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ETCHMIADZIN. – During his three-day visit to Armenia, Pope Francis will be staying at the Residence of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

Reverend Father Zakaria Baghumyan, Director of the Bishops’ Synod Department of the Mother See, told the aforementioned to NEWS.am, and gave some details on the forthcoming visit by the Bishop of Rome.

“In general, the supreme pontiffs of Rome stay at hotels or elsewhere [during their visits], but starting from 2001, when [Pope] John Paul II visited [Armenia] on the 1700th anniversary of the proclamation of Christianity as a state religion [in Armenia], he likewise stayed at the [Mother See] Residence,” said Fr. Baghumyan. “[And] it was the wish of Pope Francis and the Catholicos of All Armenians to continue this tradition.”

Etchmiadzin will be the first stop during the three-day visit by the Pope. Pilgrims and clergymen will welcome him at the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, where a welcome ceremony will be held.

Subsequently, Pope Francis will head for capital city Yerevan, where he will meet with President Serzh Sargsyan.

After offering a Holy Mass and a prayer for peace the next day in Gyumri and Yerevan, the Bishop of Rome, together with Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, will offer a Holy Mass also in Etchmiadzin, on the third and final day of his visit to Armenia.

In addition, the Pope will hold a private conversation with the Catholicos of All Armenians. Also, the spiritual leaders of the two churches are expected to present gifts to each other.

“The [Armenian Apostolic] Church will present to the Pope of Rome a holy communion chalice, with which we offer Divine Liturgy,” informed Father Zakaria Baghumyan. “These gifts are a sample of love and brotherhood between he two churches.”

Photos by Arsen Sargsyan/NEWS.am

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