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Alpo
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« on: January 22, 2012, 07:52:12 AM »

Since Turkish persecution of Armenians seemed to be at least partly of religious nature are victims of Armenian genocide considered as Martyrs?
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Aram
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2012, 05:25:07 PM »

Yes.  A lot of people refer to April 24th as Martyrs' Day. 
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Anastasia1
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2012, 05:19:03 AM »

Are they all basically martyrs (assuming they were innocent victims)?
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2012, 06:58:15 AM »

Are they liturgically commemorated as Saints?
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Salpy
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 12:13:36 AM »

Are they liturgically commemorated as Saints?

Unfortunately, no.  I'm not sure why it is, but I've heard a couple of different explanations:

One explanation has to do with the fact that the Armenians don't really have an organized, formal way of declaring someone a saint.  Historically, martyrs and others were just over time added to calendars, first locally and then higher up, without much formal process.  I think this is the more ancient way of doing it.  Over the centuries, though, other Churches have developed specific protocols for adding saints to their calendars, and the Armenians now find themselves in a world where having such formalities is the norm, but they don't have any.  It's been at least a few centuries since anyone has been added to the Armenian calendar, and it seems people just don't know how to go about doing it now in today's world.

Another explanation I've heard relates to what Anastasia asked in her post just above.  Over a million people died at the hands of the Turks during the Genocide, and we don't know who they all were, and what their spiritual state was at the time they died.  (I've heard someone from the Russian Orthodox Church give an explanation similar to that as to why the millions killed by the Soviets can't all be declared martyrs.)



Personally, I think that those who died during the Genocide should, as a group, be declared saints, added to the calendar, and liturgically commemorated.  Accounts given by survivors of the Genocide have shown that in most places, if not all places, the Armenians who were killed were given a chance to save their lives by converting to Islam.  You hear stories of individuals who did convert and were spared, but the vast majority did not convert and were martyred.  One of my mother's uncles, for example, had his throat slit in front of his family when he refused to convert.  After he was martyred, his wife and children were sent on the death march into the Syrian desert.  This sort of account is very common.

And while we don't know the names of the vast majority of these people, and we cannot confirm the spiritual state of every one of them at the time of their death, on the calendar we do see examples of large groups where we don't know the names, and only God knows how each and every one of them was spiritually when he died.  One example on the Armenian calendar is the 1036 martyrs who are commemorated with St. Vartan on the Thursday before Lent.  Another example is the "20,000 martyrs who were burned in the Church of Nicomedia," commemorated in late December.  I would think that if these large groups of martyrs, whose names are known only to God, could be on the calendar, then the 1.5 million martyrs of the Genocide could likewise be put on the calendar.  

« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 12:30:50 AM by Salpy » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2012, 05:18:47 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

No disrespect to those who passed in Armenia, but isn't it a bit sacrilegious to just declare all those killed in the genocide as Saints, even if as Martyrs? By this logic, do we canonize all innocent victims of war? Genocide is the most horrendous of evils, I live in California, our pedigree and heritage is genocide, some of the worst indiscriminate slaughtering of the American Indians took place in California, at one time we had the largest indigenous population in the continental US..  By the 1890s, well, we know the story Sad

I am not trying to be insensitive to genocide victims, but outright blanket canonization?  

Were all the victims of the war miracle workers? Were all the victims of the war even Christian? The genocide was ethnic cleansing, not necessarily a religious crusade.  The Turks killed Armenians indiscriminately, it was not exclusive to Armenian Christians.  Further, it might be a bit disrespectful to those who perished who may have not been particularly concerned with religion, or who might not want to be remembered as martyrs as much as victims.  Should we canonize some of the Martyrs, yes, should we canonize every man, woman, and child that was killed, no. Commemorate yes, canonize not so sure..

Quote
PARIS — Relations between France and Turkey dipped to a nadir as the French Senate approved a bill late Monday criminalizing the denial of officially recognized genocides, including the Armenian genocide begun in 1915.
NY Times
By the way, God Bless France for stepping up and making denial of the Armenian genocide a crime in France, much like denying the Holocaust.  I wish America had similar laws, so many folks flaunt their disgusting hate speech, waving neo-nazi flags and confederate flags with some disgusting sense of pride, as if those weren't symbols of evil!!  Europeans have more sense than Americans, hate speech should never be free.

I think it would be wise to canonize a few Armenians from this genocide, and let them be representative of the entire event, much as how the Church has acted in the past regarding genocides and persecutions and martyrdom.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 05:21:17 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2012, 06:11:10 PM »


Quote from: Salpy

One explanation has to do with the fact that the Armenians don't really have an organized, formal way of declaring someone a saint.  Historically, martyrs and others were just over time added to calendars, first locally and then higher up, without much formal process.  I think this is the more ancient way of doing it.  Over the centuries, though, other Churches have developed specific protocols for adding saints to their calendars, and the Armenians now find themselves in a world where having such formalities is the norm, but they don't have any.  It's been at least a few centuries since anyone has been added to the Armenian calendar, and it seems people just don't know how to go about doing it now in today's world.


Is it about time someone wrote to the Patriarch (Catholicos)?
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 06:12:00 PM by biro » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2012, 09:58:12 PM »

The Turks killed Armenians indiscriminately, it was not exclusive to Armenian Christians.

All Armenians are Christian, even if nominally.  When an Armenian changes religion, he ceases to be Armenian.  They say that is why the Turks gave people the chance to convert before slaughtering them.  They knew that an Armenian who converted away from the Christian religion would no longer be considered an Armenian.

That is also why this genocide is different than most others.  As I already explained, most of the victims could have saved their lives if they had converted, but they did not.  It really can be said that the victims died for their faith.

Quote
Quote
PARIS — Relations between France and Turkey dipped to a nadir as the French Senate approved a bill late Monday criminalizing the denial of officially recognized genocides, including the Armenian genocide begun in 1915.
NY Times
By the way, God Bless France for stepping up and making denial of the Armenian genocide a crime in France, much like denying the Holocaust.  I wish America had similar laws, so many folks flaunt their disgusting hate speech, waving neo-nazi flags and confederate flags with some disgusting sense of pride, as if those weren't symbols of evil!!  Europeans have more sense than Americans, hate speech should never be free.

Actually, I'm enough of a free speech advocate that I am glad to live in a country that doesn't have laws such as that.  Denying the Genocide is a horrible thing, but there are far reaching implications with banning "hate speech," including implications that can affect Christians with traditional values.  If the government can ban someone from saying the Genocide didn't happen, they can just as well ban religious expression that many consider hate speech.  Also, a couple of generations down the line, it can be those who say the Genocide did happen who go to jail.  It's just better to allow free speech and let people defend their views in free debate.

I guess a more in depth conversation on this may belong in the private politics forum.  Perhaps a thread down there about this would be good.

Quote
I think it would be wise to canonize a few Armenians from this genocide, and let them be representative of the entire event, much as how the Church has acted in the past regarding genocides and persecutions and martyrdom.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

That may be a good alternative to a blanket canonization of everyone.  In any event, I do believe something has to be done.
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2012, 11:45:19 PM »

The Turks killed Armenians indiscriminately, it was not exclusive to Armenian Christians.

All Armenians are Christian, even if nominally.  When an Armenian changes religion, he ceases to be Armenian. 
"Armenian" is not a religious term of identity, it's ethnic.  Yes, the Armenian ethnicity has been rather significantly impacted in its formation by Christianity, but Christianity is not the sole component of that identity.

While it is true that the vast majority of Armenians do identify (at least nominally) as Christian (whether it be Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant), there are yet Armenian Jews, and Armenians who are non-believers.  I find it difficult to quantify Armenian identity as solely a Christian identity simply because, demographically, it simply doesn't hold up. 

Now, another question that hasn't been asked is what of victims of Ottoman minority ethnic policies who weren't Armenian?  While Armenians were the predominant victims of what we now term the Genocide, there were other ethnic groups who were also targeted and exterminated as well.  There have been several books as of late, the work of Fuat Dundar in particular, which have explored this phenomenon.  I think that's a real question to be asked when discussing whether or not a mass canonization of victims of the Genocide is appropriate. 
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2012, 01:15:42 AM »

The Turks killed Armenians indiscriminately, it was not exclusive to Armenian Christians.

All Armenians are Christian, even if nominally.  When an Armenian changes religion, he ceases to be Armenian. 
"Armenian" is not a religious term of identity, it's ethnic.  Yes, the Armenian ethnicity has been rather significantly impacted in its formation by Christianity, but Christianity is not the sole component of that identity.

While it is true that the vast majority of Armenians do identify (at least nominally) as Christian (whether it be Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant), there are yet Armenian Jews, and Armenians who are non-believers.  I find it difficult to quantify Armenian identity as solely a Christian identity simply because, demographically, it simply doesn't hold up. 

The Christian religion is not all there is to the Armenian identity, but those who converted to Islam during the Genocide ceased to have an Armenian identity.  The Christian religion is an important part of the Armenian identity, to the point that during the days of Communism, Armenian Communists would often quietly have their babies baptized.  I recall hearing about this as a kid.  It's because it's such an integral part of the Armenian identity that the Turks allowed those who converted to Islam to live, instead of being killed.  The fact that so many Armenians have died for their faith over the centuries is a testimony to the strong bond between Christianity and the Armenian identity:

"From this faith no one can shake us, neither angels nor men, neither sword nor fire, nor water, nor any or all other horrid tortures.  All our goods and possessions are in your hands, our bodies are before you, dispose of them if you will.  If you leave us to our belief, we will, here on earth, choose no other master in your place, and in heaven no other God in place of Jesus Christ, for there is no other God.  But should you require anything beyond this great testimony, here we are.  Our bodies are in your hands, do with them as you please.  Tortures from you; submission from us.  The sword is yours; the neck is ours.  We are no better than our forefathers who, for the sake of this faith, surrendered their goods, their possessions, and their bodies.

"Were we even immortal, it would become us to die for the love of Christ; for he himself was immortal and so loved us that He took death on Himself, that we, by His death, might be freed from eternal death.  And since He did not spare His immortality, we, who became mortal of our own will, will die for His love willingly, so that He may make us participators in His immortality.  We shall die as mortals that He may accept our deaths as that of immortals.  Do not, therefore, interrogate us further concerning all this, because our bond of faith is not with men to be deceived like children, but with God to Whom we are indissolubly bound, and from Whom nothing can detach or separate us, neither now, nor later, nor forever, nor forever and ever."  (Yeghishe, Chapter 2)


http://armeniancross.com/CultureArts/CulturalHistory/Vartanants1.html#Response


Quote
Now, another question that hasn't been asked is what of victims of Ottoman minority ethnic policies who weren't Armenian?  While Armenians were the predominant victims of what we now term the Genocide, there were other ethnic groups who were also targeted and exterminated as well.  There have been several books as of late, the work of Fuat Dundar in particular, which have explored this phenomenon.  I think that's a real question to be asked when discussing whether or not a mass canonization of victims of the Genocide is appropriate. 

The Assyrian martyrs do need to be better recognized.  I don't know whether they can be on the Armenian calendar, though.
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2012, 10:28:38 AM »

One can venerate some of the relics of the Holy Martyrs (unnamed) at the St. Vartan's Cathedral in NYC. My family and I were blessed to do so some time ago.

As for those who converted, we pray they and their children to one day return to the Faith. Its speculated that as many as 2 million people in Turkey are of those Armenians, some of whom have returned to and/or who's children have been baptized in the Church.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,42109.msg689561.html#msg689561

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,41074.msg669656.html#msg669656

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,40575.msg659826.html#msg659826

We must also never forget the various genocides and pogroms also included many Greeks, Syriacs, and Assyrians.
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2012, 11:50:08 AM »

The Turks killed Armenians indiscriminately, it was not exclusive to Armenian Christians.

All Armenians are Christian, even if nominally.  When an Armenian changes religion, he ceases to be Armenian.  
"Armenian" is not a religious term of identity, it's ethnic.  Yes, the Armenian ethnicity has been rather significantly impacted in its formation by Christianity, but Christianity is not the sole component of that identity.

While it is true that the vast majority of Armenians do identify (at least nominally) as Christian (whether it be Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant), there are yet Armenian Jews, and Armenians who are non-believers.  I find it difficult to quantify Armenian identity as solely a Christian identity simply because, demographically, it simply doesn't hold up.  

The Christian religion is not all there is to the Armenian identity, but those who converted to Islam during the Genocide ceased to have an Armenian identity.
Which happened for a reason, being that to identify as an Armenian in Anatolia wasn't, and to a certain degree, still isn't safe.  It's not like there was some outside force within the Armenian world saying "you're Muslim, thus you're not one of us anymore."  This was a forced conversion and reidentification, in some cases one made for children through their forced adoption into Turkish and Kurdish families.  And even after that, it was not (and still isn't) uncommon for there to be a quiet acknowledgment and self-identification of Armenian ancestry amongst these people.  

Quote
The Christian religion is an important part of the Armenian identity, to the point that during the days of Communism, Armenian Communists would often quietly have their babies baptized.  I recall hearing about this as a kid.  It's because it's such an integral part of the Armenian identity that the Turks allowed those who converted to Islam to live, instead of being killed.  The fact that so many Armenians have died for their faith over the centuries is a testimony to the strong bond between Christianity and the Armenian identity:
(snipped for length)
http://armeniancross.com/CultureArts/CulturalHistory/Vartanants1.html#Response
Sure.  We all know the Vartanantz quote.  Yet it is still true that "Armenian" is an ethnic, not solely religious identification.  Even within Armenian Christians, there are fragmentations that challenge that assertion.  Is an Armenian Protestant who attends a mainstream Evangelical church in America still Armenian if they drive past the Armenian Evangelical Church to get there?  I just think it's a bit presumptuous to say that Armenian identity is solely determinant on religious affiliation.  I'm not denying the strong ties between Christianity and Armenian culture, but it's a bit overly nationalistic and quite political to get on the soapbox about one having to be Christian to be Armenian.  It's simply not accurate, especially in a pluralistic atmosphere like we find in the United States.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 11:50:28 AM by Aram » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2012, 08:43:52 PM »

Yet it is still true that "Armenian" is an ethnic, not solely religious identification.

I did not say that "Armenian" was solely a religious identification.

From my post above (Reply #10):

Quote
The Christian religion is not all there is to the Armenian identity,

« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 08:44:54 PM by Salpy » Logged

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