Prelate in Washington for Armenian Genocide Centennial National Commemoration

Earlier this week, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian departed for Washington D.C. to participate in the national commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial presided by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of all Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. His Excellency Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia, Armenian and foreign dignitaries, and thousands of Armenian-Americans from around the country are in Washington for the commemoration. The Prelate is joined by a delegation of Executive Council members, sponsors, and community members.

On Thursday, May 7, 2015, His Holiness Aram I delivered the Morning Prayer in the Senate, in which he stated, “This year is the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the many that followed in the 20th Century. In commemorating one-and a half million Armenian martyrs, we claim justice. Indeed, justice is a gift of God, and violation of justice is a sin against God.” Senator Jack Reed delivered welcoming remarks and introduced His Holiness as an important figure in ecumenism, a champion of human rights, an intellectual and a strong leader. Prior to the session, His Holiness had meetings with Senators Jack Reed, Harry Reid, and Diane Feinstein. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan joined in the meetings, during which His Holiness discussed the Genocide Centennial, the camaraderie between the Armenian and American people, Armenian Diaspora communities around the world, and the current situation in the Middle East. His Holiness conveyed special thanks to the American people and humanitarian organizations for their vital assistance to orphans of the Armenian Genocide. In the morning, Executive Council members and Prelacy sponsors had the opportunity to meet with His Holiness. Students of Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan School of San Francisco also attended the Senate prayer and met with His Holiness. In the afternoon, a reception was held in honor of President Sargsyan at the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia.

The commemoration officially began in the evening with an Ecumenical Service at the National Cathedral with the participation of over 2,500 guests including Vice-President Joe Biden, President Serzh Sargsyan, U.S. and international dignitaries, and Armenian faithful from across the U.S. His Holiness Aram I delivered a powerful message calling for justice for the Armenian Genocide and condemning Genocide denial. “The centennial of the Armenian Genocide can be defined by three words, Remember, Remind, and Claim,” began the message of His Holiness. We remembered our one and a half million martyrs and we will always remember them, because they are an inextricable part of our daily lives, said our Pontiff, and added that remembering our martyrs also means reminding the world of their fate. Our people were subjected to Genocide; silence is a continuation of genocide. Genocide is a crime against humanity; therefore, mankind cannot remain indifferent to this crime, continued His Holiness. There was injustice done to our people, and the Armenian people demands its rights. Justice is a gift of God that no person can deny another.
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The blood of 1.5 million Armenians was shed, our properties were confiscated. We demand not only recognition, but also reparations. Forgiveness is a tenet of Christianity; however, there must first be accountability for there to be forgiveness and true reconciliation, stated His Holiness.

President Sargsyan and His Holiness Karekin II both saluted the states and countries that have recognized the Armenian Genocide and called for universal recognition.

The commemoration continues over the weekend and will conclude on Sunday, May 10 with a Mother’s Day prayer service and blessing of mothers by our two Pontiffs.

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