WEDNESDAY
April 26, 2000
volume 11, no. 82
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

TURKISH PATRIARCH INVITES POPE TO VISIT AS ARMENIAN CATHOLICS CELEBRATE JUBILEE AT VATICAN

    ISTANBUL (CWNews.com) - Turkey's Armenian patriarch invited Pope John Paul II to visit his country in the next year as he delivered his Easter message Sunday.

    Patriarch Mesrob II, spiritual leader of Turkey's Armenian community of around 50,000, said: "We hope the Pope will come to Turkey, as he went to Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, to experience the hospitality of the Turkish people for himself," the patriarchate said in a statement received by Reuters on Monday.

    Most of the 65 million Turks are Muslim with Armenian Christians making up the second largest religious group. Turkey is the site of several key biblical sites, including Ephesus, to whose Christians St. Paul wrote his epistle, where St. John the Evangelist was bishop, and where the Virgin Mary lived for some years with John after the resurrection, according to tradition.

    The day after the invitation, the former Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia, Jean-Pierre XVIII Kasparian, led the Jubilee celebration of the Armenian Catholic Church at the Vatican on April 24.

    The date chosen for that celebration coincided with the day on which Armenians all around the world commemorate the genocidal massacres of 1915 and thereafter, which wiped out a substantial portion of their people. (Over 1 million Armenians were killed in concentration camps or died of hunger and disease between 1915 and 1918, as the "Young Turks" of the Ottoman Empire forcibly moved the entire Armenian population from their original homeland on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to a new land on the other side of modern-day Turkey, just south of Georgia and east of Azerbaijan.)

    About 300 members of Rome's small Armenian Catholic community participated in the Easter Monday ceremonies at the Vatican, with a procession through the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica, and a celebration of the Divine Liturgy in the Armenian rite, in the smaller church of St. Anne.

    The Armenian Catholic Church traces her origins back to the Crusades, when the Christian armies made their way through Armenia on their way to the Holy Land. There are about 345,000 Armenian Catholics in the world today; the Armenian Apostolic Church, which broke from Rome at the time of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, is much larger, with about 6 million faithful.

    The Armenian Catholic Church is headed by a patriarch, whose base is now in Beirut. Patriarch Jean-Pierre XVIII Kasparian held that post from 1982 until his retirement last year. In October 1999 the Armenian Synod elected his successor, Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX.

          

April 26, 2000
volume 11, no. 82
NEWS & VIEWS

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