Armenian Leaders Support National Christian Conference on Capitol Hill

Archbishop Choloyan, ANCA’s Aram Hamparian and Kate Nahapetian to Share Armenian Perspective at ‘In Defense of Christians’ Conference

‘In Defense of Christians’ second annual Capitol Hill Convention to take place Sept. 9-11.

WASHINGTON—The growing movement to secure U.S. government support for at-risk Christian communities throughout the Middle East will be showcased this week in Washington, D.C., as In Defense of Christians (IDC) kicks off its second annual conference on Capitol Hill, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA.)

The three-day convention, geared toward mobilizing grassroots advocacy in support of Christians in the Middle East, will kick-off on Wed., Sept. 9, with a press conference titled, “ISIS, Genocide, and an International Response.”

Joining ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian at this event will be, among others, Frank Wolf, a former U.S. Representative and the past co-chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress. Also speaking will be Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, the chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF); Dr. Gregory Stanton, the founder and president of Genocide Watch; Kirsten Evans, the executive director of IDC; and other top religious and human rights leaders. They are all expected to call attention to the systematic eradication of entire communities of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, and to draw parallels to the World War I-era genocides of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Syriac, and other Christians.

On Wednesday evening, His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern United States, will be joining the Catholic archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and a broad range of representatives of Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical, and other Christian denominations and rites for an Ecumenical Prayer Service at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill.

On Thurs., Sept. 10, a bi-partisan group of Senators and Representatives will share their efforts to mobilize Congress in support of Christians in the Middle East, followed by a talk on effective advocacy practices by a team of government affairs experts that includes the ANCA’s Kate Nahapetian and A Demand of Action’s Steve Oshana.

The convention will culminate in a Solidarity Dinner, which will feature remarks by U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein, Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus, Cardinal Wuerl, and Patriarch Youssef Younan, the patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians for the Syriac Catholic Church, among others.

The complete itinerary as well as registration information, is available on IDC’s dedicated convention website,

“The eradication of entire communities in the Middle East calls for a response from the international community,” said the IDC’s Kirsten Evans, in a press statement issued in the run-up to the landmark convention. “Acts of genocide and crimes against humanity in Iraq and Syria have been clearly documented. The response of the United States and the international community has been completely inadequate. In some cases, these atrocities are met with silence. This silence makes us all complicit.”

In Defense of Christians is a non-profit, non-partisan organization committed to the preservation and protection of Christians in the Middle East. IDC and its advocates from chapters across America will meet with leaders on Capitol Hill, engage the media and general public at the National Press Club, and seek to strengthen ties between American and Middle Eastern Christians. A key component will be urging members of Congress to recognize what has happened to Christians, Yazidis, and others as “genocide.”

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, joined with Christian leaders from throughout the Middle East at the inaugural IDC conference in 2014, offering a powerful call for unity in the face of the existential threat against historic Middle Eastern Christian communities. The video of Aram I’s remarks are available at

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. ONLY Russia today stands in defense of Middle Eastern Christians, and for sound geostrategic reasons of course. Syria’s fate was decided a very long time ago by Western, Israeli, Turkish and Saudi interests. Bashar Assad’s enemies wanted to neuter Syria politically (as they had done with Iraq and as they would later do with Libya and Yemen) because Syria was backed by Iran and Russia and because Syria was a vital bloodline for Lebanon’s Hezbollah. But Syria’s above mentioned enemies had a problem: Russia’s military presence in the country. Thus when Moscow began broadening its military ties with Damascus around 2008/2009, Syria’s enemies panicked and went into action. In my opinion, the current bloodletting in Syria essentially began five years ago when the head of the Russian GRU was mysteriously murdered while on an official trip to the country. A year after this murder, the Western, Turkish, Israeli and Saudi backed Islamic uprising known as the “Arab Spring” began in the country. Using the false flag serin gas attacks as an excuse, the aforementioned partnership came close to invading Syria exactly two years ago this month. Their invasion effort however was thwarted at the last moment by Moscow. Bashar Assad’s enemies have since used ISIS and the resulting refugee crisis in Europe as an excuse to try again. With ISIS headhunters on the scene and millions of refugees flooding into Europe, the Western world’s war weary sheeple have essentially been terrified into compliance. In other words, the “street” has been made to want an invasion of Syria. Seeing that Western powers and their allies are preparing to make a move into Syria, Moscow has preemptively moved military assets into the country to prop up Assad’s government and secured a place for itself in the strategically located country. In other words, Moscow has made sure to reserve a place for itself for when the fighting stops and a new Syria is born. As such, Russia’s geostrategic considerations in the Levant has saved the Assad government and made sure that a genocide of the region’s Alewites, Shiites, Yezdis and Christians does not take place. The moral of this story is essentially this: Had Moscow not had a vested interest in Syria, Western powers and their regional allies would have placed Syria under Wahhbaist/Salafist Islamic rule and we would have had the displeasure of seeing the first genocide of the twenty-first century take place. Therefore, please stop fooling yourselves with these silly conventions, in Washington nonetheless.

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