On April 24th we celebrated the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide. The night before we, as a community, went to some of their services.
The evening service began with the ringing of the bells of St. James’ Cathedral. The bells rang 100 times while all remained in silent prayer. The seminarians then sang the Sanctus and the Our Father in Armenian. This was followed by a procession of banners and each person carrying a huge candle like a torch from St. James Cathedral to St. Gregory Armenian church in the German Colony. We were able to walk on one side of the main road that had been blocked off for the procession and had a police escort. At St. Gregory’s, there was a Jewish choir who sang beautifully for about 30 minutes. They are a choir of volunteers from different cities of Israel who come together each week to practice and offer their services for certain special occasions. The leader spoke after the performance and said that they were delighted to sing for this occasion as they wanted to be in solidarity with the Armenian people, knowing full well what genocide is after the Holocaust experience. The procession then returned to St. James Cathedral and to the Genocide Memorial Monument. It was touching to see so many people, especially many young people involved, in spite of the cold windy weather. Some of our Armenian friends who were there thanked us for the solidarity and support.
On Friday afternoon there was an Ecumenical Service at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in honour of the Centenary. We participated and many were there from different denomination to offer their support. All this went on while Israel was celebrating Independence day. We thank God that we had the opportunity to be in solidarity with the Armenians and that these celebrations were attended by so many and that all went smoothly and without incident.
Sr. Trudy Nabuurs,nds