Aram I Not to Attend Akhtamar Mass

ANTELIAS, Lebanon—The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia will boycott a September 19 church service at the renovated Holy Cross Armenian Church on the island of Aghtamar in Van, a statement from the Catholicosate’s press office, the Armenian Weekly reported Monday.

“In an attempt to convince the European Union and UNESCO that Turkey safeguards the cultural heritage of its occupied lands, the government restored the Holy Cross Armenian Church, but instead of keeping it as a church, transformed it into a museum,” the statement said. It went on to condemn the act as “an attempt to obscure its consistent policy of denying the Armenian Genocide and the rights of its survivors.”

In the statement, the Catholicosate called “upon all nations that advocate human rights to demand accountability from Turkey.” It further demanded “that the world community oblige Turkey to acknowledge that both in Western Armenia and Cilicia, occupied by Turkey, more than two thousand Armenian churches and monasteries have either been destroyed or converted into mosques or stables.”

Earlier in August, A group of Armenian children from Armenia were forced by a police officer to leave the  Holy Cross for lighting candles, singing, and praying.

The statement concludes by reaffirming the Catholicosate’s commitment to justice, human rights, and genocide recognition, and by underscoring Turkey’s “obligation to restore of the rights of its survivors.”


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  1. Christo said:

    Finally, Catholicos Aram I took another courageous step. Unlike Garegin II, whose archbishops usurp his authority while he attends other church business outside the country.

  2. VAzken Karayan said:

    The Turks have infiltrated the Diocese. The members of their leadership have business relationship with partners in Turkey. Last month the director of the Krikor and Clara Zohrab center of the Diocese, left her job and went to Turkey to further her education with full scholarship from the Turkish government. That’s a fact.

  3. Satenik said:

    The picture is not of the Catolicos Aram I. This picture is taken in Turkey, hence the photo of Atataturk. Correct me if I’m wrong please.
    I think that His Holiness’s decision is the right one and one that many will understand the honourable reasons behind that decision.

  4. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    Akhtamar without a Cross!
    Is not the real Akhtamar

    Like a saint with a scimitared head
    Like saint Youhana Mamadan’s head
    Given on a plate.

    Still there are DNAs there
    With our smashed skeletons there.

    Akhtamar without a Cross
    Like a injured horse
    Asking mercy to run.

    Akhtamr without a Cross
    Never is the real Akhtamar.

    We say,”Akh der Aswagim oor es toon vor desnes
    enchmes asonk ter ge halagen mez”=

    Please Almighty where are you to see
    how those scavengers continue torturing Us
    after almost a century…
    with different dresses but the same hands.

    Written Instantly

  5. Andrew said:

    Hi everybody.
    Whole Armenian nation should boycott this event. Whole the world should know about Turkish insidiousness.
    The picture is taken in Turkey. The guy on it is Mesrop Mutafian the patriarch of the Armenian patriarchate of Constantinople. And it’s probably the picture of opening ceremony of the same church on Akhtamar island some years ago.