Armenian Americans will be closely following Pope Francis’ historic trip to Armenia this weekend, energized by his moral leadership during the Armenian Genocide Centennial last year and hopeful that his courage will inspire our U.S. President and Congress to end their complicity in Turkey’s genocide denial, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
A highlight of the Pontiff’s busy three day schedule in Armenia will be his visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial (Tsitsernakaberd) on Saturday morning (local time), after which he will meet a dozen descendants of the 400 Armenian orphans who were rescued in 1915 and lodged at the papal Castel Gandolfo residence near Rome.
“The Pope’s prayers at the Armenian Genocide Memorial will echo around the world,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “The presence of Pope Francis at the Armenian Genocide Memorial – over the strident objections of Turkey’s leaders – stands as a powerful moral testament against Ankara’s ongoing obstruction of justice for this crime. In bearing witness – before all the world – at this most sacred site, Pope Francis is openly challenging Turkey’s efforts to erase from history its massacre and exile of millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, and other ancient Christian nations from their biblical era homelands.”
Hamparian went on to share his hope that the Pope’s visit will inspire U.S. leaders to stop aiding and abetting Turkey’s century-long campaign of Genocide denial. “President Obama, Speaker Ryan and all our Congressional leaders would do well to follow the courageous moral leadership of Pope Francis in rejecting Ankara’s gag-rule and speaking honestly about Turkey’s near genocidal annihilation of the Christian Armenian nation,” explained Hamparian. “This visit by Pope Francis to the first Christian state both reflects and reinforces the Christian world’s solidarity with the Armenian people.”