WASHINGTON—His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern United States, offered the opening prayer of the U.S. House of Representatives on Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day, April 24, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) welcomed Archbishop Choloyan to offer the opening prayer, which was held at the request of Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline (D) and at the invitation of the House Chaplain, Rev. Patrick J. Conroy. “Today, we are mindful of another April 24—98 years ago, the beginning of the genocide of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, the first genocide among so many that followed in the 20th century,” said Archbishop Choloyan in his opening prayer. “We beseech You, O Lord, to bless this land of America and its people. Empower them to continue serving Your goodness as they did when they sheltered the remnants of the Armenian nation.”
In moving remarks on the House floor, Rep. Cicilline thanked the Archbishop Choloyan, stating, “On behalf of the Armenian community in my home state of Rhode Island, I am honored to welcome the archbishop here today and to join him in remembering the victims of the Armenian Genocide, the systematic extermination of Armenians living under the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. I join members of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues in urging that our government finally recognize the Armenian Genocide as a historical fact.”
Archbishop Choloyan’s opening prayer and Congressman Cicilline’s remarks are available on the Congressman’s YouTube page at http://youtu.be/tMeBt1aCbLo.
Throughout the day, Archbishop Choloyan also met with a bipartisan group of legislators that included Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Representatives Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.). Archbishop Choloyan was joined in his Congressional visits by Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian, pastor of Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church in Bethesda, Md., ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian, as well as ANCA Legislative Affairs Director Raffi Karakashian and ANCA Capital Gateway Fellow Harout Doukmajian.
In the evening, Archbishop Choloyan joined several hundred Armenian-Americans from across the U.S. and offered the benediction at the annual Congressional Observance of the Armenian Genocide, organized by the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, with the participation of Armenian-American groups as well as the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia and the Office of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic in the U.S.
To take a pictorial tour of Archbishop Choloyan’s efforts in support of U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, visit the ANCA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151467154326859.1073741833.16968936858&type=3.
The text of the opening prayer follows, and can also be read at http://chaplain.house.gov/archive/index.html?id=1932.
Opening Prayer at the U.S. House of Representatives
April 24, 2013
His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Almighty God, we seek Your holy guidance in all our endeavors, especially in the deliberations of our leaders in this noble body, because strong and wise leadership is essential for the wellbeing of nations.
Today, we are mindful of another April 24––98 years ago, the beginning of the genocide of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, the first genocide among so many that followed in the 20th century.
We beseech You, O Lord, to bless this land of America and its people. Empower them to continue serving Your goodness as they did when they sheltered the remnants of the Armenian nation.
Give Your children wisdom, love, and compassion that they may live and prosper with the gifts of Your Spirit––justice, truth, freedom, and righteousness. Your name will be praised forever and ever.