EAFJD: “Through this step Pope Francis showed determination and courage to call this tragedy by its proper name”

Brussels, April 13, 2015: On Sunday April 12, 2015, Pope Francis held a solemn Mass in the Basilica of Saint Peter for the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide, during which he defined the systematic extermination committed by Ottoman Turkey at the beginning of the 20th century as genocide. The Turkish Government reacted with anger by immediately summoning the papal ambassador to Ankara and later by recalling its ambassador from the Vatican.

Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, along with Patriarch Catholicos Nerses Bedros XIX of the Armenian Catholic Church, accompanied the Pope during the Holy Mass. Republic of Armenia President Serge Sarkisian was also present.
Pope Francis quoted from a 2001 declaration by Pope John Paul II and Catholicos Karekin II, in which the two leaders called the Armenian slaughter “the first genocide of the 20th century”.

The Pope equated the fate of the Armenians with the genocides orchestrated by the Nazis and the Soviets under Stalin, while also condemning “other mass killings, like those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia.”

The President of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD), Kaspar Karampetian said: “Through this step Pope Francis showed determination and courage to call this tragedy in the Armenian history by its proper name. He stayed true to his calling of a spiritual leader who does not give in to political pressure or downplay the reality by using ambiguous wording.”

“EAFJD is convinced that Pope Francis’ statement will contribute to invigorating the current dynamics of sensitizing the international Community on the Armenian Genocide committed by Ottoman Turkey a century ago and its devastating consequences. The Pope also emphasized the destructive power of denialism. Therefore one can only agree with him that “Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it”, concluded Karampetian.