The Rev. Grigor Mkrtchian is dealing with the biggest logistical challenge of his life, and he could not be happier. The leader of the Roman Catholic community of the Armenian city of Gyumri is involved in preparations for an open-air mass that Pope Francis will celebrate there during his visit to Armenia later this week.
“It will be a great historic event,” the soft-spoken priest said of the planned June 25 liturgy. “But it’s also very natural that the Holy Father has turned his attention to Armenia, the world’s first Christian nation.”
The three-day visit, which starts on June 24, will underscore Armenia’s deepening relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, a process that began shortly after the South Caucasus republic regained its independence in 1991.
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Emil Danielyan is a journalist based in Yerevan.