- Title: ARMENIA: POPE JOHN PAUL II ARRIVES IN YEREVAN.
- Date: 25th September 2001
- Summary: (W4) YEREVAN, ARMENIA (SEPTEMBER 25, 2001) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. LV/GV: WIDE VIEW AIRPLANE ON TARMAC/ RED CARPET/ BANNER HANGING OVER BUILDING READING, "WELCOME TO ARMENIA"/ HONOUR GUARD (3 SHOTS) 0.17 2. GV/LV: VARIOUS POPE JOHN PAUL II DISEMBARKING AIRPLANE (3 SHOTS) 0.55 3. CU: FLAGS 1.03 4. MV: POPE WALKING TOWARDS PODIUM 1.15 5. LV/GV: VARIOUS POPE STANDING DURING WELCOMING CEREMONY / HONOUR GUARDS (7 SHOTS) 1.57 6. MV: HEAD OF THE ARMENIAN CHURCH GAREGIN II, SEATED, SPEAKING 2.19 7. GV: (SOUNDBITE) (English) POPE JOHN PAUL II, SAYING: "Armenia has become a member of the council of Europe and this indicates your determination to work with (inaudible) to implement a democratic reference of the country's institutions needed to guarantee respect of the rights of its citizens." 9. MEDIA 2.58 8. GV/LV/PAN: VARIOUS AS POPE GETS INTO OFFICIAL VEHICLE/ CONVOY DEPARTS (2 SHOTS) 3.24 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 10th October 2001 13:00
- Location: YEREVAN, ARMENIA
- Country: Armenia
- Reuters ID: LVACFVVE2W3AOQZHWISNSBZEX94C
- Story Text: Pope John Paul II has arrived in Armenia, the world's
first Christian state, to bring a message of tolerance and
reconciliation among faiths after the suicide attacks that
killed up to 7,000 people in the United States.
The Pope flew into the ex-Soviet republic from
Kazakhstan on Tuesday (September 25) on the second leg of a
trip which has been dominated by his concerns that the world
may slide into war following the attacks in New York and near
Washington on September 11.
As the United States builds up forces within striking
distance of Afghanistan, the Vatican said on Monday (September
24) it would understand if Washington had to resort to force
to defend its citizens from future threats. But it preferred
a non-violent solution and wanted any action to be a response
to terrorism and not aimed against Islam, Vatican chief
spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.
In mostly Muslim Kazakhstan, the Pope spoke of the great
respect the Catholic Church had for Islam. In Armenia, he is
expected to urge reconciliation among Christian denominations.
Armenia adopted Christianity in 301, 12 years before
Emperor Constantine's decree granting tolerance to the faith
within the Roman Empire. The Armenian Church, to which more
than 90 percent of Armenians pledge allegiance, broke away
from the Vatican in the sixth century.
At the airport of the capital Yerevan, the Pope said he
had come to honour the Armenian Apostolic Church on its
The Armenian Church has helped preserve a sense of
identity during centuries of conflict with neighbouring
Muslims which left Armenia with a shrunken homeland and a
population dispersed across the world.
The Church survived repression during 70 years of Soviet
atheist rule and still serves to bind Armenia's estimated
three million population with a diaspora of some seven
The 81-year-old Pontiff, who has, at times, looked
extremely tired during the trip, was met by Armenian President
Robert Kocharyan and the head of the Armenian Church Garegin
II at the airport on Tuesday.
As the Pope embarked on the second leg of his 95th mission
outside Italy he spoke about democracy in the country.
"Armenia has become a member of the council of Europe and
this indicates your determination to implement a democratic
reference of the country's institutions needed to guarantee
respect of the rights of its citizens," said the Pontiff.
He also said the 20th century, which also saw Armenia
fight a 1988-1994 war with neighbour Azerbaijan, was a time of
"unspeakable terror and suffering" for Armenians but he
stopped short of using the word genocide.
Shortly after landing in Yerevan the Pope John Paul was
driven in an armoured car to Etchmiadzin, Armenia's Holy See,
where he was to hold an official meeting and prayers with
The Pope is due to lay a wreath on Wednesday (September 26)
at a memorial to 1.5 million Armenians killed in what Armenia
says was a genocide by Ottoman Turks during World War One.
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