Catholicosate, Featured


Their Holinesses Catholicos Aram I and Pope Francis I discussed the return of the forcibly displaced Armenian population to Artsakh and the release of the Armenian political prisoners from Azerbaijani captivity, in a meeting at the Holy See in Rome on Wednesday, June 12.   

They also talked about the imperative of calling to a Third Vatican Council, with an active participation by non-Catholic churches. Also on the agenda was the need to promote interchurch relations even further.    

The Catholicos had been invited to Rome to give a lecture about religion and geopolitics, and how they have been shaping each other in the Middle East.   

In the talk delivered at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome on Tuesday, June 11, the Catholicos said that religion has transformed and has been transformed by geopolitical events throughout history in the region.   

He opened his lecture, entitled “Religion in the Geopolitics of the Middle East,” by discussing the influence of religion on geopolitics throughout history.  

At the same time, religion has responded to the changing geopolitics, he said. The Catholicos highlighted the pivotal role played by monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—in shaping political, cultural, and social landscapes across Europe and the Middle East.   

He analyzed religion’s impact on Middle Eastern geopolitics and how it has defined the intersection of faith and reason; religion and local politics, and trust-building. 

The Catholicos wrapped up his presentation stressing the vital role of religion in promoting peaceful coexistence, resolving conflicts, and enhancing mutual trust within Middle Eastern societies. Proposing a meeting of religious leaders in Jerusalem, he called for a united effort to advocate for peace and reconciliation among the three major religions, drawing upon historical precedent and principles of justice. 

The lecture was organized jointly by the Pontifical Oriental Institute, the Pontifical Gregorian University, and the Lebanese Embassy to the Holy See (Vatican). On behalf of the organizers, remarks were delivered by Cardinal Kurt Koch, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity; Rev. Mark A. Lewis, SJ, Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, and Farid El Khazan, ambassador of Lebanon to the Holy See.  

His Beatitude Armenian Catholic Patriarch Raphael Bedros XXI, His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob, Prelate of UAE and Qatar, as well as Vatican officials and other dignitaries were present.   

Created by Pope Benedict XV in 1917 and entrusted to the Society of Jesus in 1922 by Pius XI, the Pontifical Oriental Institute is a school of higher studies whose mission is to serve the Eastern Churches.