YEREVAN, APRIL 22, ARMENPRESS: On April 20, His Holiness Karekin II,
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, presided during
the opening session of the International Conference entitled "Ultimate
Crime, Ultimate Challenge - Human Rights and Genocide", which convened
in Yerevan, Armenia, dedicated to the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian
Genocide. His Excellency Robert Kocharian, President of the Republic
of Armenia, and His Holiness Karekin II delivered opening addresses
to the assembled international participants and guests.

Below is the message of His Holiness:

Your Excellency, President of the Republic of Armenia,

Honored Participants and Guests of the Conference,

We greet you who are assembled here for this international conference
on the occasion of the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and
bring to you blessings from the spiritual center of all Armenians -
the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

Today is a day of great consolation for our people, that decades later,
international society has focused on the Genocide of the Armenians
implemented at the beginning of the 20th century in Ottoman Turkey,
and which was the most lamentable page in the history of our people
who have seen manifold tribulations.

In the century of enlightenment and the progress of civilization, our
people had the hope of finding personal security, a defense of human
rights, and conditions for a peaceful and creative life. However,
instead they were eliminated from the greatest portion of their
historical homeland within Turkey and in the Armenian-occupied
settlements of the Ottoman Empire. The systematic massacres and
organized exiles were transformed into death sentences; what the sword
could not reach, was finished by starvation and epidemic. The studies
of these events are not lacking for factual testimonies. Today, the
recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, by a number
of states as the greatest of crimes against humanity, fills us with
confidence, that it will find universal recognition and truthful

The 20th century, which began for the Armenian people with the
greatest calamity of Genocide, became the century in the history of
mankind which witnessed two world wars. The same mindset that produced
the dreadful, savage massacres of the Armenians would later create
the concentration camps and the gas chambers. Truly, a new century
begins and it must begin with a new way of thinking, one that rejects
violence and crime, and instead confirms the values of humanity and
compassion. A century when, as the psalmist wishes with yearning,
mercy and truth will meet, and righteousness and peace will embrace. We
the people must create that century. History testifies that ruined
cities are rebuilt with greater ease and conditions of life improve
faster than changes in the thinking of men and the standards of life
- which are the true guarantors of progress and hope for the future.
Likewise, the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Republic of
Turkey would become a great victory for human rights and democracy,
without which, Turkey will find the building of a free and joyful
life difficult.

Dear ones, the highest aspiration and goal, the greatest efforts for
all times must be that charity, rights and justice remain victorious
against hatred and enmity, against terrorism and war, and against
all other evils which are present in our contemporary reality, and
are the challenges facing humanity in this century.

This international representative conference is similarly called to
reflect on the challenges of our time. In this sense, the commemoration
of the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide is not only an event,
but also a charge. It is our wish that this conference benefits the
work of having a better and benevolent world, one that manifests the
hopes and desires of mankind.

We extend our appreciation to the organizers of this gathering and
to all of you, and wish manifold successes to the sessions of the

May the Lord bless us and bless peace, justice and the paths of
brotherhood between nations. We offer prayers and incense to the
memory of the 1.5 million innocent victims. The mercy, grace and love
of God be with the entire world and us always. Amen.