“The Armenian Genocide: Breaking the Silence”. Bishop Bagrat: Genocide recognition is starting with strengthening our inner life

23/04/2015 16:38

“The Armenian Genocide: Breaking the Silence”. Bishop Bagrat: Genocide recognition is starting with strengthening our inner life


Ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide Aysor.am presents a special project within which we shall consider cultural, scientific and social projects implementing these days.

On April 23, Canonization Service of the victims of the Armenian genocide will be held in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Today we talked to Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan who is the head of Armenian Church Social Doctrine Department at Mother See.

-Father Bishop, how does the Canonization take place? Does our church have a special procedure for this service?

- The Church has adopted the same Canonization of the Saints which is accepted in Universal Church. The Armenian Church being a general, complete and integral part of Universal Church gave a special place to saints in its worship, as light poles, faith leaders and sample prayer-gifts for believers.

Even though the source of holiness is God Himself, but the people who have declared to be holy, are included into the church calendar as celebrative and commemorative saints.

The Armenian Church has accepted and recognized spiritual heroism of those who has died for the confession of faith testimony, who has had magic in his lifetime or after death, who has been outstanding preachers of God's word, widespread faith and orthodox religious protection.

The specific process or method of the Canonization or Saints’ canonicity of Armenian Church is not preserved. According to studies it is classified into three important classes, first: holy ones were those who have been well known people while living or dead, whose relics have been honored, graves have  become places of pilgrimage, and their death or martyrdom have been celebrated as the anniversary of Joy. Second: holy persons were those who as bishops have been recognized saints by the Church through people’s piety and respect. And third: who have been involved into the church calendar by Church Higher power order.

Speaking about Canonization Service I must say, that it is drawn by the Canonization Commission, validated in Episcopal congregations and then blessed by His Holiness Catholicos of Cilicia.

It contains psalm written, evidence of saints, icon anoints, exposition of relics, consecration of respect and most pivotal is the declaration of saints, by which Church proclaims their spiritual courage, classifies them among the saints and includes in its calendar.

- Collective canonization of Genocide victims will be held. What is the feature of it and are there other cases similar to canonization?

-   The principle of Canonization in Armenian Church has made “For the sake of Jesus and for the Motherland” formula expression established in the 5th century. Being an indivisible union of faith and ideas of Christian homeland up to these days plays a key role in shaping spiritual thinking and savoir mission of the Church.

The Church's canonization procedure is recovered and becomes a continuous process with Armenian genocide victims’ canonization Service as the supreme example of spiritual heroism and loyalty to Christ.
Naturally, in case of the continuation of this process, the names of specific individuals will be also classified as saints after several studies and facts synthesis. And the common or collective canonization has always been a pillar of spiritual life with the help of which events such as Vardanants 1036 witnesses, Sts. Leontius (Ghevondiants) priest class, Holy Children of Bethlehem, Forty children of Sebastian are celebrated.

- What will give us Armenian genocide victims’ canonization and whether it can somehow influence on the recognition and condemnation process?

- First of all I would like to mention that the canonization itself does not contain political orientation or elements and it has and should have spiritual meaning and understanding.

Thereby the church proclaims the knowingly martyrdom, self-devotion and self-sacrifice of a person or persons who do not renounce their faith and are martyred. The church calls it spiritual heroism.

I can’t say what it will give in outside world, but for me Genocide recognition begins with the strengthening of our inner life.

This is the evidenced of being "God's own people", which invites us to collective heroism, to analyze the lessons of past and accidents, to assess the present and the signs of our time.

It calls us to shape our collective, public thinking, state, national strategies and policies, our people's spiritual and physical security and protection, our reclamation of a fair trial, the need to create a common platform for national security and finally the upbringing and education of future generations appropriate to our spiritual awareness for the Lord himself chose us.


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