Before wrapping up his three-day visit to Armenia, Pope Francis and Kerekin II, the spiritual leader of the Armenian Apostolic Christians, made a joint declaration, warning about the parallels between the Armenian “genocide” in the early 20th Century and the current persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
“Sadly, we are witnessing an immense tragedy unfolding before our eyes, of countless innocent people being killed, displaced or forced into a painful and uncertain exile by continuing conflicts on ethnic, economic, political and religious grounds in the Middle East and other parts of the world,” said a joint statement, signed by both spiritual leaders. “As a result, religious and ethnic minorities have become the target of persecution and cruel treatment, to the point that suffering for one¹s religious belief has become a daily reality.
The two religious leaders also sent a plea to other world leaders: “We implore the leaders of nations to listen to the plea of millions of human beings who long for peace and justice in the world, who demand respect for their God-given rights, who have urgent need of bread, not guns.”
In the joint declaration they commemorated once again “The extermination of a million and a half Armenian Christians, in what is generally referred to as the first genocide of the twentieth century” — echoing the words first used by Pope John II during his trip to the country in 2001.”