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bbc: Pope learns Armenian before coming to Christianity anniversary celebrations

Excerpt from report by Armenian National TV on 24 September

Pope John Paul II is arriving in Armenia on 25 September at the invitation of Armenian President Robert Kocharyan and Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II to participate in ceremonies devoted to marking the 1,700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity as the state religion. The Pope’s visit will last from 25-27 September. His Holiness will stay in the Holy See of Echmiadzin.

The agenda of the visit envisages the Pope’s meeting with Armenian President Robert Kocharyan, a visit to Yerevan’s Tsitsernakaberd, the site of a monument to the 1915 massacres of Armenians, the newly-opened St Grigor Lusarovich Church and the Khorverup monastery. Moreover, Pope John Paul II will perform a special open air mass in the Holy See of Echmiadzin.

[Passage omitted: the first meeting between Pope and Robert Kocharyan happened on 25 March 1999 in Vatican]

I should add that Pope John Paul II, 81, is preparing for his visit to Armenia in a very original way. The head of the Vatican is studying the Armenian language.

Source: National Television of Armenia, Yerevan, in Russian 1430 gmt 24 Sep 01. BBC Worldwide Monitoring/ (c) BBC 2001.


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