Thursday, 30 June 2016



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The Armenian Institute is a London-based registered charity dedicated to making Armenian culture and history a living experience, through innovative programmes, educational resources, workshops, exhibits and performances. Its work is supported by friends, patrons and voluntary donations. For more information about the Armenian Institute or to find out about supporting the important work of the Institute, please visit our website at, contact us at, or call 020 7938 3336. If you would like your email address to be removed from the list, please send an email with "remove" in the subject heading to





The Armenian Institute is a London-based registered charity dedicated to making Armenian culture and history a living experience, through innovative programmes, educational resources, workshops, exhibits and performances. Its work is supported by friends, patrons and voluntary donations. For more information about the Armenian Institute or to find out about supporting the important work of the Institute, please visit our website at, contact us at, or call 020 7938 3336. If you would like your email address to be removed from the list, please send an email with "remove" in the subject heading to

DR DIKRAN ABRAHAMIAN ... KEGHART.COM Update 9/20  June 30, 2016 
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War by Other Means  Editorial
Turkish Airlines’ Three Stooges Jirair Tutunjian
Համաշխարհային Բանկի Հայաստանյան Գրասենյակին
Համահայկական Բնապահպանական Ճակատ
Pope Decries Genocide of the Armenians  (Short Video)
Ա՞յս Է Մեր Գնահատականը...  Ոսկան Մխիթարեան
Bob Semonian Was the Ultimate Tipster!  Tom Vartabedian
Planning Artsakh Civil Protection  
Z. S. Andrew Demirdjian, Ph.D.
«Հայկական Փողոց»  ԴոկտՀրայր Ճէպէճեան
Armenian Refugees in Novorossiysk (1919) Teffi
Lest We Forget -- Bayard Dodge (1888-1972) 
  Mesrob Vartabed Ashjian, Translation by Vahe H. Apelian
Why Using the Word Genocide Matters Terry Glavin
Խոստովանական Ցուցմունքներ  Հրանուշ Խառատյան
Everything is Fair in Love and War  Nora Bulbulian
Մենավորիկի Վերջին Օպերան՝ Անվերջ Սուգ 
Սայիդ Չեթինօղլու
ADL Spies on Americans  Jeffrey Blankfort
Identity and Islamized Armenians  Laurence Ritter
Disproportionate Casualties
In 1939 the population of Nagorno-Karapagh Autonomous Region was 150,838 of which 90% were Armenian. During WWII over 45,000 or 32% of the residents were drafted. Armenian historians allege that due to the Azeri policy of ethnic cleansing, 22,000 Karapagh Armenians were killed because they were placed on the front lines in battles against the Germans. See More
The Poll question is located on front page in the right column
Do you think the two recent meetings of Sargsyan and Aliyev will
lead to a permanent solution to the Artsakh conflict?
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Dr. Dikran Abrahamian · 15 Bridle Rd. · Penetanguishene, On L9M 1J5 · Canada

Armenian News... A Topalian... A note from Misak Ohanian CEO OF CAIA...

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** FATHER FRANK’S RANTS Rant Number 686 28 June 16 ZIONISM & THE DEVIL


‘…you have brought back the Devil among us.’ So argues in The Catholic Herald Jewish writer Howard Jacobson. A warning directed at Christian anti-Zionists, whom he charges with covert anti-Semitism. A terrifying, loathsome rekindling of ‘medieval suspicions of the Jewish character’, he suggests.

For Jacobson the Devil must be a metaphor. Apparently a secular man, he is unlikely to believe in the Prince of Darkness’ reality. Still, does a paradox lurk here? An enlightened warning about intolerance and fanaticism that invokes a figure which modernity relegates to the dungeon of the rankest religious obscurantism and superstition. But of course Old Nick, even when disbelieved in, always comes handy when it comes to beating your opponents with a rhetorical stick…

Jacobson conflates Zionism and Judaism, you may protest. By no means the same thing, because there are many anti-Zionist Jews. Semantics apart, I fear that a connection, religious, practical and emotional, does exist between them. Many Jews feel attached to, and protective of Israel, the Zionist nation. They resent criticisms of it. That is only human. If you are a Jew, Israel cannot be like any other old state, religious or otherwise.

If Zionism means the aspiration for a Jewish State, there is no intrinsic reason why it should be wrong in itself. Oppressed nations like Poland and Ireland justly fought for self-determination and independence until they achieved them. Why begrudge Diaspora Jews their own little Vatican in the Middle East? Unfortunately the land Zionists chose to colonise was not vacant. Another people lived there. Palestinian Arabs were less than happy when the Zionists took over their land and are unhappy still. Mr Jacobson elegantly skims over that minor detail.

Is there something literally diabolical about Zionism? The problem is that supernatural explanations are redundant when perfectly natural ones suffice. Theodore Herzl, author of the famous 1896 pamphlet, The Jewish State, was not religious. He did not have his son Hans circumcised – not quite a good Jew! Besides, the historical origins, causes, political intentions, intrigues and strategies of the founders of Zionism are well-known. A vast literature is publicly available about them, from the roles played by Arthur Balfour, Chaim Weizmann and Ze’ev Jabotinsky to the sad and deluded idiots called Christian Zionists. Why bring in invisible demonic agencies when human ones are so visibly involved?

Making the Devil a scapegoat for human faults is unwise. It lets off too many earthly sinners. ‘The Devil made me do it’ sounds like a lame excuse for your own human, all too human crimes and misdemeanours. Men are actually responsible for their actions. His Satanic majesty may tempt but he has no power to compel anyone to sin. The will of man is free. So it is human beings who are responsible for the terrible sufferings of the people of the Middle East, not the Devil.

Anti-Semitism, as opposed to anti-Zionism, is sometimes said to hark back to misunderstood passages in the New Testament. ‘You are of your father the Devil’, Jesus chides his enemies in St John’s Gospel (8:44). However, the Lord cannot have meant Judaism per se. Because Jesus, himself a Jew, claimed to be, and indeed was, the awaited Messiah of Judaism. Had he damned Judaism as demonic, he would have destroyed his own messianic credentials. He could not have meant that. His fierce indictment applied only to those scribes and Pharisees who besmirched and rejected him.

Great Christian minds have not shrunk back from affirming the spiritual reality of the Devil. In his stupendous Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius of Loyola includes a powerful meditation on two opposed standards or flags. One is that of Jesus Christ, the other of Lucifer, the deadly enemy of humanity. Ignatius visualises him as a fearsome gangster in chief, seated on a big throne of fire and smoke and served by cohorts of countless demons. Nothing to do with Jews, note. In fact, St Ignatius loved God’s ancient people so much that he wished he had himself been of Jewish origins. (The priest himself occasionally wishes that. No chance, alas.)

True, St Ignatius’ contemporary, Martin Luther, preached some dreadful invectives against the Jews. He called them ‘full of the Devil’s dung’. Enough to make you squirm. Well, he was German, wasn’t he? And his theological language was usually impolite.

Is there a Devil’s spawn? A Devil’s party? Plotting and warring against God’s party – in Arabic, a Hezbollah? A party with a declared atheistic programme, bent on demolishing churches, martyring or persecuting Christians and enforcing sin on the people – that would indeed be a satanic organisation. The Russian Bolsheviks who took power in 1917 were probably one such a party. Today matters are less clear. The EU is bad but not quite like that. More likely, Lucifer’s vile children are spread throughout the whole political and religious spectrum, regardless of nationality, race or culture.

It won’t please peevish, non-Luciferian Mr Jacobson but the last, perfect and exemplary word concerning the Christian position vis-à-vis the Jews is set out in St Paul’s Letter to the Romans, chapters 9 to 11. To put it in a nutshell, the Apostle assures his fellow Jews that ‘in the end all Israel will be saved’.

I bow my head in reverence and say: ‘Amen’!

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


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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.

Armenian News... A Topalian... What Turkish Deputy said about the Pope

On BBC Radio 4 Sunday p[rogram at 7:15am,the first major 

feature was on the Pope's visit to Armenia and his ure of the 
word genocide. It also included a reference to the insult levied 
by the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister that the Pope has the 
mentality of a Crusader.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey
June 25 2016
Pope says ‘never again’ to tragedies like ‘Armenian genocide’

A somber Pope Francis, "with pain in my heart," paid tribute on June
25 to the Armenians killed in 1915, an event which he has labelled a
“genocide,” risking Turkey's ire.

Francis, on the second day of his trip to Armenia, made an early
morning stop at the Tzitzernakaberd, the "Genocide Memorial and
Museum," a towering granite needle flanked by an eternal flame on a
hillside overlooking the Armenian capital.

There, visibly moved, he took part in a prayer service along with
President Serzh Sargsyan and leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

"Here I pray, with pain in my heart, so that never again will there be
tragedies like this, so that humanity does not forget and knows how to
overcome evil with good," he wrote in the guest book in Italian.

On June 24 night in a speech to the president, the government and
diplomats, Francis departed from his prepared text to use the word
"genocide," a description that infuriated Turkey when he said it a
year ago.

As of June 25 morning there was no official reaction from Turkey,
which last year recalled its ambassador to the Vatican after the pope
used the “genocide” term. The envoy was kept away for 10 months.

Turkey accepts many Christian Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire
were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War I, but
contests the figures and denies the killings were systematically
orchestrated and constitute a genocide. It also says many Muslim Turks
perished at that time.

"There is no reason not to use this word in this case," Vatican
spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters on June 24 night.
"The reality is clear and we never denied what the reality is."

At the June 25 morning ceremony, Francis chatted with descendants of
Armenian orphans who were sheltered at the papal summer residence
south of Rome at the start of the 20th century.

"May God grant the beloved Armenian people and the entire world peace
and consolation. May God protect the memory of the Armenian people.
Memory should not be diluted or forgotten. Memory is a source of peace
and the future," he wrote in the guest book.

After the memorial service the pope flew to say a Mass in the
provincial city of Gyumri, near the border with Turkey and within
sight of Mount Ararat, where the Bible says Noah's Ark landed after
the Great Flood. 

Daiiy Sabah, Turkey
June 25 2016
Pope's remarks on 1915 Armenian deaths not related to 
historical facts, Deputy PM Canikli says
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli criticized on Saturday
Pope Francis's comments on the deaths of Armenians in1915 during 
his recent visit to Armenia, saying that the Pope's remarks have no
relation to the truth and they reflect the mentality of crusaders.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Giresun province in the
Black Sea region, Canikli said: "First of all, it is unfortunate that
the Pope made such comments. Unfortunately, just like how the 
U.K.'s separation from the EU has exposed, or as it is seen in this
situation, the activities of the Pope and the papacy bear the traces
and reflections of the crusader mentality.
 The same goes for the
Pope's remarks, as well."

"It is not an impartial remark. It has no relation to reality,"
Canikli said and added that the truth about the so-called 
'genocide' is known by everyone, including the Armenians 
Canikli also recalled the recent motion passed by the German
parliament on recognizing the 1915 events as genocide, saying these
are political decisions that have no relation to historical facts.

"These comments are political explanations and are based on religious
factors," he added.

Those claiming that the events were 'genocide' accuse the Ottoman
government of 1915 of allegedly carrying out "systematic genocide"
against Armenians, as well as other Christian minorities.

Turkey denies the alleged genocide, but acknowledges that there were
casualties on both sides during the events taking place during World
War I.

According to Turkey's viewpoint, deaths of Armenians in eastern
Anatolia in 1915 occurred after some sided with invading Russians and
revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians
resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey describes the 1915 events as a tragedy for both sides.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of
historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to
tackle the issue.
Vatican denies Pope has ‘Crusades’ mentality over Armenian 
26 Jun 2016 

The Vatican is strongly denying Turkish claims that Pope Francis has adopted a “mentality of the Crusades” by recognizing the Ottoman-era slaughter of Armenians as “genocide,” the Associated Press reports.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said nothing in Francis’ texts or words during his Armenian trip showed any hostility to Turkey and in fact were infused with calls for Armenia and Turkey to build bridges of peace and reconciliation.

“The pope is not doing Crusades,” he said Sunday. “He has said no words against the Turkish people.”

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli called Francis’ comments “greatly unfortunate” and said they bore the hallmarks of the “mentality of the Crusades.”

Kansas City Star
June 25 2016
Pope visits Armenia's closed border with Turkey on last day

Pope Francis is wrapping up his trip to Armenia with a liturgy in the
Apostolic cathedral celebrated by his Orthodox hosts and a visit to
Armenia's closed border with Turkey.
Associated Press
YEREVAN, Armenia

Pope Francis is wrapping up his trip to Armenia with a liturgy in the
Apostolic cathedral celebrated by his Orthodox hosts and a visit to
Armenia's closed border with Turkey.

Francis has said he would love to see the border reopened, given his
longstanding call for countries to build bridges, not walls, at their

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in support for its ally and
ethnic kin, Azerbaijan, after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted
into a full-scale war in 1992. The blockade has worsened Armenia's
economic problems.

On Sunday, Francis is due to release a dove of peace near the border
at the Khor Virap monastary. The monastary is one of the most sacred
sites in Armenia and lies in the shadow of Mount Ararat, where
according to legend, Noah landed his ark.

Armenian News... A Topalian... Pope Francis arrives in Armenia

Pope Francis arrives in Armenia – Photos 

The Catholic Register
June 24 2016
Pope arrives in Armenia, speaks of faith, hope and future
By  Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Catholicos Karekin II, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and Pope Francis arrive to visit the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral at Etchmiadzin in Vagharshapat, Armenia, June 24.
Catholicos Karekin II, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and Pope Francis arrive to visit the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral at Etchmiadzin in Vagharshapat, Armenia, June 24.

YEREVAN, Armenia – A solid, sorrow-tested Christian faith gives believers the strength to overcome even the most horrific adversity, forgive one's enemies and live in peace, Pope Francis said.
Arriving in Armenia June 24, Pope Francis went straight to the twin concerns of his three-day visit: Promoting Christian unity and honoring the determined survival of Armenian Christianity despite a historic massacre and decades of Soviet domination.
The high profile of the pope's ecumenical concern and the importance of faith in Armenian culture were highlighted by making the trip's first official appointment a visit to the cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church at Etchmiadzin.
The arrival ceremony at the airport was defined as informal, but featured a review of the troops and a greeting by a young boy and a young girl, who offered Pope Francis the traditional gifts of bread and salt. His entrance into Holy Etchmiadzin, as it commonly is known, was heralded with the pealing of church bells. As the pope and patriarch processed down the aisle between crowds of flag-waving faithful, a deacon led them, swinging an incense burner.
For the first two events on the papal itinerary, the English translations of the speeches of the pope's hosts – the Armenian Orthodox patriarch and the country's president – repeatedly used the word "genocide" to describe the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1918.
The pope's prepared text for his speech in Italian used the Armenian term "Metz Yeghern" or its Italian equivalent, "the Great Evil." However, when speaking, the pope added the Italian "genocidio."
Turkey objects to the term "genocide" and recalled its Vatican ambassador for about a year after Pope Francis in April 2015 quoted St. John Paul II in describing the massacre as the first genocide of the 20th century. 
Pope Francis, visiting the Orthodox cathedral at Etchmiadzin and addressing government officials later at the presidential palace, did not focus on the tragedy, but on the faith of the country's 3 million people, the need for reconciliation and peace in the region and the role of Christians in showing the world that faith is a power for the good of humanity.
For both nights of his trip, Pope Francis was to be the houseguest of Catholicos Karekin II, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
"This sign of love eloquently bespeaks, better than any words can do, the meaning of friendship and fraternal charity," the pope said.
In a world "marked by divisions and conflicts, as well as by grave forms of material and spiritual poverty," he said, people expect Christians to provide a witness and example of mutual esteem and close collaboration.
All examples of brotherly love and cooperation, despite real differences existing among Christians, the pope said, "radiate light in a dark night and a summons to experience even our differences in an attitude of charity and mutual understanding."
Besides being an example of how dialogue is the only way to settle differences, he said, "it also prevents the exploitation and manipulation of faith, for it requires us to rediscover faith's authentic roots," defending and spreading truth with respect for the human dignity of all.
Catholicos Karekin echoed the pope's emphasis on the importance of Christian cooperation "for keeping and cherishing Christian ethical values in the world (and) for strengthening love" which is the only path to true security and prosperity.
He told the pope, "after the destruction caused by the Armenian Genocide and the godless years of the Soviet era, our church is living a new spiritual awakening." Nearly 90 percent of Armenia's population belongs to the Armenian Apostolic Church; Catholics, mostly belonging to the Eastern-rite Armenian Catholic Church, make up almost 10 percent of the population.
At the presidential palace later, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan praised Pope Francis for having used the word "genocide" a year ago. "We don't look for culprits. We don't spread accusations," he said, according to the English text given to reporters. "We simply want things to be called by their names." 
While the pope and president were meeting privately, Armenian public television broadcast images from the Armenian memorial prayer service Pope Francis presided over at the Vatican last year. They included the clip of him using the word "genocide."
Pope Francis told the president and government officials, "Sadly that tragedy, that genocide was the first of the deplorable series of catastrophes of the past century made possible by twisted racial, ideological or religious aims" that extended to "planning the annihilation of entire peoples."
Unfortunately, he said, "the great international powers looked the other way."
"Having seen the depths of evil unleashed by "hatred, prejudice and the untrammeled desire for dominion," people must make renewed commitments to ensuring differences are resolved with dialogue, he said.
"In this regard, it is vitally important that all those who declare their faith in God join forces to isolate those who use religion to promote war, oppression and violent persecution, exploiting and manipulating the holy name of God," Pope Francis said.
At a time when Christians are again experiencing discrimination and persecution, he said, it is essential that world leaders make their primary goal "the quest for peace, the defense and acceptance of victims of aggression and persecution, (and) the promotion of justice and sustainable development."

Vatican Radio
Pope Francis: Official schedule for Armenia visit in June 

Friday 24th June 

09.00 Departure from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport for Yerevan 

15.00 Arrival at Yereven’s Zvaretnots Airport with welcome ceremony there. 

15.35 Visit to pray at Apostolic Cathedral at Etchmiadzin (Greetings given by Catholicos of All Armenia, Karekin II and by Pope Francis) 

18.00 Courtesy visit to Armenia's President in the Presidential Palace. 

18.30 Meeting with civil authorities and the Diplomatic Corps in the Presidential Palace (speech by the Pope) 

19.30 Private meeting with Catholicos in the Apostolic Palace 

Saturday 25th June 

08.45 Visit to Tzitzernakaberd Memorial Complex 

10.00 Journey by plane to Gyumri 

11.00 Holy Mass in Gyumri’s Vartanants Square (Homily By the Pope and greeting by Catholicos) 

16.45 Visit to the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral of the Seven Wounds 

17.15 Visit to the Holy Martyrs Armenian Catholic Cathedral in Gyumri 

18.00 Journey by plane back to Yerevan 

19.00 Ecumenical Encounter and Prayer for Peace in Yerevan’s Republic Square 

Sunday 26th June 

09.15 Meeting with Catholic Bishops of Armenia in the Apostolic Palace at Etchmiadzin 

10.00 Participation in Divine Liturgy in the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral (Homily by Catholicos and greeting by the Pope) 

Ecumenical Lunch with the Catholicos, Archbishops and Bishops of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholic Bishops of Armenia and Cardinals and Bishops from the Papal entourage in the Apostolic Palace. 

15.00 Meeting with delegates and benefactors of the Apostolic Armenian Church in the Apostolic Palace 

16.05 Signing of Joint Declaration in the Apostolic Palace 

17.00 Prayer at Khor Virap Monastery 

18.15 Farewell Ceremony at airport 

18.30 Departure by plane for Rome 

20.40 Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino Airport 

[please note the use of quotes around the word genocide]
Pope speaks of Armenian 'genocide' in Yerevan visit


Pope Francis kisses the Holy Book as he visits the Apostolic Cathedral in Etchmiadzin, outside Yerevan, on 24 JuneThe Pope used the term "genocide" for the first time last year 

Pope Francis has described the mass killing of Armenians under Ottoman Turkish rule in World War One as "genocide", repeating a phrase that prompted Turkish anger last year. 

He made the remarks during a visit to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, for commemorations of the massacre. 

Armenia and many historians say up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians were killed by Ottoman forces in 1915. 

Turkey has always disputed that figure and rejects using the term "genocide". 

It says the deaths were part of a civil conflict triggered by WW1. 

The row over characterising the killings has continued to sour relations between Armenia and Turkey, as well as drawing in other countries such as Germany, whose parliament recently declared the killings to be genocide. 

The Pope made the comments in an address to Armenia's President, Serzh Sargsyan, and the diplomatic corps, and appeared to have added the word "genocide" to his prepared text. 

"This tragedy, this genocide, has unfortunately marked the start of a sad series of great catastrophes of the last century," he said. 

There was no immediate reaction from Turkey, which last year recalled its envoy to the Vatican after the Pope referred to "genocide". 

The envoy was kept away for 10 months. 

Pope Francis denounces Armenian 'genocide' during visit to Yerevan
Pontiff ad-libs controversial word during speech to devotees, risking
repeat of diplomatic rift between Turkey and Vatican

Friday 24 June 2016 

Pope Francis denounced what he called the ideologically twisted and
planned “genocide” of Armenians by Ottoman-era Turks a century ago as
he arrived in Yerevan, Armenia, on Friday for a symbolic weekend visit
to mark the centenary of the massacre.

In the most carefully watched speech of his three-day trip, Francis
ad-libbed the politically charged word “genocide” to his prepared text
that had conspicuously left it out.

And rather than merely repeat what had said last year – that the
slaughter was “considered the first genocide of the 20th century” –
Francis declared it a genocide, setting the stage for another Turkish
protest after it withdrew its ambassador last year and accused the
pontiff of spreading lies.

“Sadly that tragedy, that genocide, was the first of the deplorable
series of catastrophes of the past century, made possible by twisted
racial, ideological or religious aims that darkened the minds of the
tormentors even to the point of planning the annihilation of entire
peoples,” he said.

“It’s so sad how, in this case and in the other two, the great
international powers looked the other way,” he added, in apparent
reference to the subsequent horrors of Nazism and Stalinism.

In the run-up to the visit, the Vatican had refrained from using the
term “genocide,” mindful of Turkish opposition to the political and
financial implications of the word given Armenian claims for

But Francis, never one to shy from speaking his mind, added the word
at the last minute in a speech at the presidential palace to President
Serzh Sargsyan and Armenian political and religious leaders. They gave
him a standing ovation.

“One cannot but believe in the triumph of justice when in 100 years …
the message of justice is being conveyed to mankind from the heart of
the Catholic world,” marvelled Sargsyn in his speech to the pope.

A small country but a big nation: how genocide shaped the Armenia of today

Many historians consider the massacres of an estimated 1.5 million
Armenians genocide. Turkey rejects the term, says the death figure is
inflated and that people died on both sides as the Ottoman empire
collapsed during the first world war.

In a largely Orthodox country where Catholics are a minority,
Armenians have been honoured to welcome a pope who has long championed
the Armenian cause from his time as an archbishop in Argentina and now
as leader of the 1.2-billion strong Catholic church. His 2015
declaration that the massacres were genocide sealed their affection
for him.

“I shook the pope’s hand but didn’t have the time to kiss it,”
42-year-old Yerevan resident Nazik Sargsyan said on Friday as Francis
arrived. “I’m sure God’s blessing has come down on me with that

Small groups of residents lined his motorcade route, and a gaggle of
schoolchildren wearing white T-shirts and yellow neckerchiefs – the
colours of the Vatican flag – greeted him at the airport with a banner
written in Italian that read: “Armenia welcomes Pope Francis.”

In his initial remarks in the ornate Apostolic church in Etchmiadzin,
Francis praised Armenia for becoming the first country to declare
Christianity the state religion in AD301 and for keeping alive the
“light of faith” even in its darkest times.

With the Apostolic patriarch Karekin II by his side, Francis urged all
Christians to unite to prevent religion from being exploited and
manipulated today, a reference to the Islamic extremist attacks on
Christians in the Middle East.

“It is vitally important that all those who declare their faith in God
join forces to isolate those who use religion to promote war,
oppression and violent persecution, exploiting and manipulating the
holy name of God,” he said.

The Vatican has long cheered the Armenian cause, holding up the poor
country of 3 million mostly Orthodox Christians as a bastion of faith
and martyrdom in a largely Muslim region.

 Francis embraces the Apostolic patriarch Karekin II. Photograph:
Osservatore Romano/EPA

Sargsyan, Karekin and a handful of other officials greeted Francis on
the tarmac at Yerevan airport in a low-key ceremony. A girls’ choir
serenaded and the pope, patriarch and president then walked behind a
goose-stepping military official along a red carpet into the VIP
lounge before heading to Echmiadzin, the seat of the Oriental Orthodox
church where Francis will stay as a guest of Karekin.

“Blessed is the hour when the feet of Pope Francis touched our soil!”
exclaimed local resident Simon Samsonya. “He won the love of the
Armenian people with his message at St Peter’s Cathedral on the eve of
the 100 years anniversary of the genocide.”

The pontiff will have another opportunity to pay respects to the
victims of the slaughter when he visits Armenia’s genocide memorial on