This afternoon Pope Francis and the Catholicos of All Armenians paid a visit to the Armenian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Martyrs in Gyumri, in Vatanants Square. At the entrance, they were greeted by the Ordinary of Eastern Europe for Armenian Catholics, Archbishop Raphael François Minassian, and by the parish priest.
Inside the cathedral was a group of benefactors of the Armenian Catholic Church. After they entered in procession and the pope pronounced a prayer, the Catholicos imparted his blessing.
In the early afternoon, Francis also visited the Apostolic Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Mother of God, also known as Yot Verk, located in the same square as the Armenian Catholic cathedral he visited. Here, he was welcomed by the Catholicos and the two entered the cathedral in procession. Some Armenian Apostolic bishops and a small group of disabled people and Syrian refugees were present in the cathedral. The Holy Father and His Holiness Karekin II paused in silent prayer before the Marian icon of the Seven Wounds, after which they venerated the Cross.
Finally, the pope imparted his blessing. At the exit, the Holy Father received a gift from an Argentinian benefactress and he made his way to the Cathedral of the Holy Martyrs.
After these visits, Pope Francis was driven to the airport of Gyumri by car, where at 6 p.m. local time he took the A321 Alitalia flight to Yerevan. The pope was accompanied on this flight by the Catholicos and some dignitaries from Etchmiadzin. When he arrives in Yerevan, the Holy Father will travel to Republic Square by car, to attend the ecumenical meting and prayer for peace.