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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Consecration of the Icon of the Holy Martyrs of 1915

On Sunday 24 April I was privileged to be invited by His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, the Primate of the Armenian Church in the UK and Ireland, to the Divine Liturgy at St Yeghiche Church, London. The occasion was the annual commemoration of the Armenian genocide. During the liturgy a replica of the icon of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide was consecrated, the original having been dedicated last year in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, when, on the centenary of the genocide, the martyrs were canonised by the Armenian Church. I was particularly moved when His Grace Bishop Hovakim asked me to join him in blessing the icon with Holy Myron (chrism).

In his sermon Bishop Hovakim called his people to be united with their homeland, "where Artsakh once again struggles for its independence and its basic human rights". Artsakh is the traditional Armenian name for the region of Nagorno-Karabakh where in recent weeks conflict has erupted. His Grace reminded Armenians living in Great Britain "to speak the truth boldly so that peace, security and justice will transcend lesser interests". "This icon will remain in our Churches as a shining light speaking about this truth that cannot be hidden", said Bishop Hovakim.

The faithful in St Yeghiche Church prayed, "Through the prayers and intercession of the Holy Martyrs of the Genocide of 1915 and of all the martyrs of the past and present, may the Lord have mercy on us".

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