VATICAN CITY, JAN 21, 1997 (VIS) - On the occasion of the official visit January 23-26 of the Catholicos of Cilicia, His Holiness Aram I, to John Paul II, yesterday afternoon the Holy See Press Office published an explanatory note from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on the Catholicosate of Cilicia, the Armenian Apostolic Church in Lebanon, relations with the Church of Rome and with other Churches.

"Catholicos" comes from the Greek and means "universal." It is currently used to refer to the heads of the ancient Orthodox Churches of Armenia, Assyria and Georgia.

"Armenia," says the note, "adhered to the faith of Christ around 301. ... The Armenians consider themselves the first Christian nation." Later on it observes that, after various vicissitudes over the years, including that of the rejection of the Christological formulations of the Council of Chalcedon of 451, the Catholicosate of Cilicia was founded in 1441 and, at the same time, two independent jurisdictions, Etchmiadzin and Cilicia, were born.

In 1956 the Catholicos of Cilicia, Zareh I, "fully committed the Catholicosate to the ecumenical movement at all levels. Cilicia entered the World Council of Churches in 1962, and subsequently, responding to the invitations of Popes John XXIII and Paul VI, the Catholicosate sent observers to the Second Vatican Council."

"Zareh I's successor, His Holiness Khoren I ... travelled to Rome in 1967 to meet with Paul VI. ... From this first encounter was born mutual recognition of the true ecclesial nature of the two Churches, their faith, their sacraments, their saints, their ministries and their mission in today's world."

The note also deals broadly with the history of ecumenical relations with the eastern Orthodox Churches.

More recently, concludes the note, "during the annual meeting of the 'Council of the Seven Catholic Patriarchs of the East' this past October 14, Catholicos Aram I, the Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius IV, and the Syro- Orthodox Patriarch Zakka I Iwas signed, with their Catholic brothers, a pastoral accord on mixed marriages and a joint project for Catholic-Orthodox catechesis."

av Webmaster publisert 31.03.2006, sist endret 10.03.2011 - 02:41