Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Information Services Apr 24, 2010 9:44 AM
On the morning of April 24, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, accompanied by Diocesan Primates and members of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin, visited the Memorial to the Armenian Genocide at Tsitsernakaberd and paid tribute to the eternal memory of the 1.5 million Armenian victims.
At the memorial, His Holiness Karekin II and His Excellency Serzh Sargsian, President of the Republic of Armenia, placed floral wreaths before the eternal flame of the monument. His Holiness presided during a Requiem service, attended by the President of the Republic of Armenia and high-ranking government officials.
The same day, a solemn Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin by His Grace Bishop Artak Tigranyan. During the service His Holiness delivered a message in remembrance of this great tragedy.
Following the Liturgy, standing near the Memorial of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, the monument of Khatchkars (Stone-crosses) at the Mother See, His Holiness presided during a special Repose of Souls service.
Message of His Holiness KAREKIN II, Catholicos of All Armenians
"For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness;
the upright shall behold His face."
Psalms 10:8 (11:7)
Our Beloved Faithful,
Today, in the homeland and the diaspora, with the celebration of Divine Liturgy in our churches, and through prayer and reverence at our monuments, we commemorate the 95th anniversary of the Genocide of the Armenians.
Our people for decades have borne alone the deep sorrow of their greatest tragedy of the 20th century. Today, countless individuals commemorate the memory of the Genocide with us, so that such crimes are prevented in the life of humanity, and peace, justice and happiness are strengthened in the world. For many years, our people were alone in pursuit of the defense of their righteous cause, remaining "…afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." II Corinthians 4:8-9. But relying on their Christian faith, on the crucified and risen Savior of the world, our people found strength and power in the homeland and the dispersion to rise with new life and defend their rights. Today, the Armenian Genocide is recognized by many nations, states, and governmental and public institutions; with the conviction that the hope of a peaceful future is the implementation of justice, the true expression of which is the defense of national and human rights. In this Holy Cathedral of the Descent of the Only Begotten, offering prayers before God and the memory of our countless martyrs, we convey our words of gratitude to all states, public institutions and individuals, who recognize and condemn the Genocide of the Armenians, and today stand in prayer with our people.
Dear pious faithful in Armenia, Artsakh and the Dispersion,
We present the case for our righteous cause with our reestablished statehood and our communities in numerous countries of the world who are respected and trusted – strong in their spiritual and national life. Yes, our people have been able to stand once again, but the pain of our losses is not yet healed. The victims of the Genocide are our exiled diasporan sons and daughters, who having lost homes and families, deprived of their homeland, lived in different countries and built their new lives through sacrifices and manifold difficulties. The victims of the Genocide are those Armenians forcibly converted to Islam and their succeeding generations, who are frightened to speak about their identity. The victim of the Genocide is the Armenian Church, through the demolition of hundreds of churches and monasteries, the conversion of others into mosques, the loss of thousands of priests and the turning into dust and destruction of centuries of cultural treasures.
For nine and half decades, our people have believed and continue to believe in the victory of justice and universal condemnation for the crime committed against them. Our people expect to see the triumph of justice – triumph over the evil done to them, and the losses, sorrows and suffering they bore. In recent decades, substantial shifts have taken place in the world. The formation of international law and the aspiration of peoples to build civil societies give hope of progress toward a more peaceful and better world. In this transforming world our hope increases as well, that the Armenian Genocide will be universally recognized and condemned, and thoughts of violations of rights and resolving problems through persecution and falsehood – from where only evil, confrontations and tragedies can be born – will be forever rejected. Keeping Armenia blockaded, denying the right of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh to live freely, and issuing threatening statements are not in harmony with efforts or aspirations aimed at establishing security and stability in the region. They do not contribute to the vision of peace and collaboration. Today we bear the responsibility for tomorrow and the future. And today we must pursue justice, since justice decorates human life with goodness, as the psalmist says, "For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright shall behold His face."
Dear Armenian people, O reborn people,
With homeland and diaspora united, let us conscientiously continue to defend our rights, with the confidence that justice will come for our people, and that all states –Turkey as well – will recognize and condemn the Genocide. Let us remain devoted to building our homeland, to positively transforming our spiritual and national life everywhere, and to make our luminous aspirations and goals brighter and brighter. Let us remain steadfast and firm with the hope of the Gospel of peace, and invest our efforts into the building of a world that is just, harmonious and free of violence. On this day of remembrance, let us offer incense and prayer once more, asking the Lord to keep the souls of the countless victims of the Genocide of the Armenians in his blissful heavenly kingdom. May the blessings of the Almighty be with us and all people, and may the graces of heavenly peace and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ be dispersed around the globe, today and always and forever.