Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
On Sunday 22 April 2013, His Holiness Aram I organzed a special reception in honor of the President of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Switzerland Dr. Gottfried Locher at the Main Hall of the Catholicosate. Catholicos Aram I had invited Dr. Locher and Rev. Serge Fornerod the Chief Officer for Ecumenical and International relations from Switzerland, to express personally his deep appreciation for the solidarity of the Swiss people and churches during and after the Genocide. In the presence of the local guest that included the Armenian and Arabic speaking Evangelical communities, Armenian Government Ministers, Parliamentarians, members of the Executive Council of the Catholicosate, and representatives of civil society organizations.
In his speech the Catholicos said, “During the tragic moments of our history, you accompanied our people by raising funds and taking care of the orphans, widows and the blind in Cilicia, Syria, Greece and Lebanon. You provided scholarships to our youth so that they begin reorganizing their lives. Our strong ties through ecumenical dialogues, the Swiss-Armenian Foundation ARMENOFAS and advocacy will continue. We shall also continue working with our Armenian Evangelical Church through our common projects the Azounieh hospital and CAHL School for the Blind”. His Holiness continued, “Today we are on the eve of 24 April remembering the memory of our victims and 2013, the eve of the 100th Anniversary commemorations. We are grateful that the Protestant Churches in Switzerland did not remain indifferent to those inhuman acts. While thanking the Swiss Churches for their defense of Human Rights and the recognition of our Genocide, I ask the international community not only recognize our Genocide but also act upon our demands for reparation and compensation.” At the end of his speech, His Holiness Aram I decorated Dr. Gottfried Locher with the insigne “Order of Knights of Cilicia.”
In thanking His Holiness Aram I, Dr. Gottfried Locher said, “Your Holiness, through this decoration you have honored our Churches and our people. Our young generation remembers the Armenian Genocide through the stories told by their grand-parents about their great grand-parents how they collected funds, or, went to Turkey as volunteers to help the victims of the Armenian Genocide. We shall continue to stand by the Armenian people and their Cause.”
On Sunday morning Dr. Gottfried Locher and the members of the ARMENOFAS Board attended the Holy Litturgy at St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Antelias.