Historic Reconciliation: The Roman Catholic and Armenian Churches Resolve Centuries-Old Dispute

Image by armenianchurch.org.uk

On December 14, 1996, a historic declaration was made that marked the end of a theological dispute between the Roman Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church, one that had persisted for nearly 1,500 years. Reuters captured this momentous occasion, reporting on the agreement reached by Pope John Paul II and Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians.

The controversy in question stemmed from the Council of Chalcedon held in 451 AD, which had long been a point of contention. The council had condemned certain Christological views, including those held by the Armenian Church, which emphasized Christ’s divine nature over his human one.

The joint declaration addressed this ancient disagreement, affirming the dual nature of Jesus Christ as both divine and human. It was a momentous step towards unity, emphasizing that past controversies should not impede the churches’ mission in contemporary times.

This reconciliation was more than a theological resolution; it was a testament to the enduring spirit of dialogue and understanding. It underscored a shared commitment to moving beyond historical divisions towards a future built on mutual respect and cooperation.


Here are some authoritative sources that provide information on the reconciliation between the Roman Catholic and Armenian churches in 1996:

  1. Vatican Official Document: The Common Declaration by Pope John Paul II and Karekin I can be found on the Vatican’s official website here1.
  2. CNEWA: A Catholic Near East Welfare Association article discussing ecumenical relations, including the 1996 event here2.
  3. Vatican Press: A brief history of the Church in Armenia, mentioning the December 1996 declaration, available here3.

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