The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin does not attach importance to the issue of whether or not Pope Francis will or will not utter the word ‘genocide’ during his trip to Armenia.
“During the Mass at the Vatican in 2015 the Pope widely referred to the Armenian Genocide and called on the world to heal that bleeding wound,” Fr. Vahram Melikyan, Director of the Information Services Department of the Mother See said in an interview with Public Radio of Armenia.
“The Pope stressed that the tragedy should always be remembered in order to prevent reoccurrence of similar events in the future,” Fr. Vahram Melikyan said.
He added that it’s not important whether the Pope will use the word ‘genocide’ in Yerevan or not. “The fact that the Pontiff will visit the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial and participate in an Intercession Service is more significant that any term he uses,” Fr. Vahram Melikyan said.
The Vatican has also commented on the issue. “Why is there an obsession to use the word ‘genocide’ and ask about it in all the questions?” Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi testily responded to journalists at a briefing on the trip yesterday.
“We know what happened. None of us is denying that there were horrible massacres. We recognize this. We are going to the memorial precisely to remember this but we don’t want this to become a trap of political and ideological discussions,” Lombardi said.
Lombardi said he preferred to use the Armenian phrase “Medz Yeghern,” which roughly translates as “the great evil” or “the great calamity.”
Lombardi rejected a reporter’s suggestion that since the pope had used the word genocide last year the Vatican had chosen a policy of “reductionism” to placate Turkey.