presence among us, Your Holiness, let be the spark that turns us to the maternal gaze of Mary, so that it keeps an eye on us and save us from the wickedness of the world, the scourge of war, everyday pitfalls, and keep us and the entire Armenian nation under her protective robe in Armenia,  in Artsakh and in the Diaspora, so that we never lose our hope to believe in a best way and never betray the faith of our forefathers who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the Risen Christ.

    Welcome, Most Holy Father!