Armenian Genocide & Their Commemoration in the Coptic Orthodox Church

I don't know how to phrase this, and I hope my post won't be taken in a bad way; but given that the Armenian Church is our sister Oriental Orthodox Church, did it NOT occur to anyone in our Church (the Clergy & hierarchy) to have the names of those who suffered at the hands of the Turks recorded in the Church's commemoration of Saints? At least even mention this in the Magma Al Edisseen?

I find the Coptic Orthodox Church a bit aloof at times. We don't have much in terms of Church unity, and those with whom we are united with, we don't even recognise their suffering for the sake of Christ.

There's a book called Black Dog of Fate by Peter Balakian that simply gives an absolutely heart-wrenching eye witness accounts of countless number of families who were remarkable witnesses to Christ in their suffering. 

Should we not petition our Church to add these names in our commemoration of saints? I'm saying this because whilst Turkey is adamantly focused on denying that there was even a genocide, we should be working to remind the world of what happened to our faithful followers. I think this is a critical time to bring to light such sufferings and not forget these saints.


  • I agree on the aloofness, sometimes we tend to be a bit inward looking. I think back to when the two metropolitans were kidnapped I'm Syria. Since they weren't Coptic we barely thought about them, let alone advocated for them...if even one of "our" Bishops went missing under similar circumstances there'd be marches all over the world asking governments to put pressure on his release. When the Syrian incidents happened (and are still happening) I dont think many Coptic Churches were even bothered. Same when one of the patriarchs of our sister Churches reposes (although sometimes some dioceses would hold a memorial service).

    I've always thought it strange when groups protest a human rights issue, but only do so when it concerns issues isolated to that group... For example think of Pro Palestinian or Pro Israeli demonstrations. In either case there's a lot of noise and demands for justice and rights but very rarely do those demands for justice extend beyond borders so to speak... The pro Palestinian or pro Israeli groups will always advocate for their interests and will mostly do so when the group's issues are centric. But I wonder if a more persuasive argument and witness would be made if a group showed solidarity with any group that faced a similar plight.

    For example say there's a minority group that's being persecuted, so their cousins in the west march and raise awareness for them internationally. Now it's good that the cousins have helped their family, but when another person who's not related is persecuted under similar circumstances they don't do anything. But I wonder if they did do something if such an act would make their witness stronger for their cousin's situation.

    I'm sort of pointing towards compassion here and not being so "us" centric...that inward looking position that the Church takes seems sometimes more a nationalist or ethnocentric expression. Maybe if we one day witness more kenotic love for our brothers and even our enemies that might say something far more profound and important than our personal, national, ethnic or religious agendas on the international arena.
  • The Commemoration of the Saints is already set and can't really be changed and it is not for all the Saints...if so, it would never end. It only includes specific figures of the Church and saints that had made a big affect on the church. You can easily see that from the fact that Mar Mina and Mar Girgis or St Demiana are not mentioned. You are so welcomed to add there name to the tar7im though. I don't think a priest will mind including them there.

    Also, I don't think we can say that these people are Saints. There is a difference between someone getting killed/murdered and someone getting martyred. The famous example in our own church, St. MOSES the Black. Many newer books add his doxology and commemorate him as a martyr. But this is incorrect. He was killed rather than someone who was martyred for the faith.
  • Just to note that the commemoration of the saints is not set in stone by any means and the celebrant priest is free to add to it any saint or martyr canonised by the church. The diptych is only for the faithful who have reposed and is no longer applicable to those that have been acknowledged officially as saints. To support this point you will see that the commemoration varies between the three liturgies and also there is an a very long extended version in an old liturgy book I once saw. I heard this one time by Bishop Theodosious years ago when he was a monk and without exaggeration the reciting of the extra names took about 5-10 minutes on top of the usual ones, and he was going fast.
  • Well, I think it ought to be added that 1.5 million Armenians were executed, crucified, raped, humiliated simply for being Christian. 

    Mina - if you are not sure what makes these Armenians saints, or a martyrs, you should look at this video:

  • @Zoxsasi, I am not the one who "canonizes" saints. Our holy Synod does. 
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