Pope Francis slammed the “complicit silence” of world powers that could intervene to stop the persecution of Christians, in his homily at morning Mass on September 7.
Concelebrating the Eucharistic liturgy with Armenian Catholic Patriarch Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan, the Pontiff recalled that the Armenian people suffered “one of the great persecutions” in the early 20th century, when there were “persecuted, chased away from their homeland, helpless, in the desert.”
Persecution is a constant in Church history, the Pope observed. In fact, he said, “there is no Christianity without persecution.” But in our era, persecution is even more common than it was for the early Church. The Holy Father remarked on the horrible violence by terrorists. “We think of the Egyptian martyrs, recently, on the Libyan coast, who were slaughtered while pronouncing the name of Jesus.”
During the Mass, the Pope shared Communion with the new Armenian Patriarch, confirming the full communion of the Armenian Catholic Church with the Holy See. The Pope had extended his recognition to Patriarch Gregory Peter XX in July, shortly after he was elected by the Synod of Bishops of the Armenian Church to succeed Patriarch Nerses Peter XIX Tarmouni, who died late in June.