Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of Armenia,
Honored Presidents and Dignitaries of Foreign States,
Spiritual Heads of Sister Churches and Diligent Clergy,
Honored Representatives of International and Ecumenical Organizations,
Honored Guests and Dear and Beloved Faithful,
This is a historic and sacred day. It is the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. We have gathered once again at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial to evoke the memory of our holy martyrs.
It is spiritually consoling for our people in the homeland and the diaspora, as it is for us, that you – Honored Presidents of foreign states; dear spiritual Heads and clergy of sister Churches; and representatives of governmental, public and ecumenical organizations – are here to nobly participate in the commemoration service in memory of our countless martyrs. We offer our gratitude to you, your countries and peoples, for the respect you have expressed toward our people by your presence.
The Genocide of the Armenians, coordinated and implemented by Ottoman Turkey at the beginning of the 20th century is the greatest tragedy of our recent history, which by not garnering appropriate assessment and condemnation, became the precedent to new crimes. We offer thanks to God, that the Armenian Genocide is now at the center of attention of the international community, and is receiving recognition and condemnation. Our presence here underlines our responsibility to provide future generations a peaceful and secure world, free of violence and atrocities.
With the blessing of God, yesterday we offered the service of canonization for the sons and daughters of our Holy Church whose lives were sacrificed during the years of the genocide “for faith and homeland”. Today from this hilltop in view of Ararat, where the radiant souls of our martyrs are present, and holiness shelters us like a canopy, we offer up a prayer of intercession to heaven, appealing for peace in the world, and love and harmony among men. Our holy martyrs today bring a message to us and a calling to be apostles: Apostles of justice, condemning atrocities against humanity – genocides, terrorism, and the trampling of the rights of men and nations. The patrons of philanthropy, righteousness and peace – our holy martyrs – call us to be apostles of truth, challenging the preaching of fiction and spreading of lies, to reject denialism, and to overcome intolerance and indifference.
The bitter memories of the genocide over the course of 100 years have not darkened the souls of our people with evil or revenge. Hatred has not penetrated our sorrow; instead we have remained resolute when faced with frauds and the distortions of our history; we have not retreated on our path of struggling for the truth. Our people today continue to live under conditions of illegal blockade and the threat of war; endure the difficulties; and protect their rights with faith in the supremacy of the rights of men and nations.
Before the memory of our holy martyrs, we once again express our gratitude to those countries, governments, religious and public institutions and organizations that have recognized and condemned the Armenian Genocide, as well as all states, peoples and individuals who extended their helping hands during those cruel years of the genocide, and granted refuge to the sons and daughters of our people.
It is my prayer as Pontiff, that our people keep faith and patriotism steadfast, and the will to reestablish their rights resolute and strong. Through the intercession of our holy martyrs, we appeal for peace, justice, love and mercy to eternally reign over the earth, for the sake of a joyful, safe and prosperous life. Amen.