Pope tells Armenian patriarch that the 'ecumenism of suffering and martyrdom' leads to unity
"In truth, the number of disciples who shed their blood for Christ in the tragic events of the last century is certainly superior to that of the martyrs of the first centuries, and in this martyrology, the children of the Armenian nation have a place of honour," the Holy Father said. Their testimony, at once high and tragic, must not be forgotten."
"As in the ancient Church, the blood of the martyrs became the seed of new Christians," said Pope Francis, "so in our day the blood of many Christians has become the seed of unity". Indeed, "The ecumenism of suffering and the ecumenism of martyrdom" was the main point Pope Francis mentioned during his meeting with Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians.
In speaking to the leader of about 10 million Armenians, whom he had previously met when he was still a cardinal, the Pope spoke about "the tragic testimony" given by the Armenians to their faith, a clear reference to the genocide that was inflicted on that people during the First World War.
The Holy Father went on to mention Catholicos Karekin's participation in the Jubilee year commemoration of the Witnesses to the Faith of the 20th century.
"In truth," the Pontiff said, "the number of disciples who shed their blood for Christ in the tragic events of the last century is certainly superior to that of the martyrs of the first centuries, and in this martyrology, the children of the Armenian nation have a place of honour."
Indeed, "The mystery of the Cross, Holiness, so dear to the memory of your people, represented in the splendid stone crosses that adorn every corner of your land, has been lived by countless of your children as a direct participation in the chalice of the Passion. [. . .] Their testimony," he continued, "at once high and tragic, must not be forgotten."
"The suffering of Christians in recent decades have also brought a unique and invaluable contribution to the cause of unity among Christ's disciples. As in the ancient Church, the blood of the martyrs became the seed of new Christians," Pope Francis explained, "so in our day the blood of many Christians has become the seed of unity."
"The ecumenism of suffering and the ecumenism of martyrdom, the ecumenism of blood is a powerful call to journey along the road of reconciliation among the Churches, with decision and with trusting abandonment to the action of the Spirit. We feel the duty to go down this road of fraternity, also because of the debt of gratitude we owe to the suffering of our brothers, which has become salvific because it has been united to the passion of Christ."
In addition, Pope Francis noted that "the links between the Armenian Apostolic Church with the Church of Rome have been consolidated in recent years, thanks to events that remain etched in our memory, such as the journey of my holy Predecessor John Paul II in Armenia, in 2001, and the welcome presence of Your Holiness in the Vatican for many occasions of special importance, including the official visit to Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, and the celebration of the beginning of my ministry as Bishop of Rome, last year."
"In this regard, I wish to thank Your Holiness for the effective support he gave to ecumenical dialogue, particularly the work of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, and for the qualified theological contribution offered in that venue by representatives of the Catholicosate of All Armenians. "
"May the Holy Spirit enlighten us and guide us towards longed-for day in which we may share in the Eucharist," the pope said. Equally, "Let us praise the Lord with the words of Saint Gregory of Narek: 'Accept the hymn of blessing from our lips / and deign to grant this Church / the gifts and graces of Zion / and Bethlehem, / so that we may be worthy / to partake of salvation'. May your All Holy Mother of God, intercede for the Armenian people, now and forever!"
Source: asianews (May 8, 2014)