On Thursday morning Pope Francis welcomed the Patriarchal Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church.
It's more than just a random visit. The group of 20 bishops is in Rome to attend a Papal Mass to commemorate 100 years since the Armenian genocide, which is still not recognized by some nations, most notably Turkey.
"So that it might help all, in the love for truth and justice, to heal every wound and to expedite concrete gestures of reconciliation and peace between the nations that still have not managed to reach a reasonable consensus on the interpretation of these sad events.”
Under the rule of the Ottoman empire, roughly 1.5 million Armenians were killed from 1915 to 1923. Present day Turkey argues the deaths were casualties of war. Armenia says it was a systematic plan meant to exterminate their ethnic group.
To honor the victims of the genocide, the Pope will celebrate an Armenian rite Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday April 12th. Armenia's president is expected to attend, along with other high ranking public and religious officials.
The Pope also mentioned those who will join the Mass, spiritually, from afar.
"Those who live in the countries of the diaspora, such as the United States, Latin America, Europe, Russia, Ukraine, up to the Motherland.”
In the year 301, Armenia became the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion.
As a gift, Armenian Bishops gave a cross to the Pope, which he briefly kissed, before the taking the official group picture.