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Pope Francis on Sunday praised the Armenian Mekhitarist Congregation for their tradition of theological humanism and prophetic ecumenical openness and urged them to continue to provide precious witness.

In a letter addressed to Archbishop Boghos Levon Zekiyan, apostolic administrator of the Armenian Mekhitarist Congregation, the Pope said the congregation “is called to preserve and deepen its charism for the good of all Armenian people”, Vatican News reported.

A letter from Pope Francis was read at the conclusion of celebrations marking 300 years from the foundation of the Armenian Mekhitarist Congregation in its Monastery in Venice.

He said that together with the Mekhitarist Monastery of Vienna, the island of San Lazzaro where the Congregation is based, has become its beating heart.

“Despite a general reduction in numbers, each monk is called, there and everywhere, to keep his horizons open and wide and the bond of communion strong” he said.

“Your vocation, he said in conclusion to the monks, cannot be realized without real communion with your brother monks and without a total and joyful respect for your vows of poverty, chastity and obedience” which are an evangelical source of true renewal and strength in the face of the trials we face today.

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