Sunday, May 3, 2015

Patriarch of Moscow meets with Armenian Catholic primate

I'm rather surprised to see the head of the Russian Church meeting with a "uniate" leader. That the Catholic copy of the particular Church is Armenian and not "Byzantine" may be the difference. It may also be that there is much less encroachment on the Russian Church's territory from Armenian Catholics while the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church extends eastward from Western Ukraine.

( - On 29 April 2015, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with the head of the Armenian Catholic Church, Catholicos-Patriarch of Cilicia Nerses Bedros XIX.

Taking part in the meeting, which took place at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in St. Daniel stavropegic monastery, were Archbishop Raphael Minassian, ordinary of the Armenian Catholic Church for Armenian, Georgia, Russia and Eastern Europe; Mgr. Bedros Petrossian, vicar of the Armenian Catholic Church in Russia and rector of the Armenian Catholic parish in Moscow; archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov), vice-chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR); and hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov). DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations.

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Catholicos-Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX greeted each other, saying ‘Christ is Risen!’

The head of the Armenian Catholic Church made a trip to Armenia and currently is visiting Russia. His visit was timed to the centennial of the Armenian genocide. The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said: ‘This date reminds us of the tragedy which the Armenian people survived in 1914-15, when over one million and a half of Armenians lost their lives. Such tragedies should not be wiped out from historical memory. If they are forgotten, they can be repeated.’

His Holiness added that Christians are running a terrible risk in the Middle East, North Africa and some other regions. They are being killed only because they are Christians. Speaking about the tragedy in Kessab, His Holiness noted that the Armenians had fallen victim to the extermination of peaceful population. He said, ‘We know about the suffering of our brothers in Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Forty-five churches in the Iraqi city of Mosul had been ruined, and Christians had been either killed, or ousted of the country.’

His Holiness underscored: ‘The tragedy of the Armenian people that happened a century ago makes us to comprehend that today it is also necessary to fight for human rights and religious freedom.

‘The Russians take the destiny of the Armenian people close to heart, as the history of our nations has been closely intertwined; therefore we feel solidarity, mutual love and support.’
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill noted that the Russian Orthodox Church had maintained good relations with the Armenian Apostolic Church and with the Catholic Patriarchate of Cilicia. He wished Catholicos-Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX God’s help in his labours and said: ‘I happened to visit Lebanon and meet with the Catholic Patriarchs. We talked about the hard situation of Christians in the Middle East, and I expressed concern of the Russian Church over the fact of Christians’ leaving the region. We must work together for the sake of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world.’

His Holiness Kirill is convinced that current events are an extra incentive for the development of relations among Christians of different nationalities and of common action in defence of their rights.

The head of the Armenian Catholic Church expressed solidarity with position of the Russian Orthodox Church on the situation in the Middle East and in other regions.

He spoke about his participation in the commemorative events and added: ‘If we do not cooperate and work together, the tragedies like the Armenian genocide will continue in the entire world, especially in the Middle East.’

Catholicos-Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX also spoke about the great sacrifice of the Armenians, Russians and other people in the 20th century, and about people who are giving their lives for Christ.

He also noted that Christians in the Middle East looked at Russia as at their defender and the main hope. Catholicos-Patriarch expressed gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill for support of the persecuted Christians in the Middle East and in other regions.


  1. I'm not surprised. The Armenians are mostly Miaphysite Armenian Apostolic or Armenian Catholic. Armenia generally regards Russia favorably, given the Turkish alternative. The Oriental Churches (i.e. non-Byzantine and non-Western) tend to have open-door policies on intercommunion as well (some Malankara Orthodox once told me "[the Malankara Catholics] are just like us, but are under different bishops").

  2. "I'm rather surprised to see the head of the Russian Church meeting with a "uniate" leader."

    Really? Did you forget about this?

    1. I did not. As you know Maronites claim to have never left Rome and there is no Orthodox counterpart to them. Also, considering how Latinized they have become few people could see them otherwise.

    2. Yes... The Maronites are in a class of their own. When the Eastern Catholic Churches began de-Latinizing there were four categories: those who had little or no de-Latinizing to do (Coptics and Malankara), those who did so relatively easily with some resistance (most of the Byzantines), those who were split on the issue and ended up partially de-Latinizing as a compromise (the Syro-Malabar), and the Maronites who didn't know where to even start.

  3. When Kirill visited Syria and Lebanon in 2011, he met with all the Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East, something he alludes to in the article linked. The Russian Church has done a very good job of keeping constant high-level contacts with all the Middle Eastern churches since the crisis in Syria began.