On 25 April 2021, an ecumenical celebration entitled “Prayer with the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide” was held at the Basilica of Saint Bartholomew on the Tiber Island to mark the 106th anniversary of Metz Yegern, the “Great Evil”, that struck the people Armenian in 1915, as well as the canonization of the 600 martyrs by the Armenian Apostolic Church, which took place on 23 April 2015 in Etchmiadzin.
The celebration was co-presided by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Representative of the Armenian Apostolic Church to the Holy See, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, together with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Archbishop Ian Ernest, Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and Personal Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See, Archbishop Raphael Minassian of the Catholic Armenians of Armenia, and Bishop Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
In his homily, the Cardinal recalled that the Second Vatican Council recognized martyrdom, the “supreme proof of charity”, not only in martyrs of the Catholic Church, but also of other Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities. “This profound recognition has increasingly become more diffused among Christians, especially in the last century, at the beginning of which the great and bloody martyrdom of Armenian Christians took place during the genocide of this people, in whose memory we have gathered today in prayer”. Indeed, "Martyrdom today is ecumenical, and we must speak of a true and proper ecumenism of martyrs".
Numerous representatives of other Churches and Ecclesial Communities present in Rome also participated in the celebration, including Reverend Pastor Heiner Abbas Bludau, Dean of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Italy, Reverend Father Horia Alexandru Gradinaru of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Reverend Fathers Antonio Gemy and Michele El Antony of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Reverend Pastor Michael Jonas of the Lutheran Church of Rome, Reverend Pastor Matthew Laferty, Director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office of Rome, Reverend Pastor Daniel Pratt Morris-Chapman of the Methodist Church of Rome Ponte Sant'Angelo, and Reverend Fathers Tirayr Hakobyan, Vache Mkrtchyan and Psak Debirgian of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
The choir of the Pontifical Armenian College accompanied the celebration, which was also attended by the Rector of the College, the Reverend Father Nareg Naamo.
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