The mass, served in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican, was unique.  On April 12, Commemoration Ceremony of the Victims of the Armenian Genocide was held by his Holiness Pope Francis. April 12 is a Divine Mercy Sunday and this year all the prayers in St. Peter’s Basilica were for the peace of souls of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Armenian delegation was present in the mass: RA president Serzh Zargsyan, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, Catholicos of Holly See of Cilicia Aram I and other officials and clergymen.

The mass was served by Pope Francis and patriarch of Armenian Catholic Church  Nerses Bedros XIX.  Leader of the worldwide Catholic Church used the word "genocide" to refer to the mass killings of the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians  carried out a century ago under the Ottoman Empire.

“Dear Armenian Brothers and Sisters

A century has passed since that horrific massacre which was a true martyrdom of your people, in which many innocent people died as confessors and martyrs for the name of Christ. Even today, there is not an Armenian family untouched by the loss of loved ones due to that tragedy: it truly was “Metz Yeghern”, the “Great Evil”, as it is known by Armenians. Your Christian identity is indeed ancient, dating from the year 301, when Saint Gregory the Illuminator guided Armenia to conversion and baptism. You were the first among nations in the course of the centuries to embrace the Gospel of Christ. That spiritual event indelibly marked the Armenian people, as well as its culture and history, in which martyrdom holds a preeminent place. It is the responsibility not only of the Armenian people and the universal Church to recall all that has taken place, but of the entire human family, so that the warnings from this tragedy will protect us from falling into a similar horror, which offends against God and human dignity. May this sorrowful anniversary become for all an occasion of humble and sincere reflection. For us Christians, may this be above all a time of deep prayer”, -said Pope Francis in his speech.

Pope Francis mentioned that the sufferings of the Armenian people were to be considered the continuation of sufferings of Jesus. In his speech Pope Francis used the word “Genocidio” for several times noting that the Armenian Genocide was the first genocide of the twentieth century

 At the end of the mass Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, Catholicos of Holly See of Cilicia Aram I made their speeches.

 “We are grateful for Your Holiness’ initiative in celebrating a holy mass in the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican in commemoration of the one–and–a–half million martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. Genocide did not ruin us, we had strength for the belief and homeland, in order to live, act and struggle. The Armenian Genocide is an unforgettable and undeniable fact in history. It was a planned policy to annihilate the Armenian people. In 1915 1,5 million Armenians were killed in the Ottoman Empire. We lost not only 1,5 Armenians, but also thousands of  churches, monasteries, social and humanitarian institutions, ancient cultural and other important values. We can’t and have no right to forget the crime of the 20th century, which aimed at the extermination of the humanity. God gave birth to us and no one has a right to deprive us  of the right to live and to create. I am grateful to his Holiness and the presents who respect our grief and take part in the mass ” ,-said Aram I

During the mass Saint Gregory of Narek was proclaimed as a Doctor of the Church. Till now Catholic church gave this title to 35 saints, who had a great contribution in the history of creation of Christianity, preachment and academic fields. 140 cardinals have studied Narek’s works for 10 years in order to give him the title.


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