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.