Religious services held in Bulgaria to commemorate Armenian Genocide

Religious services were held in several churches in Bulgarian capital city Sofia on April 19 in memory of the victims of the Armenian genocide, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said.

A service was held at the landmark Bulgarian Orthodox Church St Sofia church in the capital in remembrance of the Armenians who died in the Ottoman Empire in the years 1915 to 1917.

At the service, clergy and the congregation prayed for the tragedy never to be repeated and for people to live in peace and understanding, the report said.

Services were held on April 19 in Bulgarian Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic churches in Sofia.

A series of events organised by the Armenian community is being held in Bulgaria to commemorate the centenary of the 100th anniversary of the episode.

For the first time, a commemoration was held in the Central Synagogue in Sofia of the Armenian genocide. The service was held on April 18.

A news conference is scheduled for April 20 on the declaration submitted by 100 Bulgarian intellectuals to the National Assembly regarding the Armenian genocide. The same day, a recital of music and poetry is to be held at the Modern Theatre in the capital.

On April 21, excerpts from literary works by Armenian authors are to be presented at Sofia University’s Centre for Eastern Languages and Cultures. Two days later, at the same venue, Armenian consul Gevorg Garibdzhanyan will deliver a lecture on the “unprecedented decision” by a German court on the UN Convention and the genocide.

On April 23, at the Yerevan Garden, there will a ceremonial planting of 100 forget-me-nots. The same day, at the Sofia Municipality building, there will be an exhibition dedicated to Armenia and Armenians in Bulgaria.

The following day, there will be a motor vehicle procession through the streets of the capital to the Armenian cemetery in Orlandovtsi Square, with a commemoration ceremony starting at 7.15pm.

Turkey rejects the use of the term “Armenian genocide”, with Ankara responding with ire on each occasion that a legislature or government endorses the use of the term. Turkey insists that the deaths were the result of civil war and unrest.

Most recently, Turkey expressed offence publicly when Roman Catholic leader Pope Francis used the term earlier in April,

Turkey was further offended by an April 15 resolution in the European Parliament.

Armenia and Turkey should use the centenary of the Armenian genocide to renew diplomatic relations, open the border and pave the way for economic integration, the European Parliament said in its April 15 resolution.

MEPs emphasised the need for Turkey to recognise the Armenian genocide , so as to pave way for “genuine reconciliation”. They also commended the statement by Pope Francis on April 12 honouring the centenary of the genocide.

MEPs called on Armenia and Turkey to “use examples of successful reconciliation between European nations” by ratifying and implementing, without preconditions, the protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations, opening the border and actively improving their relations, with particular reference to cross-border co-operation and economic integration.

They welcomed statements by the president and prime minister of Turkey offering condolences and recognising atrocities against the Ottoman Armenians and encourage Turkey to “use the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian genocide as an important opportunity” to open its archives, “come to terms with its past “, recognise the genocide and so pave the way for a” genuine reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples “.

They also asked Turkey to conduct “in good faith” an inventory of the Armenian cultural heritage destroyed or ruined during the past century within its jurisdiction.

MEPs paid tribute to the memory of the one-and-a-half million Armenian victims who “perished in the Ottoman Empire” a hundred years ago.



The Sofia Globe staff

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