Thursday, 30 June 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... End of Pope's trip to Armenia

Irish Examiner
June 26 2016
Pope Francis wraps up Armenia trip amid Turkey tensions
Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis wrapped up his trip to Armenia with an open-air liturgy
and a visit to the Orthodox country’s closed border with Turkey amid
new tensions with Ankara over his recognition of the 1915 “genocide”.

Turkey issued a harsh rebuttal late yesterday to Francis’s declaration
that the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago was
planned genocide.

Turkish deputy prime minister Nurettin Canikli said the comments bore
the hallmarks of the “mentality of the Crusades”.

Turkey rejects the term genocide, saying the 1.5m deaths cited by
historians is an inflated figure and that people died on both sides as
the Ottoman Empire collapsed amid the First World War.

Yesterday, Francis participated in an open-air liturgy at the Armenian
Apostolic Cathedral in Etchmiadzin, the seat of the nation’s Oriental
Orthodox church.

The landlocked nation of 3m was the first in the world to adopt
Christianity as a state religion in 301.

The Armenian Apostolic church and a few other Oriental Orthodox
churches split from the Catholic church in a theological dispute over
the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ.

While still divided over the primacy of the Pope, the two have
friendly relations . That said, there have been tensions: Francis 

and Karekin were supposed to have signed a joint declaration 
on their improved ties at the end of the visit, but it was axed 
at the last minute.

Vatican spokesman the Rev Federico Lombardi has said only the time
simply was not right to finalise the text.

The two men also showed clear political differences during a prayer
meeting on Saturday night: While Francis spoke of the need for
Armenians to move on to reconcile with Turkey, Karekin insisted in a
fiery speech on the need for Turkey to acknowledge its past and for
Armenians to find justice for past wrongs.

EuroNews, EU
June 26 2016
Pope Francis leaves Armenia

On his last day in Armenia Pope Francis attended an open air liturgy
in Etchmiadzin.

Unusually the ceremony was led by the head of Armenia’s 
main Apostolic church, Karekin the second, and not the pope.
Armenia’s church split from Rome in the fifth century following a
religious dispute.

The pope has been involved in his own dispute during the trip,
upsetting Turkey, by calling their mass killing of one and half
million Armenians in 1915 a genocide on the first day of his visit.

Pope Francis departed from a prepared speech to specifically use the
word genocide.

Turkey’s deputy prime minister promptly accused him of having a
Crusader mentality.

The pope first used the genocide label last year in a ceremony at the
Vatican and Turkey angrily responded by recalling its ambassador to
the Vatican for 10 months.

The pope, who delighted his hosts by referring several times to the
slaughters and visiting Yerevan’s genocide memorial, has urged Armenia
and Turkey to seek reconciliation.

Radio Vatican
June 26 2016
Pope and Catholicos water tree in symbolic gesture for 
Armenian diaspora 
(Vatican Radio) In a symbolic gesture, Pope Francis and the 
Catholicos of all Armenians Karekin II watered a tree symbolising 
Armenia’s many Christians living in the diaspora so that they may
bear fruit, signifying new life. The two Church leaders took up 
amphoras at the end of Saturday’s ecumenical prayer for peace 
in Yerevan and poured water over the earth which had been 
gathered by children residents of Armenia and elsewhere across 
the world and placed in a vessel resembling Noah’s Ark.

Armenia is home to Mount Ararat where, according to legend, 
Noah landed his Ark after the Great Floods.

Tens of thousands of Armenia’s Christians fled the country in the 
1900s during Ottoman massacres. On Saturday, Francis paid his 
respects at Armenia's imposing genocide memorial and greeted 
descendants of survivors of the 1915 slaughter.

In the memorial’s guest book, the Pope wrote: ``Here I pray with 
sorrow in my heart, so that a tragedy like this never again occurs, 
so that humanity will never forget and will know how to defeat evil 
with good…May God protect the memory of the Armenian people. 
Memory should never be watered-down or forgotten. Memory 
is the source of peace and the future.'' 

Catholic News Agency
June 26 2016
Extracts rating to Armenia from Full text of Pope Francis' 
in-flight press conference from Armenia 
translated by Catholic News Agency: 
Aboard the papal plane, Jun 26, 2016 / 04:54 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- During his flight from Armenia to Rome on Sunday, Pope Francis gave a press conference to the assembled journalists aboard the papal plane. He reflected on his three-day trip to Armenia, his upcoming trips to Azerbaijan and Poland, the role of the Pope emeritus, Christian unity, and the reformation. 

Fr. Lombardi: Holy Father, thanks so much for being here at the end of this quite brief, but very intense trip. We have been content to accompany you and now we wish to pose you some questions, taking advantage of your kindness. We have a list of people who are signed up to speak and we can begin, as is usual, with the colleagues from Armenia, as we give them the priority. The first is Artur Grygorian, of Armenian Public Television. 

Pope Francis: I thank you so much for your help on this trip, all of your work that does good to people… communicating well the things. They are good news… and good news always does good. Thanks so much! Thanks. 

Artur Grygorian (Armenian Public Television): Your Holiness, it is known you have Armenian friends, you had contacts with the Armenian community earlier in Argentina. During the last three days you touched the Armenian spirit. What are your feelings, impressions? And what will be your message for the future, your prayers for Armenia? Thanks. 

Pope Francis: Well, let’s think to the future and then let’s go to the past. I hope for justice and peace for this people and I pray for this, because it is a courageous people. And I pray that they find justice and peace. I know that so many are working for this; and also I was very happy last week when I saw a photograph of President Putin with the two Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents… at least they’re speaking! And also with Turkey and the president of the republic in his welcoming speech spoke clearly, he had the courage to say: let’s come to an agreement, forgive each other, and look to the future. And this is a great courage for a people who has suffered so much, no? It’s the icon of the Armenian people. This came to me today while I was praying a bit. It’s a life of stone and a tenderness of a mother. It has carried crosses, but stone crosses - and you see them, eh! - but it has not lost its tenderness, art, music, those “suspended chords”, so difficult to understand and with great geniality. A people who has suffered so much in its history and only the faith has kept it on its feet, because the fact is that it was the first Christian nation, this isn’t sufficient! It was the first Christian nation because the Lord blessed it, because it had the saints, it had bishop saints, martyrs, and for this in resisting Armenia has made itself a “stony skin”, let’s call it that, but it has not lost the tenderness of a maternal heart. Armenia is also a mother! 

And this is the second question, let’s go to the first now. If I had so many contacts with the Armenians… I went often with them to Masses, I have many Armenian friends… One thing that I usually don’t like to do for rest, but I would go to dinner with them and you have heavy dinners, eh! But, very good friends, no? A very good friend is Archbishop Kissag Mouradian and Boghossian, a Catholic… but among you, more important than belonging to the Apostolic Church or the Catholic Church, is the “Armenism”, and I understood this in those times. Today, an Argentinian from an Armenian family that when I went to the Masses, the archbishop always made him sit next to me so he could explain some ceremonies or some words that I didn’t know greeted me. One, two and three, but I start with three. 

Fr. Lombardi: Now we give the word to another Armenian representative, Jeannine Paloulian. 

Jeannine Paloulian (Nouvelles d’Armenie): Yesterday evening at the ecumenical encounter of prayer you asked about carrying out reconciliation with Turkey and Azerbaijan. I would like to ask you simply, given that you are about to go to Azerbaijan in some weeks, what will you do, a concrete sign like you’ve given to Armenia, what is the sign you’d like to give to Azerbaijan tomorrow? 

Pope Francis: I will speak to the Azerbaijanis of the truth of what I have seen, of what I have felt and I will also encourage them. I met the Azerbaijani president and I spoke with him… I’ll tell you also that not making peace for a little piece of land, because it’s not a big deal, means something dark, no? But I say this to all the Armenians and the Azerbaijanis… Possibly, they can’t agree on the ways of making peace, and on this they need to work. But I don’t know what else to say… I will say that at the moment it comes to my heart, but always positively trying to find solutions that are viable, that move ahead. 

Fr. Lombardi: Thanks a lot. And now we give the floor to Jean Louis de La Vassiere of France Presse, for whom I believe it may be the last trip that he makes with us, so we are happy to give him a voice. 

Jean Luis de La Vassiere (AFP): Holy Father, first I wanted to thank you on my behalf and for Sebastien Maillard of La Croix… we are leaving Rome and we wanted to thank you from our hearts for this spring breeze that you’re blowing on the Church… then I have a question: why did you decide to add openly the word genocide to your speech at the presidential palace? On a painful theme like this, do you think it’s useful for peace in this complicated region? 

Pope Francis: In Argentina, when you spoke of the Armenian extermination, they always used the word “genocide.” I didn’t know another. At the cathedral in Buenos Aires, we put a stone cross in the third altar on the left, remembering the Armenian genocide. The archbishop came, two Armenian archbishops, the Catholic and the Apostolic, they inaugurated it… also the Apostolic Archbishop in the Catholic Church of St. Bartholomew made an altar in memory of St. Bartholomew… but always… I didn’t know another word. I come from this word. When I arrived in Rome, I heard another word: “The Great Evil” or the “terrible tragedy,” but in Armenian, I don’t know how to say it… and they tell me that no, that that is offensive, that of “genocide,” and that you must say this. I’ve always spoke of three genocides in the last century… always three! The first was the Armenian, then that of Hitler, and the last is that of Stalin… there are small ones, there is another in Africa, but as in the orbit of the two great wars there are these three… I’ve asked why… “but some feel like it’s not true, that there wasn’t a genocide”... another said to me… a lawyer told me this that really interested me: the word “genocide” is a technical word. It’s a word that has a technicity that it is not a synonym of “extermination.” You can say extermination, but declaring a “genocide” brings with it actions of reparation… this is what the lawyer said to me. Last year, when I was preparing the speech, I saw that St John Paul II had used the word, that he used both: Great Evil and genocide. And I cited that one in quotation marks… and it wasn’t received well. A statement was made by the Turkish government. Turkey, in a few days called its ambassador to Ankara, who is a great man, Turkey sent us a top ambassador, who returned three months ago... “an ambassadorial fast.” But, he has the right.. The right to protest, we all have it. In this speech at the start there wasn’t a word, that is true. I respond because I added it. But after having heard the tone of the speech of the president and also with my past with this word, and having said this word last year in St. Peter’s publicly, it would have sounded strange not to say at least the same thing. But there, I wanted to underscore something else, and I don’t think I err that I also said: in this genocide, as in the other two, the great international powers looked in the other direction. And this was the thing. In the Second World War some powers, which had photographed the train lines that led to Auschwitz had the possibility to bomb and didn’t do it. An example. In the context of the First War, where was the problem of the Armenians? And in the context of the Second War where was the problem of Hitler and Stalin and after Yalta of the area… and all that no one speak about. One has to underscore this. And make the historical question: why didn’t you do this, you powers? 

I don’t accuse, I ask a question. It’s curious. They looked at the war, at so many things… but not the people… and I don’t know if it’s true, but I would like to know if it’s true that when Hitler persecuted the Jews, one of the words, of the thing that he may have said was “Well, who remembers today the Armenians, let’s do the same with the Jews.” I don’t know if it’s true, maybe it’s hearsay, but I’ve heard this said. Historians, search and see if it’s true. I think I answered. But I never said this word with an offensive intention, if not objectively.

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