Genocide 100Politics

Churches urge Austria to recognize the Armenian Genocide

The Executive Board of the World Council of Churches in Austria (ÖRKÖ) urges the Republic of Austria to follow the examples of many other states and recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The Executve Board circulated letters to President of the Republic Heinz Fischer, President of the National Council of Austria Doris Bures, Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner Sebastian.

The letters were signed by Chairman of ÖRKÖ, the United Methodist Superintendent Lothar Pöll, and his two deputies, the Catholic Diocesan Bishop of Innsbruck, Manfred Scheuer, and the Lutheran Bishop Michael Bünker signed.

The recognition of this first genocide in the early 20th century by Austrian is side “long overdue,” says the ÖRKÖ Board and recalled that Austrian Franz Werfel commemorated the tragedy with his novel “The 40 Days of Musa Dagh.”

In addition, the ÖRKÖ Board refers to the opinion of the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches from 1983.

An official recognition of the genocide, as has already been done by many countries and institutions at European and global level could mean a sign of atonement and reconciliation, the ÖRKO Executive Board said.

The churches in Austria will be commemorating the upcoming April 24 together with Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna Stephansdom in an ecumenical service for victims of the Armenian genocide, the victims of the Christians of the Syriac tradition and the victims of the Greek Christians of Pontus and Ionia, announced the ÖRKÖ -Vorstand in the letter to the leaders of the republic. Finally, it says in the letter: “We combine this commemoration with the burning desire that such transactions never – ever – occur.”

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