ISTANBUL (Armenpress)–Head of the Armenian Apostolic Church–His Holiness Karekin II–Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenia’s–who is on a week-long Pontifical visit to Turkey–stated in Istanbul that the Armenian genocide–that was planned and executed by the Turkish government during World War I–is an undeniable historical fact and not subject to debate.
"The genocide of Armenia’s is a crime that had happened and which must be acknowledged. The issue of the Armenian genocide has been explored by researchers for 90 years," he was quoted saying by the Turkish Dogan news agency.
A report by the Associated Press said Karekin II’s remarks will complicate the end of his visit–which has already been marked by protests by nationalistic organizations.
Karekin II said he was not impressed by the protests. "They are not able to break my spirit and have no impact on my visit–but if such protests continue they will prove that we still have a lot to do in order to have the two nations live in peace."
Karekin II is visiting Turkey upon the joint invitation of His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian–Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople and His All Holiness Bartholomew I–Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
During this first Pontifical visit the Catholicos visited Armenian churches and holy shrines–extended his pontifical blessings to the Armenian community of Istanbul–and met with Armenian intellectuals and young men and women. On Sunday–June 25–His Holiness celebrated a Pontifical Divine Liturgy in the Armenian Patriarchate’s Cathedral of the Holy Mother of God.
Also planned is a meeting between the Pontiff of All Armenia’s and the Governor of Istanbul.