An Easter Message on April 24

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian

BY ARAM SUREN HAMPARIAN

This April, for the first time since 1915, the 24th falls on Easter Sunday on the Armenian Church calendar.
 
And so, on this sacred day, for the first time since the Armenian Genocide, Armenians will join together as Christians to celebrate the ascension of Christ after his earthly death upon the cross, and also, as Armenians – heirs of an ancient people that arose nearly a century ago from the ashes of genocide – to mark our own rebirth as a nation.
 
We will recall with pride our resurrection as a people from the fires of hatred that nearly consumed us in 1915, even as we remember, with both sadness and alarm, that this smoldering but still strong hatred may yet, if not quenched by the waters of justice, spark again to burn the surviving sons and daughters of our ancient homeland.
 
As a people who believe in the power of faith and forgiveness, we seek a true and enduring redemption for the Republic of Turkey through repentance and return.  For, just as scripture tells us that the truth will set us free, so too will justice set us all upon the path to peace.
 
For Turkey’s leaders and government, the difficult path to true forgiveness must pass through a sincere confession of past sins and an apology for all harm, the full return of all that must rightfully be rendered to the victims of its crimes, and an abiding renunciation of hatred and violence toward the modern-day sons and daughters of those who lived on the biblical lands in and around Ararat for thousands of years.
 
Turkey must repent in word and deed.
 
Redeem itself in spirit and action.
 
Renounce evil, and all the fruits of its evil crimes.
 
And render to the Armenians all that once was and remains Armenian.
 
There can be no better place to start than the immediate return of all churches, monasteries, relics, and other religious properties, not only to the Armenians, but to all the Christians of these ancient biblical lands.
 
And, finally, as Armenians, children of the first nation to adopt Christianity, as we approach this holiest of days, we call upon all of our brothers and sisters in faith worldwide – Christians, Muslims, Jews, believers of all denominations and faiths, and those who hold no faith – to join with us in offering a prayer for the Armenian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac, Pontian, Greek, and other victims of the Ottoman Empire’s World War I-era genocide of its Christian minorities.

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9 Comments

  1. hetanos said:

    I dont get what this preaching thing is. If we are going to go by “christian” thinking then you should all forgive your enemies (turks) and do as “scripture says” and forgive them. by the way, im waiting to hear messages for pagan, muslim, and jewish armenians too

      • hetanos said:

        I don’t see such messages for Navasart, Eid al Fitr, or Passover. Why is there no messages for Pagans, Muslims, and Jews? And no, I am not talking about us praying with you for your Holy Days. How about messages for us on our Holidays? Or are we not Armenian enough to deserve a specific message?

    • justice said:

      That’s right hetchanots, scripture says forgive your enemies… that’s exactly what we will do, and since we are all law abiding, we will also make the Turk pay for his crimes, even though he is forgiven. Scripture also says destroy your enemies. And when we come to that we will do that too if need be, as the Turks have shown they are enemies to God and humanity. And btw, all Armenians are Christian according to our culture, unless they have chosen specifically not to be on a personal level. Some have chosen to be plain fools, as you’ve just demonstrated.

      • heghapoghagan said:

        Um, Im Armenian, Christian but not practicing, but you are completely ignorant of our history. NO not all Armenians are Christian, many became Christian, others remained Pagan, others became Muslim, and others Jewish. If you are a true Christian (which is a reason why I am not practicing) then your comments about destroying Turks and calling them enemies of God is completely contradictory with the message of the Gospels. Keep nationalism and religion separate.

        • justice said:

          On the contrary, it is YOU who is ignorant of our history. And obviously you did not understand my post. At one time, ALL ARMENIANS WERE CHRISTIAN after 301 AD regardless if they actively practiced or not. If you say some converted to Jewish, Islam, Pagan, etc then you actually corroborated my point – they made a personal choice (or were forced). I am willing to bet anything you don’t have that tradition in your family history, nor any other Armenian claiming otherwise.

          You call yourself “heghapoghagan” yet it seems with your post you also do not even know what that means nor the history. I am not here to give a history lecture, but suffice it to say we do not have separation of Church and State in our culture in the American sense of the term. I understand you are trying to apply your American education to something you have little knowledge of.

          And announcing to the Armenian world that you are not Christian because of people like me (when you’ve read one paragraph of my comments) shows your immaturity and lack of vision in deciding to be a Christian or not.

          And since you are knowledgeable about the gospels perhaps you can tell me where it says we are not allowed to fight for our rights and freedom? I am really interested in expanding my knowledge of the gospels in this regard. In the Old Testament it says “Thou shalt not kill”, but please don’t be ignorant and point this out, that is something everyone knows, and it applies to your daily life, not your reaction to defend yourself. And when you turn your face if you got slapped once, it is assumed the second slap will also not kill you.

          And with your knowledge of history, also tell me what Armenians did in the early 1990s in Artsakh, I am sure many of them identified as Christian, yet did they attack and destroy the Azeri Turks, or did they pass out cookies and hoped the enemy would go away?

          Finally, calling yourself heghapoghagan you don’t seem to mind about people like hetanos who talks nonsense, and expects Armenians with a 1700 year tradition on the holiest day of Christianity to bend over backwards simply because he said so because he is “so special”. You and your friend have some serious growing up to do.

          • heghapoghagan said:

            Do you know what heghapoghagan means? Do you know what revolutionary means? Do you know what nationalism means? None of these have anything to do with religious sects and most nationalism are against sectarianism. And NO Armenians were NEVER all Christian or initially Christian, most before Christianity were pagan. So your statement ” If you say some converted to Jewish, Islam, Pagan, etc then you actually corroborated my point – they made a personal choice (or were forced). ” is absolutely false. There were Armenian Pagans before the advent of Christianity.

            And I said I am not a practicing Christian, not because of you (dont feel that special), but because my nationalism supercedes Christian beliefs, especially those of the Gospel in regards to forgiveness and judgement, since I do not forgive Turks and I judge Turkey because it is the successor state of the Ottoman Empire.

            And please don’t mention the names of our fedayees, you clearly know nothing about nationalism and/or religion.

  2. haykristonya said:

    Hetanos doesn’t know much about scripture. Let’s forgive hetanos and encourage the Turks and the world, as Hamparian eloquently does, to espouse redemption, which is the highest form of forgiveness. Christianity does not say, “do wrong with impunity, you’ll be forgiven anyway.” This is hetanos’s perversion of a religion that s/he quite honestly says s/he doesn’t get. Wrongdoers need to pay for their wrongs in order to be free of their past. To leave the Turks in their guilt-ridden state is to leave the Turks open to blackmail and provocation, which they may vent at Armenians (and their blackmailers) once again. The Armenians saw the Light and converted to Christianity. We wanted to leave behind the heathen and Jewish (and later Muslim) world of eye for an eye for a commitment to work for a better world through redemption.

  3. jacksonmaxon said:

    This is a great message, not a sermon- hetanos^. At times as Armenians we do forget that we were the first Christens nation/people in the world. The message Aram has gifted us will work for Armenians practicing any religion. “That this smoldering but still strong hatred may yet, if not quenched by the waters of justice, spark again to burn the surviving sons and daughters of our ancient homeland” Aram even touches on what may occur if our Christian patients/ tolerance starts to wear thin. Remember we are slowly approaching the Century mark and still International Justice directed towards the Turkish government has not been carried out:

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