A delegation of priests and monks from the Armenian Church and Oriental Orthodox Churches visited the Vatican on May 31-June 6 as part of a study trip organized by an ecumenical body of the Holy See. Pope Francis I welcomed the guests, including Rev. Frs. Hovagim Panjarjian, Oshin Chwalyertanian, and Nareg Terterian, who represented the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia.
In his address, Pope Francis referred to the feast of Pentecost, highlighting the four “cardinal points guiding us towards full communion:” unity is a gift that “is not primarily the result of our commitment, our efforts, and our agreements, but of the working of the Holy Spirit;” unity is harmony, that is “not uniformity, much less the fruit of compromise or fragile diplomatic balances of power” but “harmony in the diversity of the charisms bestowed by the Spirit; unity is a journey, that “does not suddenly appear as an overwhelming miracle, but quietly emerges in the patient and persevering progress of a journey made together;” and lastly, “unity is not simply an end in itself, but is closely tied to the fruitfulness of the Christian proclamation: unity is for the mission.”
In this regard, the Holy Father expressed his gratitude for the common witness offered by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, which have “sealed by their blood their faith in Christ.” The papal audience concluded with the prayer of the Lord’s Prayer.
The invitation by the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity afforded the visiting clergymen the opportunity to visit the holy sites of Rome in addition to universities, monasteries, and other places, where they met with seminarians, priests, and monks.
The delegation also visited the Secretariat of State and other dicasteries of the Roman curia, including the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, as well as those for Interreligious Dialogue; Eastern Churches; Doctrine of the Faith, and Catholic Education.
Among the educational institutions toured by the Eastern priests was the Pontifical Lateran University; the Pontifical Gregorian University; the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Pontifical Oriental Institute, the Pontifical Ethiopian College, the Pontifical Armenian College, and the Pontifical Maronite College.
On June 5, Pentecost Sunday, the participants attended Divine Liturgy at St. Peter’s Basilica.