TURKEY: GENOCIDE A LA CARTE
AINA Assyrian International News Agency
April 16 2015
By Burak Bekdil
It seems as if Turkey's ruling politicians are in a race to look less
and less convincing to an already suspicious international audience.
How they defended their ancestors' sins a century ago earned them
new points in the race, and made them look even more odd than before.
The tragic events of 1915-1920 that killed 1.5 million Ottoman
Armenians have been recognized as genocide by a total of 22 countries
in the world, 44 states in the United States, two states in Australia,
three in Brazil, four regions and three cities in Spain, two in Syria,
five provinces in Bulgaria, one in Colombia, one regional parliament
in the Netherlands, one regional parliament in Italy and one in Iran.
The Catholic city-state, the Vatican, is among the countries that
have recognized the genocide. But a papal speech on April 12 at a
commemorative Mass, calling the mass killing of Armenians the "first
genocide of the 20th century," deeply annoyed some very important
men in Ankara. Their defense line was beyond the traditional official
Turkish language based on outright denial: it featured generous doses
of banality and hypocrisy.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused the Holy See of ignoring
the pain suffered by Muslims and Turks. But Cavusoglu did not say why
Muslims and Turks tend to ignore the pain suffered by other faiths
and nations. In 2009, then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip
Erdogan accused China of committing genocide against the ethnic Turkic
Uighurs in China, after fewer than 100 of them lost their lives during
clashes with Chinese security forces. The same year, Erdogan said
that he went to Darfur in Sudan and did not see genocide there. Only a
few months earlier, Erdogan's Islamist friend, Sudan's President Omar
al-Bashir, had become the first sitting president to be indicted by the
International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity
that caused the death of 400,000 people in Darfur in 2005. "A Muslim
would never commit genocide," Erdogan said, explaining why the man
with an arrest warrant for his crimes, al-Bashir, was innocent.
A more creative, jaw-dropping explanation for why Pope Francis may
have uttered the word that deeply irritates many Turks came from
Volkan Bozkir, a former ambassador and Turkish minister for the
European Union. Bozkir said he must remind that the Pope is "in fact
a citizen of Argentina." Most journalists listening to his speech
silently wondered: So what.
Bozkir further explained: "As you know, Argentina is a country that
embraced the Nazi leaders and torturers ... The Pope must have had
a sensitivity for his own Argentinian citizenship."
According to this theory, Pope Francis, like every other citizen of
Argentina, is responsible for the acts of Nazi fugitives who fled
to his country. And the Nazi collaborator in the Pope (like every
other Argentinian!) forced him to label the mass killings of Armenians
"genocide." That is not even meant to be funny. It reveals the mindset
of the people who rule Turkey.
According to Professor Mehmet Gormez, Turkey's top Muslim cleric, Pope
Francis's statement was totally "unfounded." That could be Gormez's
own opinion, and everyone has the liberty to take him seriously or
not. But Professor Gormez also claimed that there have never been
missionary ambitions or colonialism in the history of Turkey [the
successor state to the Ottoman Empire]. That is only laughable to
anyone with an elementary knowledge of history. For one, Gormez should
explain why millions of Turks every day celebrate the "conquest of
[Christian] Istanbul" by Muslim Ottomans.
Such political controversies as the Pope's speech always offer golden
opportunities to Turkish officials who would not miss exploiting
them in order to look pretty to an Islamist government and hope
for a brighter career. They usually would make a weird statement,
make sure it gets published, and lots of public attention, so that
the very important men in Ankara could privately or publicly hail
them. Turkey is never short of (centrally-appointed, not elected)
governors with eccentric opinions. The Pope's speech lavishly enabled
someone serving in one of Turkey's most remote and poorest corners
to prove his loyalty to the Islamists in Ankara.
In a public speech, the governor of Turkey's easternmost province,
Kars, invited Pope Francis to -- convert! The governor kindly invited
the leader of the Catholic world to a Muslim mass in his city and said:
"May God grant him the right path [to Islam]."
This author has no idea if the Pope would take that opportunity and
convert to Islam. But it is certain that Turkey's Islamists have
brought a playful new dimension to their country's culture of denial.
Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hurriyet
Daily and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
POPE WILL MARK 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
Posted 18 April 2015 - 07:21 AM
TURKEY: GENOCIDE A LA CARTE
Posted 18 April 2015 - 07:28 AM
THE RELIGIOUS MEANING OF THE POPE'S 'GENOCIDE' MASS
Los Angeles Times
April 16 2015
By Michael McGough contact the reporter
When Pope Francis described the killing of more than a million
Armenians a century ago as "the first genocide of the 20th century,"
he was widely regarded as making a political statement. Certainly
that was the view of Turkey, which recalled its ambassador to the
Vatican and expressed its "great disappointment and sadness" over
the pope's remarks.
If a religious significance was attached to the pope's comments, it
was that his condemnation of killings of a Christian group resident
in the Muslim Ottoman Empire resonated in the current persecution of
Christians by Islamic State.
But even that analysis misses the theological significance of the
pope's remarks and the ceremony at which he delivered them.
Francis spoke last Sunday at a Mass in the Vatican celebrated for
Catholics of the Armenian Rite. Present were not only the head of
the Armenian Catholic Church, Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX, but also
the leadership of the Armenian Apostolic Church, including Karekin
II and Aram I, the two Catholicoi (patriarchs) at the top of the
The Armenian Apostolic Church, one of the most ancient Christian
communities, is an "Oriental Orthodox" church, not be confused with
the Eastern Orthodox Church which broke with Rome in the 11th century.
The Armenian Church parted with both Rome and Constantinople much
earlier, over an abstruse theological dispute about the nature
When the pope embraced the patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church
he wasn't just making a political statement about events a century ago;
he was doing the Lord's work.-
In recent years, however, the Armenian and other "Miaphysite" churches
- another is the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt - have been engaged
in theological conversations with the Vatican and Eastern Orthodox
churches and the theological differences of Christianity's first
millennium largely have been smoothed over.
As a 1997 joint declaration by Pope John Paul II and Armenian
Catholicos Aram I Keshishian put it, the disagreements "were frequently
based on historical, political, or sociocultural factors."
The Vatican similarly has found common ground with another branch of
Christianity with which it long had doctrinal disputes, the so-called
Nestorian churches, including the Assyrian Church of the East whose
congregants in Iraq and Syria have been targeted by Islamic State.
In 1994 John Paul II and the patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the
East buried the theological hatchet with a "common Christological
declaration" that essentially amounted to a "never mind" about past
disagreements. That agreement later led to a remarkable document in
which the Vatican permitted the sharing of Holy Communion between
Assyrian Christians and Chaldean Catholics, who follow rites similar
to the Assyrians' but recognize the authority of the pope in Rome.
Neither the Oriental Orthodox churches nor the Assyrian Church of the
East have recognized the authority of the pope in the way Roman (and
Eastern) Catholics do. But both the Vatican's outreach to them and
their welcoming response is part of the ecumenical impulse that grew
out of the Second Vatican Council. The council's Decree on Ecumenism
quoted Jesus as praying that all of his followers "may be one."
So when the pope embraced the patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic
Church he wasn't just making a political statement about events a
century ago; he was doing the Lord's work.
Posted 19 April 2015 - 12:20 PM
Corriere della Sera, Italy
13 April 2015
A Move To Remind World About Persecution of Christians
by Gian Guido Vecchi
Vatican City - The message to the Armenian people included an
expression that Francis uses in an increasingly recurrent manner:
"Ecumenism of blood." He also mentioned it in very strong terms upon
his return from his journey to Turkey at the end of November: "The
ecumenism of blood is when they kill Christians. We have many martyrs,
starting with the ones in Uganda, who were sanctified 50 years ago:
half of them were Anglican, half Catholic, but those who killed them
did not say: You are Catholic, you are Anglican. No: You are
Christian, they said. And blood becomes mixed. Our martyrs are crying
out to us: We are one!"
The presence at the mass in St Peter's of the [Armenian] Orthodox
Petrarch Karekin II was vey revealing: This commemoration had been
prepared for months, and Francis weighed his words very carefully. In
the Way of the Cross on Good Friday he lamented the "complicit
silence" of the world before the "crucified" Christians, on Easter
Sunday he prayed for "those who sow hatred to convert," and on Easter
Monday he called for the "defence and protection of our brothers and
sisters who are persecuted, exiled, killed, decapitated for the sole
fact of being Christian," making an appeal to the international
community that was repeated yesterday too: "I hope that it does not
look on, dumb and motionless, as this unacceptable crime that
constitutes a worrying fall in the most elementary human rights is
committed, that it does not turn the other way."
So, remembering the "terrible and mad extermination" of the Armenian
people is "necessary" in order to prevent another genocide from taking
place today in the same "general and collective indifference" of the
world: "The warning that comes to us from this tragedy must free us
from falling again in similar horrors, which offend God and human
dignity." Not coincidentally, Francis quoted Benedict XV, who at the
time "wrote to Suntan Mohammed V, begging him to spare so many
innocent people." The Church tried to stop the Armenian genocide just
like now it so trying to stop today's massacres.
A Vatican delegation will attend the genocide commemorations in Erevan
despite Turkish pressure. People say the Pope wanted to attend too,
but this would have caused too many diplomatic complications. But this
matters little, because the Pope has addressed Turkey too, with on the
backdrop the ambiguities in the fight against the ISIL: "Many
commemorations are to take place on the centenary, let us hope that a
path of small gestures, of small steps of rapprochement is
undertaken," he told journalists on the plane that flew him back from
Istanbul to Rome. He was asked about the Armenians, to which he
responded: "The Turkish Government made a gesture last year: then
Prime Minister Erdogan wrote a letter on that anniversary, some have
deemed it too weak, but - whether it was a big or small gesture I do
not know - in my opinion it was an extended hand, and this is always
positive." He added: "Something that is very dear to my heart is the
Turkish-Armenian border: if only it could be reopened! We must pray
for the reconciliation between peoples."
[Groong note: the above was translated from Italian]
Posted 19 April 2015 - 12:27 PM
ANSA English Media Service, Italy
April 15, 2015 Wednesday
Pope's use of 'genocide' part of 'dialogue'-Lombardi-update
Vatican official says Francis hopes for Turkish-Armenian talks
(ANSA) - April 15 - Pope Francis used the term 'genocide' in
describing mass killings in Armenia 100 years ago as part of a
"precise and coherent line of dialogue," Vatican spokesman Father
Federico Lombardi said Wednesday.
The pope's words delivered on Sunday have offended Turkey's officials,
including President Tayyip Erdogan who "condemned" and "warned" the
pope on Wednesday about his comments.
Lombardi said the pope would not respond to those words.
But the comments made on Sunday by Francis were aimed at encouraging
dialogue between Turkey and Armenia, said Lombardi.
"This speech was very clear for those who wanted to grasp (its
meaning), it was very rich", said Lombardi.
"In the end, (it was about) the desire for reconciliation and dialogue
between the Turkish people and the Armenian people".
Turkey has always denied a genocide in the mass killings in 1915.
The controversy was stirred on Sunday when, during a Mass in St.
Peter's Basilica attended by the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and
top church leaders, the pope referred to "the first (tragedy of the
20th century), which is widely considered 'the first genocide of the
Turkey denounced Francis's comments even though the pope's statement
and the phrase "first genocide of the 20th century" were actually
borrowed from remarks written in 2001 by former Pope John Paul II in a
joint declaration with the Armenian church leader, Karenkin II.
Numerous governments, experts and scholars in the field support
Armenia's position, concluding a genocide occurred.
Armenia and many historians say up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians
were killed by Ottoman forces in 1915.
Posted 21 April 2015 - 09:36 AM
The Armenian friend of Pope Francis: The story behind the recognition
of the Armenian Genocide
Agencia Prensa Armenia
Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's prime minister said that Pope Francis "has
joined this conspiracy" to form an "evil front" against the Turkish
government and has "ignorance or insufficient knowledge of history."
Volkan Bozkir, Turkish Minister for European Affairs, said that the
Pope said what he said because he "was Argentine," a country "that
welcomed the leading executors of the Jewish Holocaust, Nazi
torturers, with open arms." Then he added that "unfortunately, in
Argentina, the Armenian diaspora controls the media and business."
Cemil Ã=87içek, president of the Turkish Parliament, claimed that the
Pope's words were "racist." The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip
Erdogan, was even harder: "Whenever politicians, religious
functionaries assume the duties of historians, then delirium comes
out, not fact."
"Il primo genocidio del XX secolo" says Pope Francis with slow and
measured voice, during the Mass on Sunday April 12, 2015. He is
reading, but he looks at the people before uttering the word
What happened so that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis, pronounced
one of the most important speeches in the history of the fight for
recognition and repair of the genocide against the Armenian people
perpetrated by the Turkish state?
The person who is closer to answering this question, besides Pope
Francis, is Archbishop Kissag Mouradian, Primate of the Armenian
Apostolic Church for Argentina and Chile Republic. Born in Aleppo,
Syria, Mouradian studied and was ordained in Jerusalem. He arrived to
Argentina in 1975.
Behind the accusations of the Turkish government, there is a simple
story. "The only difference I have with him, is that he is fan of San
Lorenzo and I am fan of River Plate," says the archbishop at the
beginning of the interview with Agencia Prensa Armenia. "He usually
calls me Mouradian," recalls.
Asked if the Pope had anticipated that he would call the genocide by
its name, Archbishop Kissag Mouradian said that he had not said
anything before. "I was sure that he was going to say something,
because if he especially celebrated the Mass, he had to say
"The most important thing was to affirm what he always said and
asked. Turkey has to recognize the genocide for the welfare of the two
peoples, both Armenian and Turkish. Truth is always better than trying
to deny or lie," says Mouradian.
( Link ->
"Not only my friendship caused all this. The proximity to the Armenian
community in Argentina has influenced so that Bergoglio feel the truth
as it is. Thanks to what we did here for years, through ecumenism, he
managed to understand many things. That work helped so that the future
Pope knew the history of the Armenians. He is someone who has studied
much, and certainly prepares before giving a sermon," he adds.
Before the historical Mass, the Pope received on Friday April 10 a
delegation from Argentina. "We were going to be fifteen or twenty
people and ended up going forty. When we greeted him, Pope Francis
told me: 'If you were twenty I could have invited you to eat. Now it
is impossible'," says the Archbishop, laughing.
The friendship between them "took hold when he called me to accompany
him to the prayer of the tragedy of Cromañon", back in 2005. The
tragedy of Cromañon nightclub was a fire that occurred in Buenos
Aires, on 30 December 2004, an accident that killed 194 people. "That
day, in the morning, my phone rang and Bergoglio said: 'Mouradian
please do not leave me alone, join me to say a prayer at the Cathedral
for the tragedy of Cromañon'. It was very hard, the Cathedral was
crowded with people holding photos of the victims. We were just him
and I, along with other priests. At the door, people asked to pray for
them and one was aware of the impotence they had. It seems that people
expected a miracle from us, to return them the lives of the children
who were lost. You feel you want to help, but you also need help,"
- Did you met more often after that sad event?
On April 24 we officiated ceremonies of dirge in the Cathedral of
Buenos Aires, where he always addressed his words to the Armenian
people. On one of these occasions he called on Turkey to recognize his
crime to enhance the relationship and doing good to the Armenian
people and the Turkish people. At that time he was a bishop and was
not recognized worldwide. Today is different, he is the Pope and head
of the Vatican.
We also shared several ecumenical prayers, especially those organized
by the St. Egidio group, created by John Paul II, which helps
When the Armenians opened an altar of Jude Thaddaeus in the Basilica
of La Merced, he asked to do another one of Saint Bartholomew. They
are the two apostles who went to Armenia to Christianize the Armenian
In the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires there is a Khachkar to
commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and it was
also placed at the express request of Bergoglio. He asked, as a wish,
that someday he wanted to be buried under the Armenian Khachkar at the
- How do you think he received the reply of Turkish officials that
even call him a discriminator?
If he caused all this, it is because he was ready to face Turkey. He
always told the truth and was in favor of justice. He is very brave
and very convinced of his convictions, they will not change for
anything. He is firm with justice and truth.
Agencia de Noticias Prensa Armenia
Armenia 1366, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tel. (5411) 4775-7595
Posted 20 May 2015 - 09:06 AM
HURRIYET DAILY NEWS: TURKEY REMAINS PARTICULARLY RESENTFUL OF VATICAN AND GERMANY
Region:World News, Armenia, Turkey
Theme: Politics, Analytics
Turkey is resentful of Vatican and Germany over Armenian issue,
this is how the Turkish observer Barcin Yinanc entitled her article
published in Hurriyet Daily News.
"Almost a month has passed since April 24, the date that marked
the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian tragedy. No one is
talking about it in Turkey any more. Naturally, it is no longer on
the world's agenda. But I am sure that both in Yerevan and Ankara a
general assessment is being made about this important turning point,"
According to her, it seems that Turkey remains particularly resentful
of two international actors. "One of these is the Vatican and the
other is Germany. The Pope's reference to the Armenian tragedy as
"the first genocide of the 20th century" came as a shock to Turkey,
as diplomatic representatives of the Holy See had assured to the very
last minute that Pope Francis would refrain from using the "G word."
In fact, the Turkish ambassador to the Vatican had even been
scheduled to attend a mass to commemorate the 100th anniversary
of the tragedy, in the expectation that Pope Francis would talk of
"shared grievances." What would have been a diplomatic embarrassment
was averted, as at the last minute the Turkish envoy did not go,
after he was informed about the Pope's intention. The ambassador,
who was recalled to Ankara for consultations, will not return to the
Vatican until at least the end of the summer," the author writes.
She also notes: "Ankara believes that Pope Francis's statement had
a multiplier effect throughout the world. The Pope's statement was
followed by decisions from the parliaments of Luxembourg and Austria,
which recognized the killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman
Empire during World War I as genocide."
According to Barcin Yinanc, Germany's stance, on the other hand,
while it was not anticipated, did not come as a huge surprise. "Ankara
believes that Germany is an active behind-the-scenes actor to promote
the view that the Armenian tragedy is the first genocide of the 20th
century," she writes.
The author reminds that German President Joachim Gauck used the "G
word" at a religious ceremony held at the Berlin Cathedral. "Beyond
this, the Turkish side seems to be very concerned about German
initiatives to include this issue in the curriculum in a way that
will also affect the children of Turks living in Germany," the
Posted 15 June 2015 - 03:36 PM
POPE: OIL AND WEAPONS WEIGH MORE THAN HUMAN LIVES
17:53, 15 Jun 2015
Pope Francis said on Monday that oil and weapons seem to weigh more
on the scale of economic interests than the lives of thousands of
Christians in the Middle East, and while proclaiming peace and justice
the world tolerates traffickers of death, Vatican Radio reports.
The Pope's words of condemnation were pronounced as he greeted
participants of ROACO's 88th Plenary Assembly in the Vatican.
In his address the Pope said the continuing conflict in the Middle East
"make us feel the cold of a winter and a frost in the human heart that
never seem to end", and he remarked that "the land in these regions,
crossed by the footsteps of those who seek refuge, is irrigated by the
blood of so many men and women, including many Christians persecuted
for their faith.
Pope Francis spoke with gratitude of the daily work and experience of
the "sons and daughters of the Eastern Churches and their Pastors",
who share the suffering of the people and carry out the work of
listening and service that is inscribed in the statute of the agencies
coordinated by the Congregation for Eastern Churches.
He encouraged the delegates to continue in their humanitarian
assistance with a Christian approach promoting people and nations
with compassion and mercy.
Looking back to the drama that has been unfolding in the past months,
Pope Francis said it would appear that the world's conscience has
been jolted and it has opened its eyes to the fact that Christians
have been present in the Middle East for millennia.
And with a heartfelt appeal, Pope Francis encouraged those present
to "continue the service of Christian charity, to denounce all that
tramples on human dignity."
Pope Francis also noted that during the Assembly particular attention
with be devoted to the situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
According to the Official Vatican Network, on the occasion of the
centenary memorial of the Medz Yeghern suffered by the Armenian people,
a session will be dedicated to the Armenian Catholic Church in Eastern
Europe, which is present in Georgia and Russia, as well as Armenia.
Posted 17 June 2015 - 06:22 AM
POPE FRANCIS: ARMENIA NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN WHEN LENDING SUPPORT
Region:World News, Armenia
Theme: Politics, Society
It's necessary to lend support to Ethiopia and Eritrea, and not forget
about Armenia, the cradle of Christianity, Pope Francis said during the
Plenary Assembly of Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches
(ROACO) in the Vatican.
During the Assembly, the Pope urged the international community to
open their eyes to the unspeakable sufferings of the Christians in
the Middle East, Vatican Radio reports. He also said that oil and
weapons seem to weigh more than the lives of thousands of Christians.
Pope Francis reiterated the horrible conduct of those who proclaim
peace in words, but sow death in deeds.
"A further effort should be made to erase seemingly tacit agreements
according to which "the lives of thousands and thousands of families
- women, men, children, and elderly people - seem to weigh less than
oil and weapons on the scale of interests. So that while proclaiming
peace and justice, it is tolerated that traffickers of death continue
to operate those lands" he said.
Pope Francis also noted that during the Assembly particular attention
with be devoted to the situation in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Armenia.
Posted 22 June 2015 - 08:34 AM
POPE SLAMS 'GREAT POWERS' OVER ARMENIAN GENOCIDE, HOLOCAUST
11:08, 22 Jun 2015
Pope Francis on Sunday denounced what he calls the "great powers" of
the world for failing to act when there was intelligence indicating
Jews, Christians, homosexuals and others were being transported
to death camps in Europe during World War II, the Associated Press
He also decried the deaths of Christians in gulags in Russia under
the Stalin dictatorship, which followed the war.
The pope's harsh assessments came in impromptu remarks during his visit
to Turin, northern Italy, when he told young people he understands
how they find it hard to trust the world.
"The great powers had photographs of the railway routes that the
trains took to Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals,
everybody," Francis said, citing the death camp in Poland, and asked:
"Why didn't they bomb" those railroad routes?
Referring to the gulags in Russia, Francis said: "How many Christians
suffered, were killed" there.
Lamenting the cynicism of world players in the 1930s and 1940s,
Francis said: "the great powers divided up Europe like a cake."
He also cited what he called the "great tragedy of Armenia."
"In the last century, so many, millions, (of Armenians) died. But
where were the great powers then? They were looking the other way,"
the pope said.
In April, the pope angered Turkey when he referred to the slaughter
of Armenians by Turkish Ottomans as "genocide."
In today's world, he told the young people: "Everything is done for
money." He criticized those advocating peace while manufacturing or
Francis reiterated his view that conflicts in the world today are
tantamount to "a Third World War in segments."
Posted 22 June 2015 - 08:35 AM
SYRIAC PATRIARCH THANKS POPE FOR "COURAGEOUSLY" SPEAKING OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
12:38, 22 Jun 2015
Pope Francis and the patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of
Antioch expressed their desire to work toward full communion of the
two churches, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
The Pope met with Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II at the Vatican Friday.
This was Aphrem's first official visit with Francis. The two church
leaders spoke privately, after which each gave a public discourse.
"We express our desire and readiness to look for new ways that will
bring our churches even closer to each other, paving the way for
Antioch and Rome, the only two apostolic sees where St. Peter preached,
to establish full communion," Aphrem said.
The patriarch also expressed his church's readiness to come to an
agreement to celebrate Easter on a common date. He said the Holy
Synod of Antioch, motivated by the Second Vatican Council, adopted
a resolution in 1981, expressing "the eagerness of our church" to
celebrate Easter "on a fixed Sunday in April" in common with other
The celebration of Easter "on two different dates is a source of
great discomfort and weakens the common witness of the church in the
world," he said, thanking Francis for recently "considering to take
the initiative to lead the efforts on this matter."
The patriarch also thanked Francis for "courageously" speaking of the
Armenian genocide and "opening the way for others to do the same." The
patriarch said about 500,000 Syriac Orthodox died in the 1915 genocide,
for which the community continues to seek healing and reconciliation.
In addition, he noted the loss of life of Christians and others in
the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, as well as the high number
of refugees and the destruction of numerous religious buildings
and monuments. He thanked Francis for his prayers for the suffering
Christians but urged the Vatican to engage in more diplomatic activity
toward peace in the region.
Posted 23 June 2015 - 08:49 AM
POPE LASHES OUT AT 'HYPOCRITICAL' CHRISTIANS WITH TIES TO THE ARMS TRADE
June 22 2015
22 June 2015 17:05 by Liz Dodd
Christians who manufacture arms or invest in the arms industry are
hypocrites, Pope Francis said during his two-day visit to Turin.
Diverting from his scripted remarks to young people at a rally in the
Italian city on Sunday he strongly condemned "duplicitous" Christians
who directly or indirectly prop up the arms trade.
"Managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they
manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit of distrust, doesn't
it?" he said.
He hit out at Christians who appeased their consciences by saying
they merely invested in arms, rather than manufacturing them themselves
"Why? Because the interests are a bit higher. And so duplicity is the
currency flowing today; to say one thing and do the other. Hypocrisy,"
His words came after he appealed to the young people to vote for
politicians who backed peace over war.
"In Europe there is war, in Africa there is war, in Asia there is war.
But can I have trust in a world like this? Can I trust the world's
managers?" He asked.
He also condemned the "great powers" of the world for failing to do
more to stop the Holocaust.
"They had photographs of the railway routes that the trains took to
Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody," Francis
said. "Why didn't they bomb the railway routes?" He asked.
He mentioned also the deaths of Christians in gulags in Russia and
the Armenian genocide, which he referred to as the "great tragedy
The Pope, who was in the city in northern Italy on Sunday and Monday,
paused to pray before the Turin Shroud yesterday.
The shroud, which is displayed in the Cathedral of St John the Baptist,
is believed to be Christ's burial shroud and to bear an imprint of
Posted 26 June 2015 - 09:12 AM
Argentine Armenians Thank Pope Francis for the Armenian Genocide Recognition
Agencia Prensa Armenia
A Mass and a prayer of thanks to Pope Francis for his recognition of
the Armenian Genocide was held at the Catedral Metropolitana of Buenos
Aires on Wednesday June 24.
The ceremony, carried out by Cardinal Mario Poli, Archbishop Kissag
Mouradian and Bishop Vartan Boghossian, was attended by the
Undersecretary for Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism City Claudio
Avruj, Dr. Leon Carlos Arslanian, Ambassadors of Armenia, Lebanon and
other diplomats as well as most of the leaders of the Armenian
community in Argentina.
"The unforgettable Pontifical Mass on Sunday April 12 at the Basilica
of San Pedro and the acceptance of the figure of St. Gregory of Narek
among the doctors of the Universal Church were historic events that
carried comfort and reinforced the hurted hearts of Armenians in the
commemoration of the Centennial," said a letter to the Pope that was
signed by all the institutions of the Armenian community. Cardinal
Mario Poli, meanwhile, stressed the "courageous stance" taken by Pope
Francis to condemn three genocides of the twentieth century: the one
perpetrated by Turkey, Stalinism and Nazi Fascism. The ceremony ended
with a chorus of a hundred voices evoking the centenary of the
The recognition of Pope Francisco in April served as the basis and
foundation for further recognitions such as the European Parliament,
also in April, or the Federal Senate of Brazil on last June 2.
( Link -> http://www.prensaarmenia.com.ar/ )
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Posted 10 July 2015 - 10:56 AM
"THANK YOU, POPE FRANCIS" BILLBOARD INSTALLED IN MASSACHUSETTS
July 9, 2015 - 13:40 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Peace of Art, Inc. is completing its Armenian
Genocide Awareness Billboard Campaign, "100 Billboards for 100 Years
of Genocide," with one more billboard in Sharon, Mass., displaying
displays a message of gratitude, and reads, "Thank You, Pope Francis,
for Commemorating the Armenian Genocide Centennial," the Armenian
In April 2015, at St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis called the
Armenian Genocide "the first genocide of the 20th century." The event
was unprecedented because, for the first time in history, the Pope
mentioned the Armenian Genocide in his liturgy.
"Pope Francis called on all states' leadership, international
organizations, and world peace-loving communities, to recognize the
truth and to oppose such offenses," said Daniel Varoujan Hejinian,
the founding president of Peace of Art, Inc. "Such a brave statement
by the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, definitely deserves
high respect and appreciation."
In January 2015, Peace of Art, Inc. launched the Armenian Genocide
Awareness Billboard Campaign. Throughout the United States and Canada,
Peace of Art, Inc. has displayed large electronic and stationary
billboards dedicated to the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide,
and in honor of the victims of all genocides of the last 100 years.
Posted 10 July 2015 - 11:03 AM
POPE'S RECOGNITION OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE CHANGED WORLD OPINION, PRELATE SAYS
July 9 2015
Catholic World News - July 09, 2015
Pope Francis "has changed the attitude of the entire world" by his
public mention of the Armenian genocide, according to the Armenian
Catholic Archbishop Raphael Francois Minassian.
The slaughter of 1.5 million Armenian Christians in 1915 still
has an effect on the people today, Archbishop Minassian said in an
interview with Aid to the Church in Need. But he said that the Pope's
statement--made during a Mass he celebrated in April to commemorate the
victims of the genocide--have "encouraged us to pursue reconciliation"
and to "recover what we have lost."
Archbishop Minassian, who cares for the pastoral needs of Armenian
Catholics in the eastern Europe, said that his community remains
faithful despite a lack of material resources. He said that Armenian
Catholic Church works closely with the Armenian Apostolic Church, in
Posted 10 August 2015 - 08:54 AM
VATICAN AND ANKARA RELATIONS WILL ESCALATE WHEN POPE FRANCIS CANONIZES THE KILLED BISHOP: LA STAMPA
14:20, 10 August, 2015
YEREVAN, AUGUST 10, ARMENPRESS. Pope of the Catholic Church Francis
is going to canonize Mar Flavianus Michael Malke, the Syrian Catholic
bishop of Gazarta who was killed in Mardin, 1915.
Armenpress reports, referring to Italian newspaper "La Stampa", that
the abovesaid would escalate the already tense relations between
Vatican and Ankara.
During the Holy mass in the Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican
which was served on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the
Armenian Genocide, the Pope demanded from Turkey to recognize the
Genocide committed in the Ottoman Empire. After the crisis between
the 2 countries, Ankara recalled its ambassador to the Vatican.
Pope Francis considers Malke a genocide victim. Malke was arrested by
the Turkish authorities on August 29, 1915, and was executed together
with Armenian Catholic Jacques Abraham for not adopting Islam.
Pope Francis declared that executing a person for his/her religious
beliefs is an unacceptable crime, and asked the Canonization Commission
to prepare the necessary documents for Malke's Canonization.
According to the Italian newspaper, Malke's Canonization will most
probably take place in October.
Earlier in 2001 Pope John Paul canonized Armenian Catholic Archbishop
Ignazio Maloyan who was killed in the Ottoman Empire.
Posted 23 September 2015 - 10:08 AM
PHILADELPHIA ARMENIANS THANK POPE FRANCIS
Region:World News, Armenia, Diaspora
Theme: Politics, Society
Armenians of Philadelphia thanked Pope Francis for recognizing the
"Thank you Pope Francis for Recognizing Armenian Genocide.
#NeverForget 2015" posters appeared on the streets of Philadelphia,the
Armenian National Committee of Americareported.
On Tuesday Pope will kick off his first visit to the United States
where he will visit Washington, New York and Philadelphia. Pope is
expected to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and attend the
joint meeting of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Posted 29 September 2015 - 08:49 AM
Everyone Should Support Nomination
Of Pope Francis for Nobel Peace Prize
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Several weeks ago, Sarkis Assadourian, a former Member of the Canadian
Parliament, informed me that at his request Parliamentarian Judy Sgro
had nominated Pope Francis for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.
In her nomination letter, MP Sgro praised His Holiness for crafting "a
papacy of inclusion, openness and reform." She described the Pope as
"an inspirational force for good" and "a symbol of hope.... =46rom his
efforts at reconciliation of past misdeeds and conflicts, to his work
geared to promote peace and a greater understanding and tolerance of
those with differing viewpoints, Pope Francis has already established
himself as a genuine and constructive instrument of global change."
Assadourian asked me if I could find a U.S. legislator who would
likewise nominate Pope Francis for the Nobel Peace Prize. I
immediately contacted Cong. Adam Schiff (D-CA) who not only agreed to
nominate the Pope, but also sought the support of other House Members
by circulating a letter addressed to the Nobel Committee.
Cong. Schiff's Sept. 23rd letter states: "With unsurpassed eloquence,
humility and compassion, the Pope has used his pulpit to exhort people
and nations around the world to conduct their affairs with
spirituality, morality and integrity.... Pope Francis has been a
powerful advocate for peace, urging an end to conflict and support for
constitutive ties among nations. He has called on the world to use
diplomacy and discussion to solve disputes, rather than military
force, coercion or intimidation. This commitment to nonviolence, which
the Pope has put into practice every day through his words and
actions, is at the core of the principles behind the Nobel Peace
In view of the Pope's reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide during a
Vatican Mass in early April, Cong. Schiff commended "his courageous
stand for human rights and his condemnation of all genocides, both
past and present." His Holiness has also condemned "the persecution of
Christians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq."
Cong. Schiff also characterized Pope Francis as the "leading advocate
of relief" for large numbers of refugees currently flooding
Europe. The Pontiff has even invited "a Syrian refugee family to
reside in his residence at The Vatican."
Finally, in his letter of nomination, Cong. Schiff emphasized that
"Pope Francis has also worked to galvanize the international community
to take on global problems, such as the changing climate and
environmental degradation.... Pope Francis casts the issue of an
unhealthy earth in religious terms, emphasizing our joint duty to care
for the world and to pass on an unspoiled environment to future
Coinciding with the Pope's U.S. visit and address to the joint Houses
of Congress, Schiff's letter attracted great attention from colleagues
and the media. The Washington Post, for example, in a lengthy article,
"Should Pope Francis receive the Nobel Peace Prize?" noted that "a
peace prize for Francis would be historic: no Pope has ever won the
A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize is considered valid only if it
is submitted by a person who falls within one of the following
Members of National Assemblies and governments of states;
Members of international courts;
Members of Institut de Droit International;
University rectors; professors of social sciences, history,
philosophy, law and theology;
Directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes;
Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;
Board members of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace
Active and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; and
Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
The Pope's nomination would be considerably strengthened if it is also
backed by U.S. Senators and legislators from other countries,
including Armenian Parliamentarians. The deadline for submitting
nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize is February 1, 2016. The
recipient is selected by a 5-member Norwegian Nobel Committee
appointed by the Parliament of Norway. The prize is awarded each year
on December 10 in Oslo City Hall.
Pope Francis fully deserves the Nobel Peace Prize even though he is
too modest to seek it or even accept it. Should he win the Prize, His
Holiness would most probably donate the $1.5 million award to the poor
and the destitute around the world.
Posted 15 October 2015 - 07:15 AM
The puppet pope
Daily Sabah, Turkey
Oct 14 2015
by TAL BUENOS
What lies behind the new close relation between the U.S. and the
pope is unknown. However, the U.S. seems to have persuaded the pope
to use his influence to legitimize its foreign interests
Pope Francis's politicization of Ottoman history last April was
a staged event that the American-controlled Associated Press then
carefully packaged and disseminated around the globe. It was also
covered in similar fashion by media outlets such as Australia's ABC,
the BBC, CNN and The Huffington Post. The wording of the news items
was sure to associate Turkey with denial and to characterize the
Turkish government as angry because the pope used the term genocide
in reference to the Armenian relocations and deaths in World War I.
As one might have expected, many Turks did not appreciate the pope's
push to further polarize this already contentious issue. One common
reaction was to wonder whether the pope expressed an anti-Muslim
sentiment by choosing to preach about a Muslim perpetration of
massacres while decontextualizing what happened and ignoring many other
cases of civilian suffering. Those who are aware of the long history
of religious persecutions in Europe may have wondered how he could
keep a straight face while diverting attention away from crimes, that
throughout centuries, were directed at groups for not being Christian -
crimes that he never has, and likely will never, describe as genocide.
However, upon reviewing Pope Francis's recent visit to the United
States, there is good reason to believe that the current pope was
not simply being insensitive to Turks because of a religious bias,
but rather that he is being used as an instrument of U.S. influence.
Through him, the greatest power on earth, the United States, is able
to frame desired agendas and exert its influence without being seen as
doing so.Who are the people whom the U.S. can reach through the pope?
His influence on world public opinion is not limited to Catholics.
Both Catholics and non-Catholics generally perceive the pope as
an independent figure. Over 1 billion people can be persuaded by
the words of the pope into thinking that certain convictions and
preferences are their own as Catholics without ever suspecting that
their views are being shaped by calculations of how they may best
serve U.S. interests. In the eyes of billions of others - those around
the world for whom Pope Francis is not necessarily a figure of moral
authority - he still enjoys credibility as a non-American voice that
represents a vast religion.
Despite the prevalent perceptions of the pope as a figure, American
control of the Vatican is not unthinkable. Political realism teaches
that the greatest state power among the nations will seek to compel
or impel weaker states to act according to its wishes. Unlike the
style of past colonialism in which imperial interests were met largely
through the use of force and incentives in dealing with the masses,
the neocolonialist practice of today heavily relies on the co-opting
of a state's leadership. In this sense, the pope as the ruler of an
independent city-state since 1929 is no different from the political
leaders of certain small states in Africa, Asia and the Middle East
who are seen as agents of U.S. interests. It bears having in mind
that the last imperial troops to march through St. Peter's Basilica
were the British in June 1944 on behalf of the U.S.-led Allied Powers
in World War II.
Latin America is the theater in which Pope Francis has been most
influential, and his capacity to influence there is paying dividends
in Washington. While China, Iran and Russia are considered the main
challengers of U.S. hegemony, there is a consensus among scholars that
the successful emergence of the U.S. as the world hegemon that it is
today was made possible by the preceding domination of its own region.
Meaning, the maintenance of a favorable status quo of U.S. dominance
on the American continent - a dominance of a kind that no other nation
has in any region - is the bread and butter of what the U.S. has been
able to gradually accomplish since the dawn of the 20th century. From
this perspective, one might come to understand the significance of
being able to utilize an Argentine pope who has a tremendous effect
on the discourse and public mood in Latin America. Perhaps this might
also explain the mystery that is the unprecedented resignation of
Pope Benedict XVI, a German who would not have been able to fulfill
vital public opinion tasks as effectively.
The idea behind Pope Francis's trip to the U.S. was especially
ambitious as it sought to have the pope function as a discourse maker
in the American public. Efforts were made to distract the public
from the strings that pulled this pope throughout his tour of the
east coast. Media platforms were established for Catholic American
Republicans such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Senator Marco
Rubio and Representative Paul Gosar to publicize their political
disagreements with the pope as if to declare that his opinions were
not necessarily pro-American. Similarly, The New York Times published
an editorial with the headline "Pope Francis' Challenge to America,"
as if the man just walked into the heart of the U.S. capital and spoke
his mind freely. Such attempts aim at keeping the American public
at least two mental steps away from considering that the pope is an
American puppet. Credibility and effectiveness required that the pope
would be portrayed as respected and appreciated, without leaving room
for suspicion that he is being promoted by governmental design.
What Washington gained from the pope's visit did not necessitate that
American public opinion would be in agreement with the pope about the
issues that were raised in his speech in Congress. The gain is to be
found in the ability to maintain a believable discourse through his
words. Members of the public are free to hold opinion A, B or any
opinion in the space between A and B, as long as the information
is controlled in such a way that whatever opinions members of
the public choose or feel like they are choosing for themselves,
the discourse will stay within a predetermined set of options and
create an anticipated balance.The theory that the pope played a part
in a premeditated plan to structure discourse is one logical way to
explain how a group of 36 religious leaders, including U.S. President
Barack Obama's advisor, Jim Wallis, knew that the pope's speech in
Congress would present an opening to generate momentum on climate
change and reserved a full page in the following day's edition of
The New York Times to support the message. The printing of the ad
may have followed the speech, but the organization to place the ad
seems to have preceded it. Through Pope Francis, Wallis was able to
say that "the global public discussion" about the preservation of the
environment as a common good was changing, but it remains possible
that Wallis may have had more input on the speech than the pope did.
A free pope might not have entered Congress. In fact, a pope without
American strings such as Pius X, in 1910, before World War I, refused
to meet with American politicians such as then Vice President Charles
W. Fairbanks and then President Theodore Roosevelt. Popes nowadays seem
to have political duties imposed on them because they are subordinates
of greater political powers.
What clues in the September visit might suggest that the "pope show"
in the U.S. was an American production? The clues have to do with
the distinct Americanisms in the pope's words. It cannot be taken
for granted that the pope would choose to speak in English before
any audience. The choice of English, regardless of the efforts in
the American press to stress that it was the pope's own decision,
suggests a commitment to affecting American public opinion rather
than articulating spiritual guidance in a manner that is natural to
The biggest clue of the pope's service to the U.S. was given in his
rendition of how Native Americans were treated by the U.S. federal
government. To those who have been paying attention to how the U.S.
controls the discourse on genocide, the pope's true colors of red,
glowing white and blue were on full display when he talked about the
abuse and near extinction of the native population: "Those first
contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to
judge the past by the criteria of the present."
THE POPE'S GENOCIDE
When compared to his statement about the Armenian losses in World
War I, the disgraceful prejudice against Turks looms large. Pope
Francis said: "Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound
to keep bleeding without bandaging it," before asserting that the
victimization of Armenians is considered to have been "the first
genocide of the 20th century." This comparison does not merely point
at a double standard, but at the pope's role as an agent of American
discourse making.An independent pope might have sought to inquire
into how over the course of several decades in the 19th century
American missionaries in Anatolia managed to transfer power from the
traditional leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Church to an educational
system that institutionalized American control of Armenian priests,
thereby transforming a previously Armenian form of Christianity
into an American version of it. Thus, the Apostolic organization was
eliminated and replaced by a new leadership of the Armenian Church
that willfully cooperated with foreign powers and blindly followed
American and British influence into transforming its own people from
a peaceful ethnic minority in the Ottoman Empire to a fiery political
group that was a disruptive force against the Ottoman state.
This pope, though, is not independent, and his leadership of a
highly influential religious institution is the product of powerful
maneuvering by the U.S. akin to what was done to the leadership of
Ottoman Armenians. Institutions that have a foundational ability to
mobilize populations through the definition of their identities are
valued commodities for empires. They are coveted by the U.S. because
they offer an opportunity to inspire loyal followers into action
by controlling and sustaining a leadership that is credible on the
surface but actually operated in accordance with foreign interests. In
this, the pope follows a long line of others, who as figureheads have
facilitated the continued exertion of U.S. influence.
The voice is that of the pope, but the hands are those of American
*Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Utah
Posted 26 October 2015 - 10:40 AM
ARMENIAN SCULPTOR TO DONATE A SCULPTURE TO THE POPE
October 24 2015
Famous sculptor Ferdinand Arakelyan in an interview with Aravot.am
said that currently he is working on a sculpture that is going to be
donated to the Pope. He did not explain what is the sculpture, he just
said that the advice of the sculpture is the Pope's being No. 1 of
the century. "The Pope with his known move did not only defend the
Armenian nation and raised the Armenian Genocide but defended the
civilization. No one has ever been so strong as he is. He stood next
to the Christian civilization and the highest value - the morality. I
take off my hat before the greatness of the Pope, who is the biggest
symbol of civilization for me," said Mr. Arakelyan. The sculptor
noted that the sculpture will be made of bronze. Without "opening the
brackets" he said that prior to sending the sculpture to the Pope,
it will be shown also to the Armenian art lovers.
Read more at: http://en.aravot.am/2015/10/24/172641/
Posted 07 January 2016 - 11:42 AM
POPE'S VISIT TO ARMENIA ON 101ST ANNIVERSARY OF THE GENOCIDE A POSSIBILITY
13:36, 07 Jan 2016
Visiting Armenia in April 2016, the 101st anniversary of the 1915
genocide, is a possibility for the Pope, although this has not been
absolutely confirmed, according to World Religion News.
He hopes to visit the country, but admits, "I am old and these trips
The Pope may also visit three South-American nations: Peru, Colombia
and Venezuela. Argentina, Chile and Uruguay are also awaiting a visit
from the Pope.
Pope Francis confirmed that he will be visiting Mexico in the first
half of 2016.
Pope Francis will also be leading World Youth Day in KrakÃ³w, Poland,
the city of Pope John Paul II and Divine Mercy mystic, St. Faustina
The real focus of the Pope's 2016 schedulve will be the Jubilee of
Mercy, which may attract 25 million visitors. He will be modeling the
corporal and spiritual works of mercy in Catholic doctrine, starting
with a Jubilee for Pilgrimage Workers from January 19-21, 2016.
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