Pope Francis and Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I had a meeting in the Vatican this morning.
During their private meeting, Catholicos Aram I thanked the Pope for his firm position on the recognition on the Armenian Genocide. As they discussed issues facing humanity, threats to the world, and the Christian response, His Holiness Aram I raised the following issues:
- A common Easter Date. The Catholicos noted that the Churches celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on different dates not because of a theological disagreement, but only because they adopted different liturgical calendars (Gregorian and Julian), and he proposed that the Churches agree on a common date as a sign of Christian Unity.
- Currently, all churches are facing internal conflicts and divisions because of social issues. Aram I therefore proposed that Churches suspend their ancient theological debates and focus on finding common responses to the contemporary issues faced by their faithful.
- As a Spiritual leader living in the Middle East, His Holiness spoke of the urgency of a common understanding between Christians and Muslims, and he proposed that Christian-Muslim dialogue become a priority topic on the agenda of bilateral theological dialogues.
- Sharing his concern for the diminishing number of Christians in the Middle East, Catholicos Aram I spoke of the need for more attention by the Vatican.
The meeting took place in the context of the inauguration of the statue of St Gregory of Nareg, which had been presented to the Pope by President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan.