His Holiness Catholicos Aram I visited the memorial complex to the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide in Der Zor, on Wed., May 25, as part of his visit to Syria (see Crossroads, May 26). The Catholicos was welcomed by clergy of the Brotherhood of Cilicia, Homenetmen scouts and their drummers’ band, delegations of the Armenian communities and organizations from Aleppo, Damascus, Kamishli, Latakia and Kessab, as well as members of the relief committee for the Families of Armenian Martyrs and local officials.
In his message, His Holiness blessed Armenians scattered all over the world. Der Zor, he said, is a living testimony to the Armenian Genocide. It is not only a cemetery but also a monument to the rebirth of our nation and a reminder that our struggle for justice is not over. That makes it a pilgrimage destination, he added.
In his address to the public, His Holiness vowed that the memorial would be rebuilt. Islamist terrorists supported by Turkey destroyed it during the Syrian civil war.
“Today, standing before these ruins, I declare to the sons and daughters of our people scattered all over the world, that we will rebuild the memorial complex of Der Zor,” he said. “We are people who love life, a people with vision: we reject death, destruction, enmity, hatred.”
Rebuilding the memorial will mean giving “a new breath of life to our fight for our rights.” In Der Zor, His Holiness said, “We renew our faith and willingness to continue our struggle for justice.”