Armenian Church to canonize martyrs of genocide. Ankara unhappy
by NAT da Polis
The ceremony should take place in 2015 , the centenary of the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians. Armenian bishops from around the world at the synod which decided the canonization. The tensions between Armenia and Turkey take on “religious” character.
Istanbul (AsiaNews) – In a move that has surprised Turkey , the Armenian Church is going to proceed with the canonization of the victims of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Turkish State in 1915, using Kurdish laborers for the massacres. The scientifically perpetrated genocide by, is described by the Turkish historian Taner Akcam as “A shameful act ” (the title of his book ) . But the Ankara government has never recognized it and rejects the definition of ” genocide.”
Sources quoted by Turkish newspapers say the canonization will take place in 2015, the centenary of the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians killed in Asia Minor.
The main source of this news is ASAM, The research center of Turkey’s Eurasian strategy , according to which the great synod of the Armenian Church was summoned to Yerevan the capital of ‘ Armenia. There is one important fact: for the first time after 400 years – that is, after 1651 – bishops who came from all over the world attended this synod: a real novelty in the history of the Armenian Church.
The synod – held at the end of September – was attended by the Archbishop of Etsmiatzin , (considered the most sacred city for Armenians ), the Armenian Archbishop of Lebanon, where there is also a large community, which escaped the genocide ; the bishops of the United States, Jerusalem , South America, France and the places where there are Armenian communities of the Diaspora.
During the gathering the decision was made to canonize all the victims of ‘ horrific genocide perpetrated by the Ottomans first and then the Turks of Kemal Ataturk . The canonization will follow the formula of the tradition of the Eastern Churches, which is the proclaiming of the saints , stating the name of the place of martyrdom and not the names of the individuals.
The decision of the Armenian synod has shaken Turkey. The President of ASAM , Ömer Özkaya , says the decision has political motivations and he points out that all the bishops of the Armenian Church gathered for the first time after 400 years in order to give maximum visibility to the “alleged” (according to the Turkish ) Armenian Genocide , proceeding to the canonization of victims of genocide. Ömer Özkaya noted, however, that in this way , the Armenians , give another religious , dimension to the dispute between Diaspora communities and Turkey.
Another fact that has not escaped notice is that the synod was convened in religious heart of Armenia, Etsimiatzin , which is the great religious reference point for Armenians.