martedì 29 aprile 2014

A trip to Rome by Gayane Simonyan (first part): Italy paid a tribute to Armenian Genocide in 1915

Author: Gayane Simonyan

A Holy Mass was held in Armenian Catholic Church of St. Nicholas of Tolentino in Rome, Italy in memory of the innocent victims of Armenian Genocide in 1915: the total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at 1.5 million. The starting date of the genocide or the systematic extermination of Armenians, is conventionally held to be in 1915.

The representatives of the Catholic Church, the Coptic Orthodox, Greek Orthodox and Maronite Catholic, as well as diplomats, representatives of the Italian legislative body and Italian society attended the ceremony.

After the Holy Mass, the Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches of the Holy See, and the rector of the Pontifical Armenian College in Rome, Archbishop Kevork Noradounguian, near the “khachqar” (Armenian memorial stone) placed in the courtyard of the church, have officiated at the requiem for the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Armenian Ambassador to Italy, Sargis Ghazaryan, who attended the ceremony stressed the importance of historical memory and the fight against Holocaust denial.

The message from the mayor of Rome, Ignatius Marino was also read during the ceremony...
The ceremony ended with the laying of wreaths.

On the same day, during the plenary session of the Italian Senate, the President of the Parliamentary Group of the Italian-Armenian friendship, Sen. Emilia Grace De Biasi, in his speech said about his respect the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide, stating in particular the importance of fighting against the denial of genocide.

The President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate, Pier Ferdinando Casini, has sent a message regarding the 99th year of the Armenian Genocide in which he said:

"There are many ways to honor our history, the first of which is to keep the memory. Nowadays we feel very close to Armenian people to remember their Genocide, one of the most gray pages of the modern history.

All Italians, regardless of their religious, political and cultural views, are on the side of the Armenians who have an important role in human history."

The next day on April 25 Armenian Church organized an event during which the Italian version of the poetry “Barev” (Salve) written by one of the greatest Armenian poets of the 20th century- Paruyr Sevak- was heard.

Archbishop Kevork Noradounguian who is also the Archimandrite of the Pontifical Armenian College in Rome told about the college right next to the church.

“This is a center for young people from all around the world who want to be a Archimandrite and serve the church and their nation. There are two Armenian churches in Rome and the Churches are organizing different events for Armenians to keep them together, to communicate, share their problems, hopes, and we encourage them to be together,” he said.

We have 6 inheritors/godsons in our college: one from Armenia, two from Lebanon and 3 from Syria.

According to Archbishop Kevork Noradounguian, the exact number of people living in Italy is not verified. There are Armenian Communities in Rome, Milan, Venice, Bari, and in some other small cities and villages spread. Even though they are not so many Armenians living in Italy, this way they all are trying to keep all the traditions and celebrate them in Italy.

To be continued...

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