Papal envoy travels to Armenia in aftermath of 44-working day war

Rome Newsroom, Dec 14, 2020 / 01:00 pm MT (CNA).- A papal envoy traveled to

.- A papal envoy traveled to Armenia final 7 days to discuss with civil and Christian leaders in the aftermath of the country’s 44-working day war with Azerbaijan more than the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area.

Archbishop José Bettencourt, the papal nuncio to Ga and Armenia, who is based mostly in the Georgian money of Tbilisi, visited Armenia Dec. 5-9.
Upon his return, the nuncio expressed problem that considerably remains unresolved a month right after the Russian-brokered ceasefire negotiations and appealed for the preservation of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Christian cultural heritage.

“The ‘ceasefire’ signed on Nov. 10 is only the commencing for a peace settlement, which turns out to be complicated and precarious for all that continues to be unresolved on the floor of negotiations. The international group is definitely termed to perform a primary purpose,” Bettencourt reported in an interview with ACI Stampa, CNA’s Italian-language news partner.

The nuncio pointed to the part of the “Minsk Group” of the Organization for Safety and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) — a team that is led by representatives from the United States, France and Russia — as critical to mediating “compromises to decrease the tension” as a result of diplomatic usually means.

In the course of his trip to Armenia, the papal diplomat fulfilled with Armenian President Armen Sargsyan for just about an hour. He also took time to meet refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh, to “convey hope” and the pope’s solidarity.

“After Holy Mass was provided in the Armenian Catholic Cathedral of Gyumri, I had the chance to fulfill some people who experienced fled from the war regions. I saw on their faces the soreness of fathers and mothers who battle each individual day to give a upcoming of hope to their youngsters. There had been seniors and infants, a number of generations united by a tragedy,” Bettencourt reported.

An estimated 90,000 folks fled their properties in the Nagorno-Karabakh region amid the missile and drone strikes all through the 6-week conflict, according to Armenia’s overseas minister. Given that the ceasefire agreed on on Nov. 10, some have returned to their homes, but many additional have not.

The papal nuncio frequented the Missionaries of Charity who treatment for some of these refugees in Spitak and visited a Catholic clinic in Ashotsk, northern Armenia.

“According to Archbishop Minassian, at the instant there are at minimum 6,000 orphaned children who have lost just one of their mother and father throughout the conflict. The Catholic community of Gyumri by yourself and the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception welcomed a massive variety of families, guaranteeing them a roof and the required for every day existence,” he explained.

“I have heard from the religious bloody and cruel tales of violence and hatred,” he additional.

Although in Armenia, Bettencourt achieved with the patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Karekin II.

“I fulfilled the Patriarch and I immediately felt the struggling of the pastor,” he mentioned. “It is a profound suffering, palpable even in the physical functions of the patriarch, which it is challenging for a non-Armenian to fully comprehend.”

As nuncio to Armenia, Bettencourt mentioned that he employed to travel to the nation once or 2 times a thirty day period, but he had been not able to go to the nation considering the fact that March due to the closure of the borders between Ga and Armenia simply because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was a good sacrifice for me not to be able to fulfill these brothers in the course of the past months, but I was entirely not able to,” he said. 

“On the first situation I had, hence, I went to Armenia, specially in the aftermath of the stop of the armed hostilities, to provide the Holy Father’s greetings and solidarity.”

Bettencourt’s journey coincided with a stop by by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, a delegate of the Armenian Apostolic Church, to the Vatican, wherever he fulfilled with officials at the Pontifical Council for Culture final week to discuss about the preservation of Christian heritage in Artsakh. 

Artsakh is the ancient historical identify of the Nagorno-Karabakh territory. The spot is acknowledged by the United Nations as belonging to Azerbaijan, a predominately Muslim place, but is administered by ethnic Armenians, who typically belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, one particular of 6 autocephalous church buildings of the Oriental Orthodox communion.

Armenia, which has a populace of pretty much a few million, borders Georgia, Azerbaijan, Artsakh, Iran and Turkey. It prides itself on obtaining been the initially nation to undertake Christianity as a state religion, in the year 301. The disputed territory has experienced an Armenian identity for millennia and with that a abundant Christian historical past.

The mainly Muslim composition of Azerbaijan and the background of Armenian Christianity is a factor in the conflict. The dispute in excess of the territory has been ongoing since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with a war fought over the area in 1988-1994.

The papal nuncio claimed that the Holy See was hopeful that all get-togethers involved would do everything attainable to maintain and safeguard the “incomparable artistic and cultural heritage” of Nagorno-Karabakh, which belongs “not only to a nation, but to the entire of humanity” and is less than the security of UNESCO, the U.N.’s educational, scientific and cultural agency.

“Beyond the service of charity, the Catholic Church desires higher than all to convey hope to these peoples. The Holy Father, individually, all through the 44 times of conflict elevated a heartfelt attraction for peace in the Caucasus 4 occasions and invited the universal Church to ask the Lord for the longed-for reward of an end to conflicts,” Bettencourt mentioned.