CWN - June 25 was the second day of Pope Francis’s three-day apostolic journey to Armenia, a nation described as the world’s first Christian nation because of its acceptance of the Christian faith in the early fourth century.

Today, 93% of Armenians are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, an Oriental Orthodox church that ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451. 6% of Armenians are Catholic.

Pope Francis began his schedule of public events on June 25 with a visit to Tsitsernakaberd, the Armenian Genocide memorial. There, he prayed in silence, laid down a wreath, and met with descendants of Armenian refugees housed by Pope Pius XI in the Apostolic Palace in the 1920s.

The Pope then flew to Gyumri, Armenia’s second-largest city, and celebrated an outdoor Mass. During his homily, he described memory, faith, and merciful love as “three stable foundations upon which we can tirelessly build and rebuild the Christian life” and paid tribute to St. Gregory of Narek, the Armenian doctor of the Church, as “a great herald of divine mercy.”

After visiting the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic cathedrals in Gyumri, the Pope flew back to Yerevan, the nation’s capital and largest city, where he took part in an evening ecumenical prayer vigil for peace.

“With great joy, we are walking together on a journey that has already taken us far, and we look confidently towards the day when by God’s help we shall be united around the altar of Christ’s sacrifice in the fullness of Eucharistic communion,” Pope Francis said in his address. “As we pursue that greatly desired goal, we are joined in a common pilgrimage; we walk with one another with sincere trust in our fellow pilgrims, putting aside all suspicion and mistrust.”

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Teachings of Christ

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The soul that really loves God and Christ, though it may do ten thousand righteousnesses, esteems itself as having wrought nothing, by reason of its insatiable aspiration after God. Though it should exhaust the body with fastings, with watchings, its attitude towards the virtues is as if it had not yet even begun to labour for them.

St. Macarius the Great