PRESS OFFICE
Armenian Holy Apostolic Church Canadian Diocese
Contact; Deacon Hagop Arslanian, Assistant to the Primate
615 Stuart Avenue, Outremont Quebec H2V 3H2
Tel; 514-276-9479, Fax; 514-276-9960
Email; [email protected] Website; www.armenianchurch.ca


MARTYRS' PRAYER AND ECUMENICAL SERVICE IN COMMEMORATION OF VICTIMS OF
THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

On Friday night, 23 April 2004, a Martyrs' Prayer and Ecumenical
service was held at St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral of the
Canadian Diocese of the Armenian Church in the presence and with the
participation of leaders of Canadian Churches, interfaith
representatives as well as politicians at both Federal and Provincial
levels. Thousands of Montreal Armenians paid tribute to the victims of
the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

The procession was headed by the Primate of the Armenian community of
Canada His Grace Bishop Bagrat Galstanian accompanied with the Primate
and the Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada His
Eminence Archbishop Andrew Hutchison. Present from the Armenian
Apostolic Church were His Eminence Archbishop Barkev Mardirossian
(Primate of the Diocese of Nagorno Karabakh on a visit to Montreal),
Very Reverend Father Ararat Kaltakjian (Vicar General), Rev Father
Hayrig Hovhannisyan, Rev Father Vazgen Boyadjian and Deacon Hagop
Arslanian. From sister churches attending the services were Mgr Joseph
Khoury (Maronite Archbishop and Primate of Montreal), Fr Charbel
Ibrahim (representing Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim), Mgr Dimidar Shumov
(Bishop of the Bulgarian Church), Very Rev Fr Peter Shportun,
(Antiochian Orthodox Church), Mgr Andre Desroches (representing
Cardinal J. C Turcotte), Mr. Cedric Gordon (Moderator, Baptist
Church), Fr Berry Mac (Montreal Presbyterian Church), Father Michel
Fawaz (St Mary Orthodox Antioch), Father Kamil Ishak (Syriac Church),
Rev Fr Raphael Bishara (Coptic Church), Rev Fr Arsanios Serry (Coptic
Church), Rev Fr George Zabarian, (Vicar Armenian Catholic Church), Rev
Mher Khatchikian (Armenian Evangelical Church), Rev Fr Lucien Coutu
(Centre Emmaus), Deacon Antoine Malek, (Coptic Church). Also attending
the ecumenical services were representatives of the Montreal Muslim
community Sayyed Nabil Abbas and Haj Hassan Hamieh.

Bishop Galstanian greeted the present guests, church leaders and
ecumenical representatives as well as politicians and the faithful of
the Armenian Apostolic Church. In his opening remarks, referring to
his feelings in the Canadian Parliament on the day of voting on the
Genocide resolution, the Primate said, "The voice of justice came loud
and clear from the heavens and the earth. The voice of the blood of
our martyrs sounded from heavenly abodes. And I believed, I felt and I
saw in a tangible manner through the tearful eyes around me that the
entire martyred population in Der Zor was there, led by Jesus Christ,
in the parliament of this distant land, Canada. They were each
affirming YES with every positive vote."

Diocesan Youth council member, Chahe Tanashian read the Message of
Commendation of His Holiness Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians,
addressed to the Speaker of the House of Commons Hon. Peter
Milliken. The Armenian Pontiff said in His message, "Human suffering
can be stopped through the actions of great men and women such as you,
who help justice to prevail."

Mr. Diran Avedian addressed the congregation on behalf of the
community organizations and commended the Canadian parliament for
recognizing the Armenian Genocide. He said, "The genocide of the
Armenian people is the only one which has not been acknowledged by the
successor of the government which perpetrated it, and by a number of
well established democracies in the world." He concluded that Canada
stood up to her reputation of respect to human rights and social
justice, as an example to other countries.

A special ceremony including prayers and hymns of the Armenian
Apostolic Church rituals was assembled for this commemoration day. The
Men's Choir of St Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Cathedral and Ms
Ani Keropian (soloist) performed heart rendering liturgical songs
conducted by Mr. Varoujan Markarian.

The keynote speaker of the ecumenical service was the Primate and the
Metropolitan of Ecclesiastical Province of Canada His Eminence Abp
Andrew Hutchison. His Eminence lauded the Armenian Church as the most
ancient one in Christendom, and presented an overview of the
historical events of the Armenian Genocide. He then said, "It is
important to remember, because there can be no real hope without
memory; and it is clear that we have not sufficiently remembered, nor
learnt from those dreadful events, nor from the failure of the
community of nations to respond to them appropriately. There can be no
healing, reconciliation and justice for Armenians, if the genocide is
not fully acknowledged, and responsibility for it accepted. Without it
there is no basis for the rebuilding of trust and a more secure future
in the community of nations."

Ms Aida Karibian then introduced Mr. Yvan Bordeleau, Member of the
National Assembly of Quebec. Mr. Bordeleau has been the moving force
for two decades behind the recognition and eventual legislation by the
Quebec National Assembly of the affirmation of the Armenian
Genocide. The Quebec MNA then addressed the gathering and formally
presented a copy of Law 194 to Bishop Galstanian. This law was
recently passed unanimously by the National Assembly of Quebec.

Among other politicians who addressed the gathering were Members of
Parliament Madeleine Dalfond-Guiral (who had moved the Genocide
resolution M-380 in the Canadian Parliament), Stephan Dion, Eleni
Bakopanos, Sarkis Assadourian, Gilles Duceppe and Senator Shirly
Maheu. Also present at the gathering were Quebec Minister of Justice
Michelle Courchesne, Federal MP Raymonde Folco, Quebec MNA Jaques
Dupuis and many city councilors.

Following an impressive candle light prayer in memory of the 1.5
million victims of the Armenian Genocide, participants to the
commemoration services were hosted to a reception in the Church's
Marie Manoogian Hall, then everybody was asked to congregate around
the Genocide Memorial in Parc Marcelin Wilson, where a candle light
ceremony for the repose of the souls of the martyrs of the Genocide
was conducted and wreaths and flowers were laid by community
organizations and individuals to respect the memory of victims of
genocide. In a brief addresses, the Primate, Bishop Bagrat Galstanian,
thanked all those who organized the whole event, and praised the
efforts of Hasmig Belleli, Mary Deros and Jack Tchaderdjian, who
several years ago played an instrumental role as members of the
Municipal Council of Montreal in the realization of the Genocide
Memorial. Brief addresses were also delivered by MP's Bakopanos and
Assadourian, and the closing blessing was delivered by Abp. Barkev
Mardirossian.


DIVAN OF THE DIOCESE