Armenian Genocide Remembered with Ecumenical Service

Armenian Genocide Remembered with Ecumenical Service

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CHICAGO, IL: The Joint Committee of Armenian Churches of Greater Chicago and Wisconsin held an Ecumenical Prayer Service with the theme, “Martyrs for Christ: Yesterday and Today,” with special attention to the Armenian Genocide. The service was hosted by Assumption Greek Orthodox Church at 601 S. Central Avenue in Chicago. Over 225 individuals participated in the moving service within such an impressive and humbling Greek Orthodox Church.

The event featured remarks by Armenian Church leader Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, with a homily by Greek Orthodox Bishop Demetrios. Additionally, a message from Archbishop Oshagan Choloian, who leads the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America based in New York, was presented.

The Armenian Genocide, which began in late April 1915, was the Ottoman Empire’s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian population from their historical homelands, which are largely in modern Turkey. An estimated 1.5 million men, women, and children lost their lives in what is considered by the vast majority of scholars of history as the first official genocide. The genocide was also perpetrated against Greek, Assyrian and other Christian minority populations during the same period. While most leading nations have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, the United States remains one of the few that have not despite numerous efforts.

Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, has a long record of work on social justice issues. A native of Chicago, the bishop has worked to build relationships with leaders of other religious traditions. He was a highly visible leader of the successful effort to abolish the Death Penalty in Illinois and was recently appointed to Cook County State’s Attorney Hate Crime Prosecution Committee. Earlier this year, he was identified by members of Congress as a leading voice in the successful lobbying effort to gain official recognition by the United States of the Genocide against the Christian minority population of Syria and Iraq.

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian serves as the Legate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (headquartered in Washington, DC). Born in Siirt, Turkey, he holds a Ph.D. in history and is working on a second Ph.D. in theology at Catholic University in Washington DC. He is the past President of the National Council of Churches USA, an Executive Committee member of the World Council of Churches and current President of Christian Churches Together. In his position within the Armenian Church and these organizations, Archbishop Vicken participates in peace-building and awareness events throughout the US, especially as they pertain to Genocide education and prevention.

“April 2015 marked the 100th Year Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, it is imperative that we continue to remember the horrible events of the past to educate and prevent future genocides and persecution throughout the world.” said Archbishop Vicken Aykazian.

The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago oversees all Greek Orthodox parishes within Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, as well as large portions of Missouri and Indiana. You can find more information on the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago at www.Chicago.GOArch.org. For more information on the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America: www.ArmenianPrelacy.org. For more information on the Eastern Diocese of Armenian Church of America: www.ArmeniaChurch-ED.net.

Video of the service can be found at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/85727666

 

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About author
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John C. Ackerman

I am a lifelong Central Illinois resident and a parishioner of All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in Peoria. My wife's parents are immigrants from a small village outside Athens. My wife (Maria) and I have two young sons, Christian age 4 and Dimitrios age 3. I am also a member of Chicago Metropolitan Council.