ANTELIAS, Lebanon, LA CRESCENTA, Calif.—His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia and Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, in separate announcements, welcomed last week’s vote by the House of Representatives on H. Res. 306, urging Turkey to return stolen church property to its rightful owners.
A day after the vote, on December 14, in an interview with the Yerevan-based Yerkir Media Television, the Catholicos said: “The House Resolution 306 ‘urging the Republic of Turkey to safeguard its Christian heritage and to return confiscated church properties,’ not only challenges Turkey’s failure to respect the Armenian, Greek, Assyrian and Syriac Church properties, but also the freedom of religious prayer and education. This is a major step toward the just solution of the Armenian Genocide.”
The Catholicos also thanked the Armenian National Committee of America for its close collaboration with the Catholicosate of Cilicia in the past decades, in advocating for the “just cause of the Armenian people.”
While recognizing the important effort of different organizations within the Armenian community toward this end, the pontiff explained that “The U.N. Commission on Human Right has recognized the interests of the victims of violations of International Humanitarian Law in five forms of reparation: Restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, just satisfaction, and guarantee of non-repetition. We should clearly state our demands within the context of IHL. The Catholicosate of Cilicia is organizing an meeting of experts to this effect, to be held in February 2012 in Antelias.”
Immediately following the announcement of the House vote, Western Prelate, Archbishop Mardirossian welcomed this effort.
“We were overjoyed to learn of the passage of H. Res. 306. This is indeed a monumental victory not only for the Armenian people but for all those who value religious freedom, equality, and justice. We hopefully anticipate the end of religious and ethnic discrimination and await the day when our sacred sites are returned to their rightful owners, the Armenian people” said Archbishop Mardirossian.