Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian offered the following comment regarding Pope Francis statement reaffirming the Armenian Genocide, made earlier today during an unprecedented Vatican mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of that crime.
“Turkey underestimates, at its own risk, the power of our worldwide movement – a profoundly moral movement inspired by truth and driven by our shared hope for a fair and enduring peace based on a just international resolution of the Armenian Genocide,” stated Hamparian.
In remarks delivered at the opening of the commemorative mass, Pope Francis noted, “In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered “the first genocide of the twentieth century”, struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks. Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenceless children and the infirm were murdered.”
Pope Francis went on to state that, “It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honour their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”
At the end of the mass, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, thanked Pope Francis for his reaffirmation of truth, and stated, “International law spells out clearly that condemnation, recognition and reparation of a genocide are closely interconnected.” He went on to note that the Armenian cause is a cause of justice, and that justice is a gift of God. “Therefore, the violation of justice is a sin against God.”
In his remarks, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, stated “Our ancient people were uprooted from their cradle and historic homeland and scattered around the world. Our centuries-old Christian heritage was torn down, destroyed and seized. However, nothing — neither suffering, nor persecution or even death — forced our people to renounce their sacred faith.”