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Canonization of the Armenian Genocide victims

Armenian Patriarch Karekin II has recently issued an encyclical letter announcing the canonization of the Armenian genocide victims. The event will be held on 23 April, on the occasion of the centennial of the Armenian genocide. The next day will become a memorial day for the nation’s “Holy Martyrs.”

“The centennial of the Armenian genocide is before us and our souls resound with a powerful call for justice and truth that will not be silenced,” writes Karekin II in the encyclical letter. ” Each day of 2015 is a day of remembrance and devotion for our people, a spiritual journey to the memorials of our martyrs in the Homeland and the Diaspora, before which we humbly kneel in prayer with offerings of incense for the souls of our innocent victims, who abide in unmarked graves, having accepted death rather than rejecting their faith and nation.”

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” In 1915, and for years following, Ottoman Turkey committed genocide against our people. In Western Armenia – on our native soil – in the Armenian homeland and in Armenian communities throughout Turkey, one and one half million sons and daughters of our nation were subjected to slaughter, famine and disease, as they were deported and forced to march to their deaths. Thousands of monasteries and churches were desecrated and destroyed. National institutions and schools were razed and ruined. Our spiritual and cultural treasures were uprooted and obliterated. Western Armenia, where for millennia – from the time of Noah – our people lived, created and built their history and culture, had been wrested from its native population. A century ago – when the fragments of the Armenian nation, having lost their patrimony, were scattered all over the world, and while Eastern Armenia was waging a life-and-death struggle for survival against Turkish invaders – it was hard to believe in the future of the Armenian people.”

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“Nevertheless a new dawn came. By the grace of the Lord, our people rose up from death” – continues Karekin II – “We created though others destroyed our creations. We continued to live though others wanted us dead. You, O Lord, willed that our people – condemned to death by a genocidal plan – should live and rise again, so that we might raise this just cause before the conscience of humanity and the law of nations, to free the world of the callous indifference of Pilate and the criminal denial of Turkey. ” “The blood of our innocent martyrs and the suffering of our people cry out for justice. Our destroyed shrines, the violation of our national rights, the falsification and distortion of our history all cry out for justice.”- The Patriarch’s words thunder- “Having survived genocide, our people believed and continue to believe that the multitude of righteous countries, national and civic organizations, and individuals who have recognized and condemned the Armenian Genocide will be joined by others who believe that the affirmation of truth and justice are the prerequisite and guarantor of a peaceful world free of enmity and violence.”

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In his letter the Patriarch has also expressed ” gratitude to those countries and kind peoples who accepted the children of our nation as brothers and sisters. These examples of justice and humanitarianism are luminous pages in the history of mankind. They shall always be remembered and appreciated for generations, and benefit the peaceful, secure and congenial life of the world”
“As Pontiff of the Armenians” – the Patriarch has announced – “it is spiritually consoling to announce to our people that on April 23, 2015, during the Divine Liturgy, our Holy Church will offer a special service canonizing its sons and daughters who accepted martyrdom as saints for faith and for Homeland, and will proclaim April 24 as the day of remembrance for the Holy Martyrs of the Genocide. ”
“Let us make fruitful the centennial anniversary by valuing our peoples’ 100-year-long path of travails and rebirth, so that our children, recognizing the heroic will of their grandparents and parents to live and create, and their commissions undertaken for the sake of nation and homeland, create the bright day of our native land and our people dispersed throughout the world. Let us transform the remembrance of our martyrs into energy and strength in our spiritual and national life, and before God and all people, illuminate the path by our righteous course to guide our way toward the realization of justice and our sacred aspirations. ” has also added the Patriarch .

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And concluding the letter, Karekin II writes “May love and brotherhood, justice and truth reign over humankind, and may the ways of the righteous radiate, guide and spread the light until the dawn of a new day brings peace and happiness to all the world.”

And also in Rome …

The great event taking place on 23 April, will follow the Mass which Pope Francis is supposed to celebrate on 12 April to commemorate the mass killings of Armenians, according to Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires Mario Poli‘s announcement made last August , during a mass in the Armenian Catholic Parish of Our Lady of Narek in Buenos Aires. In June 2013, Pope Francis defined the Armenian genocide as the first major genocide of the XX century, during an official meeting with a delegation led by Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics. The Pope’s statement elicited an immediate reaction from Turkey. The Turkish Foreign Ministry delivered Turkey’s views on the issue and expressed disappointment. (S.L.)

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