The 107th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide was commemorated everywhere in the United States too. On Sunday, April 24, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian celebrated Divine Liturgy before the Martyrs’ Altar at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York. In his sermon, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, referred to the dantesque fate visited upon the Armenian nation. He remarked, “We have come to commune with the mystery of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and as individuals, families, and nation, to understand the sense and mission of our life, and plan it and act accordingly.” The commemoration of the Genocide, he said, “does not mean to be enslaved by the past, but to raise the awareness of the world and invite those responsible to own up for the Genocide that has remained unpunished and has continued for more than one hundred years, to spare the future generations new threats of extermination.”
Following Divine Liturgy, after a memorial meal at Pashalian Hall, AYF members, Homenetmen scouts, and more three hundred youth, carrying Armenian flags and signs, marched to protest outside the Permanent Missions of Azerbaijan and Turkey to the UN. The enthusiastic column then marched to Times Square to take part in the traditional commemoration organized by the Knights of Vartan along with the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Armenian Assembly, Armenian National Committee of America, Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, Armenian Bar Association, Tekeyan Cultural Association, and Armenian Council of America, with the collaboration of the Eastern Prelacy, Eastern Diocese, the Armenian Catholic Eparchy, the Armenian Missionary Association of America, and various youth organizations.
U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Robert Menendez spoke at the event as well as representatives of the participating organizations, including Archbishop Anoushavan. Below, the full text of the Prelate’s message at Times Square:
We thank you for enabling us once again to come together as Armenian Community and celebrate the revitalization of our beloved City of New York, the financial capital of the world, but also the capital of art and harmony. New Yorkers of more than 180 ethnic backgrounds coexist here in what amounts to a daily celebration of democracy and peace.
Amid all these blessings, we deplore the most recent tragedy in our beloved city, where a criminal mind created fear and injured many.
We also deplore the wars in different parts of the world, where people are crossing the valley of death instead of celebrating the Spirit of Spring and the Blessings of the Holy Resurrection.
We are here today to commemorate an event that is at the root of all these evil acts: the Armenian Genocide. After 107 years, the perpetrators deny it with arrogance, tergiversations or phony justifications, as Cain, the proto-murderer, did; he who shamelessly challenged God’s inquiry, “Where is your brother?”, with the vile answer: “Am I my brother’s guardian?”
We are here today to remind everyone that the Armenian Genocide is not history, but still drives a current agenda to uproot and annihilate a five-thousand-year-old nation from its homeland on the Armenian Plateau. The 44 days of war in Artsakh-Nagorno Karabagh in 2020 and the continuous incursions in the southeastern region of Armenia since then are tangible signs of that evil plan. Moreover, the destruction of Armenian monuments in Western Armenia and Nakhichevan are undeniable proofs of a continuous cultural genocide.
We are here today to exhort the younger generation of the perpetrator nation to accept the Truth and only the Truth, not to fall prey to lies and engage in a constructive relationship with Armenians by recognizing the Armenian Genocide, followed by reparations and restitution.
Through our suffering and loss, we share the unbearable distress of all those who are the victims of injustice around the world. We will stand with them until justice prevails.
Our patience is deeper than the oceans,
Our aspirations are higher than the skies,
Our will is as strong as our sacred Mount Ararat.
We shall overcome.”