Pope John Paul II began his two-day visit to Armenia yesterday. He was welcomed on his arrival from Kazakhstan, in Yerevan, by President Robert Kocharian and the leader of the Apostolic Church, Catholicos Karekin II. During the trip he will attend celebrations of the country's 1,700 years of Christianity. The head of Russian Orthodox church was also in the country to take part in celebrations - but did not attend the reception for the Pope. In his official greeting, Catholicos Karekin II said: "We are all parts of one Body of Christ" and expressed the hope that that the Pope's mission would further reinforce collaboration and fraternity. The Pope visited the Apostolic cathedral in Etchmiadzin, which was seen by many as a symbolic gesture of reconciliation, 1.500 years after Armenia's split with the rest of the Christian community. Today he plans to lay a wreath at Yerevan in memory of the 300,000 Armenians massacred between 1915 and 1920.
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