Saturday, April 25, 2015

Armenia 100 - ארמניה 100

These days are special. Jerusalem and many nations and states of the world commemorate(d) the centennial of the Armenian mass murders committed a hundred years ago, during World War I, seizing the Armenian community, in her native territory that had progressively been reduced because of the Young Turks who intended to "turkifize" the Ottoman empire in this region and remove the "foreigners", in particular the Christians. At the present, we slowly come to the definition given by Dr. Rafael Lemkin who had studied the Armenian mass murders in depth and personally seen the Ukrainian famine mass murder (1932-35) organized by the Soviet authorities: he created the word "genocide", a barbaric linguistic combination that mixes both Greek and Latin. He tried to impose the word for the determination of the huge massacres during the time of the Catastrophe that slowly evolved into a Holocaust then Shoah\שואה and, in Judaic religious words, should be called Churban\חורבן (as referring to the two destructions of the Temples of Jerusalem).

Things are this not clear. One still debates on the legal aspect of killings. As many suggest, I wrote about the first mass massacres introduced by the British during the scorched earth war conducted in South Africa, in present Namibia (extermination of the Nama's or Herroro's) during the Boer War (1889-1902) that also aimed at assassinating the Boers as well as some African peoples.

The German Bundestag recognized today the Armenian GENOCIDE, the word "discovered" by Raphael Lemkin and that we have no right to use and abuse of as it often happens at the present. It means that the German Republic does ask for forgiveness because, as Austria that recognized the Armenian genocide two days ago, the German Reich and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire had fought together with the Ottoman Empire.

We know at the present that many Turks do support the recognition of the State criminal attitudes and acts of systematic and calculated killing and extermination of the Armenian people by murdering them or obliging to flee away to the Mid-Eastern deserts where they died for a great part.

The present Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem is a Mid-Easterner; he is the successor of Patriarch Torkom who was born in the desert en route fleeing on the way to Baghdad.
The Armenian Church - it is known - is the first Christian State religion and it became in 301 AD. This allowed this community, born from many roots as the Greek, Syriac and Latin influences to begin with, to express its faith when it rose to an alphabet, language and translation into Old Armenian and strongly could resist because of its inner solidarity, received as a gift of the Providence to be Christians.

All throughout history, the Armenian people and faithful did witness to the resurrection of the Lord and still marching into history while sharing His suffering and Passion. They Armenian Church has a call to wailing and continue after the invisible reality of the Resurrection.

In 638 AD., the Armenian community of Jerusalem and the Holy Land decided to appoint a patriarch due to the absence of the Greek Orthodox patriarch. Ever since, the chanting of life, survival and combat, fighting continuous hatred and assimilation, conversion to the Western denomination, still they overcame. Indeed, the genocide scattered so many Armenians throughout the continents where they keep alive the culture, the language and their unity in their faith in the Lord. Maybe we can say that as mentioned today in Yerevan, the Ottoman power thought they could kill many but the diaspora sowed everywhere "the seeds" for a new life and revival.

Thus it was right and good to hear the choir of the Armenian seminarists singing in front of the Tomb of the Lord at the Church of the Resurrection. It was good to see the other leaders of the Churches of Jerusalem attending the prayer where all cries and tears are poured to the Most High and gather all human beings, from the Golgotha to the place of the resurrection.

The Armenians are not alone. No faithful is ever alone. In Jerusalem, we have and encompass, embody the true Oneness that makes of every human being shaped of flesh and blood, entrusted a soul, conscience and brains, mind the One Church and Body of the Resurrected, beyond our will and opinions.
The Assyrian genocide is far more difficult to be recognized because, until now, against all the promises of the colonial powers in the Middle-East, no Assyrian state was created, but we ought to pray for all the victims whether Syriacs, Assyrians or Pontic Greeks.

In Armenia, all the representatives of the Churches gathered for the centennial and Metropolitan Timotheos of Vostra, Exarch of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem in Cyprus represented us.

May we share the prayer of St. Krekor Narekatsi : "By the gift of the kiss of my lips, of the redeeming nurture of your life-giving communion, take my total and unbreakable union to Thee, making one spirit with Thee" (32nd Prayer).