Ecumenical Service in Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial


On the evening of Tuesday, April 14, 2015, a historic Ecumenical Service held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles under the auspices of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee Western Region brought together faith leaders, representatives of various churches and denominations, public officials, and more than 3,000 community members for a collective commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide hosted by Most Reverend Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles.

The service was preceded by a reception, which offered the opportunity for clergy leaders and members to become acquainted with one another. The procession of hundreds of clergy and deacons, led by Archbishop Gomez, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and H.E. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate, then entered the sanctuary as the sounds of the hymn “Hrashapar” echoed throughout the Cathedral.

Fr. Alexei Smith, Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs Office of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, served as the Master of Ceremonies, first greeting the clergy and dignitaries and then inviting Archbishop Gomez to deliver his welcoming remarks. Archbishop Gomez focused on the historic Holy Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on April 12 in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial, during which His Holiness paid tribute to our martyrs and called for justice.

The Prelate was then invited to deliver his greeting, which he began by quoting Pope Francis’ statement that, “Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.” “This compelling statement by His Holiness Pope Francis at Sunday’s Holy Mass dedicated to the Armenian Genocide echoed loudly across the globe, in the hearts of all Armenians and within all those who hold truth and human rights in high esteem. The world heard the prayers offered for the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide, and today, on the threshold of the centennial commemoration, we too have gathered, as people of faith, to offer our prayers and to keep reminding the world of the undeniable truth of the Armenian Genocide,” said the Prelate, as he thanked the participants and attendees for their tremendous outpouring of support and solidarity toward the Armenian-American community.

Quoting the words of our Lord from the Gospel of Luke, “Nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light,” the Prelate noted that the truth of the Armenian Genocide has been emerging for the past one hundred years and expressed confidence that in due time, the Armenian Genocide will receive universal recognition as an irrefutable fact. “We, the descendants of the martyrs and survivors, the heirs of a resurrected nation, reaffirm that no matter how many years pass, we will not forget, and we will not let the world forget our just cause. We will continue to be the voice of our martyrs, with God, truth, justice, and friends like you on our side, concluded His Eminence, and invited the congregation to join in prayer for the souls of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, and for all victims of genocide, past and present.

The service of prayers, hymns, and Bible readings was then conducted by the leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Church, who were joined by clergy from the Roman Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Armenian Evangelical, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Maronite, and Protestant Churches, as well Jewish community representatives.

The evening’s keynote address was delivered by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The honorable Mayor praised and conveyed gratitude for the valuable contributions of the Armenian people within the community and proudly expressed his solidarity and strong support of the Armenian people and the Armenian cause.

The somber requiem service followed, with prayers and a special hymn composed uniquely in memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The evening came to a close with the Lord’s Prayer and the dismissal by Archbishop Jose Gomez. The clergy blessed the faithful as they exited the Cathedral in a recession.

Below is the text of the Prelate’s greeting delivered at the service:

Your Eminence Archbishop Jose Gomez, Honorable Mayor Garcetti, Your Eminences, Your Graces, Reverend Fathers, faith leaders and representatives, diplomats, elected officials, distinguished and dear guests,

“Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.” This compelling statement by His Holiness Pope Francis at Sunday’s Holy Mass dedicated to the Armenian Genocide echoed loudly across the globe, in the hearts of all Armenians and within all those who hold truth and human rights in high esteem. The world heard the prayers offered for the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide, and today, on the threshold of the centennial commemoration, we too have gathered, as people of faith, to offer our prayers and to keep reminding the world of the undeniable truth of the Armenian Genocide.

We thank God for this tremendous outpouring of support and solidarity toward the Armenian-American community demonstrated by your presence in large numbers at this special Ecumenical Service. Most Reverend Archbishop Jose Gomez, we thank you for your graciousness in hosting this profoundly momentous service in loving tribute to the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide who in just over a week will be canonized into the sainthood at the Holy See of Etchmiadzin under the auspices of our two Pontiffs, His Holiness Karekin II and His Holiness Aram I.

In a beautiful expression of brotherly love, we have come together; clergy and representatives of various faiths and denominations, public officials, and our dear faithful, to remember our martyrs, to remind of what the Armenian people endured, to stand up for truth and justice, and to raise our collective voice against intolerance and violence. One hundred years have passed, but our wounds are still open. One hundred years on, and the descendants of the perpetrators continue their denialist rhetoric. If the atrocities of the past are ignored, they are bound to be repeated in the future, and indeed they were; with the Holocaust, with genocides committed in the 20th century, and with crimes against humanity continuing in various parts of the world today. We have all heard Hitler’s notorious words “Who, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

Today we declare in unison that we remember. And on Sunday, people around the world remembered and spoke of the Genocide of the Armenians. “Nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light,” said our Lord Jesus Christ. The truth of the Armenian Genocide has been emerging over the past one hundred years, and we are confident that in due time, the Armenian Genocide will receive universal recognition as the irrefutable fact that it is. Only then, can the healing begin.

We pray for God to grant rest to the souls of our martyrs and for God to open the hearts, minds, and eyes of those who have yet to acknowledge the reality of the Armenian Genocide. We, the descendants of the martyrs and survivors, the heirs of a resurrected nation, also take this opportunity to reaffirm that no matter how many years pass, we will not forget and we will not let the world forget our just cause. We will continue to be the voice of our martyrs, with God, truth, justice, and friends like you on our side, and soon we will seek their intercession before God.

Once again, we thank you all for the show of collective solidarity, and we convey our gratitude to our dear friend, the Honorable Eric Garcetti, for his participation and keynote address which we will hear later on. And now, we invite you to join us in prayer, for the souls of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide and for all victims of genocide, past and present. Let us pray also for love, compassion, and tolerance to take hold in people’s hearts so that we can live peacefully, in a world with mutual respect and goodwill toward our fellow man. Amen.

Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian Prelate, Western United States April 14, 2015

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