VATICAN CITY (Armenpress)–Pope John Paul II paid tribute to the Christian roots of Armenia’s history and culture on Saturday before his upcoming trip to Armenia.
The Pope said he is preparing for his September 22-27 trip to Kazakstan and Armenia "with joy" and said he hoped the visits would improve ties among the Orthodox churches.
The pontiff spoke at length of Armenia’s history during a meeting with its new ambassador to the Holy See–Eduard Nalbandian.
"Your country has a long history–and a long Christian history–said the Pope. "The history of Armenia is marked by suffering–due in grand part to its geographic situation–confined by great powers…but its cultural and religious identity always survived."
He referred to the 1915 massacre of Armenia’s in Turkey–saying Armenia had achieved its independence after the "immense distresses at the start of the last century–culminating with the tragic events of 1915."