Pope Greets New Ambassadors From Armenia And Kazakhstan

VATICAN, Sep 17 (CWNews.com) - On Monday, Pope John Paul II welcomed new ambassadors from each of the countries he will visit next week: Kazakhstan and Armenia. The ambassador from Kazakhstan is the first diplomat from that country fully accredited as an ambassador to the Holy See.

As he accepted the diplomatic credentials of Edward Nalbandian, the new ambassador from Armenia, the Pope spoke of "the joy with which I am preparing to visit your country." He will be in Armenia from September 25-27. The Holy Father also mentioned the "cordial relations" that have prevailed between Armenia and the Holy See, and "the dialogue and the march toward unity" that have brought the Catholic Church and Armenian Apostolic Church closer. Finally the Pope conveyed his greetings to the Armenian Catholic community under Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX of Cilicia.

The Armenian ambassador, in his remarks, observed that Armenia is "a young republic but an ancient country." He said that the new government hoped to realize the ancient tradition of Armenia as a crossroads of civilizations and a catalyst for cooperation among its neighbors.

In greeting Nurlan Danenov, the first ambassador from Kazakhstan, Pope John Paul stressed the need to appreciate differences among cultures, in order to avoid the misunderstandings that can produce international conflicts. He spoke of the "great religious and denominational diversity" of the former Soviet republic, and voiced his hope that the newly independent land would uphold the principles of religious freedom and respect for all individuals.

Vatican officials have indicated that there are no special concerns about security during the Pope's trip to Kazakhstan and Armenia. Most Islamic groups view the Pope with some favor, since he has spoken out for justice on behalf of the Palestinian people, and lamented the bombing of and sanctions against Iraq. However, the exiled Saudi terrorist leader Osama bin Laden is widely believed to have planned an unsuccessful effort to assassinate the Pope in 1998.

Catholic World News Service - Daily News Briefs
17. september 2001

av Webmaster publisert 20.09.2001, sist endret 20.09.2001 - 18:31