Date: May 1, 2021
The men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!’ (Matthew 24:5b-6a)
Happy Orthodox Easter! Tomorrow millions around the world – especially in the Middle East – will celebrate Easter in the Orthodox calendar.
This Orthodox Easter, we especially give thanks that last Saturday, US President Joe Biden became the first president to formally recognise the massacre of Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire during World War One as an act of genocide.
The anniversary of the Armenian genocide of 1915, in which 1.5 million Armenians were killed on the orders of the Ottoman authorities, is marked every year on 24 April. The atrocities included mass killings, torture, rape, systematic deportations and destruction of cultural and religious sites. The government of Turkey has consistently refused to recognise this as a genocide.
Denial of justice and truth
The seeming international indifference following the Armenian genocide encouraged Hitler, who uttered the infamous remark: ‘Who talks nowadays about the destruction of the Armenians.’ The methods of extermination utilised against the Armenians bear striking resemblances to those subsequently used in the Holocaust.
Over a century after these crimes were committed, Armenians around the world have been waiting for the world to truly appreciate the gravity of their suffering. President Biden’s formal recognition of the crime will go some way towards addressing this.
‘May our glorious and triumphant Lord enter into your hearts, your homes and your communities as he did Jerusalem on that joyful day, and fill you with His hope and heavenly joy.’ This was the prayer on Palm Sunday of Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, and is our prayer for Armenians around the world today too.
In summary, please pray:
- Thanking God for President Biden’s official recognition of the Armenian genocide.
- That this news will comfort Armenians, and give them hope that they may one day see justice.
- That the international community will honour the lives lost in the Armenian genocide by intervening consistently in every situation where the risk factors and early warning signs of potential genocide are visible.