In a letter to U.S. President Joseph Biden, Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel urged formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide in anticipation of this year’s April 24 commemoration.
Calling that occasion “a critical moment, when a bold expression of moral leadership on your part could dispel the momentum gained lately by oppressive regimes across the globe,” Bishop Daniel said that recognition by the President would be a “stand for morality, justice, and human dignity,” and also a show of support for “beleaguered Christians throughout the world, who are suffering unprecedented levels of persecution.”
The letter also references the hardships currently borne by Armenians in the homeland in the aftermath of the Artsakh war, and cites the Biden administration’s promises to address those matters.
Read Bishop Daniel’s entire letter below.
President Joseph Biden
The White House
Dear President Biden:
As a leader of the Armenian Orthodox Church in America, I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in this season of his resurrection.
I am writing to urge you to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide of 1915, in anticipation of the worldwide commemoration of that tragedy on April 24, 2021. Your formal recognition of the Genocide as U.S. President would make you the first since President Reagan to correctly name the Ottoman Empire’s policy to annihilate its Armenian population as an act of genocide.
Importantly, recognition at this time would be a tremendous show of support for beleaguered Christians throughout the world, who are suffering unprecedented levels of persecution. Our present moment ominously recapitulates the tragedies of the early 20th century, when the ancient Christian communities in the Ottoman Empire were nearly eradicated—among them Greek Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Chaldean, as well as Armenian Christians.
This coming April 24 is a critical moment, when a bold expression of moral leadership on your part could dispel the momentum gained lately by oppressive regimes across the globe—and thereby ensure that a dark passage of history does not repeat itself.
In this time of worldwide affliction, the people of Armenia have borne unique hardships. They were subjected not only to the pandemic, but also to a vicious, unprovoked war by Azerbaijan. The outcome of the war has placed new burdens on the Armenian people, which your administration has promised to address. I wish to draw your attention to the plight of Armenian P.O.W.s—including clergy—still being held and tortured by Azerbaijan; and to the need to protect Armenian religious monuments that are being destroyed by Azeri forces in their newly captured territories.
As a man of faith yourself, I know that the plight of all the ancient Christian churches is deeply meaningful to you. Your forceful, unambiguous recognition of the Armenian Genocide on April 24 would be a powerful stand for morality, justice, and human dignity, in a time when these values need explicit support from our most prominent world leaders.
President Biden, I join all my fellow Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox brethren in united prayer for your leadership of the American people. May God be with you, and with all of our fellow citizens, and may He always keep our country under His watchful gaze.
With my prayers,
April 14, 2021