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Message of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians

Message of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians

Message given during the
Mass for the faithful of Armenian rite on the Second Sunday of Easter (Divine
Mercy Sunday), Basilica
of Saint Peter in the Vatican, April 12, 2015

Your Holiness and Beloved Brother in

Through the merciful will of God, We visit
Rome once again. We come with the President of the Republic of Armenia, Mr.
Serzh Sargisyan; with Our spiritual brother, Catholicos Aram I of the Great
House of Cilicia; and with the Bishops of the Armenian Church and the
representatives of the Armenian faithful worldwide. With the joy of the Holy
Resurrection and love of Christ, We bring Our fraternal greetings and best wishes to Your Holiness, and
bring Our prayerful participation in the Holy Mass celebrated by Your Holiness
in the Basilica of Saint Peter, in commemoration of the 100th
anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

During this sacred service testifying to the friendship of Our
two sister Churches, to the contentment of Our people and to Us, one of our Armenian Church Fathers – Saint Gregory
of Narek – was declared by Your Holiness, per the designation of the Catholic
Church, a “Doctor of the Church”.In the
tenth century, St. Gregory of Narek – the teacher of prayers and bearer of the light
of the universe – offered incense to heaven through his supplication of
penitence and confession of all generations of mankind, by “Speaking with God
from the Depths of the Heart”.This holy
monk, with his “Living Book” revered by the Armenian people, showed the way of
salvation granted by the grace of Christ: “for the guilty and the just, for the
brazenly haughty and the falsely modest, for the good and the evil” (Prayer
), leading the faithful of all times to God.

Our people who gave birth to Saint Gregory
of Narek, have throughout history endured countless horrors and faced
calamities for their Christian faith and national identity.One century ago, the brutal crime of genocide
was committed against our
people in Ottoman Turkey.With a
deliberate plan, with horrific atrocities, one and a half million Armenians
were slaughtered.Our ancient people
were uprooted from their cherished cradle of life – their historic homeland –
and scattered over different countries.Our centuries-old Christian legacy heritage was ruined, obliterated, and

Nothing, however, no suffering, nor
persecutions, not even death caused our
people to waiver or stray from their holy faith.The greatness of the spiritual bravery of a
nation’s martyrdom which our
people displayed, is depicted before us today, once again proclaiming the
definition of our identity, which was decreed in the fifth century:
‘Christianity for us is not clothing we put on; it is the color of our skin.’ (Yeghishé the Historian).

By the mercy of our compassionate God, our
people have straightened their broken backs; new life has sprouted under the
shelter of a reestablished statehood on an eastern portion of Armenia and in
the communities of the Diaspora.Our
people have created their path to ascent, having faced many deprivations and
difficulties.Today, our people live under an illegal blockade
implemented by Turkey and Azerbaijan; struggle for the right of our people to live free in Mountainous
Karabagh, and with faith in the triumph of justice, continue efforts for the
sake of our rights – for the universal recognition,
condemnation, and just reparation for the Armenian Genocide.

At the time, humanity was unable to prevent
the genocide of the Armenians, to eliminate its consequences, and witnessed the
Holocaust and genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur and more.Today also, due to conflicts, wars, and
terrorism, people and nations are in pain and need; are persecuted and are
paying for their faith with their very lives.We believe that the universal recognition and condemnation of the
Armenian Genocide – as an effective example of the realization of justice and
establishment of rights – will benefit the creation of a safe and just
world.In this sense, the 100th
anniversary of the Armenian Genocide is an invitation to the world to not
remain indifferent to human suffering and contemporary martyrdoms, and to
invest greater efforts to stop and prevent crimes against humanity.This is the fruit which shall grow from the
roots of martyrdom.

During the celebration of this Holy Mass
on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide,
before the cherished memories of our
martyrs, We reflect with gratitude that Your Holiness’ predecessors of blessed
memory, Benedict XV, raised His voice of protest against the genocide, and
Saint John Paul II, in a joint communiqué with Us in 2001, recognized and
condemned the Armenian Genocide.In this
regard, the publication of historical documents by the Vatican Archives plays
an important role.Our people remember
with gratitude all those who not only spoke out and condemned the Armenian
Genocide, but also implemented humanitarian missions, by caring for orphans,
giving refuge to survivors, and helping them to overcome countless

On the 100th anniversary of the
Armenian Genocide, on April 23rd of this year, with the prayerful participation
of sister Churches – among them the representatives of Your Holiness – and high
ranking guests and thousands of our sons and daughters from throughout the
world, our innumerable victims who accepted the
crown of martyrdom ‘for faith and homeland’ will be canonized in the Mother See
of Holy Etchmiadzin.We will appeal for
the intercession of our holy martyrs, now united with the heavenly host, for
divine peace to pour over the life of mankind, and for the tragedy of genocides
to no longer find a place in this world.

Dear Brother in Christ,

We share Your view that martyrdom does not
recognize the differences of denominations.Indeed, the martyrs unite us as children and servants of our one Lord
Jesus Christ, to gather together and implement unified efforts for the sake of
the establishment of love, justice, and peace in the world, and the promotion
of dialogue between civilizations and religions, as the Holy Bible exhorts us,
“And let us consider how to encourage one another to love and good works.” (Hebrews

In this holy sanctuary of Saint Peter, let
the prayers and supplications that ascend from our hearts up to heaven, be heard by our heavenly Father, to bless and guide on true paths all
efforts that are made aimed at peace on earth and the secure and prosperous
life of humanity.We pray for Your
Holiness’ health and the vibrancy of the Roman Catholic Church, and appeal for
the protection and blessings of God for all of us, with the heartfelt words of
Saint Gregory of Narek:

you, who are capable of everything,

me the spirit of salvation,

sheltering right arm,

helping hand,

command of goodness,

light of mercy,

word of renewal,

cause of pardon,

help of the staff of life.

you are the hope of refuge, Lord Jesus Christ,

with the Father and Holy Spirit,

and ever.



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