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Pope Francis leaves Armenia

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Pope Francis leaves Armenia

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On his last day in Armenia Pope Francis attended an open air liturgy in Etchmiadzin.

Unusually the ceremony was led by the head of Armenia’s main Apostolic church, Karekin the second, and not the pope.

Armenia’s church split from Rome in the fifth century following a religious dispute.

The pope has been involved in his own dispute during the trip, upsetting Turkey, by calling their mass killing of one and half million Armenians in 1915 a genocide on the first day of his visit.

Pope Francis departed from a prepared speech to specifically use the word genocide.

Turkey’s deputy prime minister promptly accused him of having a Crusader mentality.

The pope first used the genocide label last year in a ceremony at the Vatican and Turkey angrily responded by recalling its ambassador to the Vatican for 10 months.

The pope, who delighted his hosts by referring several times to the slaughters and visiting Yerevan’s genocide memorial, has urged Armenia and Turkey to seek reconciliation.

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