Catholicos Karekin II, left, flanked by Pope Francis, kisses a Holy Book as he visits the Apostolic Cathedral of Etchmiadzin in Yerevan, on June 24, 2016. / AFP / POOL / Andrew Medichini
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Pope Francis began his three-day visit to Armenia Friday with a denunciation of the mass killing of Armenians a century ago by Ottoman forces as "genocide," risking Turkey's fury.Francis is the second pope to visit Armenia since it re-emerged as an independent state from the ashes of the Soviet Union.John Paul II attended celebrations in 2001 marking 1,700 years of the adoption of Christianity in Armenia, which was the first country to have the faith as its official state religion.John Paul II was also the first pope to recognize the killing of Armenians as genocide, although he did so only in writing. In a video message to the Armenian people ahead of the trip, Francis said their history provoked both pain and admiration.
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