Members of St Chrysostom’s church gathered for Vespers with our friends at the Armenian Church on Upper Brook Street to mark the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide (also known as the Armenian Holocaust).
On 24th April 1915, the destruction of the Armenian people began with the arrest of 250 Armenian intellectuals – from there onward, during and after World War I, it is estimated that around 1.5 million Armenians were systematically tortured and destroyed in this atrocity under the Ottoman Empire. More information about the Armenian massacres, and reactions to the Armenian Genocide can be found on the BBC website here.
On Friday, a group of us from St Chrysostom’s were invited to Holy Trinity Armenian Church on Upper Brook Street to pray together. Tracy, our curate led us in our service of evening prayer and at the end of the service we were invited to gather around the memorial to the victims of the genocide.
The memorial is a moving testiment to those who suffered and lost their lives in this horrific event in history and includes ashes of victims gathered from Syria by Father Jirayr three years ago. Father Jirayr sang prayers and together we lit candles and prayed for the victims, for their families and for the people of Armenia today and their future. After the service we were given wonderful hospitality, a sign of the friendship and fellowship which has developed betwen St Chrysostom’s and the Armenian Church, as we shared in Armenian coffee, chocolates and conversation.
Our remembrance and prayers were echoed across the world by millions. In Armenia, the President and the Armenian Catholicos, Karekin II, came together in Yerevan to lay flowers at the memorial there.