His Holiness Karekin II led the annual sacred observance of the Feast of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide at Holy Etchmiadzin and Armenia’s iconic Genocide monument.
The Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians presided over a special Divine Liturgy at St. Gayane Monastery, where in his message he lamented that the century-old “pain of the tragedy of the Genocide” had now been “further burdened by the heavy losses of the Artsakh war.” (Read His Holiness’ entire message below.)
Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, Pontifical Legate and former Primate of Artsakh, celebrated the liturgy, which included a procession in which holy relics of the Genocide martyrs were brought out among the faithful. The relics were carried to the courtyard of the Mother Cathedral, where His Holiness led a prayer at the Mother See’s khatchkar memorial to the Genocide saints.
Later, His Holiness led members of the Etchmiadzin Brotherhood to the Genocide Monument at Dzidzernagapert, to lay wreaths and pray before the eternal flame.
To complete the day, Catholicos Karekin II sent a letter to U.S. President Biden expressing gratitude on behalf of the Armenian people for the President’s forthright April 24 message. In the letter delivered by hand to the U.S. Embassy in Armenia, His Holiness stressed that Armenian Genocide recognition has taken on an even greater urgency at this difficult moment, as Armenia faces the uncertain aftermath of the Artsakh war.
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Message of His Holiness Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians
On the Commemoration of the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide
More than a century has passed since the Armenian Genocide was planned and committed by Ottoman Turkey. Our people suffered genocide and were scattered all over the world in their surviving remnants, leaving one and a half million martyrs in their historical homeland and in the deserts of deportation.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the genocide of the Armenian people was defined as the first crime against humanity of the century, with the monstrous manifestations of national annihilation and ethnic enmity.
Today, the pain of the tragedy of the Genocide has overwhelmed the souls of our people—now further burdened by the heavy losses of the Artsakh war—in a new way.
Before the blessed memory of our holy martyrs, it is our cherished duty to strengthen national unity, to refrain from violence and conflict in domestic political developments, and to pursue the protection of our rights with a zealous spirit.
The only guarantee we have for enriching the life of our people, and for withstanding the challenges and threats we face, is to achieve a sense of higher responsibility—for strengthening our state, and for consolidating our national and spiritual values.
With the intercession of our Holy Martyrs, we pray to the Most Merciful Lord that our country will be peaceful and secure; that our people all over the world will unite; that together we will build a prosperous, bright future for our people and homeland.
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin | 24 April, 2021