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An Ecumenical Commemoration of the Holy Saints and Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide Remembrance, Witness, and Resurrection

Remembrance, Witness, and Resurrection 

An Ecumenical Commemoration 

Hosted by His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston 

With Participation of

His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Baramian - Diocese of the Armenian Church in America (Eastern) 

His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Cholayan - Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church 

Armenian Catholic Eparchy of the United States and Canada 

Armenian Evangelical Union of North America 

Remarks of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios 

On behalf of the clergy and laity of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston and New England, I welcome you today to our Cathedral and thank you for the privilege of hosting this Ecumenical Service commemorating the innocent martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.

This year marks the 102nd anniversary of the beginning of the horrific genocide when on August 24, 1915 several hundred leaders of the Armenian community were arrested and executed. An additional million and a half soon followed, victims of starvation and disease, of inhumane treatment, of physical abuse, of torture and crucifixion.

The Armenian people who lived in eastern Turkey for nearly 3,000 years lost their homeland and were decimated in the first large scale genocide of the 20th century—a genocide which many in the so-called civilized world continue to deny. Despite the vast evidence that verifies the historical reality of this genocide—including eye-witness accounts, official archives, photographic evidence, reports of diplomats, and the testimony of survivors—denial of the Armenian Genocide, this colossal crime against humanity, continues to the present.

Henry Morgenthau Sr., United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1916 wrote, “I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared with the suffering of the Armenian race in 1915.” During this time, Armenian leaders and intellectuals were imprisoned, executed or deported. Men were disarmed, moved out of their homes and massacred. Women and children were marched to death, sold into slavery, forcibly converted to Islam, raped and killed. Thousands of families were forced from their homes and marched to concentration camps in the Syrian Desert which became littered with decaying corpses. In the historic city of Trebizond, hundreds of women and children were drowned in the Black Sea. The Holocaust did not end here: churches, cultural monuments, schools, villages and towns were systematically destroyed to erase all traces of the Armenian civilization.

The Greek American community treasures the special bond which exists between our two communities, because we shared the same fate. Greeks living in Pontos on the Black Sea (and later throughout Asia Minor) were forced to leave their homelands. Countless were “ethnically cleansed” from 1918 - 1923. The city of Smyrna was torched to force the exodus of both Greek and Armenian populations. The common denominator in the Armenian, Greek and later Kurdish genocides was the intention of creating a modern state that reflected Turkish nationalist ambitions and saw little place for Armenians and other Christian minorities. The perpetrators of these atrocities sought to generate public support for their racist and eliminationist program through their call for a “Turkey for the Turks.”

It is indeed tragic that the world soon forgot the atrocities perpetrated against the Armenian people, which were (and are) denied by the Turkish Republic. As new genocides occurred since 1915, the memorials created by the Armenian Communities provide a stark warning against ignoring these crimes and whitewashing the historical record. Humanity was an eye witness this past year to the ethnic cleansing of Christian martyrs, beheaded and crucified because of their faith. Sadly, even today—even in our own country—there is silence over these present-day atrocities that are perpetrated against Christians throughout the world.

Today, however, in this Cathedral, we come together to help put an end to this injustice of silence. Today, we come together in prayer and solidarity to commemorate those who were martyred and to remember those Christians who continue to suffer because of their faith. Today, our voices declare that, although more than a century has passed, the Armenian Genocide cannot be denied and must never be forgotten. This is our sacred responsibility—to shine light where there is darkness, to declare truth where there is falsehood, and to help ensure that such a tragedy never happens again. That light is the unwaning light which emanates from the life giving Tomb of our Savior. May it shine in our hearts and minds this Paschal Season and every day of our lives.