ANCA Issues Statement on Pope Reaffirmation of Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON—Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian offered the following comment regarding Pope Francis’ statement reaffirming the Armenian Genocide, made earlier today during an unprecedented Vatican Mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of that crime. “Turkey underestimates, at its own risk, the power of our worldwide movement—a profoundly moral movement inspired by truth and driven by our shared hope for a fair and enduring peace based on a just international resolution of the Armenian Genocide,” said Hamparian.

Pope Francis reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide, during an unprecedented Vatican mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of that crime.
Pope Francis reaffirmed the Armenian Genocide during an unprecedented Vatican Mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of that crime

In remarks delivered at the opening of the Commemorative Mass, Pope Francis noted, “In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the 20th century,’ struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly, and even defenseless children and the infirm were murdered.”

Pope Francis went on to state that “It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honor their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”

The full text of Pope Francis’ remarks is provided below.

At the end of the Mass, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, thanked Pope Francis for his reaffirmation of truth, and stated, “International law spells out clearly that condemnation, recognition, and reparation of a genocide are closely interconnected.” He went on to note that the Armenian cause is a cause of justice, and that justice is a gift of God. “Therefore, the violation of justice is a sin against God.”

In his remarks, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, stated, “Our ancient people were uprooted from their cradle and historic homeland and scattered around the world. Our centuries-old Christian heritage was torn down, destroyed, and seized. However, nothing—neither suffering, nor persecution or even death—forced our people to renounce their sacred faith.”

The video of the Centennial Mass and proceedings is available with English subtitles on the ANCA’s YouTube Channel:

The English translation of the Pope’s remarks, as published by Vatican Radio, is below.

***

Greeting of the Holy Father

Mass for the Faithful of the Armenian Rite

April 12, 2015

On a number of occasions I have spoken of our time as a time of war, a third world war which is being fought piecemeal, one in which we daily witness savage crimes, brutal massacres and senseless destruction. Sadly, today too we hear the muffled and forgotten cry of so many of our defenseless brothers and sisters who, on account of their faith in Christ or their ethnic origin, are publicly and ruthlessly put to death—decapitated, crucified, burned alive—or forced to leave their homeland.

Today too we are experiencing a sort of genocide created by general and collective indifference, by the complicit silence of Cain, who cries out: “What does it matter to me? Am I my brother’s keeper?” (cf. Gen 4:9; Homily in Redipuglia, Sept. 13, 2014).

In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered “the first genocide of the 20th century” (JOHN PAUL II and KAREKIN II, Common Declaration, Etchmiadzin, Sept. 27, 2001), struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly, and even defenseless children and the infirm were murdered. The remaining two were perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism. And more recently there have been other mass killings, like those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi, and Bosnia. It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood. It seems that the enthusiasm generated at the end of the Second World War has dissipated and is now disappearing. It seems that the human family has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror, so that today too there are those who attempt to eliminate others with the help of a few and with the complicit silence of others who simply stand by. We have not yet learned that “war is madness,” “senseless slaughter” (cf. Homily in Redipuglia, Sept. 13, 2014).

Dear Armenian Christians, today, with hearts filled with pain but at the same time with great hope in the risen Lord, we recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forebears had to endure. It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honor their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!

I greet you with affection and I thank you for your witness.

With gratitude for his presence, I greet Mr. Serge Sarkisian, the President of the Republic of Armenia.

My cordial greeting goes also to my brother Patriarchs and Bishops: His Holiness Kerekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics; and Catholicosates of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Patriarchate of the Armenian Catholic Church.

In the firm certainty that evil never comes from God, who is infinitely good, and standing firm in faith, let us profess that cruelty may never be considered God’s work and, what is more, can find absolutely no justification in his Holy Name. Let us continue this celebration by fixing our gaze on Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, victor over death and evil!

 

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles written and submitted by members of the community, which make up our community bulletin board.

6 Comments

  1. This Pope is wonderful and amazing to courageously speak the TRUTH, as so many other world leaders have failed to do.
    Bravo to the Pope!

  2. Yes, thank you. Our people have been living their lives as best they can in foreign countries, but always under a dark cloud; for some distant and for others more near. An unhealed dark past that no one would acknowledge except in wispers. Until now.

  3. Did anyone notice associated press released a statement right away saying it was a political move and now turkey is upset.. The reporters were from Turkey and all the news media picked up on it.

  4. It should be noted that the transcript of the Pope’s full statement could not be found on the search engines, other that here.
    Thank you Armenian Weekly!
    g

  5. “POPE… PRONOUNCED WORD GENOCIDE”
    On Sunday April 12, 2015…after hundred years…

    No one said it before 
    You… Saint Pope Francis… said it clearly 
    Standing fearless under your godly arch.

    Everyone escaped… fearing Turkish Scimitars
    That will reach them and trim their necks
    Even God left us to suffer alone…!

    If Jesus gave his life to save mankind 
    We gave 1.5 million lives 
    Not to betray his heart.
    Can we give more …racing alone?

    Pope, you are the savior of this century
    Your sacred phrases started healing some of our scars 
    In so many ways…difficult to explain …

    We are happy you have arrived 
    Someone sent you to us to tell the word 
    How much we suffered to hear that painful word “genocide”.
    To de-flame our smoking hearts…

    After the First Genocide… 
    Many Genocides followed of many types 
    Genocide of Language, Identity, Culture, Faith, Ethnicity… 
    Not reported yet in any history…
    Committed by well-known inhumane, savage minded-hands.

    Dr. Sylva Portoian

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