Pope celebrates Santa Marta Mass with Armenian Patriarch

2015-09-07 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ morning Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence on Monday was an extraordinary occasion: it saw the recently-elected Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, His Beatitude Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan, concelebrate the liturgy with the Holy Father, and exchange with the Pope the concrete sign of ecclesial communion par excellence.

A statement from the Armenian Patriarchate describes the scene during the Liturgy: “[At the Rite of Communion], the Holy Father ... elevates the paten with the Body of Christ and offers it to the Patriarch. The two hold the Host high with their four hands. The Holy Father then raises the chalice with the Blood of Christ, offers it to the Patriarch, and they with their four hands keep it elevated. After a moment of silence, the Holy Father offers the Body of Christ, and together they communicate. The Holy Father takes the Blood of Christ from the chalice, then offers it to the Patriarch.”

“‘Communion’ is a concept held in great honor in the early Church and also today,” the statement explains. “[I]t does not mean some vague sentiment, but an organic reality, which requires a legal form and that is at the same time animated by charity.

The statement goes on to say, “The Ecclesiastica communio, which the Holy Father Francis granted to His Beatitude Gregory Peter XX with Letter of July 25, now finds expression in the exchange of the Sacred Species, which confirms the Eucharistic communion between the Bishop and the Church of Rome, who presides in charity, and the Patriarchal Church of Cilicia of the Armenians, through its Pater et Caput.

(from Vatican Radio)