NICOSIA–“When we speak about the martyrs of the 20th century, we can not avoid referring to the genocides during which many people perished. The first genocide of the 20th century was the Armenian Genocide, planned and executed by Ottoman Turkey. The Genocide, to which one and a half million Armenia’s fell victim, remains unpunished,” said His Holiness Aram I while opening the session entitled “The legacy of the 20th century’s victims” at the St. Egidio international conference in Cyprus.
Aram I chaired the session, which lasted over three hours and featured six speakers from Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Sweden and Iraq. All the participants, newspaper editors, theologians and professors, emphasized the need to for effective measures for preventing genocides and respecting human rights.
In his closing remarks, the Catholicos underscored the word “impunity” and the necessity for a serious discussion of the fact that the Armenian Genocide remains unpunished within the context of the United Nations and with the participation of non-governmental organizations. “Unpunished genocides lead to new genocides. Let us not forget Hitler’s words, “’who today remembers the massacres of Armenia’s.’” His Holiness observed that the legacy of those martyrs today is the pursuit of justice.
The conference kicked off on Sunday evening with the opening remarks of the Presidents of Cyprus and Albania. Around a thousand people from all religions and circles (spiritual, academic and government) are participating in the conference.
Aram I arrived in Saturday, heading a delegation that includes Archbishop Gomidas Ohanian, Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian (Pontifical Vicar to Cyprus) and Rev. Fr. Torkom Donoyan as staff bearer.
The Catholicos and the his delegation were greeted in the VIP Lounge of Larnaca airport by the Pontifical Vicar to Cyprus Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian, representatives of the Cypriot authorities, the Armenian community and the Armenian Church.
The Pontiff addressed the Cypriot Armenian community during the Holy Mass officiated in the St. Mary’s Church in Nicosia on Sunday, November 16.
Speaking about the mission of the Church and its irreplaceable role, His Holiness depicted the Armenian Church as our “Nation’s Home”. In this respect, he said that our spiritual and national values should be embraced as integrated principles. His Holiness stressed that as the inheritors of our church’s rich spiritual and intellectual heritage, Armenia’s should not only guard them as national values but pass them on to future generations. The Pontiff also called on the community members to gather around the church, to flourish the “Nation’s Home, the ceiling of which is a safe haven for us, our families and our collective life.”