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His Holiness Aram I addresses the Pan Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee

03 October 2015

26 September 2015. In a message addressed to the Presidents of the Republics of Armenia and Karabagh, His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II, the Catholic and Protestant leaders, His Holiness Aram I transmitted his pontifical blessings, expressed his brotherly love and apologized for his absence. He reminded the Committee that his visit to Switzerland with the current date was already included in the centennial programme, prepared a year ago, In Switzerland he was to address the people and thank them for their solidarity and assistance to the Armenians during the early massacres, the genocide in Western Armenia and Cilicia, the deportation, until their settlement in the Arab countries and until this day.

 

The Catholicos then invited the members of the Committee to assess their work comprehensively and realistically and shared his views for the future. He wrote:

 

  1. 2015 will be remembered in Armenia and the Diaspora not only for the 100th Anniversary commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, but also for some other major accomplishments including: The consolidation of Armenian unity during the year, which would open undoubtedly a new page in the pursuit of the just cause and the demands regarding the Armenian homeland and the diaspora. He then stated that this unity should lead to a common vision, a common way of thinking and a common strategy. The Pan Armenian Declaration on the Genocide was an expression of the common faith, the will and the commitment of all Armenians. The commemorations held in Yerevan, Washington, St. Etchmiadzin and Antelias, the statement of Pope Francis in Vatican and the solidarity expressed by non-Armenians would further strengthen the pursuit for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

 

  1. The Committee should build on the achievements of 2015, and recommend that united and collective actions be planned. However in view of the changing global geopolitical strategies and alliances, His Holiness suggested that the Committee adopted new approaches with new emphasis. He recommended that lobbying for the international recognition of the genocide continued through relevant political and diplomatic channels.

In his view, the post 2015 period should focus on legal processes regarding the Armenian Cause. Experts should identify different legal option and approaches, and study differnet possibilities and their consequences within the framework of International Law, Conventions, Treaties and other instruments.

The Catholicos then proposed that the work proceeded in four stages:

 

  • The appointment of a committee of experts on Turkish and international law.
  • Collection, documentation and registration of the properties and deeds belonging to the Armenian community and institutions; as well as everything related to the Sevres and Lausanne Treaties.
  • Preparation of files, lawsuits on the confiscated properties of Armenians to be presented to the higher Turkish courts and international Tribunals. The government of Armenia should take the leading role, provided the security of Armenia and Karabagh are not endangered.
  • All these steps should be accomplished with the clear understanding and definition of the role, and division of responsibilities, tasks and assignments between Armenia and the Diaspora.

 

His Holiness concludes that the proposed plan should be implemented and overseen by a small committee appointed by the President of Armenia, which would work with the team of international experts and lawyers. The work should start immediately; otherwise all expectations and hopes nurtured by 100 anniversary commemorations for the pursuit of justice, the demand for reparations will fade away. The Pan Armenian Committee represents the collective responsibility towards the martyr Saints and their legacy.

 

It would be impossible to speak of post 2015, without addressing the Armenian community in Syria. First, the President of the Republic of Armenia and its leadership, all institutions and individual benefactors who continue to help the Syrian Armenians should be thanked. Second, irrespective of local condition, the security of the people should be ensured because the once dynamic community in Syria is dwindling. The newly appointed Pan Armenian Committee should foresee and start making plans to assist the Church and the community. The presence of this Armenian community in the Arab world is essential.

 

At the end of his proposed plan of action, His Holiness urged the Pan Armenian Committee to make a statement on Syria, which would not only give hope to Syrian Armenians, but also carry with it a strong message suggesting that Syrian Armenians are not alone. They have the solidarity of their brothers and sisters in Armenia and Diaspora.

 

His Holiness concluded his message with the expression of love and support of the Catholicosate of Cilicia to the Republics of Armenia and Karabagh.