The patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church pleaded for “immediate and lasting peace in northeastern Syria and the preservation of innocent lives, especially for Christians, who are the original and founding component of Syria.”
When Hevrin Khalaf, a young Syrian politician and advocate on behalf of women and religious and ethnic minorities in Kurdistan, was murdered by a Turkish-backed fringe group on Saturday amid Turkey’s new offensive in Syria, her death sparked outcry from around the world.
Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, Pope Francis said atrocities from the past have to be recognized — not hidden or denied — for true reconciliation and healing to come to the world.
Pope Francis has shown brave witness at the Mass he celebrated in the Armenian Rite when he called the systematic slaughter of Armenian Christians “the first genocide of the twentieth century” and connected the Armenian genocide to the persecutions and murders of Christians today throughout the Middle East.
This coming Sunday, April 12, on the feast of the Divine Mercy, Pope Francis, is scheduled to preside at an Armenian Catholic rite Divine Liturgy at St. Peter’s. The main reason why he is choosing to celebrate this Armenian liturgy on this day is to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the massacre of Armenians by the Turkish Ottoman Empire, a Sunni Islamic state, in 1915.
Ankara and Istanbul were gray and cold, at least compared to Rome, during Pope Francis’ Nov. 28-30 visit to Turkey. And the general reception, outside of the pope’s official meetings, was hardly warmer.