“The Armenian Church and the Armenian people need the support and prayers of their Christian brothers and sisters,” said His Holiness Karekin II this week, in a video message to leaders of the international ecumenical organization, the World Council of Churches (WCC).
The Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians addressed his greetings and blessings to the WCC’s Central Committee, which held its 65th meeting on June 23-29, via video-conference.
“In the conditions of the pandemic raging in the world, you continue to serve devotedly the cherished vision of cooperation among churches,” His Holiness said. He extended appreciation for the WCC’s support of international recognition for the Armenian Genocide, and especially for its strong statements of solidarity with the Armenian Church and people during and after the war in Artsakh.
The Catholicos went on to express dismay that “the leadership of Azerbaijan continues the anti-Armenian policy” in spite of the November 2020 agreement. He cited the continuing distress of Armenian prisoners of war, the desecration of churches and monuments in Artsakh, and the misinformation campaign to undermine the historical facts of the Armenian Church’s ancient presence in the region.
Some 250 church leaders, representing 350 churches across the world, took part in the gathering. His Holiness was one of only two leaders of the Eastern churches to address the WCC committee; the other was His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East.
Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, the Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director of the Eastern Diocese, and a high-ranking member of the WCC Central Committee, said: “Vehapar’s message was very well received by the committee members. The WCC has been closely watching the situation in Artsakh since last fall, but they were shocked by what’s going on now, when I described the current situation. Hearing it from the Catholicos of the Armenian Church left a powerful impression on them.”
Click the following link to watch Catholicos Karekin II’s message to the WCC. Read the message in English translation below.
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Message of His Holiness Karekin II
To the World Council of Church’s 65th Central Committee Meeting (June 23-29, 2021)
Dear Members of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches:
From the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, we extend our Pontifical greeting and blessings to you on the occasion of the convening of the WCC Central Committee meeting.
In the conditions of the epidemic raging in the world for more than two years, you continue to serve devotedly the cherished vision of cooperation among the churches. These days, the agenda of the WCC member churches also includes the organization of the 11th WCC General Assembly—which should also be an opportunity to come together and to study the problems and issues that the Christian churches are facing in order to find appropriate solutions in the spirit and according to the needs of the modern era.
As the pontiff of the Armenian Apostolic Church, we would like to send words of appreciation and our blessings to you and to the entire WCC staff for the work that you have done for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, as well as for your fraternal prayers for, and support to, the Armenian people and for the Armenian Apostolic Church, during and after the 44-day war in Artsakh.
Unfortunately, even after the agreement signed on November 10, 2020, the leadership of Azerbaijan continues the anti-Armenian policy, which is manifested by political manipulations of the status of Armenian prisoners of war; by the destruction and desecration of churches, monasteries and cultural monuments located in the territories of Artsakh, which passed to Azerbaijan; by distorting the affiliation issue of churches located in the canonical territory of the Diocese of Artsakh of the Armenian Apostolic Church, using the made-up notion of the “Albanian Church” as a false agenda.
To overcome all these problems, the Armenian Church and the Armenian people need the support and prayers of their Christian brothers and sisters.
We extend to you our prayers, and wish you fruitful work for the meeting of the Central Committee. May Almighty God bless your efforts and service for the prosperity and strengthening of the Holy Church of Christ.