WCC Urges Participation in National Day of Prayer in Memory of Genocide

Armenian Genocide Observance, Easter Sunday Coincide on April 24, 2011

LOS ANGELES, Calif.—As we approach the holiest of days on the Christian calendar, a growing number of world religious leaders have called on people of good conscience throughout the United States to hold a National Day of Prayer on Sun., April 24, in honor of Easter and in commemoration of the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Logo for Resurrection and Recognition: National Day of Prayer on April 24

In an April 14 statement, the World Council of Churches (WCC) called on its member churches to join with Armenians on April 24 in a National Day of Prayer. “When Christians all over the world celebrate Easter on the same date this year, it will be an historic opportunity for all of us to pay tribute to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide,” said the appeal. “As the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian people observe the 96th year of the Armenian Genocide, the World Council of Churches and the Conference of Churches in Europe appeal to all member churches to commemorate the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide during their prayers and messages on Easter day 2011.”

The full text can be read here.

Armenian American religious leaders issued an appeal last week urging people of all faiths to pray with the Armenian nation on April 24.

“As children of the first nation to adopt Christianity as a state religion, on this Holy Day of Easter, we call upon our Christian brothers and sisters as well as people of all faiths to pray with us for the two million Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Pontians, and Greeks, who fell victim to the Ottoman Empire’s World War I-era genocide of its Christian minorities, and for justice and peace to prevail in our world,” read the statement, signed by Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Very Reverend Father Krikor Chahinian, and Reverend Joseph D. Matossian.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) welcomed the statement by the WCC and the appeal by Armenian American religious leaders. “We welcome the leadership of our faith community in calling for a National Day of Prayer this Easter that celebrates the miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his earthly death upon the cross, and also marks the rebirth of the Armenians and other Christian nations after their near destruction in the fires of hatred that consumed them in the Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

This year, in a startling irony, Easter Sunday falls on April 24–the day on which the world will commemorate the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23, when nearly 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by Ottoman Turkey.

A Facebook page, “Resurrection and Recognition: National Day of Prayer on April 24,” has been launched. Facebook members can join the page by going to www.facebook.com/dayofprayer and clicking “Like,” then sharing the page with their friends. Efforts are also underway to enlist the support and participation of non-Armenian Christian churches and organizations throughout the United States.

For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/dayofprayer.

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