DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     July 1, 1999     vol. 10, no. 127

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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POPE VOICES SORROW AT DEATH OF ARMENIAN PRELATE

At Wednesday Audience expresses hope that reconciliation process will continue

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- At his regular Wednesday public audience on June 30, Pope John Paul II expressed his "deep sorrow" at the death of Catholicos Karekin I, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

          The Holy Father said that he felt "a profound tie of affection" for the Armenian prelate. Their personal relationship grew during visits by the Catholicos to the Vatican in December 1996 and March 1999. "I came to admire his spiritual stature, his intense love for the Church, and his care for the unity of all Christians," the Pope said.

          During the 1996 visit by Karekin, the Armenian Church leader and Pope John Paul II signed a joint theological statement affirming the nature of Jesus Christ as true God and true man. That statement ended a theological dispute between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Holy See-- a dispute that dated back to the Council of Chalcedon, and precipitated a split between the two Christian bodies. John Paul and Karekin had looked forward to the restoration of full communion.

          Pope John Paul had planned to visit the dying Armenian prelate on his return trip from his recent voyage to Poland. But when the Pontiff was forced to curtail his schedule because of a bout with the flu, his plans for that personal visit were shelved. "I had very much wanted to be able to make a visit, as an act of brotherly love," the Pope told his Wednesday audience. "But circumstances did not allow it."

          On Tuesday evening, June 29-- the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul-- Pope John Paul II had mentioned the Catholicos by name during a service of prayers for Christian unity, and asked all the faithful to join in prayers for the repose of his soul.


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July 1, 1999       volume 10, no. 127
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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