Every second Saturday of the month, 4 pm - Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
Next Liturgy: Saturday August 10th - 3pm Great Vespers, 4pm Divine Liturgy for Sunday

To purchase The Divine Liturgy: an Anthology for Worship (in English), order from the Sheptytsky Institute here, or the St Basil's Bookstore here.

To purchase the Divine Praises, the Divine Office of the Byzantine-Slav rite (in English), order from the Eparchy of Parma here.

The new catechism in English, Christ our Pascha, is available from the Eparchy of the Holy Family and the Society. Please email johnchrysostom@btinternet.com for details.

Friday, 25 April 2014

99 Years from the Ottoman Empire's Genocide of Greeks, Assyrians & Armenian Christians - and a Statement from the present Turkish Republic

First, there follows an editorial from the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), entitled "99 Years of Turkish Genocide". In the title of this post, we changed this to make it clear that the organised persecution of Assyrian, Greek and especially Armenian Christians reflected both political upheaval and state policy in the multinational Ottoman Empire, with its heady mix of Islamic government, absolute monarchy and rising Turkish nationalism. Kurdish Muslims were also targeted in the same historical period. This was before the establishment of the post-Great War Turkish Republic, which finally overthrew both the Sultanate and its multi-ethnic Empire and the Ottoman Islamic Caliphate that had been legally responsible for the widely condemned persecution and genocide of the distinctive Christian ethnic minorities.

Secondly (scroll down), past the link to AINA, there is a report on the position of the present Turkish government, which does not regard itself as a successor state to the Ottoman Empire responsible for the atrocities. Nonetheless, the Republic founded itself on "nation-state" principles of self-determination of peoples, and following the Greek-Turkish war Greeks (even Turkish-speaking Orthodox) were largely expelled from Anatolia as were most remaining Armenians and Syriacs/Assyrians [Oriental Orthodox/Non-Chalcedonian] Christians. Interestingly, while the Turkish government, officially secularist but dominated by professing Muslims, denies state or ethnic Turkish responsibility for or involvement in a policy of genocide towards Armenians or other defined groups (it denies, too, the fact of genocide) it recognises that atrocities took place and has expressed condolences to relatives, as well as offering descendants the restoration of Turkish citizenship. In the last few years, too, Turkey has invited Syriac Orthodox Christians to return to one of their heartlands in South-Eastern Turkey, and restored (some) expropriated land to the monastery at Tur Abdin. Is this on the way to being a conciliatory gesture to the historic Christian populations, or is it to create, as some have said, a buffer zone between Turkey, Kurds and the Islamists in the Arab world with the Christians once again in the firing line as human shields? As for the Armenian cause, while passions rise high on both sides, with Armenians seeking acknowledgment of the facts by the Turkish government as well as restitution, and Turks defending their own account of history - including the sweeping away of the former state that took the wrong side in the First World War with the aggressors Austria and Germany, leading to its demise and clearing the path to a democratic secular republic - is there progress towards a reconciliation and a healing of memories (as St John Paul would have put it)? First, Armenians are recognising that the atrocities they see as a genocide of which they were, largely speaking, the target also affected ethnic Greeks (and Turkish-speaking Orthodox) and Syriac/Assyrian Orthodox? Secondly, while patriotically defending Turks' and Turkey's innocence, is the Republic moving towards acceptance that atrocities did happen, even to beginning to express regrets and to make gestures of amendment, or at least good will? Third, for all the nations directly facing the uncertain actions and intentions of the Russian Federation to the north of the Black Sea and the Caucasus (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Romanian, Moldova, Ukraine and Turkey itself), there is need for states with both Christian and Muslim histories to come to terms out of mutual security and economic interest; and for all facing the effects of Islamism across their borders (Turkey has erected a temporary wall on parts of its border facing Syria and Iraq), is the threat to democracy, religious liberty and economic stability from without urgently pressing old rivals, with still keenly felt histories of mutual suspicion and war, to find ways to bury their differences and make common cause? BMW

AINA Editorial
99 Years of Turkish Genocide

Turkish Government Issues Message Denying Assyrian, Armenian, Greek Genocide
By Rufiz Hafizoglu, http://en.trend.az

Turkey's Cabinet of Ministers has spread a message in connection with the events of 1915, the website of the country's government said on April 23. The message says it is important not to be a captive of historical events and there is need to create a foundation for building a common future.

The events of 1915 were a difficult time not only for the Armenians, but also for Arabs, Kurds and representatives of other nations living in the country, according to the message.

"Nevertheless, it is impossible to use the events of 1915 as a tool of political pressure on Turkey," the message of Turkish government said. The message says Turkey supports the creation of a joint historical commission to investigate the events of 1915 and expresses condolences to the families of those killed in the events of 1915, including the Armenians. The message highlights that the events of 1915 are common grief.

Armenia and the Armenian lobby claim that Turkey's predecessor the Ottoman Empire allegedly carried out "genocide" against the Armenians living in Anatolia in 1915. While strengthening the efforts to promote the so-called "genocide" in the world, Armenians have achieved its recognition by the parliaments of some countries.

Read online report from Trend Axerbaijan at AINA here.

Turkish PM Does Not Acknowledge Armenian Genocide, But Sends Condolences to Families
http://www.armradio.am, Posted 2014-04-23 20:01 GMT

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has highlighted the "shared pain" endured during the 1915 events in an unexpected statement April 23 on the Armenian issue, expressing condolences on behalf of the Turkish state to the grandchildren of Armenians who lost their lives "in the context of the early twentieth century," the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

In a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office, Erdogan said April 24 carries "particular significance for our Armenian citizens and for all Armenians around the world."

Arguing that all ethnicities in the late years of the Ottoman Empire lived a hard time full of pains, Erdogan called for a just, humane and conscientious standing to commemorate all pains experienced in that era.

"The incidents of the First World War are our shared pain. To evaluate this painful period of history through a perspective of just memory is a humane and scholarly responsibility."

Erdogan's statement also stressed the importance of freedom of expression and respect of plurality regarding history.

"In Turkey, expressing different opinions and thoughts freely on the events of 1915 is the requirement of a pluralistic perspective as well as of a culture of democracy and modernity," the statement said.

"It is with this hope and belief that we wish that the Armenians who lost their lives in the context of the early twentieth century rest in peace, and we convey our condolences to their grandchildren," it said.

The statement has been issued in eight languages, including Eastern and Western Armenian.

Read report from Radio Armenia at AINA online here.

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