Thursday 23 April 2015 should see Armenian churches around the world ring their bells 100 times at 19:15 to honour the centenary of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks in 1915. The 100 rings mark the 100 years that have passed since the genocide, and the time 19:15 was selected to commemorate the year 1915 when the Ottoman government embarked upon the systematic decimation of its civilian Armenian population. The persecutions continued with varying intensity until 1923 when the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist and was replaced by the Republic of Turkey. By then the entire Armenian population of Anatolian Turkey, estimated at two million in 1915, had virtually disappeared. Some 1.5 million had perished, and hundreds of thousands had become homeless and stateless.
Armenians the world over are commemorating the centenary of the genocide of their ancestors in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Friday 24 April marks the official event in the Armenian capital Yerevan, over which Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkisian will preside, and in which world leaders and Church heads will be participating.
Pope Tawadros II is taking part in the commemoration, upon an official invitation from Armenia. Accompanying him are the bishops Anba Raphaiel who heads the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Bishop-General Anba Yu’annis. He will also participate in the prayers on 23 April to canonise the genocide victims, and visit the genocide museum and memorial. The Pope has stressed that his visit was one to a sister Church and carried no political overtones.
The Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate, in the meantime, will not participate in commemoration activities nor the bell-ringing, but will hold Mass on April 24 in memory of ‘those who lost their lives in 1915’.
22 April 2015