Photo Credit: Church of Ireland
[Church of Ireland] A poignant and dignified service of remembrance marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide took place in Taney Parish Church on Sunday afternoon (26 April). Members of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Ireland gathered to recall the 1.5 million Armenians who were killed by the Ottoman Turks, from 1915 to 1923.
Representatives of seven Christian denominations, including [the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin & Glendalough] Michael Geoffrey St Aubyn Jackson, Bishop Raymond Field (Auxiliary Bishop in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin) and representatives from the Greek Orthodox, Methodist, Salvation Army and Quakers as well as the Jewish community were in attendance at the service during which calls were made for the recognition of the genocide.
The congregation was welcomed by the Rector of Taney, Canon Robert Warren, who said it was a privilege to welcome members of the Dublin Parish of the Armenian Apostolic Church who use Taney for their regular place of worship.
During the service members of the Armenian parish read poems, sang songs and told stories of their relatives who were affected by the genocide. Dr Kristina Begoyan spoke of the life of her grandmother, who survived by fleeing Turkey, and said she was sure that every Armenian in Ireland had similar stories. Canon Patrick Thomas of the Church of Wales gave a history of the genocide. One hundred candles were lit to represent each of the 100 years since the genocide.
While the Turks have denied that what happened to the Armenians was genocide, Bishop Field recalled the words of Pope Francis two weeks ago who described the killing of the Armenians as the first genocide of the 20th century. In recognising the genocide, the Pope said it was his duty to honour the men, women and children who were massacred.
Leonard Abrahamson, President of the Jewish Representative Council, said the events being commemorated by the Armenian community resonated with the Jewish community as just a quarter of a century later, it was repeated in Europe. He said it was incomprehensible that people made in the image of God could commit such acts against other human beings.
The Armenian Consul, Mr Hayk Khemchyan, said it was time to recognise what happened 100 years ago as genocide. He added that it was the spirit of survival that enabled Armenians to continue. “It is with our lives and achievements that we truly honour the memory of those who died in the genocide,” he stated.
Archbishop Jackson paid tribute to Dr Paul Manook, chairman of the Dublin Parish Council, and his wife for their tireless work for the Armenian community in Ireland. “I respect and admire the Armenian people and I stand today in prayerful solidarity with you in this centenary year of commemoration of The Armenian Genocide,” he added.
The Archbishop said that in the eyes of the world the question remained between recognition and response to the events of 1915. “We hope and pray that the world in its entirety will see the need for the addressing of unanswered questions and that the same world will also see the fact that there is still time for the recognition of the truth to be stated and shared,” he stated.
Vice chairperson of the Dublin Parish Council, Mrs Aida Sarafian–Lundon, thanked everyone who had assisted the Armenian community in Ireland and supported the setting up of the parish council in the last five years. She looked forward to a memorial Khachkar (Armenian stone cross) being placed in Christ Church Cathedral later in the year to mark the centenary of the genocide and thanked the Archbishop for making this possible. She also thanked Dr Manook and his wife Isobel for the effort they put into the parish.