VATICAN CITY (Combined Sources)–His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenia’s on Wednesday spoke at the Vatican saying the whole world should recognize the crime against humanity.
"We Armenia’s are a people who have survived genocide, and we know well the value of love, brotherhood, friendship and a secure life," Catholicos Karekin II said in a public address during Pope Benedict’s general audience in St Peter’s Square.
"Today, many countries of the world recognize and condemn the genocide committed against the Armenian people by Ottoman Turkey…" the head of Armenia’s Apostolic Church added, speaking in English before tens of thousands of people.
Karekin II, who like the pope has the title "His Holiness," said he wanted to "appeal to all nations and lands to universally condemn all genocides that have occurred throughout history and those that continue to the present day…"
In his address to Karekin II before the crowd, Benedict spoke of "the severe persecutions suffered by Armenian Christians, especially during the last century," but did not use the word genocide. The Catholicos, in his address broadcast live on many religious television stations around the world, said "denial of these crimes is an injustice that equals the commission of the same."
France’s lower house of parliament infuriated Turkey in 2006 by backing a bill that would make it a crime to deny that mass killings of Armenia’s amounted to genocide. France’s Senate never ratified the bill. Last year legislators in the US House of Representatives proposed a resolution to formally name the massacre genocide but the move faltered under stiff opposition by President George W. Bush and Turkey, a key NATO ally.
The word genocide appeared in a joint statement when Karekin II visited the late Pope John Paul in 2000. But the Vatican, which has diplomatic relations with both Armenia and Turkey, has never formally recognized the killings as such. John Paul visited Armenia in 2001 and prayed at Dizidzernagapert..