YEREVAN—A high ranking Vatican official, who is visiting Armenia, said Yerevan State University on Monday that the entire world—all of mankind–remembers the Armenian Genocide.
“Next year the world will mark the centennial of the big tragedy– the Armenian Genocide. I am aware of this terrible tragedy experienced by Armenian people through ‘40 Days of Musa Dagh’ by Franz Werfel,” said President of Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture Cardinal Gianfranco.
“A little while ago I was speaking to your Prime Minister. There is a wish by you that the Pope of Rome comes to Armenia; there will probably be a call of solidarity and brotherhood by the Catholic Church. I am happy that not only Armenians but also all of mankind remembers that tragedy. It is important that young people too remember what has happened to them so that they do not lose their national identity,” added the Cardinal.
Ravasi Fought Against Destruction of Khatchkars in Julfa
Cardinal Ravasi, believes that Armenian khatchkars (cross stones), found all around the world, are representatives of Armenian history.
On a visit to Armenia, Cardinal Ravasi said during a press conference that he regrets that as a consequence of hostilities, such atrocities as the Azeri authorities’’ destruction of ancient Armenian khatchkars in Old Julfa take place.
“I am full of hope that the meeting of the two presidents due in Paris will be crucial in preventing repetition of similar crimes in the future,” Cardinal Ravasi said.
“As President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, I, myself, applied to the UNESCO Secretary General years ago so that everything possible could have been done for saving those historical artifacts in Julfa.”
Over 10 thousand khatchkars have been counted in Old Julfa (Hin Jugha), which are now no more. The latest demolition by the Azerbaijani government took place in 2005-2006, when the Armenian cemetery of Julfa, in the former Armenian province of Nakhijevan, housing thousands of khatchkars, was deliberately destroyed.
Receiving the Cardinal Ravasi in Yerevan, Armenia’s Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian hailed Armenia’s cooperation with the Holy See and emphasized the role of the Vatican in the reinforcement of Christian faith and the establishment of peace and solidarity in the world.
Abrahamian highly appreciated the Cardinal’s activities aimed toward reinforcing spiritual and moral values and preserving cultural heritage.
Cardinal Ravasi attached importance to bilateral cooperation and voiced confidence that the reciprocal visits would contribute to the reinforcement of relations between Armenia and the Vatican.
Abrahamian and Cardinal Ravasi also reportedly discussed issues related to the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial.