Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
24 April 2017 – On Monday morning, Armenians gathered in Antelias to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The commemoration brought together Armenian people and organizations irrespective of their political or ideological differences. Elected Armenian Ministers and Deputies and their Lebanese counterparts, as well as representative of Lebanese civil society, were also present.
Bishop Shahé Panossian, Prelate of the Diocese of Lebanon celebrated the memorial liturgy at the St Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral.
Delivering his message in the courtyard in front of the first monument erected in memory of the Martyrs, His Holiness said that for Armenians every day is the 24th of April; every day reminds us of the genocide and our demand for justice “The declaration made on the occasion of the 100th anniversary,” he said, “ continues to inspire our commitment to the cause.
He described the current geopolitical landscape and highlighted four issues that might have an impact on Turkey’s policy of genocide denial. First, he hoped that Europe will respond firmly to Turkey’s humiliating criticism of their citizens and call Turkey to account for its historical crime against the Armenian people. “Europe,” the Catholicos said, “knows the facts and circumstances that enabled the Ottomans to implement their genocidal policy.” He spoke of Turkey’s wider involvement in the Muslim and Arab countries of the Middle East. He warned of the return of Pan-Turanism and its detrimental consequences for the Middle East and the Armenian Cause. He encouraged closer cooperation with groups in Turkey supporting the Armenian Cause and encouraged Armenians to extend their hand to the forcefully Islamized Armenians who are seeking to connect with their origins.
Finally, Catholicos Aram I urged Armenians to draw up a Pan-Armenian list of confiscated properties with financial appraisals of the assets to be presented to relevant instruments of the United Nations. To render the process credible and reliable, he suggested the establishment of sub-committees representing all the interests of the Armenian community.
His Holiness Aram I concluded his speech with an update on the Cilicia file to the Constitutional Court of Turkey demanding the return of its See in Sis. He announced that one of the lawyers of its international legal team had been jailed. However, he said, “In spite of all difficulties, if Europe keeps faith and does not, like Pontius Pilate, wash its hands of our case, the Catholicosate of Cilicia will pursue its demand.” Catholicos Aram I invited everyone to unite, in the face of the difficult political situation and continue pursuing the just Armenian cause with a collective will.
His Holiness said that for Armenians every day is the 24th of April; every day reminrds us of the genocide and our demand for justice. He said that the declaration made on the occasion of the 100th anniversary, which renewed their commitment to the cause, is alive today.