PRESS OFFICE
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.armenianchurch.net

June 30, 2006
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BISHOP AYKAZIAN ATTENDS PEACE PARLEY

Bishop Vicken Aykazian, legate and ecumenical officer of the Diocese of the
Armenian Church of America (Eastern), was in historic Florence, Italy, from
May 13 to 16, 2006, to attend an international conference devoted to talk of
peace.

International religious leaders, including His All Holiness Bartholomew I,
Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch, attended the event,
organized by the Galileo 2000 Foundation.

"People from different religions and from different continents gathered in
Italy guided by the spirit of peace to pray and to dialogue," Bishop
Aykazian said.

One panel included representatives of various Christian churches, Jewish
leaders, and Muslims. Included on that panel was Bishop Aykazian, who spoke
on how it is possible to bring peace to the world while reading a paper
titled "The contribution of religion to peace and understanding."

"It is from the New Testament that our Lord Christ says 'Blessed are the
peace makers.' So we are the peace makers of this world, we have to stop
violence. Religions have the power to stop atrocities and crimes committed
in the name of religion," he said.

"The role of religion is to bring justice, peace, and to stop war, violence,
war, genocides, massacres, etc."

As president-elect of the National Council of Churches, Bishop Aykazian
spoke about the activities and the achievements of the organization in
social, moral, medical, spiritual, environmental, and other areas. Bishop
Aykazian spoke about injustices being committed against innocent people
around the world, which the National Council of Churches is trying to end.

Thousands of religious and civic leaders attended the conference, including
the Queen of Denmark, the Princess of Florence, and a high-level
representative of the Vatican. The conference was highly publicized in the
European media.

"It is important that among all these religions the Armenians were given
prominence and invited to the gathering," said Bishop Aykazian. "This
conference definitely brings a contribution to peace in the world."

-- 6/30/06

E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable in the News and
Events section of the Eastern Diocese's website, www.armenianchurch.net.

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Bishop Vicken Aykazian, legate and ecumenical officer
for the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), left, joins His
All Holiness Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical
Patriarch, and the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Florence, Italy, during a
panel discussion at the peace conference organized by the Galileo 2000
Foundation.