Pope Francis

By Jeffrey Bruno from New York City, United States [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Vatican says the Pope is considering a visit to Armenia in June.

According to a Vatican spokesman, it has been confirmed that Pope Francis is considering to visit Armenia the latter half of June, a year subsequent to causing an incident of diplomatic proportions in which the slaughter of Armenians that took place within the Ottoman era of the early 1900s was deemed a genocide. It is also 15 years after the visit of Pope John Paul II. It has been a buzz in the Italian media that the trip will take place from June 22-26, but the spokesman went on to say that there is a possibility that there will be stops made on the way, therefore the itinerary has not yet been finalized.

The first hint of a trip to Armenia was on his return flight from his visit to Africa in November, when he made a promise to a few Armenian patriarchs that he would go. In last year, Pope Francis triggered a diplomatic incident by celebrating Mass at a church in Turkey to highlight 100th anniversary by the Ottoman Turks and labelled it as the “first genocide of the 20th century.”

This label is one that scholars us on a regular basis who also acknowledged it as the 20th century’s first genocide and a head starter for atrocities that were carried out in later years by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge and Nazi Germany. After World War I, an estimated figure of 1.5 million Armenians died during attempts to chase them along with other minority groups from their homeland which is present-day Turkey.

However Turkey wasn’t at all pleased by the pope’s statement and in response, they withdrew their ambassador as a sign of protest and slandered the pope for inciting hatred. The Turkish society denied the circumstances of the killings and said that those that died were due to civil war.

Francis has been aware of the great misfortune that took a toll on the Armenian minority in Turkey, after spearheading an inter-religious service of remembrance in Buenos Aires in 2006.

The trip will make the 13th international one he has been in his current disposition, that’s if he decides to go through with it. He has already confirmed to other trips; one of them will be from the July 27-31 in Poland for World Youth Day and the other is to Sweden in the last half of October to take part in an ecumenical event noting the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.


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