YEREVAN, Armenia -- Pope John Paul II, appearing frail and tired, was unable to complete his speech after arriving Tuesday in the capital of Armenia. A priest finished reading the prepared text, as the 81-year-old pontiff sat slumped on a throne.
John Paul's plane landed at Yerevan's Zvartnots airport for a three-day visit to pay tribute to the country's ancient Christian church. He had come from Astana, the capital of Kazakstan, where he had spent four days.
The pontiff, who retains an active travel schedule despite declining health, was stooped as he exited the Air Kazakstan jet into on a sunny day with the temperature around 72. An aide several times pushed back a part of the pope's white garments that was blowing around his head in a brisk breeze.
Later, on a visit to the Armenian Apostolic Church's seat in Echmiadzin, about 15 miles west of Yerevan, the pope's hands shook seemingly uncontrollably as he was reading his speech. A priest finished reading the text.
The pope suffers from symptoms of Parkinson's disease such as trembling hands and slurred speech.
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