Prelate Delivers Invocation at the California State Senate

Each year, the Armenian National Committee-Western Region organizes Advocacy Day, to coincide with Armenian Genocide commemorative events hosted by the California State Legislature.

This year’s Advocacy Day was held on Thursday, April 19, at the State Capitol in Sacramento. The 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide was commemorated in both the California State Senate and Assembly chambers, during which the Legislature adopted resolutions dedicated to the Armenian Genocide

Consul General Grigor Hovhannisian participated in the commemorative events, as well as members of the Armenian National Committee and Armenian-Americans from throughout California. Homenetmen scouts participated in the presentation of colors.
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The Prelate delivered the opening prayer on the Senate floor. He was accompanied by Rev. Fr. Vahan Gosdanian.

Below is the text of the Prelate’s invocation:

“We offer this day our thanks to Almighty God for the opportunity to gather here with this distinguished group of legislators and fellow citizens to jointly commemorate the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and honor the 1.5 million innocent men, women, and children who from 1915 to 1923 fell victim to systematic genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire.

Each year in the month of April, Armenian communities in the four corners of the world pay tribute to the memory of our martyrs, and throughout the year strive to have our story heard, to shed light on the facts and realities of what really occurred nearly a century ago, to educate and simultaneously bring attention not just to the Armenian Genocide, but to genocides of ethnic groups that continue to this day.

As our history is tragically still being denied, revised, and ignored by modern-day Turkey and its allies, we beseech the Good Lord to grant us strength and patience during our struggle to attain full recognition, justice, and reparations for the few remaining survivors and descendents of both survivors and martyrs.

Today we also remember and honor the numerous international relief agencies, foreign consulates and embassies, including representatives of the United States government, who selflessly and courageously risked their own lives to help Armenian refugees who had miraculously managed to flee the atrocities. We also take this opportunity to convey our gratitude to the many countries, states, organizations, leading academic institutions worldwide, scholars, historians, and others, who have had the courage to publicly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and condemn its denial.

As members of the largest Armenian community in the United States, we have had among us eyewitnesses to the Genocide, and countless children and grandchildren of survivors. Many of us can trace in our history relatives who perished or witnessed and survived the Genocide. Thus, as Armenian Californians, we thank our elected officials of the California State Legislature for their initiative in designating April 24, 2012, as “California Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923”, and for their solidarity with their Armenian constituents on this somber occasion. With the guidance of Almighty God, our united efforts and resolve, and the strength of our voices and prayers, we are confident that truth and justice will prevail.

It is our prayer, hope, and wish, that this proclamation will encourage and inspire every country and state to follow in this example and acknowledge the historical truth that is the Armenian Genocide. Furthermore, we hopefully anticipate the end of religious and ethnic discrimination by modern-day Turkey and await the day when the persecution of Christian minorities in Turkey is put to an end and sacred sites are returned to their rightful owners.

May God guide our legislators in their endeavors and mission as they faithfully perform the duties entrusted to them as guardians of public interest, and lead them to continuous successes in their civil service to our beloved state of California that we so proudly call home.

May the blessings of our Lord be upon the United States, the champion of human rights and sanctuary of liberty, equality, and justice, protecting the leadership, armed forces, and citizens of this greatest of nations, keeping us in peace, safe from enemies visible and invisible, and may His mercy be upon us always

Lord, we bow humbly before You to render our praise and gratitude for Your loving kindness and bountiful blessings. Amen.”

A reception organized by the ANC-WR followed, during which the Prelate met with members of the Legislature. Remarks were delivered by elected officials and a program was presented by ANC representatives.

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