STATED ARAM I
On Thursday, 24 April 2009, thousands of Armenians gathered in front of the Memorial for the Martyrs of the 1915 Genocide in the courtyard of the Catholicosate in Antelias Lebanon. The Martyrs’ Chapel was built when the remains of one-and-a-half million victims were brought from the desert of Der Zor to Antelias, Lebanon.
The Prelate of Lebanon, Bishop Kegham Khatcherian, celebrated the Divine Liturgy. At the end of the liturgy His Holiness Aram I led the procession to the ‘Eternal Torch’ inside the Chapel where he celebrated the memorial service. In his address, he said: “The memory of our martyrs gives meaning to our lives because the future is a forward-looking vision built on past and present memories and experiences. As we pray in this place today, we cannot but once more renew our demand for justice for the inhuman acts committed against innocent men, women and children. Turkey wanted to eliminate us as a country and a people. We are grateful to all those countries that have recognized the Armenian Genocide of 1915. However, we want to tell them that recognition is not enough; we want justice. We are not asking for mercy from the world; we are demanding justice. This is our right. The Armenian nation is a victim of injustice; its human rights are violated. We cannot remain silent in view of this prevailing injustice. Our collective memory will not heal unless justice is victorious. Neither roadmaps, nor reciprocal visits will restore justice.”
And then turning to the youth, he said: “You have just returned from your pilgrimage to Der Zor where the massacres happened. You walked on the sand mixed with the remains of your ancestors. You threw flowers into the Euphrates River that washed away the bodies of men, women and children. You should now bring your pilgrimage into its fruition by using your knowledge and expertise to overcome denial and injustice in a non-violent way.”
At the end of the Requiem, official representatives, organizations, school children and the people passed in front of the ‘Eternal Torch’ and placed wreaths and flowers.