His Holiness says there can not be reconciliation before confession
LOS ANGELES–His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia–made a firm statement calling for proper US recognition of the Armenian Genocide during a special prayer service in honor of the victims of the Armenian Genocide held on October 8 at the Armenian Genocide Monument in Montebello–California. The Catholicos stated that the United States has always stood on the side of justice and human rights and should therefore take a principled stand by properly recognizing the Armenian genocide.
The special ceremony was organized as a reaffirmation of the community’s commitment to proper genocide recognition on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. There were several hundred members of the community in attendance as well as many local public officials including State Assemblyman Ron Calderon–Montebello Mayor Bill Molinari–Pico Riviera Mayor David Armenta–Montebello Police Chief Gary Couso-Vasquez and a representative from Montebello Congresswoman Grace Napolitano’s office.
"Reconciliation is based on forgiveness; however–there cannot be forgiveness until there is acceptance of the truth and real confession," said the Pontiff during the event referring to the Turkish government’s continuing campaign of denial and the lack of official US recognition of the genocide. "While this monument stands in memory of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide–it also symbolizes the struggle against evil–the quest for justice–peace and human rights." His Holiness also emphasized the point that the United States should show greater leadership on this issue by officially recognizing the genocide based on the fundamental principles of freedom and human rights for which the country stands.
The Catholicos went on to say that the Genocide Monument in Montebello is a living monument and should be viewed as the bell that tolls reminding the Armenian community to continue the just struggle for the Armenian Cause and remain loyal to the memories of the martyrs of the Armenian genocide. The Pontiff ended his remarks by telling the story of how on April 24 of this year he journeyed to Der Zor to the Euphrates river where many Armenian women and children had died during the genocide and he christened two Armenian children and "the river that had symbolized death for the Armenian people turned into a river of life," he said.
After the ceremony at the Armenian Genocide monument–His Holiness traveled to the Holy Cross Church in Montebello to meet with Armenian youth from the Montebello community.
Catholicos Meets with Armenian Students in Glendale
On the previous day–Friday–October 7–His Holiness held a meeting at Glendale High School with approximately 1,000 students from the 11 Los Angeles area Armenian schools. His Holiness stressed that students should carry on the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Armenian people. He also emphasized the importance of living life with high moral values and stated that the students should serve as role models in the community. After the Pontiff’s remarks–the program included poetry recitations–choir ensembles and other instrumental performances by various students.
His Holiness Aram I Presides Over 1600 Anniversary of Armenian Alphabet Celebration
On the evening of Friday–October 7–His Holiness was present at the Glendale Homenetmen "Ararat" Chapters special event celebrating the Armenian alphabet. In addition to the hundreds of community members present–also attending were Glendale Mayor Rafi Manoukian–Glendale City Councilman Frank Quintero–Glendale Police Chief Randy Adams and Glendale School Board member Greg Krikorian.
During the official remarks–His Holiness emphasized the importance of the Armenian language in defining the Armenian culture and encouraged the youth present to make the effort to learn the language as a means to living their identity.