While in Armenia, the Pope's first stop on his agenda was to visit Echtmiadzin, which is also considered "the Vatican of Armenians.”
There, he met with Catholicos Karekin II. Together they entered the cathedral in procession as the bells rang and the choir sang in honor of St. Gregory the Illuminator, patron and founder of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
The Pope and the Catholicos kissed the Cross and the Gospel and once they arrived at the altar they greeted each other warmly.
Together they prayed Psalm 122. Then, the Catholicos thanked the Pope's for his visit to Armenia and especially recalled the Mass he presided over last year in the Vatican to mark the centenary of the Armenian genocide.
Pope Francis praised the faith of the Armenians, especially in the midst of the hardest moments of their history.
"For Armenia, faith in Christ has not been like a garment to be donned or doffed as circumstances or convenience dictate, but an essential part of its identity, a gift of immense significance, to be accepted with joy, preserved with great effort and strength, even at the cost of life itself.”
He also explained that it is necessary for Christians to work toward full unity through collaboration in order to respond effectively to the current challenges.
"Tragically, our world is marked by divisions and conflicts, as well as by grave forms of material and spiritual poverty, including the exploitation of persons, not least children and the elderly. It expects from Christians a witness of mutual esteem and fraternal cooperation capable of revealing to every conscience the power and truth of Christ’s resurrection.”
He said that the ecumenism is an example not only for believers but for everyone because it shows how to overcome differences.