VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Reinforcing bonds of dialogue and respect with Orthodox leaders and visiting small Catholic communities, Pope Francis will travel to Armenia in late June and to Georgia and Azerbaijan in the fall, the Vatican announced.
The Armenia trip June 24-26 comes in response to an invitation from the patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Karekin II, and from the government, the Vatican said. Traveling to Georgia and Azerbaijan Sept. 30-Oct. 2, the pope is accepting an invitation from Georgian Patriarch Ilia II and the governments of the two nations, the Vatican said.
Announcing the trips April 9, the Vatican did not provide details of the pope’s itinerary. Releasing the dates of both trips at the same time was seen as a diplomatic necessity given the ongoing dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave in Azerbaijan. The ethnic Armenian majority of Nagorno-Karabakh voted in 1988 to unify with Armenia. Fighting continued until a cease-fire was reached in 1994, although the enclave’s status was never fully resolved. Sporadic fighting has occurred since, most recently April 1-3.
In all three nations, Pope Francis will be the second pope to visit. Pope John Paul II visited Armenia in 2001, Georgia in 1999 and Azerbaijan in 2002.
According to Vatican statistics, Catholics make up about 9.6 percent of the population in Armenia, about 2.4 percent of the population in Georgia and less than 1 percent of the population in Azerbaijan. Almost 97 percent of the population in Azerbaijan is Muslim. The majority in Armenia are Oriental Orthodox and in the majority in Georgia are Orthodox.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103