Service Dedicated to the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide held in Westminster Abbey

On October 28, under the presidency of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; a service dedicated to the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide was offered in Westminster Abbey, London, UK.

Attending the service were Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia; and HRH Prince Charles of Wales. The commemoration service of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide was also attended by clergy of the Armenian Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland, led by His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukian, Diocesan Primate; representatives of Sister Churches, State officials, and guests.

During the service, the representatives of Sister Churches, and the descendants of the Genocide survivors, offered a prayer for the Genocide victims, expressing gratitude to all those states, organizations, and individuals, who put their efforts to restore justice and peace in the world today. The attendees also prayed for the tranquil and prosperous life of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Armenia. The St. Yeghishe Armenian Church Choir of London sang hymns, led by Aris Nadiryan.

At the conclusion of the service, the Catholicos of All Armenians conveyed his message to the attendees. Lord Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, also representing the Archbishop of Canterbury, made remarks on behalf of the Anglican Church and the faithful.

The Message of His Holiness Karekin II
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians
100th Annivesary Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide
Ecumenical Service
Westminster Abbey, London, UK
October 28, 2015

Your Excellency Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia,
Your Royal Highness, Prince Charles of Wales,
Your Eminences and Your Graces,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Glory and thanksgiving to God on High as we are blessed to be in attendance here at Westminster Abbey, rich with historical and spiritual tradition, participating in this Ecumenical Service dedicated to the canonized martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, together with the honourable President of Armenia Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, the clergy and the faithful of the Armenian Church.

We warmly welcome here the presence of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, whose love and admiration for our people and our country we have felt on various occasions, most particularly during his recent visit to Armenia.

Our brotherly love we convey to His Grace the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, together with whom we are called to spread the light of the Gospel of our Lord and to fulfill Christ’s message in the lives of our people.

We are comforted that through this joint Ecumenical prayer the Church of England and the people of Great Britain stand in brotherly solidarity with our people through this expression of respect towards the victims of the Armenian Genocide and the canonized martyrs.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The hearts of our people have not yet healed from the wound of the Armenian Genocide which was perpetrated by Ottoman Turkey at the dawn of the twentieth century, during which one and a half million Armenians were sacrificed because of their national identity and Christian faith. We lost the majority of our historic ancestral homeland. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were deported and scattered throughout the whole world. The martyred children of our people accepted the crown of martyrdom, faithful to the words of the apostle, “And if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” (1 Peter 3:14).

Today we renew our gratitude to the nations who recognized and condemned the Armenian Genocide, the nations which provided a safe haven for the survivors, and also to the sister churches who loudly voiced their words of condemnation around the world. Furthermore, we remember with a deep sense of gratitude the British government which during the years of the First World War, along with the allied nations, characterized the Genocide committed against the Armenian people as a crime against humanity. Great Britain’s contribution to world civilization and its commitment to human values inspire confidence that Great Britain will continue its fraternal support and contribution towards the restoration of historical justice to our people.

Dear faithful, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the recognition of the Armenian genocide is not merely a condemnation of a private historical matter, a condemnation of a genocide committed against a specific people but moreover, it is a rejection and prevention of current and future crimes against humanity of which even today innocent people are victims, particularly in the countries of the Middle East.

Denial of the crime of genocide, expressing support for the policy of denial, appeasing genocidal countries and showing deference towards them: each of these is a catalyst for the recurrence of genocidal crimes. The Apostolic command states, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Eph. 5:9-11).

It is of deep spiritual comfort to us that through this collective prayer at Westminster Abbey we have honoured the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide and we have asked for the intercession of the canonized martyrs for the peace and safety of humanity.

We bring our blessings and appreciation to the Dean of Westminster Abbey the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, the Bishop of London, The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Dr. Richard Chartres, the Primate of the Armenian Church in Great Britain and Ireland, and His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, for their efforts in organizing this memorial service.

We express our appreciation to the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Great Britain and Northern Ireland, His Excellency Mr. Armen Sarkissian, for the initiation of the service and significant contribution.

At this sacred moment we pray to God Most High that He strengthen our churches so that we may serve in the love of Christ the flock entrusted to us and strengthen each other through spiritual unity so that we may be able to work together for the sake of a just world, harmonious and free from violence.

It is our prayer that the Lord keep and protect the United Kingdom and Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her government, the Church of England and the faithful people and that He may send down His heavenly peace to all mankind.

Under the blessing of the Lord, may the good relationship and collaboration between our two countries and peoples be strengthened and made more fruitful.

May the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us and with all. Amen.