Pope Francis has embarked on a three-day visit to Armenia, where he is expected to voice the Vatican's concern with the plight of Christians in the war-torn Middle East.
Armenia has welcomed tens of thousands of refugees from persecution in Syria and Iraq.
Highlights of the papal trip will include a visit to Armenia's main memorial to the 1915-17 killings of more than a million Armenians by the Ottoman empire, a meeting with members of the country's small Roman Catholic community, and the release of two doves in the direction of Mount Ararat from the Khor Virap sanctuary near the border with Turkey.
The mountain was Armenian until 1915 and is now located inside Turkey. It features in the Bible as the place where Noah's Ark supposedly came to rest.
Francis is the second pope to visit Armenia since it emerged as an independent state from the the Soviet Union.
Based on reporting by AFP