Date: January 11, 2016
Name: Taniel Koushakjian
Telephone: (202) 393-3434
Pope Francis Plans to Visit Armenia in April to Commemorate 101st Armenian
By Danielle Saroyan
Armenian Agenda Associate Editor
Pope Francis will possibly visit Armenia in April 2016 for the 101st
anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, World Religion News reports.
Pope Francis' 2016 travel schedule was publicized last week and includes
confirmed plans to visit Mexico for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and
Poland for World Youth Day in 2016. The trip to Armenia is planned, but has
not yet been confirmed.
Last November, the Armenian Agenda was first to report that Pope Francis
stated his desire to visit Armenia during an hour-long news conference
aboard the papal plane at the end of a six-day trip to Africa. Pope Francis
admits, `I am old and these trips are heavy,' which may prevent travels to
Armenia in 2016.
The Vatican has a long history of involvement in and good relations with
Armenia. At the beginning of last week, Papal Nuncio Gabriel Katchea
delivered a letter from Pope Francis to His Holiness Aram I, the Catholicos
of the Great House of Cilicia, on the occasion of Armenian Christmas. His
Holiness Aram I expressed gratitude to the Vatican and Pope Francis for
this letter, as well as the full support to Armenians on the 100th
anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Pope Francis held a mass on April 12, 2015 in honor of the victims of the
Armenian Genocide and called on heads of state to condemn the actions which
led to the killing of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915. During the mass, Pope
Francis identified the Armenian killings as `the first genocide of
century.' He said, `concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to
keep bleeding without bandaging it.'
Available online at: http://bit.ly/1OLBHQO
POPE WILL MARK 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
Posted 12 January 2016 - 11:08 AM
Posted 06 February 2016 - 12:06 PM
Feb 5 2016
As ambassador reinstated, Turkish, Armenian governments differ over
February 05, 2016
Turkey reinstated its ambassador to the Holy See because of the
wording of a recent Vatican statement, according to the Turkish
Turkey recalled its ambassador in April after Pope Francis, quoting
St. John Paul II, said that the mass killing of Armenians in the
Ottoman Empire `is generally referred to as the first genocide of the
At the conclusion of Pope Francis's February 3 general audience,
Rinaldo Mirmara, a historian and president of Caritas Turkey,
presented the Pope with a copy of his new history of the Battle of the
Dardanelles (1657), which took place during the Fifth Ottoman-Venetian
The Holy See Press Office said in a statement that day that `the
repeated commitment of Turkey to make its archives available to
historians and researchers of interested parties in order to arrive
jointly at a better understanding of historical events and the pain
and suffering endured by all parties, regardless of their religious or
ethnic identity, caught up in war and conflict, including the tragic
events of 1915, is noted and appreciated.'
A Turkish newspaper report implied that the Vatican statement's
reference to `the tragic events of 1915' meant that the Holy See was
backtracking from the use of the word `genocide''an interpretation
that the Armenian foreign ministry described as `totally false.'
Posted 06 February 2016 - 12:19 PM
Furky reinstates envoy, their tail between their legs to Vatican with fake excuse. Cowards!
Agence France Presse
February 4, 2016 Thursday 9:57 AM GMT
Turkey to send envoy back to Vatican after Armenia 'genocide' row
Ankara, Feb 4 2016
Turkey says it will send its ambassador back to the Vatican, after
recalling him last year in a row over Pope Francis' use of the word
"genocide" to describe the massacres of Armenians by Ottoman forces
during World War I.
The foreign ministry said Wednesday its decision came after the
Vatican published a statement welcoming Ankara's willingness -- first
expressed in 2005 -- to create a commission of Turkish and Armenian
historians to study the 1915 killings.
"In this context... the decision has been taken to send our ambassador
Mehmet Pacaci back to the Vatican," ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic
said in a statement.
Turkey recalled its ambassador in April last year, days away from the
100th anniversary of what the pope described as "the first genocide of
the 20th century".
A furious Ankara accused the pope of a "selective overview" of World
War I and "ignoring the atrocities suffered by the Turkish and Muslim
peoples who lost their lives" in favour of concentrating on Christians
and above all Armenians.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were killed between 1915
and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire was falling apart, and have long sought
to win international recognition of the massacres as genocide.
But Turkey rejects the claims, arguing that 300,000 to 500,000
Armenians and as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians rose
up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian
Posted 12 February 2016 - 11:22 AM
I hope the Vatican shows these deniers all the materials about the Armenian Genocide in their archives.
VATICAN INVITES TURKISH RESEARCHERS TO ITS ARCHIVE
Anadolu Agency (AA), Turkey
February 10, 2016 Wednesday
Turkish researchers have been invited to the Vatican by a top official
of the Holy Roman Church's library, which hosts one of the world's
most important manuscript collections.
French archbishop and Vatican librarian, Jean-Louis Brugues was in
Istanbul on Tuesday as part of a conference called "Vatican Library
and Secret Archive" at Mimar Sinan University.
Brugues's visit came after a 10-month-long dispute between Ankara
and Vatican over Pope Francis's Armenian remarks.
He was invited to Turkey's largest city by Istanbul-based cultural
institution New East Foundation.
"If there are young friends who are interested in record keeping and
want to back us up, I would be very pleased to have this support,"
he said speaking to a 300-strong crowd consisting of academicians
Noting that more than 1,200 researchers from 50 countries had visited
the Vatican archive last year, Brugues said: "Not many researchers
from Turkey have come to our archive so far. But I hope that after this
visit more researchers will come and work in the Vatican archives."
The library houses around 80,000 historical manuscripts and 9,000
first edition books, he added.
Last week Turkey announced that its ambassador to the Holy See, whom
it had recalled following the pope's statement, would return to the
Vatican following a conciliatory statement issued by the latter.
During a ceremony for Armenians on April 12, 2015, the pope called
the killing of Armenians in 1915 a "genocide".
On Feb. 3, the Vatican Press Office stated that it acknowledged
Turkey's "repeated commitment" to opening archives to historians and
researchers in order to shed light on the 1915 events.
The 1915 events occurred during World War I when a part of the
Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the
invading Russians and revolted.
The relocation of Armenians by the Ottomans in eastern Anatolia
following the revolts resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey does not dispute that there were casualties on both sides,
but rejects calling the events "genocide". Instead, it calls for
a joint commission of historians to be established and archives to
be opened in order to study and uncover what happened between the
Ottoman Empire and its Armenian citizens.
Posted 03 March 2016 - 10:02 AM
BLIND R US
Editorial, 29 February 2016
For a nation which has been frequently slapped by unjust and cruel
reality during its more than 4,000-year history, Armenians can
be embarrassingly naÃ¯ve and politically unsophisticated, despite
Khrimian Hayrig's reference to the paper ladle in 1878.
Take the recent brouhaha in Armenian circles about Vatican's February
3 statement regarding the Genocide of Armenians and Turkey's supposed
willingness to open its archives, "the pain and suffering endured by
all parties", the "necessity for reconciliation and forgiveness..."
between Armenians and Turks.
The statement was an almost duplicate of the pro forma boiler plate
misinformation Turkish diplomats studiously babble whenever cornered
by unequivocal evidence of the Genocide. The Vatican statement was
Genocide Denialism 101 which every Turkish diplomat has to master
before he is measured for his striped pants and shipped overseas to
prevaricate on behalf of Ankara.
There is no point in parsing every word of the cringe-inducing and
dishonest Vatican statement, including its description of the Genocide
as the "events of 1915".
Why would the Vatican--meaning the pope--make such a volte-face after
recognizing the Genocide with such pomp and ceremony at Saint Peter's
Cathedral last April? The question is painfully redundant. The Vatican
reworded its policy for the same reason a long list of American
presidential candidates, who acknowledge the Genocide during their
election campaign, and then make a 180-degree turn to eat their words
once they've ensconced at the Oval Office.
As an educated person, the pope knows--just as Obama, Bush, Clinton,
et al do--that Turkey committed Genocide of the Armenians, but as head
of a state, he has to play real politik. The Roman Catholic Church is
a state with interests which are not always spiritual. Then there's
the matter of some 35,000 Catholics who live in Turkey, in addition
to the vast properties the Roman Catholic Church holds in that country.
The pope has to protect his cowered congregation there and maintain
his Church's hold on those valuable properties.
In 2004, after Pope Benedict XVI stated his opposition to Turkey
joining the European Union, the Council of Catholic Bishops made
an unseemly rush to meet the prime minister of Turkey "to discuss
restrictions and difficulties such as Church property issues." Vatican
got the message that its properties could suddenly turn into mosques,
just as countless Armenian churches had done. Perhaps emotional
and unruly "Turkish extremists" could unleash another campaign to
eliminate Italian nuns and bishops living in Turkey.
The Roman Catholic Church might have more paintings and statues of
Christ than any other organization; it might have more copies of the
Bible, more and bigger churches than any other congregation; it might
even have St. Peter's Keys to Heaven...but it is still basically a
state with multi-layered interests with followers in every continent.
It's no secret that for hundreds of years the Catholic Church had
armies and as a state held large chunks of central Italy. During the
Middle Ages--supposedly a time of supreme devotion to Christianity--the
popes regularly invaded neighbouring principalities and dukedoms to
further expand Church land holdings and tax base. A few decades ago,
Pope John Paul II, according to no less than Mikhail Gorbachev, George
Bush Sr., Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski (ruler of Poland), and Solidarity
leader Lech Walesa, was the primary cause for bringing down Communist
rule in Poland and eventually in all of Europe. While the pope and
President Ronald Reagan plotted the downfall of Gen. Jaruzelski the
Vatican Bank covertly helped fund the Solidarity movement.
Pope John Paul II also visited Azerbaijan, although there were no more
than 400 Christians in that country of 9 million and more than half
of the Christians were foreign diplomats or oil industry expats. Why
did the seriously ailing pope visit the Muslim dictator who was after
the blood of neighbouring Christian Armenia? Because Vatican is a
non-member member of the Western Club--a club that has oil interests.
While Armenians--including the publishers of Keghart.com--have been
hailing the pope's recognition of the Genocide Ankara has obviously
been working hard to dilute Vatican's statements of last year. Thus
its ambassador's return to Vatican was announced at the same time
the Vatican issued its edited statement of April 2015.
Media "morgues" are memory banks where the publications' editorials
are filed so that staff would know where the outlet stands on issues.
Some companies call it archives, corporate or collective memory.
Armenians can use a collective memory so that they're not shattered
every time they come across double-dealers, entities with forked
tongue, people who see no difference between black and white or truth
and lies. Armenians also need to remember that politics is ruled by
self-interest and not morality or truth. A collective memory would go
a long way to protect us from disappointment and from the Gebhardts
and the Hasterts of this world, and the modern "disciples" of St.
Peter--Christ's close friend who thrice denied knowing the Lord.
Posted 21 March 2016 - 10:17 AM
March 19 2016
Pope Francis to visit Armenia after angering Turkey with genocide remark
By Philip Pullella
March 19, 2016
Pope Francis plans to visit Armenia in June, the Vatican said on
Friday, a trip that could upset Turkey if he again describes the
century-old massacres of Christian Armenians as a genocide.
The Vatican spokesman said Francis would visit Armenia, for several
days, most likely at the end of June, but the exact dates had not yet
The pope triggered a row with Turkey almost a year ago when he said
the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in World War One was `the
first genocide of the 20th century', days before commemorations to
mark the centennial of the massacres.
Muslim Turkey recalled its ambassador to the Vatican in protest and
he stayed away for 10 months ` a very long absence in diplomatic
Turkey accepts that many Christian Armenians were killed in clashes
with Ottoman soldiers when Armenians lived in the empire ruled from
Istanbul, but denies hundreds of thousands were killed and that this
amounted to genocide.
An overwhelming majority of Turks reject the accusation of genocide.
The issue continues to thwart efforts to re-open diplomatic ties with
neighboring Armenia, and their 300-km (190-mile) border has been
closed for two decades.
Pope John Paul visited Armenia in 2001.
Posted 13 May 2016 - 10:37 AM
Pope Francis will arrive in Armenia on June 24. After the official welcome ceremony at Zvartnots Airport the Pontiff will leave for the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
The same day Pope Francis will meet with President Serzh Sargsyan at the Presidential Palace. His Holiness is also expected to meet with representatives of the Armenian authorities, civil society and diplomatic corps.
The first day of the visit will be concluded with a meeting with His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
In the morning of June 25 Pope Francis will visit the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial and the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute. He will later leave for Gyumri together with the Catholicos of All Armenians to serve a Holy Mass at Vardanants Square. In the evening of June 25 an ecumenical service and a Prayer for Peace will take place at the Republic Square in Yerevan.
On June 26 the Pope will meet with Armenian Catholic Bishops and will participate in a Holy Liturgy and an ecumenical dinner at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
Pope Francis and the Catholicos of all Armenians will sign a joint statement and will hold a prayer at Khor Virap Monastery.
Posted 15 May 2016 - 08:23 AM
Why Pope Francis' visit matters to Armenians
POLITICS 19:00 14/05/2016
Pope Francis’ visit to Armenia this summer comes at a poignant time in
the country’s history, writes the Catholic News Agency.
The Holy Father’s June 24-26 visit comes just after the close of the
100-year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and during the Year of
Mercy, a significance not lost on the Armenian people, said Mikayel
Minasyan, Armenian Ambassador to the Holy See.
The Armenian people have learned to be strong because of their
history, Minasyan said, referring to the genocide that occurred at the
hands of the Ottoman empire during and after World War I and which
left as many as 1.5 million Armenians dead.
“It’s strong to remember their own history, it’s strong to understand
their own history, it’s strong to accept their own history,” he said
of his people.
The centenary anniversary has been a time to recognize the healing and
progress that has been made, he added.
“The Armenians made the whole world see what it is to overcome an
injustice. They gave the possibility to the world to understand what a
genocide is, what the denial of a genocide is. Let’s not forget that
the term ‘genocide’ was created above all based on the study of the
The ambassador also said the year has been a time to recognize
everyone who has supported the Armenians and raised awareness of the
genocide, including Pope Francis, who has recognized the genocide as
“We are also very grateful, very grateful to the people from the
smallest to the greatest, from Pope
Francis, who did something historic celebrating Mass for the Armenian
martyrs April 12,” Minasyan said.
“Certainly Pope Francis made one of the most fundamental steps in
celebrating this Mass in St. Peter’s inviting the hierarchy of the
Apostolic Armenian Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, and
proclaiming St. Gregory of Narek as a doctor of the Universal Church,”
The Pope has kept strong ties with the Armenian community since his
time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. A large portion of Armenians
immigrated to Argentina following the deportations and killings of
World War I, and today the country has one of the largest populations
of Armenians in the world.
The Armenian people are “full of joy” that Pope Francis is coming, the
“...the Armenian people are waiting with a great excitement to
manifest their own remembrance. Pope Francis is going to Armenia to
fulfill this visit in full respect and love for the Armenian people
and for their history. And also the recognition of what the Armenian
Republic represents now in that region,” he said.
“The fact that His Holiness goes to Armenia in the Year of Mercy is
also another fact that we appreciate a lot,” Minasyan told the
Catholic News Agency.
The Holy Father’s recognition and remembrance of the Armenian genocide
is especially meaningful amid ongoing denials of the event or denial
of responsibility for the event on the part of some Turkish
politicians and other political leaders.
“We are not closing this year, turning a page. We are opening another
book and this new book is titled ‘The fight against denialism,’ and it
is yet to be seen.”
While most people no longer deny the Armenian genocide, “the
politicians do,” Minasyan said. “In private they say yes, but in
public, for political reasons, they deny it. Political denial is the
most hideous denial that there is.”
Posted 15 May 2016 - 08:29 AM
Pope risks angering Turkey by visiting Armenian Genocide memorial – Daily Mail
15:50 • 14.05.16
By Amie Gordon for Mail Online
The Vatican has released details of Pope Francis's highly contentious
trip to Armenia in June.
The pontiff's trip will include a visit to the genocide memorial
complex, a monastery stop in the city of Gyumeri and a meeting with
The announcement comes after the pope last year labeled the
Ottoman-era slaughter of Armenians genocide, sparking a diplomatic row
It is thought the visit could fuel more tension and strain the
Vatican's diplomatic relations with Turkey.
The Vatican released details of the June 24-25 trip today.
The three-day visit comes a year after the pope sparked a diplomatic
incident with Turkey when he described the Ottoman-era slaughter of
Armenians as a 'genocide'.
The Turkish government denies any genocide of Armenians took place,
insisting those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.
His new plan to visit the genocide memorial on his second day is also
likely to stoke tensions with Turkey.
In April last year, Pope Francis angered the Turkish government by
describing the mass-murders of up
to 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 as “the first genocide of the 20th century”.
The pontiff made the comments at a 100th anniversary Mass, prompting
Turkey to summon the Holy See's ambassador inAnkara in protest.
Turkey told the Vatican ambassador it was “deeply sorry and
disappointed” in Pope Francis, adding that his comments had caused a
'problem of trust'.
It was the first time a pope had publicly used “genocide” to describe
the massacre, although it is a term used by many European and South
In June, Francis also plans to visit the Armenian Apostolic Church's
seat in Echmiadzin and will conduct a liturgy with Armenian Apostolic
Church leader Catholicos Garegin II.
Both are significant signs of cooperation with the overwhelmingly
dominant local Oriental Orthodox Church.
Posted 19 May 2016 - 10:02 AM
May 13 2016
Full agenda of the Pope's trip to Armenia from June 24-26
Pope Francis will travel to Armenia from June 24 to 26.
FRIDAY, JUNE 24
9:00 a.m. Departure from Rome Fiumicino Airport to Yerevan.
3:00 p.m. Arrival at "Zvartnots" Yerevan International airport.
3:35 p.m. A prayer in the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the apostolic
cathedral and home to Catholicos, the supreme head of the Armenian
Church. Greetings and best wishes to Catholicos.
6:00 p.m. A courtesy visit to the President at the Presidential Palace.
6:30 p.m. Meeting with the civil authorities and the diplomatic corps
at the Presidential Palace.
7:30 p.m. Personal meeting with Catholicos in the Apostolic Palace.
SATURDAY, JUNE 25
8:45 a.m. Visit to Tzitzernakaberd, the Armenian genocide memorial.
10:00 a.m. Transfer via plane to Gyumri.
11:00 a.m. Mass in the Vardanants square.
4:45 p.m. Visit to the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral of the Seven Plagues.
5:15 p.m. Visit to the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral of Saints and Martyrs.
6:00 p.m. Return to Yerevan.
7:00 p.m. Ecumenical meeting and prayer for peace in the Republic
Square in Yerevan.
SUNDAY, 26 JUNE
9:15 a.m. Meeting with Armenian Catholic bishops in Echmiadzin.
10:00 a.m. Participation in the Divine Liturgy in the Armenian
Ecumenical lunch with Catholicos, archbishops and bishops of the
Armenain Apostolic Church, and Catholic Armenian cardinals and
3:50 p.m. Meeting with delegates and supporters of the Armenian
4:05 p.m. Signing of the joint statement in the Apostolic Palace.
5:00 p.m. Prayer at Khor Virap monastery.
6:15 p.m. Farewell ceremony.
8:40 p.m. Arrival in Ciampino airport in Rome.
Posted 19 May 2016 - 10:23 AM
“Visit to the first Christian nation”: the slogan of the Pope’s visit
May 19, 2016 11:32
Photo: Press service of the Armenian President
Yerevan/Mediamax/. The slogan and logo for the visit of Pope Francis,
Head of Roman Catholic Church to Armenia have been unveiled today.
The slogan of the visit is -“Visit to the first Christian nation”.
The logo of the Pope’s visit to Armenia is circular and is based on
the picture of Khor Virap Monastery and biblical Mount Ararat.
The logo colors are violet and yellow, reflecting the Armenian
Apostolic Church and the Roman Catholic Church's official colors. The
two Churches’ coats of arms are also included in the logo.
The writing along the circle reads: “Pope Francis. Armenia. June 24-26, 2016”.
The agenda of the visit is available here.
- See more at:
Posted 18 June 2016 - 09:39 AM
The Catholic Register
June 17 2016
Francis builds on ecumenical progress with Armenians
By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register
June 17, 2016
TORONTO – In a country that is more than 90-per-cent Orthodox, the
biggest event in Armenia this year will be a three-day visit by Pope
“It’s a huge deal,” said Fr. Elias Kirejian, Armenian Catholic pastor
of St. Gregory the Illuminator parish in Toronto.
In the poor, isolated country wedged in between Turkey, Georgia and
Azerbaijan, the Roman pontiff is seen as anything but a threat to the
country’s ancient Christian heritage and identity.
“Armenians, they remain faithful to their faith and heritage,” said
Kirejian. “Especially to their Christian heritage throughout centuries
Most media attention during the June 24 to 26 visit is expected to
fall on the Pope’s visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex and
Museum in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital. However, at least as significant
will be the demonstration of ecumenical progress between Catholics and
the Armenian Apostolic Church at the same time as almost all the
patriarchs of the Orthodox world are gathered in Crete for the largest
council in Orthodox history.
While most of the Eastern Christian world is working out agreements
and disagreements on questions of mission, marriage, ecumenism and the
autonomy of churches, Pope Francis and Armenian Patriarch and
Catholicos His Holiness Karekin II will demonstrate a degree of
ecumenical communion between Catholics and the Armenian Apostolic
Church that is almost complete.
Twenty-thousand Armenians are expected for an outdoor papal Mass in
Gyumri, Armenia’s second city, on June 25. They will be joined by
about 3,000 Catholic pilgrims from abroad. Apostolic Armenians are not
going to be excluded from the communion line.
Though the Apostolic Armenian Church has always considered itself
Oriental Orthodox, unlike other Orthodox churches it never formally
broke with Rome. Armenians dissented from the consensus at the Council
of Chalcedon and were considered “monophysite” — a belief that Jesus’
human nature was subordinate to His divine nature — but in recent
times that has been considered a misunderstanding based on language.
The Armenian Apostolic Church has always maintained its independence
from the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople and resisted
attempts during the Soviet era to lump it in under the Orthodox
Patriarchate of Moscow.
The first Christian kingdom in history, Armenia was declared
officially Christian by St. Gregory the Illuminator and King Tiridates
III in 301. Armenians believe their church was established by the
apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus.
In the post-Soviet era, relations between Rome and Armenia have grown
warmer. St. John Paul II visited Armenia in 2002. Pope Francis has
built upon the last 25 years of ecumenical progress by recognizing the
Armenian genocide of 1915 last year and then by declaring the mystical
poet St. Gregory of Narek a doctor of the universal Church.
Gregory of Narek’s major literary work is a collection of prayers
known as the “Book of Lamentations,” but which the saint himself
titled an “Encyclopedia of Prayer for All Nations.”
In Toronto the ecumenical closeness between Armenian Catholics and
Armenian Apostolic Christians is well established and simply assumed,
“They are in a fraternal collaboration in all aspects of mission,”
said the Catholic pastor.
Toronto Armenians make very little distinction between the two
churches. Divine liturgy in an Armenian Catholic church is almost
indistinguishable from liturgy in an Armenian Apostolic Church.
“In my church I have lots of Armenian Apostolic Church. They come.
They attend the Mass and with the permission of my bishop they receive
communion,” Kirejian said.
Kirejian would not preside at Divine Liturgy in an Armenian Apostolic
church without specific permission and an invitation. Nor would an
Apostolic priest celebrate Mass at the Armenian Catholic church
without similar permission. But Kirejian often presides at weddings
and performs baptisms for Armenian Apostolic families.
“Any Armenian, be they Catholic or be they Apostolic, feels at home in
any Armenian church,” he said.
The Armenian community in Toronto has been drawn even closer together
by the arrival of Armenian refugees from Syria.
“They don’t speak English well, so the Canadian Armenians — third or
fourth generation — have to speak whatever they know of Armenian. They
have to communicate with them in Armenian,” said Zovig Kheir Ayanian,
principal of the Armenian Catholic Saturday School run out of St.
Gerald Catholic Elementary School.
The school attracts 230 students on weekends from Armenian families
who want to pass on their language and culture to the next generation.
Recently the school has welcomed 35 new Syrian Armenian students,
refugees from Syria’s civil war.
“They are mostly Apostolic, but they like to come to Catholic
schools,” said Ayanian.
For Armenians, welcoming refugees is naturally a Church-based effort.
The bond between Armenian culture and Christianity is too deep for it
to be otherwise, said Karejian.
“I don’t know how to describe this — this tremendous bonding between
our heritage and our faith. The Christian faith and the Armenian
heritage, they are inseparable. Any Armenian, regardless of his
denomination feels at home in churches, in the schools, in
communities,” he said.
- MosJan likes this
Posted 19 June 2016 - 11:52 AM
Interviews | June 17, 2016 12:31
Ahead of Pope Francis’ visit to Armenia from 24 to 26 June, La Stampa published an interview with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
- Your Eminence, what is the essence of the Pope’s visit to Armenia?
- I think this visit is first and foremost a sort of pilgrimage: the Pope’s gesture is one of affection and admiration for this ancient Church with its century-old Christian tradition; it is an act of devotion towards this country, the first to adopt Christianity in 301 when St. Gregory the Illuminator led the entire nation to conversion and baptism. The Pope will bring his gratitude and esteem for a people who were moulded by the Christian spirit and managed to protect the precious treasure of faith and their own identity for centuries. This is the spiritual power upon which Armenia can build a future of peace and hope. I also believe this trip will very important for the entire Armenian diaspora, all those men and women living in Europe, the US, South America and many other countries, who are shining examples of the values and human and Christian wealth of this people. Francis’ word and blessing will be a great comfort to them and act as a stimulus.
- You have been to this country a number of times, the last time being in 2015, when you celebrated the consecration ceremony of the Holy Martyrs Armenian Catholic Church in Gyumri: what is it about the Armenian people that strikes you the most?
- What strikes me about this people, arousing my deep admiration, is their spirit of sacrifice, their ability to face each historical event – both in times of freedom and in times of persecution and suffering – with an authentic Christian spirit, remaining rooted in Christ’s cross. Khatchkars (carved, memorial stele bearing a cross) are effective symbols of this connection with the cross; they are present across the country, almost like a visible bone structure. Perseverance in the faith, humility and a spirit of service are Armenia’s strong points and what has helped this huge Christian community to get through and overcome the terrible hardships of the 20th century which affected over a million and a half Armenian Christians.”
- What impact have these great hardships had on the soul of the Armenian people and their spirituality?
- These incredibly painful events have left an indelible mark on them. I am thinking of the Armenian liturgy: what I find most striking about it are the chants: they are heart wrenching, they seem to come from somewhere deep within the soul. They express a spirit of devotion to God, a faith that has never been denied or sold but preserved at a high price, with suffering. This is a people that is very familiar with suffering. The prayer I feel rising up spontaneously in my heart as I think of Pope Francis going to touch the Armenian nation with the oil of consolation and compassion, is that all of this pain will beget greater hope and love.”
- How do you view current relations between the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church?
- I perceive them to be very fraternal and particularly friendly. The Catholic community is tiny in terms of numbers and we need to be grateful to the Lord for the fact that the Armenian Apostolic Church – thanks to the generosity of Karekin II and his predecessor Karekin I – has allowed the Catholic Church to exist and to live the faith and acts of charity in service of the people fully. I am thinking, for example, of the work carried out by the Missionaries of Charity in Spitak and Yerevan and at Ashotks hospital, which until today has been run by the Camillians and the Little Sisters of Jesus. This hospital was donated by Caritas Italy at the request of John Paul II, after the devastating earthquake of 1988. I am certain that Pope Francis’ visit will forge even closer ties between the two Churches, fostering stronger and more fruitful ties of fraternity, friendship and mutual support that will lead to an industrious cooperation in many fields.”
- Do you foresee that Pope Francis and Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians will draft a “Joint Declaration” as St. John Paul II and Karekin II did back in 2001?
- I presume a Joint Declaration will be drafted on this occasion too, underlining and emphasising the common faith in Christ our Saviour and expressing the intention and willingness to build ever growing fraternal ties between us with the grace of the Lord.
- Do you think Pope Francis’ visit will sway the OSCE Minsk Group, the group of mediators who have sought a solution – so far unsuccessfully – to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over who has control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region?
- I definitely think this visit will be an opportunity to draw attention to and encourage those values that are the backbone of every human community: the rejection of violence, the use of arms that cause immense suffering and the tenacious pursuit of peace through diplomatic means, dialogue, understanding and negotiations. I think that during his visit to Armenia, the first leg of his journey to the Caucasus region (in September Francis will go to Georgia and Azerbaijan), the Pope will send out a strong appeal for peace and a heartfelt invitation to work towards turning the Caucasus into what it already is in geographical terms: a bridge between East and West.
- See more at: http://www.mediamax....h.Y0Hi4zXy.dpuf
Posted 22 June 2016 - 08:19 AM
Armenia to request permission of Pope Francis to study Vatican Archive
June 22, 2016 14:06
Yerevan /Mediamax/. Director of National Archives of Armenia Amatuni
Virabyan stated today that during the visit of Pope Francis to
Armenia, the Armenian party will raise the issue of studying documents
on Armenian nation and the Armenian Genocide, kept in Vatican Secret
“Vatican Secret Archives are considered one of the largest in the
world, they contain a great number of documents on countries and
nations that Vatican contacted with. Armenian people had contacts with
Vatican since 3rd, 4th centuries, and these Archives keep plenty of
documents on our history, which have not been revealed or published,”
Director of National Archives of Armenia told the journalists.
According to Amatuni Virabyan, these documents cover relations between
Armenian people and Vatican, Armenian history and culture, and the
“In the end of 19th century, representative of the Pope in the Ottoman
Empire reported on Empire’s Christians to Vatican, particularly on the
condition of Armenians and the persecution they suffered,” said
He noted that National Archives of Armenia possess copies of all the
documents that Vatican revealed to researches. They are mainly in
French and Latin, and Armenian experts are studying them at present.
As of now, the secret documents of Vatican Archives can be revealed to
researches only by the permission of the Pope.
While answering the question from Mediamax, Director of National
Archives of Armenia expressed an opinion that the high level of
relations between Armenian and Catholic Churches allow the Armenian
party to request permission of Pope Francis to study these secret
“I keep in touch with Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and we discussed
this issue yesterday. Most likely, we will try to bring it up during
the visit of Pope Francis. I believe that this problem can have a
solution after the special Holy Mass on the Centennial of the Armenian
Genocide, held last April at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican,” said
- See more at:
Posted 23 June 2016 - 09:23 AM
ANCA: Pope’s visit to Tsitsernakaberd an open challenge to Turkey’s
10:50, 23 Jun 2016
Armenian Americans will be closely following Pope Francis’ historic
trip to Armenia this weekend, energized by his moral leadership during
the Armenian Genocide Centennial last year and hopeful that his
courage will inspire our U.S. President and Congress to end their
complicity in Turkey’s genocide denial, reported the Armenian National
Committee of America.
A highlight of the Pontiff’s busy three day schedule in Armenia will
be his visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial (Tsitsernakaberd) on
Saturday morning (local time), after which he will meet a dozen
descendants of the 400 Armenian orphans who were rescued in 1915 and
lodged at the papal Castel Gandolfo residence near Rome.
“The Pope’s prayers at the Armenian Genocide Memorial will echo around
the world,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “The presence
of Pope Francis at the Armenian Genocide Memorial – over the strident
objections of Turkey’s leaders – stands as a powerful moral testament
against Ankara’s ongoing obstruction of justice for this crime. In
bearing witness – before all the world – at this most sacred site,
Pope Francis is openly challenging Turkey’s efforts to erase from
history its massacre and exile of millions of Armenians, Assyrians,
Greeks, and other ancient Christian nations from their biblical era
Hamparian went on to share his hope that the Pope’s visit will inspire
U.S. leaders to stop aiding and abetting Turkey’s century-long
campaign of Genocide denial. “President Obama, Speaker Ryan and all
our Congressional leaders would do well to follow the courageous moral
leadership of Pope Francis in rejecting Ankara’s gag-rule and speaking
honestly about Turkey’s near genocidal annihilation of the Christian
Armenian nation,” explained Hamparian. “This visit by Pope Francis to
the first Christian state both reflects and reinforces the Christian
world’s solidarity with the Armenian people.”
Posted 24 June 2016 - 09:27 AM
Evangelina Himitian: The Pope said he liked my book very much
June 24, 2016 09:12
Evangelina Himitian from Argentinean LA NACION newspaper is one of the journalists who traveled to Armenia to cover the Papal visit.
She is the daughter of an Armenian evangelical pastor in Argentina, Jorge (Hrair) Himitian. He was friends with then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, elected Pope Francis in 2013, during his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Evangelina’s acquaintance with Jorge Bergoglio turned to more active interaction later because of her work as a journalist, and in 2013 her book “Francis, the People’s Pope” was published.
Evangelina Himitian talked to Mediamax in Yerevan.
Unfortunately, I don’t speak Armenian. My mother is Argentinean, and my father is Armenian. I have many friends among Armenians, but alas, I can’t speak the language. I know well the story of my great grandparents, though.
They both were saved by Turkish peasants during the Genocide. My father said my great grandmother Vergine was nine years old, when her family was evicted from Aintab. She watched her family burn that night. Only she, her brother and sister survived, saved by a Turkish peasant.
My great grandfather Movses was 15 years old at that time. His whole family was murdered by Turks, and he was sent on a death march to Syrian deserts with a group of men. He managed to escape on the way and found shelter at a house of a Turkish peasant, who took care of him. He went to Syria eventually. My great grandparents met there, got married, lived in Aleppo, then Haifa. They decided to move to Argentina after WW2 and start a new life there.
Our whole family was deeply touched, when the Pope held a special Holy Mass in April 2015 and defined the events of 1915 as Genocide. It showed that people share our grief and accept that the genocide happened. It not for it, if my ancestors weren’t murdered at that time, I wouldn’t be in Argentina now.
This is my first visit to Armenia. I’m very excited. It seems like a piece has been missing from the puzzle of my life, and now it is finally in place.
My father, who lead the Council of Evangelical Pastors in Buenos Aires, met Cardinal Bergoglio in 2001. They became friends, held masses together. They were united by the fact that they both came from immigrant families, took the hard path of settling in a new place and started from scratch.
The Pope was very close to Armenian community of Argentina. Embassy of Armenia is near the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral, and he would often visit the community and the Embassy.
A strong fire erupted at one of Buenos Aires’s night clubs in December 2004. It killed around 200 people, most of them young. The families of the victims were in need of moral support after the incident, someone had to talk to them and console them. Cardinal Bergoglio called the head of Armenian Apostolic Church Diocese and asked him for assistance. Cardinal’s sympathy to Armenians of Argentina grew stronger after this occurrence.
Cardinal didn’t like to talk to journalists. When he was the Archbishop, I often tried to interview him, but I didn’t succeed. He didn’t want to be in the centre of media’s attention. He preferred to speak off-the-record. He was very modest and collected, the way he is now.
Once I published an article on the poor condition of needy families living at the city’s station, and he contacted me through his assistant, emailing that he read my article and liked it very much.
When I began covering the matters of the Church, reasons to meet the Cardinal multiplied. At a meeting on the church matters once Cardinal Bergoglio was asked what restaurant he would like to dine at. He replied that he wouldn’t go to a restaurant, but rather have dinner at the same place as other participants. So the pastors were the first to sit at the dining table.
When it was time for the journalists to eat, we approached the table and saw that almost nothing was left. We took whatever was there and shared with each other. Cardinal saw that, took the food from the pastors’ table and gave it to us. He’s always been this thoughtful, willing and modest man.
When Cardinal was elected Pope in 2013, my father and some other Argentinean pastors visited Vatican. As a journalist covering church matters, I went with them. When we reached the Pope’s residence, security guards didn’t let me in, as my name wasn’t on the list of the invited persons. The Pope talked to my father about my book.
“Francis, the People’s Pope” book
“Francis, the People’s Pope” book
My father said I was waiting outside, but I wasn’t allowed in. The Pope called security, though, and I entered. We discussed the book, and he said he liked it very much. After that, we interacted from time to time through emails.
I think he was very brave to decide to come to Armenia. He knows already that he’s moving the pieces on the word’s geopolitical chessboard by this visit, and he’s coming to say that peace is really possible here. He prays to God to become a bridge between the nations in building a peaceful future.
Photos by Mariam Loretsyan
- See more at: http://www.mediamax....h.KCNx5onQ.dpuf
Posted 24 June 2016 - 09:30 AM
Stamps dedicated to Pope’s visit to Armenia put into circulation
A souvenir sheet and a mini-sheet with four stamps dedicated to the visit of Pope Francis to Armenia have been put into circulation
On 24 June 2016 “Haypost” closed joint stock company puts into circulation a souvenir sheet with one stamp and four postage stamps designed into a mini sheet in a form of a cross, dedicated to the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Armenia.
The official cancelation ceremony of the souvenir sheet and mini-sheet took place at the Presidential Palace of the RA in the presence of high-ranking delegations from Armenia and Vatican.
The souvenir sheet with one stamp depicts Pope Francis against the backgrounds of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, as well as the logo dedicated to the visit of Pope Francis to Armenia and the coat of arms of Pope Francis.
The format of four stamps designed into a form of a cross has been selected by “Haypost Trust Management b.v.”, a company that belongs to Mr. Eduardo Eurnekian, an Argentinian Armenian businessman, and has a symbolic meaning for the visit of Pope Francis to the first Christian Nation. The four stamps depict Pope Francis against the backgrounds of a statue to Saint Gregory the Illuminator donated to the Vatican by Armenia, a monument dedicated to the theme “Armenia – the first Christian Nation” in Yerevan, inner parts of the Main Cathedral of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and Saint Peter`s Basilica in the Vatican.
The souvenir sheet has an inscription “Pope Francis. Armenia. 24-26 June, 2016”, as well as “Visit to the first Christian Nation” which is the official motto of this visit.
Posted 24 June 2016 - 09:32 AM
- From the section Europe
Pope Francis has again described the mass killing of Armenians under Ottoman Turkish rule in the First World War as "genocide".
He made the remarks during a visit to the Armenian capital, Yerevan. He aroused Turkey's anger with a similar statement last year.
Armenia and many historians say up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians were killed by Ottoman forces in 1915.
But Turkey has always disputed that figure.
It says the deaths were part of a civil conflict triggered by WW1.
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users