We present the video message of His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America on the occasion of the Centennial Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
Solemn Celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral In Memory of the 1.5 Million Armenian Saints
Mere hours after the canonization of the 1.5 million Armenian Martyrs into Sainthood, nearly one thousand five hundred people flocked St. Leon Armenian Cathedral in Burbank on Thursday, April 23rd, for the Solemn celebration of the Divine Liturgy. The service was also attended by state officials, foreign officials, civic leaders, benefactors and leaders of Armenian organizations.
The day's celebrant was His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian. The homilist of the evening was His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. The Khachadourian Choir under the conductorship of Dn. Stepan Gozumian wonderfully performed the liturgical hymns of the Divine Liturgy.
In his moving and emotional sermon, Archbishop Derderian said "Our nation has drunk from the chalice of pain, sorrow and bitterness. The path of crucifixion, struggles and survival that leads to Golgotha, was often times insurmountable, torturous, and grueling. However, it became a path of light, a new dawn, through the vision of the Glorious Resurrection of Christ. At times of trial and tribulations, even if we exclaimed, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me," it was not a cry of despair or hopelessness but rather a plea for mercy, for we always believed in God's promise who in the words of Prophet Isaiah said "I shall never forget You."
"Indeed, our ancestors who marched to Golgotha had risen with Christ on the Day of the Resurrection. The Centennial of the Armenian Genocide obliges us to not only commemorate the martyrdom of 1915 but also to celebrate a centennial of achievements of a courageous people. Furthermore, the 100th anniversary is an invitation extended upon us all in order that we cling onto our ancestral roots, traditions and values. Let us bow before our fallen martyrs and pay homage to their undying memory.
The Centennial of the Armenian Genocide is a significant milestone in our history. The history we create today through the intercession of the martyr saints will shape our tomorrow where there is no room for hatred, discrimination, and animosity. The history we create together honors the martyrdom of the victims of the Armenian Genocide and all other genocides, and through their sacrifice reaffirms our Christian faith in the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Praying for the souls of the martyrs and saints is our moral obligation. For us, prayer is a spiritual strength and is a demand for justice. Standing together in prayer of remembrance is quite meaningful, for we renew our covenant with God to do justice and righteousness and protect these God-given values wherever they are endangered. Denialists can falsify the history, distort the reality and obliterate the human memory. However, crimes of this magnitude, crimes against humanity, cannot be wiped out from God’s memory, for a crime against humanity is a crime committed against God."
Scriptural readings and heartfelt remarks were offered by The Most Rev. Bishop Mikayel Mouradian of the Armenian Catholic Church and Rev. Joseph Matossian of the Armenian Evangelical Church.
Armenian School students dressed in beautiful light blue church robes assisted the Khachadourian Choir in their beautiful renditions of the Divine Liturgy.
The collective celebration of the Divine Liturgy precedes the April 24th March For Justice where nearly 100,000 Armenian-Americans are expected to march from Little Armenia to the Turkish Consulate demanding recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
On April 23, 2015, 1.5 million martyred Armenian souls will rest in the abode of the heavenly saints. On Thursday, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians accompanied by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia officiated the biggest canonization service in history. The two hour ceremony, held outside of the Cathedral of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, proclaimed the martyrdom of those killed for their faith and homeland. The historic day marked the first time in 400 years that the Armenian Church has used the rite of canonization. The ceremony was attended by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and other high-ranking dignitaries and ecumenical guests. Twelve bishops and archbishops of the Armenian Apostolic Church participated in the ceremonial rite.
During the canonization ceremony, by order of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, the following fourteen Holy Relics, out of the numerous Holy relics of the Armenian Church, were used during the landmark service.
1. The Holy Lance ‘Geghard’
The Holy Lance is the tip of the metal spear which was used by the Roman soldier to pierce the side of our Lord Jesus Christ while he hung on the cross. According to historical tradition, the Apostle St. Thaddeus, one of the 12 disciples of Christ, brought this sacred relic of the Lord to the Armenian world in the first century. For centuries the Holy Christian relic has been kept at different monasteries in Western (historical) Armenia, and in Ayrivank since the 13th century, which later was renamed Geghardavanq (the Monastery of Holy Geghard) after the Holy Lance. In the second half of the 18th century the Holy Lance was brought to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and is still kept in the spiritual center of All Armenians. The Holy Lance is also one of the three Holy Relics used to bless and consecrate the Holy Chrism (Muron) of the Armenian Church.
2. The Right Hand of St. Gregory the Illuminator
The Right Hand of St. Gregory the Illuminator is the symbol of the highest spiritual authority of the Armenian Church, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. The newer silver gilded reliquary was made in 1657, on which is depicted the twelve sufferings of the Illuminator. The Right Hand is also one of the three Holy Relics used to bless and consecrate the Holy Chrism (Muron) of the Armenian Church.
3. Relic of the True Cross
The Reliquary of the True Cross, made in 1651, contains a small piece of the life-giving wooden cross of our Lord Jesus. The Cross relic is one of the three Holy Relics used to bless and consecrate the Holy Chrism (Muron) of the Armenian Church.
4. Reliquary of Skevra
One of the priceless gems of Armenian ecclesiastical art is the reliquary of Skevra which was made in Cilician Armenia in 1293, and is kept in the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The reliquary contains the relics of 18 saints: the Apostles St. Paul, St. Peter, St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew; St. Gregory the Illuminator, Patriarch James of Nisibis, Saint John Chrysostom, St. Catherine, and others. In 2000, during a Pontifical visit of the Catholicos of All Armenians to the Armenian Diocese of New Nakhichevan and Russia, the Hermitage returned the relics of the 18 saints to the Armenian Church, and they were placed in a duplicate reliquary that had been specially made.
5. The Right Hand of St. Stephen the Proto-Deacon and First Martyr of the Church
The silver Right Hand reliquary, from the XVII-XVIII centuries, contains the relic of St. Stephen the Proto-Deacon, the first Christian martyr.
6. The Right Hand of the Virgin St. Hripsime
The silver gilded Right Hand reliquary contains the relic of the virgin St. Hripsime. The relic dates back to the XVII-XVIII centuries.
7. The Right Hand of the Apostle Ananias
The Seventeenth century silver gilded Right Hand reliquary contains the relics of the Apostle Anania, one of the 72 disciples of Jesus Christ.
8. The Right Hand of Catholicos St. Sahak I Parthev
The XVII-XVIII centuries Right Hand reliquary contains the relic of the 10th Catholicos of All Armenians, St. Sahak I Parthev (387-428). The Right Hand of Catholicos Sahak Parthev was brought to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin from Western Armenia, Anapat Armenian Мonastery, Lim Island, Lake Van , Turkey.
9. The Right Hand of St. Sarkis the Warrior
The Right Hand reliquary was commissioned in 2008 by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. The silversmith is Mamikon Mkhitaryan. The reliquary contains the relics of St. Sarkis the Warrior, which were discovered during excavations of the St. Sarkis Monastery in Ushi, in the Aragatsotn Province of Armenia.
10. The Right Hand of St. Gevork the Warrior
The reliquary contains the relics of St. Gevork the Warrior. The Right Hand reliquary was made in Kolkata, India in 1928, and is silver gilded.
11. Cross-reliquary of St. Thaddeus and St. Virgin Sandukht
The eighteenth century made cross-reliquary contains the relics of the Apostle St. Thaddeus, one of the Armenian first illuminators, and the relic of the first Armenian Martyr St. Sandukht the Princess.
12. Cross-reliquary of St. John the Baptist
The cross-reliquary, created in Cilician Armenia in the fourteenth century, contains the relics of St. John the Baptist.
13. St. Gregory of Narek and other Saints
Made in the nineteenth century, the octagon star-shaped reliquary contains the relics of St. Gregory of Narek and the relics of other Pan-Christian Saints. The relic was presented to the Catholicos of All Armenian in 2012 and given to the Armenian Church.
14. The Gospel of Zeytun
The Gospel of Zeytun was written in Hromkla in 1256 by Toros Roslin, the most prominent Armenian manuscript illuminator in the High Middle Ages. It is one of numerous treasures kept in the The Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts (Matenaderan). The manuscript was commisioned and received by the 69th Catholicos of All Armenians, Constantine I of Bartzrapert (1221-1267). The Holy Gospel was donated to the Matenadaran by the Catholicos of All Armenians Vazgen I.
The rite of canonization concluded at 19:15, (7:15 pm local time - Yerevan), a time specifically chosen to symbolize the year of the Armenian Genocide. At the conclusion of the historic canonization rite, church bells also tolled in cities around the world including New York, Moscow, Strasbourg, Madrid, Venice, Berlin and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
The Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian was the celebrant at the Armenian Church of Las Vegas on Sunday, April 19, 2015.
The Choir was directed by Archpriest Father Nareg Matarian. Archbishop Derderian was assisted at the Holy Altar by Dn. Mesrop Khachikyan and Stolebearer Gevorg Matarian. Among the dignitaries in attendance was the Honorable Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman, representing Nevada's 34th district. Archbishop Derderian introduced Assemblywoman Seaman to the congregation and thanked her for her cordial presence.
Following the service, on behalf of Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Mr. Arsen Ter-Petrosyan presented a proclamation to Archbishop Derderian wherein Governor Sandoval declared April 19-26 as a week of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. The ceremonial presentation received great applause from the congregation.
Click here to read the proclamation.
At the conclusion of the service, the congregation posed for a memorable photo with the Primate.
Earlier this week, American Jewish Committee's (AJC's) Executive Director David Harris delivered a live radio message heard during The Osgood File on the CBS radio network.
Below are the audio and text for this week’s message.
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the genocide against the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire.
Up to 1.5 million people were killed.
Turkey, which emerged from the Ottoman Empire, has vigorously denied there was a genocide.
But documented history can’t be denied.
In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama spoke of the need to be truthful “about the Armenian genocide.”
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, in her acclaimed book “A Problem from Hell,” wrote movingly about the Armenian genocide.
Pope Francis just referred to what happened to the Armenians as “the first genocide of the 20th century.”
And the European Parliament passed a bill this month calling on Turkey to “come to terms with its past and recognize the genocide.”
At AJC, we bow our heads in remembrance, as the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide is commemorated worldwide.
And we say “Never again!”
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @AJC Global.
This is David Harris of AJC.
Collective Celebration of the Divine Liturgy to be Held at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral on April 23rd
A collective service with the participation of the Armenian Apostolic, Catholic and Evangelical Churches will be held at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral on the eve of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, April 23, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. The day’s celebrant will be His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian. The homily will be delivered by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.
The Most Rev. Bishop Mikael Mouradian and Rev. Joseph Matossian will address the congregation with their heartfelt remarks.
All faithful are invited to participate in the memorable service and to pray for the souls of our martyred ancestors who perished during the Armenian Genocide.
The Canonization Ceremony of the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide to be Streamed Live on the Internet on April 23rd
The Canonization Ceremony of the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide will be broadcast live at 7:15 p.m. local Armenia time (8:15 AM PST and 11:15 AM EST)
The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin will toll their bells 100 times marking the centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
Armenian faithful worldwide are invited to view the Canonization Ceremony live. Services will be begin on 23 April, starting at 5 pm local Armenian time (6 A.M. PST and 9 A.M. EST) from the Open Air Altar at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
LIVESTREAM via the internet, with simultaneous explanation of the service offered in the following languages: Armenian, English, and Russian, is being live-streamed on the following websites:
LIVE GLOBAL TELECAST – Armenia and worldwide - via Armenian Public Television (Channel 1) available through satellite providers. Check with local cable and satellite providers for your area.
Western Diocese Announces Historic Pilgrimage to Armenia - Blessing of the Holy Chrism (Muron) to take place in September 2015
For the Armenian people, this year is historic, indeed. 2015 marks the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide and millions of Armenians around the world will pay homage to our 1.5 million martyred ancestors. In the life of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the year also coincides with the sacred ceremonial rite of the Blessing of the Holy Chrism - Myuronorhnek, as it is commonly known. On the auspicious occasion, the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America happily announces a pilgrimage to Armenia (September 17 - October 1) to witness this one-of-a-kind ceremony in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the spiritual center of the Armenian people. Myuronorhnek, officiated by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, will take place on Sunday, September 27, 2015.
During the 15 day trip, the pilgrims will also visit historic religious monasteries and churches in Armenia and in Artsakh, will tour scenic sites and will take part in memorable excursions in the regions of Armenia.
Myuronorhnek occurs once every 7 years! Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to create a lifetime of memories! The price of the historic pilgrimage is $3400 per person based on double occupancy. Click here for pricing, accommodations and a detailed itinerary.
About the Blessing of the Holy Chrism
From the time of the first Catholicos of All Armenians, St. Gregory the Illuminator, the right to bless the Holy Chrism (or Muron) has been reserved solely for the consecrated head of the Church, the Catholicos of All Armenians.
From the sacred bema of the holy site of the Descent of the Only Begotten, the Armenian Pontiff appeals for the actions of God on the Chrism which is being blessed, so that the Holy Spirit will bring to life the sweet scented oil, and transform it to the fountain from where the graces are granted from God. And beneath the joyful ringing of bells symbolizing the descent of the Holy Spirit, the old Chrism is combined with the new, as is the tradition of the continuous apostolic chain and foundation of our Church.
Click here to learn more about the sacred ceremonial rite.
On April 20, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; sent a letter of condolence to His Holiness Abuna Mathias, Patriarch and Catholicos of Ethiopia, on the occasion of the murder of Ethiopian Christians by Libyan terrorists.
On behalf of the members of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Supreme Spiritual Council, His Holiness conveyed his deepest sympathies and condolences to His Holiness Abuna Mathias and the faithful of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
“During these days, when our nation commemorates the 100th anniversary of Armenian Genocide and calls upon the international community to stand firm in defending human rights and dignity throughout the world, strongly condemn the mass killing of our Christian brethren and invite all people of good will to take the necessary measures to prevent such crimes and atrocities against humanity”, said His Holiness.
On April 22, the opening ceremony of the Global Forum “Against the Crime of Genocide” was held in the Karen Demirtchian Sport and Concert Complex, which was attended by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; President Serzh Sarkisyan. Also attending the forum were heads of the Sister Churches and delegations, who arrived in Armenia on the occasion of the commemoration ceremonies of the 100th anniversary of Armenian Genocide, representatives of interchurch organizations, Diocesan Primates of the Armenian Church.
"The darkest and most tragic page of our people’s recent history is the Armenian Genocide – planned and implemented at the beginning of the 20th century in Ottoman Turkey – when approximately one and one half million Armenians were lost. Today, 100 years later, that crime is at the center of attention of the international community. The recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide by an increasing number of countries – as the gravest offense committed against mankind – inspires us with confidence that it will receive universal recognition and fair evaluation.
It is rare when a state that has coordinated genocide, recognizes and accepts responsibility for the crime. In this regard, Germany can be an example to the present authorities in Turkey and other states that have committed genocide.
The denial of genocide is not only the trampling of the rights, dignity and justice of the people who have been subjected to genocide, but is also destructive to the foundations of international rights and universal morality, and causes great damage to the relationships among nations and peoples and their peaceful coexistence" stated the Catholicos of All Armenians in part during his opening remarks.
Below is the Declaration in its entirety adopted during the ecumenical session.
Global Forum – Against the Crime of Genocide
under the auspices of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
”Churches Against Genocides – Human Life as a Gift of God”
April 21-22, 2015
By the mercy of God and in glorification to the All Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we, the leaders, the representatives of the Christian Churches and ecumenical organizations, participating in the Ecumenical Session of the Forum in the land of Biblical Mount Ararat – Armenia, which has been evangelized by the apostles Sts. Thaddeus and Bartholomew under the stewardship of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church, on the occasion of the commemoration of the 100th Anniversary and the Canonization of the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, solemnly declare:
Guided by the Christian truth and God-given commandments on the sacredness and inviolability of life that it is created by and belongs to God; (Genesis.1:27; Exodus 20:13, John 1:4);
Believing in the sacred mission of the Church of Christ aimed at establishing peace in the world and solidarity amongst people;
Bearing witness that the Church is called to the salvation of souls and to the mission of protecting life on earth;
- we reaffirm that the violence and killings based on national, religious, ethnic and racial discrimination have no justification and statute of limitations;
- we condemn the genocides and all crimes, which endanger peace and human security, being the manifestation of evil and sin against humanity;
- we condemn the ongoing ethnic and religious violence in the world, especially in the Middle East, which cause painful human losses and irreversible destruction of spiritual and cultural values and heritage;
- we are convinced that to prevent the similar crimes in the future is of utmost importance to recognize and condemn all crimes of genocide, absolutely reject the denial and to pursuit the claim for reparation;
- we offer our support to nations who have been subjected to genocide and are committed to stand for defending human dignity and peace among the nations;
- we call upon the leaders of the nations, individuals and the people of good will to join forces in creating a just and harmonious world free from suffering and violence;
- we pray for the souls of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide and all victims of crimes against humanity and ask the Almighty God to strengthen us in our pursuit for establishing peace and justice in the world.