Pope Francis did not hide his emotions during his visit to the "Fortress of swallows,” the place that recalls the genocide of the Armenian people.
The patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the President of the Republic accompanied the Pope at all times.
Pope Francis brought a wreath with the colors of the Vatican flag and the phrase "In honor of the martyrs.” Since recently, the Armenian Church has canonized half million Armenians who died during the genocide.
He also prayed in the circular mausoleum, in which twelve basalt plates were built in memory of the twelve Armenian provinces where the slaughter occurred. A flame is kept lit in the center as a symbolic gesture in keeping the memory of the victims alive.
Before leaving, the Pope was treated to this ancient melody with instruments of Armenia.
Like all leaders who have visited this place of remembrance, the Pope has planted and watered a
tree to the memory of the tragedy so that peace can flourish.
Then, he wrote a message in the book of honor of Memorial. The text called on humanity not forget the tragedies because memory is the source of peace and future.
The surprise was the meeting with descendants of some survivors of the persecution, whom in those years were hosted by Pope Benedict XV and Pius XI in his residence at Castel Gandolfo.