Armenian Genocide Centennial in Beirut – an ecumenical commemoration

by Bishop Eva Brunne last modified Aug 24, 2015 11:27 AM
Armenian Genocide Centennial in Beirut – an ecumenical commemoration

Bishop Eva Brunne among the participants of the Commemoration Ceremony of the Armenian Genocide Centenial in Beirut, Lebanon, 18-19 July. © CILICIA PHOTO, Aram Somoundji.

Jul 27, 2015

Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church, invited church leaders to commemorate the Armenian Genocide Centenial in Beirut, Lebanon, 18-19 July. And many of us came to show solidarity and to pray together.

Among us were church leaders from various WCC member churches, mostly from the different Orthodox churches, but also form the Roman Catholic Church, Reformed churches in Europe and myself as a representative from the Lutheran Church of Sweden. Fifty-eight men and two women altogether.

In our technological day and age, the internet may seem as a gift to humanity, facilitating people all around the world to connect and communicate with each other, but there is nothing more powerful than when we come together in person to share stories while looking into each other’s eyes.

That happened when Catholicos Aram I in Lebanon invited friends from all over the world to share bitterness and sweetness. The Armenian Genocide Museum was inaugurated, roses were laid down on the Martyrs monument.

"The importance of the ecumenical movement is bringing us together, to share and to pray", said Aram I. And we did!

We came from all over the world because we are sisters and brothers, because we share a common history through missionary work. I was proud to tell and hear about the Swedish missionary Alma Johansson who worked in Armenia to take care of children who had lost their parents in the years of the genocide. We share history and as churches we have a unique position of telling stories and pray for a change.

We need to meet the future together. The strong sign of hope for this was the ecumenical prayer for justice and peace in St Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral.

The prayer: “God, of Life, lead us to Justice and Peace”, made and makes sense in a situation that still is full of wounds and in the country of Lebanon that still is at war. May we continue to pray.

The days in Beirut became an important part of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. People from all parts of the world coming together, sharing history, talking, praying, and sharing stories while looking into each other’s eyes. Then going home and continuing to tell the stories. That is something that technology or the internet can never replace.