His Excellency Serzh Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia, HRH The Prince of Wales, and His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, attended a Special Service to celebrate the lives of the newly-sainted Armenian Martyrs of 1915 at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday 28th October 2015. The National Anthem of the United Kingdom and that of the Republic of Armenia were sung.
In his Bidding, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said: ‘Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ He said, ‘I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’ And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!
‘The ancient account in the holy Bible of Cain killing his brother Abel rings down through the centuries and generations. The blood of countless men, women and children, split through crimes of passion and of hate, intercommunal rivalry, civil conflict and warfare continues to cry out to God from the ground. And the blood continues to be spilt.
‘This evening we call to mind the killing of innocent Armenians a hundred years ago. With sorrow we remember so much blood spilt. With thanksgiving we celebrate the Holy Martyrs and ask for their prayers. With longing we pray for peace and reconciliation between peoples divided.’
The Reverend Professor Vernon White, Canon in Residence read Hebrews 4: 14-16 and His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukian, Primate of the Armenian Church in the United Kingdom and Ireland, read St Mark 10: 35-45.
The Address was given by The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Richard Chartres KCVO, Bishop of London.
Prayers were led by the Reverend Christopher Stoltz, Minor Canon and Precentor of Westminster, and read by Baroness Cox; Shakeh Major Tchilingirian, mother of a great-grandchild of survivors from Cilicia; Ellen Adamian, great-granddaughter of survivors from Moush and Sassoun; His Excellency Dr Armen Sarkissian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the Court of St James’s, former Prime Minister of Armenia (1996-1997) grandson of survivors from Erzerum and Alashkert; and the Reverend Professor Vernon White, Canon in Residence.
At the invitation of the Dean, the Bishop of London, representing the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Catholicos of All Armenians, pronounced the Blessing.
The service was sung by the St Yeghiche Armenian Church Choir, directed by Aris Nadirian. Music during the service was accompanied by Arthur Bovikyn, Organist, St Yeghiche Armenian Church. Music before and after the service was played by Martin Ford, Assistant Organist.