Archbishop Demetrios of America participated yesterday evening, May 7, 2015 in the Ecumenical Service of commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, in Washington’ s National Cathedral.
The multi-faith service marked the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, in which an estimated 1.5 million Armenians perished at the hands of Ottoman Turks from 1915-1923 and delivered a message of awareness, gratitude and unity.
Esteemed guests and representatives of various faiths gathered for “The Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide: A Prayer for Justice and Peace” to remember those lost in the Genocide and to demonstrate gratitude for the regeneration of life for which the survivors and their saviors worked so hard.
Present among the thousands attending the service were many dignitaries including the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, the Vice-President of the United States Joe Biden, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriach and Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All East of the Syriac Orthodox Church, members of Congress, and Christian faith leaders from around the country.
The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, welcomed attendees to the service and the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, delivered the homily. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America delivered a prayer of the evening hour. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, in his speech noted a verse of the psalmist “Mercy and truth will meet, justice and peace will embrace.”
“Today, as we commemorate the holy martyrs of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turkey, we remember the hundreds of thousands of Greek and Syriac Christians who were also victimized by the same perpetrators. We remember the other crimes against humanity of the 20th Century: the Jewish Holocaust, the genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda and elsewhere,” said the Supreme Patriach and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II. Aram I, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, in his message emphasized the three elements of the Centennial, to remember, to remind and to educate.
The Ecumenical Service was organized by The National Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial (NCAGC)uniting the efforts of the Diocese and Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Churches of America, East and West. It was co-sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States.