To His Eminence Aram Ateşian
Patriarchal Vicar General and Grand Sacristan of the
Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul


It was with deep sadness that I have learned of the death of His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian Apostolic Patriarch of Constantinople. Personally and on behalf of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, I express our deepest sympathy and closeness in prayer to the episcopate, clergy and faithful of the Apostolic Armenian Church in Turkey for the loss of their spiritual father.

The Pontifical Council calls to mind with sentiments of gratitude and esteem the commitment of Patriarch Mesrob II to Christian unity, recalling in friendship that he studied at the Ecumenical Department of the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in Rome. His commitment was expressed in gestures such as his visit to Saint Pope John Paul II in 1999 for the opening of the Holy Door at St Peter’s Basilica for the Great Jubilee of 2000, and his visit to Rome in 2002 during which he attended the Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Pope and met with His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper. In 2006 His Beatitude received Pope Benedict XVI in the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral in Istanbul, the same place where Patriarch Shnork Kalustian welcomed his predecessors Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. Despite the serious illness of His Beatitude, Pope Francis affirmed the enduring mutual friendship between the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church by visiting him in hospital during his apostolic journey to Turkey in 2014.

 We set our eyes to the glory of Jesus Christ, whose victory over death is our redemption and we make ours the words of the psalmist: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul…  and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long” (Ps 23:1-2; 6).

Please accept, Your Eminence, this expression of our fraternal communion and prayerful solidarity.

Requiescat in pace


Kurt Cardinal Koch