Category Archives: SPIRITUALITY

SPIRITUAL REFLECTION


SPIRITUAL REFLECTION

“Baptismal regeneration”

From the first apology in defense of the Christians by Saint Justin, martyr
(Cap. 61: Quasten, Florilegium Patristicum, 14-16)

Through Christ we received new life and we consecrated ourselves to God. I will explain the way in which we did this. Those who believe what we teach is true and who give assurance of their ability to live according to that teaching are taught to ask God’s forgiveness for their sins by prayer and fasting and we pray and fast with them. We then lead them to a place where there is water and they are reborn in the same way as we were reborn; that is to say, they are washed in the water in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the whole universe, of our Savior Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit. This is done because Christ said: Unless you are born again you will not enter the kingdom of heaven, and it is impossible for anyone, having once been born, to reenter his mother’s womb.

An explanation of how repentant sinners are to be freed from their sins is given through the prophet Isaiah in the words: Wash yourselves and be clean. Remove the evil from your souls; learn to do what is right. Be just to the orphan, vindicate the widow. Come, let us reason together, says the Lord. If your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as wool; if they are like crimson, I will make them white as snow. But if you do not heed me, you shall be devoured by the sword. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.

The apostles taught us the reason for this ceremony of ours. Our first birth took place without our knowledge or consent because our parents came together, and we grew up in the midst of wickedness. So if we were not to remain children of necessity and ignorance, we needed a new birth of which we ourselves would be conscious, and which would be the result of our own free choice. We needed, too, to have our sins forgiven. This is why the name of God, the Father and Lord of the whole universe, is pronounced in the water over anyone who chooses to be born again and who has repented of his sins. The person who leads the candidate for baptism to the font calls upon God by this name alone, for God so far surpasses our powers of description that no one can really give a name to him. Anyone who dares to say that he can must be hopelessly insane.

This baptism is called “illumination” because of the mental enlightenment that is experienced by those who learn these things. The person receiving this enlightenment is also baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who through the prophets foretold everything concerning Jesus.    More

Bishop: Boko Haram is spreading to Cameroon – while the world looks the other way| CNA


 

Bishop: Boko Haram is spreading to Cameroon – while the world looks the other way
Children in the diocese of Maroua-Mokolo, Cameroon, which faces threats from Boko Haram. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need.

.- A bishop in Cameroon has sent out an urgent message that the militant Islamist group Boko Haram is increasingly spreading into his country – but that media around the world are paying no attention.  

In a memorandum made available to the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Bruno Ateba of the Diocese of Maroua-Mokolo lamented that the violence perpetrated in northern Cameroon by Boko Haram has not drawn significant international attention.

“What happened in Paris during the attacks there is something we experience here every day,” he said, referencing the January massacre at a Franch satirical newspaper by Muslim extremists, “and yet nobody in the world says anything about it.”

“Instead, the attention of the world is focused above all on the Middle East,” the prelate said.

Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful,” launched an uprising in 2009 in an effort to impose sharia law on Nigeria. More than 6,000 people have died in Boko Haram-led violence in the country, according to Human Rights Watch.

In 2014, Boko Haram became known worldwide when members kidnapped nearly 300 girls from a school in Borno State. Last month, the group pledged its allegiance to ISIS – also known as the Islamic State – which launched a bloody campaign in Iraq and Syria last summer.

But while the world turns its focus to the Middle East, Boko Haram is infiltrating parts of Cameroon, Bishop Ateba warned.

The bishop said that in his diocese alone, since the last quarter of 2014, two senior diocesan staff, three catechists and more than 30 faithful have been murdered, and there have been numerous abductions.

He also said that numerous mosques have been burnt down and imams have had their throats cut, because “they refused to obey the orders of Boko Haram.”

Since as early as December 2013, the native Muslim community within Cameroon has adopted an increasingly clear stance against Boko Haram, he explained, and Muslims have often come to the aid of Christians threatened by the terror group that is “sowing panic” in northern Cameroon.
 
Just as it does in Nigeria, Boko Haram also recruits children in Cameroon, ages 5-15, enticing them with financial benefits for their families or simply abducting them by force, the bishop reported. This year alone, he said, no fewer than 2000 Cameroonian children and adolescents have been seized by Boko Haram – including a number of girls.

The infrastructure of the affected region – already one of the poorest in Cameroon – has been severly damaged. According to Bishop Ateba, the terror attacks have caused the closure of more than 110 schools and 13 health centers, while many police stations have been destroyed.

The Diocese of Maroua-Mokolo is today home to more than 55,000 displaced Cameroonians as well as refugees from Nigeria, he added. Many have sought shelter with friends and relatives, but more than 22,000 are still hiding in the bush.

The situation is particularly bad in the community of Amchidé, where a series of attacks by Boko Haram have caused the entire population to flee, the bishop explained. As a result, the pastoral activities in the area have come to a complete standstill. The chapel has been burned down and, according to eyewitness reports, there are human skulls lying in the streets.

Praising the courage of the faithful who continue to gather for prayer despite the dangerous sitaution, Bishop Ateba also addressed world leaders with a plea: “Today we beseech your attention, your prayers and your help.”

“Help us to bring an end to this nameless brutality that is destroying all hope for the future and bringing to nothing all the hard work of generations of believers.”

 

 

 

this day in the yesteryear: Armenian Genocide Begins (1915) (yet another day that will live in infamy forever)


Armenian Genocide Begins (1915)

Known by Armenians as the Great Calamity, the Armenian Genocide refers to the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian population during and after World War I.

Characterized by the use of massacres and forced marches designed to lead to the death of deportees, the genocide is estimated to have claimed up to 1 million Armenian lives. The onset of the genocide is generally accepted to be April 24, 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities did what? More… Discuss
Related Articles:  HEREHERE ,

Today’s Special Events: Armenian church canonizes victims of 1915 mass killings


 

 Today’s Special Events:  Armenian church canonizes victims of 1915 mass killings 

                                          

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ECHMIADZIN (Armenia) (AFP) – The Armenian Church on Thursday conferred sainthood on some 1.5 million Armenians massacred by Ottoman forces a century ago, as tensions raged over Turkey‘s refusal to recognise the killings as genocide.

The ceremony, which is believed to be the biggest canonisation service in history, came ahead of commemorations expected to see millions of people including heads of state on Friday mark 100 years since the start of the killings.

The two-hour ceremony outside Armenia’s main cathedral, Echmiadzin, close to the capital Yerevan, ended at 7:15 pm local time, or 19:15 according to the 24-hour clock (1515 GMT), to symbolise the year when the massacres started during World War I.

“During the dire years of the genocide of the Armenians, millions of our people were uprooted and massacred in a premeditated manner, passed through fire and sword, tasted the bitter fruits of torture and sorrow,” Catholicos of All Armenians, Karekin II, said at the ceremony.

“The canonisation of the martyrs of the genocide brings life-giving new breath, grace and blessing to our national and ecclesiastical life.”

Clergymen in ornate robes sang ancient chants outside the imposing cathedral built in a pale pink variety of limestone at an open-air altar in a churchyard full of spring greenery.

At the end of the ceremony attended by President Serzh Sarkisian, bells rang out across Armenia and a minute of silence was observed.

Bells also tolled in cities around the world including New York, Madrid, Venice, Berlin and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Armenian television said.

– ‘Triumph of supreme justice’ –

“Today’s canonisation unites all Armenians living around the globe,” said Huri Avetikian, an ethnic Armenian librarian from Lebanon who arrived in her ancestral homeland to attend the service.

“Souls of the victims of the genocide will finally find eternal repose today,” said 68-year-old social worker Varduhi Shanakian.

“Supreme justice will triumph.”

In canonising the victims, “the Church only recognises what happened: that is, the genocide”, Karekin II said ahead of the event which Christian Today, an online publication covering religious news, said could become “the biggest saint-making service in history”.

Ex-Soviet Armenia and the huge Armenian diaspora worldwide have battled for decades to get the World War I massacres at the hands of the Ottoman forces between 1915 and 1917 recognised as a targeted genocide.

But modern Turkey, which was born of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, has refused to do so, and relations remain frozen to this day.

Ankara says 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil — rather than religious — strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian troops.

In a rare interview with Turkish television broadcast Thursday, Armenia’s Sarkisian expressed hope the two countries could mend fences.

“It is obvious that a reconciliation between the two peoples will have to come about through Turkey recognising the genocide,” he told CNN-Turk.

Later Thursday US hard rock band System of a Down whose members are of Armenian descent performed in front of thousands of fans in the pouring rain in Yerevan.

On Friday, hundreds of thousands are expected to join a procession to a hilltop memorial in Yerevan carrying candles and flowers to lay at the eternal flame at the centre of the monument.

In Paris, Los Angeles and other cities, members of the Armenian diaspora that came into existence as a result of the slaughter will also hold commemorations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande are expected to be among a handful of leaders to travel to Armenia for the commemorations, but others are shying away for fear of upsetting Ankara.

– Anger in Turkey –

In a move expected to draw an angry reaction from Turkey, German President Joahim Gauck on Thursday condemned the massacres as genocide, the first time Berlin has officially used the word to describe the bloodletting.

Speaking at a religious service commemorating the centenary, Gauck said the then German empire — the Ottoman Turkey’s ally in WWI — bore “shared responsibility, possibly shared guilt for the genocide.”

Ahead of the ceremonies, Turkey kicked up a diplomatic storm, condemning growing “racism” in Europe.

On Wednesday, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Vienna in protest at the Austrian parliament’s decision to call the massacre a “genocide.”

Earlier this month Ankara also recalled its envoy to the Vatican after Pope Francis described the killings as “the first genocide of the 20th century.”

More than 20 nations — including France and Russia — have so far recognised the Armenian genocide, a definition supported by numerous historians.

But the White House conspicuously avoids using the term.

Turkey will on Friday host world leaders to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Gallipoli, a day earlier than the actual start of fighting.

Sarkisian has accused Ankara of deliberately “trying to divert world attention” from the Yerevan commemorations.

 


 

 

Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014

Pope: Christians must protect marriage |from CNA


Pope: Christians must protect marriage

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quotation: God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31


Novena to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii


Among the numerous texts and prayers written by Blessed Bartolo Longo, there is the “Novena of Petition”, composed in July of 1879.  Having been struck down with typhoid fever, Bartolo Longo wrote it in order to ask for graces in the most desperate cases. Every day he went before the Picture of the Virgin of the Rosary to be inspired and to do some corrections. But one day, owing to a serious worsening of his illness, he taught that the only remedy was to take the Picture of the Virgin from the Chapel and place it in his bedroom. Turning to Saint Catherine of Siena so that she would intercede in his favour with Our Lady, he suddenly recovered. Since then, the Heavenly Mother has been granting graces to anyone prays to Her with the Novena written by Her most profound devotee. In 1894, at Arpino (Italy), Saint Catherine of Siena, represented at the feet of the Virgin in the Pompeiian Icon, appeared to a dying young girl and invited her to recite the Novena and to pray it together with her.  At the end of the prayer the young girl was perfectly cured. The Novena, approved by Pope Leo XIII on November 29th, 1887.

Among the many persons prodigiously cured by Our Lady of Pompeii, there is also the Commendatore Agrelli’s daughter of Naples, to whom Our Lady appeared personally in 1884 and told her: “Whenever you wish to obtain graces from me, make three Novenas of Petition and at the same time recite the fifteen decades of my Rosary and then three Novenas of Thanks”. The young Fortunatina Agrelli made according to the Virgin’s indications and was miraculously cured.

The Novena consists of 15 decades of the Rosary each day for twenty-seven days in petition; then immediately 15 decades each day for twenty-seven days in thanksgiving, whether or not the request has been granted. This is a 54 days novena.

Informations and texts of this novena at Shrine of Pompeii website
use google translate for english

Text of the Novena of Petition to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii

O Saint Catherine of Siena, my Protectress and Teacher, who from heaven assist your devotees as they recite Mary’s Rosary, come to my aid in this moment and deign to recite along with me the Novena to the Queen of the Rosary who has established the throne of her graces in the Valley of Pompeii, that through your intercession I may obtain the grace I desire. Amen.
V. O God, come to my aid.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father, etc.

I. O Immaculate Virgin and Queen of the Holy Rosary, in these times of dead faith and triumphant impiety you have desired to establish your throne of Queen and Mother in the ancient land of Pompeii, the resting place of deceased pagans. From this place in which idols and demons were worshipped, you today, as the Mother of divine grace, shower the treasures of heavenly mercy far and wide. O Mary, from this throne upon which you graciously reign, turn upon me as well your benign eyes, and have mercy on me who am so greatly in need of your help. Show yourself to me, just as you have shown yourself to so many others, as the true Mother of mercy: while I with all my heart greet you, and invoke you as my Sovereign and Queen of the Holy Rosary.
Hail, Holy Queen

II. Prostrate before your throne, O great and glorious Lady, my soul venerates you amidst the groans and sighs which afflict it beyond measure. In this state of anguish and affliction in which I find myself, I confidently lift up my eyes to you, who have deigned to choose the land of poor and abandoned peasants as your dwelling-place. And there, before the city and amphitheatre where there reign silence and ruin, you, the Queen of Victories, have raised your powerful voice to call from every part of Italy and the Catholic world your devoted sons and daughters, to build a Temple to you. May you now be moved to pity for this soul of mine that lies here humiliated in the mud. Have mercy on me, O my Lady, have mercy on me who am overwhelmingly covered in misery and humiliation. You, who are the extermination of demons, defend me from these enemies besieging me. You, who are the Help of Christians, deliver me from these tribulations which wretchedly oppress me. You, who are our Life, triumph over death which threatens my soul in these dangers to which it is exposed; grant to me peace, serenity, love and health. Amen.
Hail, Holy Queen

III. The knowledge that so many have been helped by you, solely because they turned to you with faith, gives me new strength and courage to call upon you in my needs. You once promised St. Dominic that those wishing graces shall receive them through your Rosary. Now I, your Rosary in my hands, dare to remind you, O Mother, of your holy promises. Indeed, you yourself work endless miracles in our times in order to call your children to honour you in the Temple of Pompeii. You therefore long to wipe away our tears, you yearn to relieve our pain! Then I, with my heart bared and with burning faith, call upon you and invoke you: My Mother!… Dear Mother!… Beautiful Mother!… Most Sweet Mother, come to my aid!
Mother and Queen of the Holy Rosary of Pompeii, delay no longer in stretching your powerful hand out to me, to save me: for you see, delay would be my ruin.
Hail, Holy Queen

IV. And to whom else might I go, if not to you who are the Solace of the wretched, the Comforter of the forsaken, the Consolation of the afflicted? I confess to you, my soul is miserable: weighed down by enormous faults, it deserves to burn in hell, unworthy of receiving graces! But are you not the Hope of those who despair, the Mother of Jesus the only mediator between God and humanity, our powerful Advocate by the throne of the Almighty, the Refuge of sinners? Then, only say a word on my behalf to your Son, and He shall hear you. Ask of him, O Mother, this grace which I am so greatly in need of. (Here express the grace you desire.) You alone can obtain it for me: you who are my only hope, my consolation, my sweetness, my whole life. So I hope. Amen.
Hail, Holy Queen

V. O Virgin and Queen of the Holy Rosary, you who are the Daughter of our Heavenly Father, the Mother of the divine Son, the Bride of the Holy Spirit; you who can obtain everything from the Blessed Trinity: I beseech you, seek this grace so necessary for me, provided that it be not an obstacle to my eternal salvation. (Here repeat the grace you desire.) I ask this of you through your Immaculate Conception, your divine Maternity, your joys, your sorrows, your triumphs. I ask it of you through the Heart of your loving Jesus, through those nine months you bore him in your womb, through the hardships of his life, his bitter passion, his death on the cross, his most holy Name and his most precious Blood. Finally, I ask it of you through your sweetest Heart: in your glorious Name, O Mary, who are the Star of the sea, Our Powerful Lady, the Sea of sorrow, the Gate of Heaven and the Mother of every grace. In you I place my trust and my every hope; save me, I pray. Amen.
Hail, Holy Queen

V. Queen of the Holy Rosary, pray for us
R. That we may become worthy of Christ’s promises.

Prayer – O God, by his life, death and resurrection your Only Begotten Son obtained for us the fruits of eternal salvation: grant, we beseech you, that by venerating these mysteries of Virgin Mary’s Holy Rosary, we imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

PRAYERS TO ST. DOMINIC AND TO ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA TO OBTAIN GRACES FROM THE BLESSED VIRGIN OF POMPEII
O holy priest of God and glorious Patriarch, Saint Dominic, who were the friend, the beloved son and the confidant of our heavenly Queen, and who worked many miracles through the power of the Holy Rosary; and you, Saint Catherine of Siena, the leading daughter of this Order of the Rosary and a powerful mediator by the throne of Mary and the Heart of Jesus, with whom you exchanged hearts: O my dear holy Saints, consider my needs and pity the state I find myself in. On earth you possessed a heart open to all the miseries of others, and a hand powerful enough to take care of them. And now, in Heaven, neither your charity nor you power has been lessened.
On my behalf then, pray to our Mother of the Rosary and to her Divine Son, for I have great faith that through you I shall obtain the grace I ardently desire. Amen.
Three Glory be to the Father.

 

Text of the Novena of Thanks to the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii

V. O God, come to my aid.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

I.
Here am I at your feet, O Immaculate Mother of Jesus, who delight in being invoked as Queen of the Rosary of the Valley of Pompeii. Rejoicing in my heart, my soul overwhelmed by the most ardent gratitude, I return to you, my generous Benefactress, mysweet Lady, the Queen of my heart, to you who have truly shown yourself as my Moththe Mother who so dearly loves me. In my laments you heard me, in my afflictions youcomforted me, in my anguish you gave me peace. Sorrows and the pains of death were besieging my heart, and you, O Mother, from your throne in Pompeii, by your compassionate gaze, offered me relief. Who has ever turned to you with confidence and has not been heard? If all the world only knew how good you are, how compassionate with those who suffer, all creatures would turn to you. May you for ever be blessed, O Sovereign Virgin of Pompeii, by me and by everyone, by humanity and by the Angels, by Heaven and by earth. Amen
Glory be to the Father.
Hail, Holy Queen

II.
I offer thanks to God and to you, O divine Mother, for the new favours that have been granted to me through your compassion and mercy. What would have become of me, had you turned your back on my groans and my tears? May the Angels of paradise and the choirs of Apostles, Martyrs, Virgins and Confessors thank you for me. May all the souls of sinners saved by you, who now enjoy the vision of your immortal beauty in heaven, thank you for me. I wish all creatures to join me in loving you, and that all the world repeat the echo of my thanks. What have I to offer you, O Queen, rich in mercy and magnificence? What remains of my life I dedicate to you, and to the propagating of your cult everywhere, O Virgin of the Rosary of Pompeii, through whose invocation the grace of the Lord has visited me. I shall promote the devotion of your Rosary; I shall tell everyone of the mercy you have obtained for me; I shall always proclaim your goodness towards me, so that others as well, unworthy as I and sinners, may turn to you with confidence.
Glory be to the Father.
Hail, Holy Queen

III.
By what names shall I call you, O snow white dove of peace? By what titles shall I invoke you, whom the holy Doctors called Our Lady of creation, Gate of life, Temple of God, Royal Palace of light, Glory of the heavens, Holy among the Holy, Miracle of miracles, Paradise of the Most High? You are the Treasurer of graces, the Almighty of supplication, indeed, the very Mercy of God which descends upon the unfortunate. Yet I know that your heart takes pleasure also in being invoked as the Queen of the Rosary, of the Valley of Pompeii. And when invoking you in this manner, I hear the sweetness of your mystical Name, O Rose of Paradise, transplanted in the Valley of tears to relieve the sorrows of us banished children of Eve; red Rose of charity, more fragrant than all the perfumes of Lebanon, drawing the hearts of sinners to the Heart of God in your Valley by the fragrance of your heavenly sweetness. You are the Rose of everlasting freshness who, nourished by the streams of heavenly waters, planted your roots in soil scorched by a shower of fire; a Rose of unblemished beauty, who planted the Garden of the Lord’s delights in a land of desolation. May God be exalted, who made your name so wondrous. Bless, O nations, the Name of the Virgin of Pompeii, for all the earth is full of her mercy.
Glory be to the Father.
Hail, Holy Queen

IV.
In the midst of the storms raging about me I lifted my eyes to you, new Star of hope that appeared in our times over the Valley of ruins. From the depths of sorrow I raised my voice to you, O Queen of the Rosary of Pompeii, and I experienced the power of this title so dear to you. Hail, I shall always cry, Hail O Mother of mercy, immense sea of grace, ocean of kindness and compassion! Who shall worthily sing the glories of your Rosary, the victories of your Crown? The world has freed itself of Jesus’ arms to become abandoned in those of Satan, yet you make ready to restore it to health in that Valley where Satan devours souls. Triumphant you rode over the ruins of the pagan temples, and upon the decay of idolatry placed the footstool of your rule. You transformed a region of death into a Valley of resurrection and life, and upon the land ruled over by your enemy you established a City of refuge, where you welcome the nations unto their salvation. Behold your children, spread throughout the world, who raised a throne to you in this place, as a testimonial) of your miracles, as a trophy of your mercies. From this throne you have called me also, among your chosen children: upon me a sinner your merciful gaze has rested. May your works be everlastingly blessed, my Lady: and blessed be all the miracles worked by You in this valley of desolation and ruin.
Glory be to the Father
Hail, Holy Queen

V.
May every tongue resound with your glory, O Mary; may the evening hand on to the fol-lowing day the harmony of our blessings. Let every generation proclaim you blessed, and let all the regions of the earth and the heavenly choirs repeat, blessed are you. I too shall call you three times blessed with the Angels, the Archangels and the Principalities; three times blessed with the angelic Powers, the Virtues of the heavens and the celestial Dominations. I shall proclaim you most Blessed with the Thrones, the Cherubim and the
Seraphim. O my Sovereign Rescuer, may you never turn your merciful gaze away from this family, this nation, the entire Church. Especially, do not deny me the greatest of graces: that I never become separated from you through my weakness. Let me persevere until my last breath in the faith and love with which my soul in this moment burns. And grant that all of us who contribute to the maintenance of your Shrine in Pompeii, and to the building-up of its charitable works, be included in the number of the chosen. O Holy Rosary of my Mother, I press you tightly to my bosom and kiss you with veneration. (Here kiss your rosary.) You are the way leading to every virtue, the treasure of merits for paradise, the pledge of my predestination, the strong chains binding the enemy, the source of peace for those who honour you throughout life, the promise of victory for those kissing you at the point of death. In that last hour I await you, O Mother. Your appearing will be the sign of my salvation; your Rosary shall open before me the gatesof Heaven. Amen
Glory be to the Father
Hail, Holy Queen

V. Queen of the Holy Rosary, pray for us.
. That we may become
Prayer – O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who taught us to turn to you with confidence and call you: Our Father, who art in heaven; O gracious Lord, ever merciful and forgiving: through the intercession of Immaculate Virgin Mary, hear us who take delight in being called children of the Rosary. Accept our humble thanks for the gifts we have received; and daily render the throne you have established in the Shrine of Pompeii more glorious and lasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen

 

 

Music with a voice, †’Adoramus te, Christe’ (Palestrina / Rosselli) †, great compositions/performances


†Adoramus te, Christe (Palestrina / Rosselli)

Historic Music Bits, Palestrina “Adoramus te, Christe” Leopold Stokowski , great compositions/performances


Palestrina “Adoramus te, Christe” Leopold Stokowski

 

Andreas Scholl – Bach: St. Matthew Passion BWV 244 – Erbarme Dich


Andreas Scholl – Bach: St. Matthew Passion BWV 244 – Erbarme Dich

Saint of the Day for Monday, April 20th, 2015: St. Marian


St. Marian

When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which St. Germanus had founded at Auxerre, there came to him a young man called Marcian (also known as Marian), a fugitive from Bourges then occupied by … continue reading

 More Saints of the Day

Science of Breath, by Yogi Ramacharaka, pseud. William Atkinson, [1904], at sacred-texts.com



Science of Breath, by Yogi Ramacharaka, pseud. William Atkinson, [1904], at sacred-texts.com


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Chapter II

“BREATH IS LIFE”

Life is absolutely dependent upon the act of breathing. “Breath is Life.”

Differ as they may upon details of theory and terminology, the Oriental and the Occidental agree upon these fundamental principles.

To breathe is to live, and without breath there is no life. Not only are the higher animals dependent upon breath for life and health, but even the lower forms of animal life must breathe to live, and plant life is likewise dependent upon the air for continued existence. The infant draws in a long, deep breath, retains it for a moment to extract from it its life-giving properties, and then exhales it in a long wail, and lo! its life upon earth has begun. The old man gives a faint gasp, ceases to breathe, and life is over. From the first faint breath of the infant to the last gasp of the dying man, it is one long story of continued breathing. Life is but a series of breaths.

Breathing may be considered the most important of all of the functions of the body, for, indeed, all the other functions depend upon it. Man may exist some time without eating; a shorter time without drinking; but without breathing his existence may be measured by a few minutes.

And not only is Man dependent upon Breath for life, but he is largely dependent upon correct habits of breathing for continued vitality and freedom from disease. An intelligent control of our breathing power will lengthen our days upon earth by giving us increased vitality and powers of resistance, and, on the

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other hand, unintelligent and careless breathing will tend to shorten our days, by decreasing our vitality and laying us open to disease.

Man in his normal state had no need of instruction in breathing. Like the lower animal and the child, he breathed naturally and properly, as nature intended him to do, but civilization has changed him in this and other respects. He has contracted improper methods and attitudes of walking, standing and sitting, which have robbed him of his birthright of natural and correct breathing. He has paid a high price for civilization. The savage, to-day, breathes naturally, unless he has been contaminated by the habits of civilized man.

The percentage of civilized men who breathe correctly is quite small, and the result is shown in contracted chests and stooping shoulders, and the terrible increase in diseases of the respiratory organs, including that dread monster, Consumption, “the white scourge.” Eminent authorities have stated that one generation of correct breathers would regenerate the race, and disease would be so rare as to be looked upon as a curiosity. Whether looked at from the standpoint of the Oriental or Occidental, the connection between correct breathing and health is readily seen and explained.

The Occidental teachings show that the physical health depends very materially upon correct breathing. The Oriental teachers not only admit that their Occidental brothers are right, but say that in addition to the physical benefit derived from correct habits of breathing, Man’s mental power, happiness, self-control, clear-sightedness, morals, and even his spiritual growth may be increased by an understanding of the

p. 10

“Science of Breath.” Whole schools of Oriental Philosophy have been founded upon this science, and this knowledge when grasped by the Western races, and by them put to the practical use which is their strong point, will work wonders among them. The theory of the East, wedded to the practice of the West, will produce worthy offspring.

This work will take up the Yogi “Science of Breath,” which includes not only all that is known to the Western physiologist and hygienist, but the occult side of the subject as well. It not only points out the way to physical health along the lines of what Western scientists have termed “deep breathing,” etc., but also goes into the less known phases of the subject, and shows how the Hindu Yogi controls his body, increasing his mental capacity, and develops the spiritual side of his nature by the “Science of Breath.”

The Yogi practices exercises by which he attains control of his body, and is enabled to send to any organ or part an increased flow of vital force or “prana,” thereby strengthening and invigorating the part or organ. He knows all that his Western scientific brother knows about the physiological effect of correct breathing, but he also knows that the air contains more than oxygen and hydrogen and nitrogen, and that something more is accomplished than the mere oxygenating of the blood. He knows something about “prana,” of which his Western brother is ignorant, and he is fully aware of the nature and manner of handling that great principle of energy, and is fully informed as to its effect upon the human body and mind. He knows that by rhythmical breathing one may bring himself into harmonious vibration with

p. 11

nature, and aid in the unfoldment of his latent powers. He knows that by controlled breathing he may not only cure disease in himself and others, but also practically do away with fear and worry and the baser emotions.

To teach these things is the object of this work. We will give in a few chapters concise explanation and instructions, which might be extended into volumes. We hope to awaken the minds of the Western world to the value of the Yogi “Science of Breath.”

One: Rabindranath Tagore – Gitanjali (a moving introduction by W.B. Yeats, a must read)


‘1
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life.
This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.
At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.
Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.
17

Rabindranath Tagore – Gitanjali (a moving introduction by W.B. Yeats, a must read)


Sacred-texts  Hinduism  Tagore


The Gitanjali or `song offerings’ by Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), Nobel prize for literature 1913, with an introduction by William B. Yeats (1865–1939), Nobel prize for literature 1923. First published in 1913.

This work is in public domain according to the Berne convention since January 1st 1992.


RABINDRANATH TAGORE

GITANJALI

Song Offerings
A collection of prose translations
made by the author from
the original Bengali
With an introduction by
W. B. YEATS
to WILLIAM ROTHENSTEIN


INTRODUCTIONIA few days ago I said to a distinguished Bengali doctor of medicine, I know no German, yet if a translation of a German poet had moved me, I would go to the British Museum and find books in English that would tell me something of his life, and of the history of his thought. But though these prose translations from Rabindranath Tagore have stirred my blood as nothing has for years, I shall not know anything of his life, and of the movements of thought that have made them possible, if some Indian traveller will not tell me.' It seemed to him natural that I should be moved, for he said,I read Rabindranath every day, to read one line of his is to forget all the troubles of the world.’ I said, An Englishman living in London in the reign of Richard the Second had he been shown translations from Petrarch or from Dante, would have found no books to answer his questions, but would have questioned some Florentine banker or Lombard merchant as I question you. For all I know, so abundant and simple is this poetry, the new renaissance has been born in your country and I shall never know of it except by hearsay.' He answered,We have other poets, but none that are his equal; we call this the epoch of Rabindranath. No poet seems to me as famous in Europe as he is among us. He is as great in music as in poetry, and his songs are sung from the west of India into Burma wherever Bengali is spoken. He was already famous at nineteen when he wrote his first novel; and plays when he was but little older, are still played in Calcutta. I so much admire the completeness of his life; when he was very young he wrote much of natural objects, he would sit all day in his garden; from his twenty-fifth year or so to his thirty-fifth perhaps, when he had a great sorrow, he wrote the most beautiful love poetry in our language'; and then he said with deep emotion, words can never express what I owed at seventeen to his love poetry. After that his art grew deeper, it became religious and philosophical; all the inspiration of mankind are in his hymns. He is the first among our saints who has not refused to live, but has spoken out of Life itself, and that is why we give him our love.' I may have changed his well-chosen words in my memory but not his thought.A little while ago he was to read divine service in one of our churches—we of the Brahma Samaj use your word `church’ in English—it was the largest in Calcutta and not only was it crowded, but the streets were all but impassable because of the people.’

Other Indians came to see me and their reverence for this man sounded strange in our world, where we hide great and little things under the same veil of obvious comedy and half-serious depreciation. When we were making the cathedrals had we a like reverence for our great men? Every morning at three---I know, for I have seen it'---one said to me,he sits immovable in contemplation, and for two hours does not awake from his reverie upon the nature of God. His father, the Maha Rishi, would sometimes sit there all through the next day; once, upon a river, he fell into contemplation because of the beauty of the landscape, and the rowers waited for eight hours before they could continue their journey.’ He then told me of Mr. Tagore’s family and how for generations great men have come out of its cradles. Today,' he said,there are Gogonendranath and Abanindranath Tagore, who are artists; and Dwijendranath, Rabindranath’s brother, who is a great philosopher. The squirrels come from the boughs and climb on to his knees and the birds alight upon his hands.’ I notice in these men’s thought a sense of visible beauty and meaning as though they held that doctrine of Nietzsche that we must not believe in the moral or intellectual beauty which does not sooner or later impress itself upon physical things. I said, In the East you know how to keep a family illustrious. The other day the curator of a museum pointed out to me a little dark-skinned man who was arranging their Chinese prints and said, ``That is the hereditary connoisseur of the Mikado, he is the fourteenth of his family to hold the post.'' 'He answered,When Rabindranath was a boy he had all round him in his home literature and music.’ I thought of the abundance, of the simplicity of the poems, and said, In your country is there much propagandist writing, much criticism? We have to do so much, especially in my own country, that our minds gradually cease to be creative, and yet we cannot help it. If our life was not a continual warfare, we would not have taste, we would not know what is good, we would not find hearers and readers. Four-fifths of our energy is spent in the quarrel with bad taste, whether in our own minds or in the minds of others.'I understand,’ he replied, `we too have our propagandist writing. In the villages they recite long mythological poems adapted from the Sanskrit in the Middle Ages, and they often insert passages telling the people that they must do their duties.’


II
I have carried the manuscript of these translations about with me for days, reading it in railway trains, or on the top of omnibuses and in restaurants, and I have often had to close it lest some stranger would see how much it moved me. These lyrics—which are in the original, my Indians tell me, full of subtlety of rhythm, of untranslatable delicacies of colour, of metrical invention—display in their thought a world I have dreamed of all my live long. The work of a supreme culture, they yet appear as much the growth of the common soil as the grass and the rushes. A tradition, where poetry and religion are the same thing, has passed through the centuries, gathering from learned and unlearned metaphor and emotion, and carried back again to the multitude the thought of the scholar and of the noble. If the civilization of Bengal remains unbroken, if that common mind which—as one divines—runs through all, is not, as with us, broken into a dozen minds that know nothing of each other, something even of what is most subtle in these verses will have come, in a few generations, to the beggar on the roads. When there was but one mind in England, Chaucer wrote his Troilus and Cressida, and thought he had written to be read, or to be read out—for our time was coming on apace—he was sung by minstrels for a while. Rabindranath Tagore, like Chaucer’s forerunners, writes music for his words, and one understands at every moment that he is so abundant, so spontaneous, so daring in his passion, so full of surprise, because he is doing something which has never seemed strange, unnatural, or in need of defence. These verses will not lie in little well-printed books upon ladies’ tables, who turn the pages with indolent hands that they may sigh over a life without meaning, which is yet all they can know of life, or be carried by students at the university to be laid aside when the work of life begins, but, as the generations pass, travellers will hum them on the highway and men rowing upon the rivers. Lovers, while they await one another, shall find, in murmuring them, this love of God a magic gulf wherein their own more bitter passion may bathe and renew its youth. At every moment the heart of this poet flows outward to these without derogation or condescension, for it has known that they will understand; and it has filled itself with the circumstance of their lives. The traveller in the read-brown clothes that he wears that dust may not show upon him, the girl searching in her bed for the petals fallen from the wreath of her royal lover, the servant or the bride awaiting the master’s home-coming in the empty house, are images of the heart turning to God. Flowers and rivers, the blowing of conch shells, the heavy rain of the Indian July, or the moods of that heart in union or in separation; and a man sitting in a boat upon a river playing lute, like one of those figures full of mysterious meaning in a Chinese picture, is God Himself. A whole people, a whole civilization, immeasurably strange to us, seems to have been taken up into this imagination; and yet we are not moved because of its strangeness, but because we have met our own image, as though we had walked in Rossetti’s willow wood, or heard, perhaps for the first time in literature, our voice as in a dream.

Since the Renaissance the writing of European saints—however familiar their metaphor and the general structure of their thought—has ceased to hold our attention. We know that we must at last forsake the world, and we are accustomed in moments of weariness or exaltation to consider a voluntary forsaking; but how can we, who have read so much poetry, seen so many paintings, listened to so much music, where the cry of the flesh and the cry of the soul seems one, forsake it harshly and rudely? What have we in common with St. Bernard covering his eyes that they may not dwell upon the beauty of the lakes of Switzerland, or with the violent rhetoric of the Book of Revelations? We would, if we might, find, as in this book, words full of courtesy. I have got my leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers! I bow to you all and take my departure. Here I give back the keys of my door---and I give up all claims to my house. I only ask for last kind words from you. We were neighbours for long, but I received more than I could give. Now the day has dawned and the lamp that lit my dark corner is out. A summons has come and I am ready for my journey.' And it is our own mood, when it is furthest froma Kempis or John of the Cross, that cries, And because I love this life, I know I shall love death as well.' Yet it is not only in our thoughts of the parting that this book fathoms all. We had not known that we loved God, hardly it may be that we believed in Him; yet looking backward upon our life we discover, in our exploration of the pathways of woods, in our delight in the lonely places of hills, in that mysterious claim that we have made, unavailingly on the woman that we have loved, the emotion that created this insidious sweetness.Entering my heart unbidden even as one of the common crowd, unknown to me, my king, thou didst press the signet of eternity upon many a fleeting moment.’ This is no longer the sanctity of the cell and of the scourge; being but a lifting up, as it were, into a greater intensity of the mood of the painter, painting the dust and the sunlight, and we go for a like voice to St. Francis and to William Blake who have seemed so alien in our violent history.


III

We write long books where no page perhaps has any quality to make writing a pleasure, being confident in some general design, just as we fight and make money and fill our heads with politics—all dull things in the doing—while Mr. Tagore, like the Indian civilization itself, has been content to discover the soul and surrender himself to its spontaneity. He often seems to contrast life with that of those who have loved more after our fashion, and have more seeming weight in the world, and always humbly as though he were only sure his way is best for him: Men going home glance at me and smile and fill me with shame. I sit like a beggar maid, drawing my skirt over my face, and when they ask me, what it is I want, I drop my eyes and answer them not.' At another time, remembering how his life had once a different shape, he will say,Many an hour I have spent in the strife of the good and the evil, but now it is the pleasure of my playmate of the empty days to draw my heart on to him; and I know not why this sudden call to what useless inconsequence.’ An innocence, a simplicity that one does not find elsewhere in literature makes the birds and the leaves seem as near to him as they are near to children, and the changes of the seasons great events as before our thoughts had arisen between them and us. At times I wonder if he has it from the literature of Bengal or from religion, and at other times, remembering the birds alighting on his brother’s hands, I find pleasure in thinking it hereditary, a mystery that was growing through the centuries like the courtesy of a Tristan or a Pelanore. Indeed, when he is speaking of children, so much a part of himself this quality seems, one is not certain that he is not also speaking of the saints, `They build their houses with sand and they play with empty shells. With withered leaves they weave their boats and smilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their play on the seashore of worlds. They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets. Pearl fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships, while children gather pebbles and scatter them again. They seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.’

W.B. YEATS September 1912

GITANJALI


1
Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life.

This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.

At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.

Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.


When thou commandest me to sing it seems that my heart would break with pride; and I look to thy face, and tears come to my eyes.

All that is harsh and dissonant in my life melts into one sweet harmony—and my adoration spreads wings like a glad bird on its flight across the sea.

I know thou takest pleasure in my singing. I know that only as a singer I come before thy presence.

I touch by the edge of the far-spreading wing of my song thy feet which I could never aspire to reach.

Drunk with the joy of singing I forget myself and call thee friend who art my lord.


Continue reading

Christianity – Faith: Pope: Doomed migrants were looking for happiness :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


By Ann Scheinble

Pope Francis prays with journalists on the papal flight en route to South Korea, August 14, 2014. Credit: Alan Holdren/CNA

 

Vatican City, Apr 19, 2015 / 08:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis led a moment of prayerful silence on Sunday for the hundreds of migrants killed off the coast of Lampedusa, saying they were like us in their search for happiness.

“They are men and women like us, our brothers who seek a better life: hungry, persecuted, wounded, exploited, victims of war,” the Pope said in off-the-cuff remarks. “They were looking for happiness.”

The Pope was speaking during his weekly Regina Caeli address to the crowds in Saint Peter’s Square, some twelve hours following the accident.

Hundreds of people are feared dead after the boat carrying as many as 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, according to the Italian coastguard.

The BBC reports that the ship went down at around midnight local time south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, a major entry point for migrants from northern Africa.

“I express my deepest sorrow in the face of such a tragedy, and assure my remembrance in prayer for the lost and their families,” Pope Francis said in his Apr. 19 address.

He invited those in the crowd to take a moment of prayerful silence for those killed in last night’s boat accident before leading the crowds in praying the Hail Mary.

The pontiff then made a “heartfelt appeal” to the international community to act “decisively and promptly”, in order to prevent similar tragedies from being repeated.

Thousands have made their way to Lampedusa from Africa over the years, with scores of migrants dying en route, often due to factors such as overcrowding on the boats.

Today’s tragedy comes less than two years after a boat carrying 500 migrants sank off coast of Lampedusa, killing at least 300.

Pope Francis had visited the island a few months earlier, in July 2013, praying for the migrants, both living and those who perished en route.

The BBC reports that some 900 migrants are believed to have died since the beginning of 2015 trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

Before leading the crowds in reciting the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis reflected on the readings for the Third Sunday of Easter, centering his address on the theme of “witness.”

In the first reading, Pope Francis cited the words of St. Peter: “But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” (Acts 3:14-15).

Turning to the Gospel, the Pope reflected on Jesus telling the disciples that they were “witnesses” of His death and resurrection.

“Every baptized person is called to give witness, with (his) words and life, that Jesus is risen, that Jesus is alive and present among us.”

The identity and mission of the witness, Pope Francis said, is summarized into three words: to see, to remember, and to recount.

“The content of the Christian witness is not a theory, not an ideology, or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions or a moralism,” the pontiff said.

Rather: “It is a message of salvation, a concrete event, even a Person: It is Christ risen, living, and only savior of everyone.”

The witness of a Christian is “all the more credible,” when it shines through a way of living that is “evangelical, courageous, gentle, peaceful, merciful.”

On the other hand, a Christian who seeks comfort, vanity, selfishness, while becoming “deaf and blind the question of ‘resurrection’”, Pope Francis asked, “how can he communicate the living Jesus,” the “liberating power of Jesus alive and his infinite tenderness?”

Pope Francis concluded his Regina Caeli address by asking Mary’s intercession to help Christians become “witnesses of the Lord’s Resurrection, carrying to the persons who we encounter the Easter gifts of Joy and Peace.”

Tags: Pope Francis, Regina Caeli, Migrants, Witness

via Pope: Doomed migrants were looking for happiness :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

pray HAIL MARY HERE:

Johann Sebastian Bach: Bist du bei mir (BWV 508) , Per-Olov Kindgren , great compositions/perfoemances


Johann Sebastian Bach: Bist du bei mir (BWV 508)

Saint of the Day for Sunday, April 19th, 2015: St. Alphege


Image of St. Alphege

St. Alphege

Archbishop and “the First Martyr of Canterbury.” He was born in 953 and became a monk in the Deerhurst Monastery in Gloucester, England, asking after a few years to become a hermit. He received … continue reading

More Saints of the Day

Spiritual Reflection, April 18, 2015, John Paul II, Encyclical Letter “Dives in Misericordia” on Divine Mercy


Spiritual Reflection

John Paul II, Encyclical Letter “Dives in Misericordia” on Divine Mercy

The concept of “mercy” in the Old Testament has a long and rich history. We have to refer back to it in order that the mercy revealed by Christ may shine forth more clearly. By revealing that mercy both through His actions and through His teaching, Christ addressed Himself to people who not only knew the concept of mercy, but who also, as the People of God of the Old Covenant, had drawn from their age – long history a special experience of the mercy of God. This experience was social and communal, as well as individual and interior. […]

The truth, revealed in Christ, about God the “Father of mercies,” enables us to “see” Him as particularly close to man especially when man is suffering, when he is under threat at the very heart of his existence and dignity. And this is why, in the situation of the Church and the world today, many individuals and groups guided by a lively sense of faith are turning, I would say almost spontaneously, to the mercy of God. They are certainly being moved to do this by Christ Himself, who through His Spirit works within human hearts. […]

In fact, revelation and faith teach us not only to meditate in the abstract upon the mystery of God as “Father of mercies,” but also to have recourse to that mercy in the name of Christ and in union with Him.

address at a UN Conference on the theme: “The Persecution of Christians Globally: A Threat to International Peace and Security”, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations


2015-04-18 Vatican Radio


In an address at a UN Conference on the theme: “The Persecution of Christians Globally: A Threat to International Peace and Security”, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations, urged the international community to act in protecting Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East.

The following is the text of Archbishop Auza’s address:

United Nations, New York, 17 April 2015


Your Excellencies, Distinguished Panelists,

Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Before the tens of thousands who came to St. Peter’s Square to listen to his Easter Message to the City of Rome and to the World last April 6, Pope Francis vigorously appealed to raise up “intense prayer” and “tangible help” for the Christians throughout the world, “who are being persecuted, exiled, killed, and decapitated for the sole reason that they are Christians.”

“They are our martyrs of today,” he continued, and “they are more numerous than in the early Christian centuries.”

The Pope prayed that “the international community will not remain mute and unmoved before such an unacceptable crime” — which he called “a worrisome deviation from the most basic human rights” — and articulated his sincere hope “that the international community does not turn a blind eye” to the situation.

Today in this setting where the deliberations of the international community take place, we come with both of our eyes wide open. And as we consider in depth the details of the persecution of Christians across the globe, it’s going to be very difficult to keep our eyes dry.

In Iraq and Syria, in Nigeria and Libya, in Kenya and in regions of the Asian subcontinent, the earth has been getting literally soaked with blood. We have seen barbaric images of Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya; churches filled with people blown up during liturgical celebrations in Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan; ancient Christian communities driven out of their homes on the biblical Plain of Nineveh; Christian students executed in Kenya…

Even as we speak, thousands across the world are being persecuted, deprived of their fundamental human rights, discriminated against and killed simply because they are believers.

We know that these attacks against people of faith do not happen just to Christians. Less than a month ago, hundreds of Muslim worshippers were killed or wounded when suicide bombers allied with the so-called Islamic State attacked the two Mosques in which they were worshipping in Yemen. Muslim minorities elsewhere have also been attacked by extremists who claim to be Muslims themselves.

Ethnic minorities have been targeted as well. During a UN Security Council debate on the victims of attacks and abuses on ethnic and religious grounds in the Middle East, which was held March 27, Iraqi Yazidi congresswoman Vian Dakhil, with tears in her eyes, told the world: “We are being slaughtered, our girls are being sold, our children are being taken.”

Nevertheless, the fact is, in many parts of the world, Christians have been specifically targeted. As a 2014 Pew Research Center report on religious hostilities across the world documented, brutal attacks on people of faith happen to Christians more than to any other religious group. Between 2006 and 2012, Christians were targeted through harassment, persecution or martyrdom in 151 out of 193 Members States of the United Nations. This points to a collective failure of this international organization, whose primary objective is to spare peoples and nations from the scourge of violence and unjust aggressions.

His Excellency the UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki Moon has repeatedly condemned “in the strongest terms all persecution and violations of the rights to life and physical integrity of individuals and communities based on religious, ethnic, national, racial or other grounds.” His presentation of the situation in the Middle East during the March Security Council briefing was very sobering: The so-called “Islamic State” (ISIL/ISIS) or Da’esh has been systematically killing ethnic and religious minorities and those who disagreed with its warped interpretation of Islam. He said that in Iraq, information strongly suggested that Da’esh had perpetrated genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and that minorities had been victims of that violence. Syria has seen an exceptional rise in those atrocities. In Libya, Da’esh-affiliated groups were targeting minorities and attacking religious sights.

Pope Francis has expressed several times his “great pain to know that Christians in the world submit to the greatest amount of such discrimination.” He said, “This is happening more than 1700 years after the edict of Constantine, which gave Christians the freedom to publicly profess their faith.” He added, “This is not a fantasy; the numbers tell us.” Between 100 and 150 million Christians are persecuted in the world today.

According to the Religious Freedom in the World Report 2014 – which covers the period from October 2012 to June 2014 –acts of religious persecution are not only widespread, but also on the increase. In almost every country, the change in the status and condition of religious minorities has been for the worse. Religious persecution is alarmingly high, or high, or worrisome in 116 countries, or in 59% of all the countries in the world. In brief, global religious freedom has entered a period of serious decline in the last three years.

In the Middle East in particular, Christians have been specifically targeted, killed or forced to flee from their homes and countries. Only 25 years ago, there were nearly two million Christians living in Iraq; the most recent estimates are less than a quarter of this figure. Faced with the unbearable situation of living in a conflict zone controlled by terrorist and extremist organizations who constantly threaten them with death, and with a deep sense of feeling abandoned, they have been forced to flee their homes.

The disappearance of these communities from the Middle East would not only be a religious tragedy, but a loss of a rich cultural-religious patrimony that has contributed so much to the societies to which they belong. For 2,000 years, Christians have called the Middle East home; indeed, as we all know, the Middle East is the cradle of Christianity. Thus, it is painful and unfathomable that these ancient Christian communities in the region — especially those who still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ — are among those threatened with extinction.

Pope Francis has repeatedly stated that we cannot resign ourselves to thinking of the Middle East without Christians. Their uninterrupted existence in the region is testimony of many centuries of coexistence, side by side with Muslims and other religious and ethnic communities. The whole world has a great interest in preserving that coexistence and we must all join to prevent the expulsion of Christians before it’s too late.

Last month in Geneva, before the UN Human Rights Council, 65 nations signed a statement drafted by Lebanon, Russia and the Holy See supporting the human rights of Christians and other communities, particularly in the Middle East. It was the first time there has been explicit mention of the category of Christians before the Human Rights Council.

That statement called attention to the fact that “the existence of many religious communities is seriously threatened” with Christians “now especially affected.” It called on all States to join together and address this alarming situation by building together a culture of peaceful coexistence, recognizing religious and ethnic pluralism as an enrichment to the globalized world, and reaffirming their commitment to “respect the rights of everyone, in particular the right to freedom of religion, which is enshrined in the fundamental international human rights instruments.”

Is it now too late to act? When we call to mind those who have already lost their lives, any action would come too late. But any action to spare even just one from persecution and from all forms of atrocities will not only be timely, but most urgent. The fate of those persecuted urges us to do all that we can to prevent further victims of attacks and abuses. Christians and other religious minorities of the Middle East and elsewhere plead for action, not in some abstract form, but in a manner that is truly conscious of their pain and suffering and their existential fear for their survival.

I am grateful for your presence this afternoon. Your presence is already an act of solidarity with the persecuted Christians all over the globe. They are counting on us and praying for ever greater efforts on our part to spare them from protracted persecution. Their very own survival could depend on our acts of solidarity. We pray that we may be able together to open the eyes of the world to what is going, and help them not to take their focus off of the plight of persecuted Christians until their lives are secure, their dignity is defended, and their rights protected.

Thank you very much for your presence here this afternoon.

(from Vatican Radio)

 
Publish date

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: the Armenian Genocide ( A Hundred Years of Denial, doesn’t make it untrue…Actually it proves it even more!)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Armenian genocide)
Armenian Genocide
Part of the persecution of Armenians
Armenians marched by Turkish soldiers, 1915.png

Armenian civilians, escorted by armed Ottoman soldiers, are marched through Harput (Kharpert), to a prison in the nearby Mezireh (present-day Elâzığ), April 1915.
Location Ottoman Empire
Date 1915[note 1]
Target Armenian population
Attack type
Deportation, mass murder
Deaths 1.5 million[note 2]
Perpetrators Committee of Union and Progress (Young Turks)

The Armenian Genocide[8] (Armenian: Հայոց Ցեղասպանություն Hayots Tseghaspanutyun),[note 3] also known as the Armenian Holocaust,[9] the Armenian Massacres and, traditionally by Armenians, as Medz Yeghern (Armenian: Մեծ Եղեռն, “Great Crime”),[10] was the Ottoman government‘s systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland which lies within the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre.[11][12][13] Other indigenous and Christian ethnic groups such as the Assyrians and the Ottoman Greeks were similarly targeted for extermination by the Ottoman government, and their treatment is considered by many historians to be part of the same genocidal policy. The majority of Armenian diaspora communities around the world came into being as a direct result of the genocide.

Raphael Lemkin was explicitly moved by the Armenian annihilation to coin the word genocide in 1943 and define systematic and premeditated exterminations within legal parameters.[14] The Armenian Genocide is acknowledged to have been one of the first modern genocides,[15][16][17] because scholars point to the organized manner in which the killings were carried out in order to eliminate the Armenians, and it is the second most-studied case of genocide after the Holocaust.[18]

Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, denies the word genocide is an accurate term for the mass killings of Armenians that began under Ottoman rule in 1915. It has in recent years been faced with repeated calls to recognize them as genocide. To date, twenty-three countries have officially recognized the mass killings as genocide,[19] a view which is shared by most genocide scholars and historians.

Hamidian massacres, 1894–96

Main article: Hamidian massacres

 
Corpses of massacred Armenians in Erzurum in 1895

Since 1876, the Ottoman state had been led by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Immediately after the Treaty of Berlin was signed, Abdul Hamid attempted to forestall implementation of its reform provisions by asserting that Armenians did not make up a majority in the provinces and that their reports of abuses were largely exaggerated or false. In 1890, Abdul Hamid created a paramilitary outfit known as the Hamidiye which was made up of Kurdish irregulars who were tasked to “deal with the Armenians as they wished”.[23]:40 As Ottoman officials intentionally provoked rebellions (often as a result of over-taxation) in Armenian populated towns, such as in Sasun in 1894 and Zeitun in 1895–96, these regiments were increasingly used to deal with the Armenians by way of oppression and massacre. In some instances Armenians successfully fought off the regiments and in 1895 brought the excesses to the attention of the Great Powers, who subsequently condemned the Porte.[25]:40–2

In October 1895, the Powers forced Abdul Hamid to sign a new reform package designed to curtail the powers of the Hamidiye but, like the Berlin Treaty, it was never implemented. On 1 October 1895, 2,000 Armenians assembled in Constantinople to petition for the implementation of the reforms, but Ottoman police units converged on the rally and violently broke it up.[23]:57–8 Soon, massacres of Armenians broke out in Constantinople and then engulfed the rest of the Armenian-populated provinces of Bitlis, Diyarbekir, Erzurum, Harput, Sivas, Trabzon, and Van. Estimates differ on how many Armenians were killed but European documentation of the pogroms, which became known as the Hamidian massacres, placed the figures at between 100,000 and 300,000.[30][31]

Although Hamid was never directly implicated in ordering the massacres, it is believed that they had his tacit approval.[25]:42 Frustrated with European indifference to the massacres, a group of members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation seized the European-managed Ottoman Bank on 26 August 1896. This incident brought further sympathy for Armenians in Europe and was lauded by the European and American press, which vilified Hamid and painted him as the “great assassin”, “bloody Sultan”, and “Abdul the Damned“.[23]:35,115 While the Great Powers vowed to take action and enforce new reforms, these never came to fruition due to conflicting political and economic interests.

Prelude to the Genocide

The Young Turk Revolution of 1908

Main article: Young Turk Revolution

 
Armenians of Constantinople celebrating the establishment of the CUP government.

On 24 July 1908, Armenians’ hopes for equality in the empire brightened once more when a coup d’état staged by officers in the Ottoman Third Army based in Salonika removed Abdul Hamid II from power and restored the country to a constitutional monarchy. The officers were part of the Young Turk movement that wanted to reform administration of the perceived decadent state of the Ottoman Empire and modernize it to European standards. The movement was an anti-Hamidian coalition made up of two distinct groups: the liberal constitutionalists and the nationalists; the former were more democratic and accepted Armenians into their wing whereas the latter group was more intolerant in regard to Armenian-related issues and their frequent requests for European assistance.[23]:140–1 In 1902, during a congress of the Young Turks held in Paris, the heads of the liberal wing, Sabahaddin and Ahmed Riza Bey, partially persuaded the nationalists to include in their objectives ensuring some rights for all the minorities of the empire.

One of the numerous factions within the Young Turk movement was a secret revolutionary organization called the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). It drew its membership from disaffected army officers based in Salonika and was behind a wave of mutinies against the central government. In 1908, elements of the Third Army and the Second Army Corps declared their opposition to the Sultan and threatened to march on the capital to depose him. Hamid, shaken by the wave of resentment, stepped down from power as Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Arabs, Bulgarians and Turks alike rejoiced in his dethronement.[23]:143–4

The Adana massacre of 1909

Main article: Adana massacre

 
The Armenian quarter of Adana left pillaged and destroyed after the massacres in Adana in 1909.

A countercoup took place in early 1909, ultimately resulting in the 31 March Incident on 13 April 1909. Some reactionary Ottoman military elements, joined by Islamic theological students, aimed to return control of the country to the Sultan and the rule of Islamic law. Riots and fighting broke out between the reactionary forces and CUP forces, until the CUP was able to put down the uprising and court-martial the opposition leaders.

While the movement initially targeted the Young Turk government, it spilled over into pogroms against Armenians who were perceived as having supported the restoration of the constitution.[25]:68–9 When Ottoman Army troops were called in, many accounts record that instead of trying to quell the violence they actually took part in pillaging Armenian enclaves in Adana province.[32] The number of Armenians killed in the course of the Adana massacre ranged between 15,000 and 30,000 people.[25]:69[33]

The Balkan Wars

In 1912, the First Balkan War broke out and ended with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire as well as the loss of 85% of its European territory. Many in the empire saw their defeat as “Allah’s divine punishment for a society that did not know how to pull itself together”.[25]:84 The Turkish nationalist movement in the country gradually came to view Anatolia as their last refuge. That the Armenian population formed a significant minority in this region would figure prominently in the calculations of the Three Pashas, who would eventually carry out the Armenian Genocide.

An important consequence of the Balkan Wars was also the mass expulsion of Muslims (known as muhacirs) from the Balkans. In fact, beginning in the mid-19th century, hundreds of thousands of Muslims, including Turks, Circassians, and Chechens, were expelled or forced to flee from the Caucasus and the Balkans (Rumelia) as a result of the Russo-Turkish wars and the conflicts in the Balkans. Muslim society in the empire was incensed by this flood of refugees. A journal published in Constantinople expressed the mood of the times: “Let this be a warning … O Muslims, don’t get comfortable! Do not let your blood cool before taking revenge”.[25]:86 As many as 850,000 of these refugees were settled in areas where the Armenians were resident from the period of 1878–1904. The muhacirs resented the status of their relatively well-off neighbors and, as historian Taner Akçam and others have noted, the refugees would come to play a pivotal role in the killings of the Armenians and the confiscation of their properties during the genocide.[25]:86–87

World War I

On 2 November 1914, the Ottoman Empire opened the Middle Eastern theater of World War I by entering hostilities on the side of the Central Powers and against the Allies. The battles of the Caucasus Campaign, the Persian Campaign and the Gallipoli Campaign affected several populous Armenian centers. Before entering the war, the Ottoman government had sent representatives to the Armenian congress at Erzurum to persuade Ottoman Armenians to facilitate its conquest of Transcaucasia by inciting an insurrection of Russian Armenians against the Russian army in the event a Caucasus front was opened. [25]:136[34]

Battle of Sarıkamış

On 24 December 1914, Minister of War Enver Pasha implemented a plan to encircle and destroy the Russian Caucasus Army at Sarıkamış in order to regain territories lost to Russia after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. Enver Pasha’s forces were routed in the battle, and almost completely destroyed. Returning to Constantinople, Enver Pasha publicly blamed his defeat on Armenians in the region having actively sided with the Russians.[23]:200

Labour battalions, 25 February

Further information: Ottoman labour battalions

On 25 February 1915, Enver Pasha sent an order to all military units that Armenians in the active Ottoman forces be demobilized and assigned to the unarmed Labour battalion (Turkish: amele taburlari). Enver Pasha explained this decision as “out of fear that they would collaborate with the Russians”. Traditionally, the Ottoman Army only drafted non-Muslim males between the ages of 20 and 45 into the regular army. The younger (15–20) and older (45–60) non-Muslim soldiers had always been used as logistical support through the labour battalions. Before February, some of the Armenian recruits were utilized as labourers (hamals), though they would ultimately be executed.[35]

Transferring Armenian conscripts from active combat to passive, unarmed logistic sections was an important precursor to the subsequent genocide. As reported in The Memoirs of Naim Bey, the execution of the Armenians in these battalions was part of a premeditated strategy of the CUP. Many of these Armenian recruits were executed by local Turkish gangs.[23]:178

Van, April 1915

Further information: Siege of Van

 
Armed Armenian civilians and self-defense units holding a line against Ottoman forces in the walled Siege of Van in May 1915.

On 19 April 1915, Jevdet Bey demanded that the city of Van immediately furnish him 4,000 soldiers under the pretext of conscription. However, it was clear to the Armenian population that his goal was to massacre the able-bodied men of Van so that there would be no defenders. Jevdet Bey had already used his official writ in nearby villages, ostensibly to search for arms, but in fact to initiate wholesale massacres.[23]:202 The Armenians offered five hundred soldiers and exemption money for the rest in order to buy time, but Jevdet Bey accused the Armenians of “rebellion” and asserted his determination to “crush” it at any cost. “If the rebels fire a single shot”, he declared, “I shall kill every Christian man, woman, and” (pointing to his knee) “every child, up to here”.[36]:298

The next day, 20 April 1915, the siege of Van began when an Armenian woman was harassed, and the two Armenian men who came to her aid were killed by Ottoman soldiers. The Armenian defenders protected the 30,000 residents and 15,000 refugees living in an area of roughly one square kilometer of the Armenian Quarter and suburb of Aigestan with 1,500 ablebodied riflemen who were supplied with 300 rifles and 1,000 pistols and antique weapons. The conflict lasted until General Yudenich of Russia came to their rescue.[37]

Reports of the conflict reached then United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau, Sr. from Aleppo and Van, prompting him to raise the issue in person with Talaat and Enver. As he quoted to them the testimonies of his consulate officials, they justified the deportations as necessary to the conduct of the war, suggesting that complicity of the Armenians of Van with the Russian forces that had taken the city justified the persecution of all ethnic Armenians.

Arrest and deportation of Armenian notables, April 1915

 Armenian intellectuals who were arrested and later executed en masse by Young Turk government authorities on the night of 24 April 1915.

By 1914, Ottoman authorities had already begun a propaganda drive to present Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire as a threat to the empire’s security. An Ottoman naval officer in the War Office described the planning:

In order to justify this enormous crime the requisite propaganda material was thoroughly prepared in Istanbul. [It included such statements as] ‘the Armenians are in league with the enemy. They will launch an uprising in Istanbul, kill off the Ittihadist leaders and will succeed in opening up the straits [of the Dardanelles]’.[26]:220

 Interior Minister Talaat Pasha, who ordered the arrests.

On the night of 23–24 April 1915, the Ottoman government rounded up and imprisoned an estimated 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders of the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, and later those in other centers, who were moved to two holding centers near Ankara.[23]:211–2 This date coincided with Allied troop landings at Gallipoli after unsuccessful Allied naval attempts to break through the Dardanelles to Constantinople in February and March 1915.

Following the passage of Tehcir Law on 29 May 1915, the Armenian leaders, except for the few who were able to return to Constantinople, were gradually deported and assassinated. The date April 24 is commemorated as Genocide Remembrance Day by Armenians around the world.

Deportations

Further information: Tehcir Law

 
Map of massacre locations and deportation and extermination centers

In May 1915, Mehmet Talaat Pasha requested that the cabinet and Grand Vizier Said Halim Pasha legalize a measure for the deportation of Armenians to other places due to what Talaat Pasha called “the Armenian riots and massacres, which had arisen in a number of places in the country”. However, Talaat Pasha was referring specifically to events in Van and extending the implementation to the regions in which alleged “riots and massacres” would affect the security of the war zone of the Caucasus Campaign. Later, the scope of the deportation was widened in order to include the Armenians in the other provinces.

 The remains of Armenians massacred at Erzinjan.[38]

On 29 May 1915, the CUP Central Committee passed the Temporary Law of Deportation (“Tehcir Law”), giving the Ottoman government and military authorization to deport anyone it “sensed” as a threat to national security.[23]:186–8

 An article by the New York Times dated 15 December 1915 states that one million Armenians had been either deported or executed by the Ottoman government.

With the implementation of Tehcir Law, the confiscation of Armenian property and the slaughter of Armenians that ensued upon its enactment outraged much of the western world. While the Ottoman Empire’s wartime allies offered little protest, a wealth of German and Austrian historical documents has since come to attest to the witnesses’ horror at the killings and mass starvation of Armenians.[39]:329–31[40]:212–3 In the United States, The New York Times reported almost daily on the mass murder of the Armenian people, describing the process as “systematic”, “authorized” and “organized by the government”. Theodore Roosevelt would later characterize this as “the greatest crime of the war”.[41]

Historian Hans-Lukas Kieser states that, from the statements of Talaat Pasha[42] it is clear that the officials were aware that the deportation order was genocidal.[43] Another historian Taner Akçam states that the telegrams show that the overall coordination of the genocide was taken over by Talaat Pasha.[44]

Death marches

 An Armenian woman kneeling beside a dead child in field “within sight of help and safety at Aleppo“, an Ottoman city.

The Armenians were marched out to the Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor and the surrounding desert. There is no evidence that the Ottoman government provided the extensive facilities and supplies that would have been necessary to sustain the life of hundreds of thousands of Armenian deportees during their forced march to the Syrian desert or after.[45] By August 1915, The New York Times repeated an unattributed report that “the roads and the Euphrates are strewn with corpses of exiles, and those who survive are doomed to certain death. It is a plan to exterminate the whole Armenian people”.[46] Talaat Pasha and Djemal Pasha were completely aware that by abandoning the Armenian deportees in the desert they were condemning them to certain death.[47] A dispatch from a “high diplomatic source in Turkey, not American, reporting the testimony of trustworthy witnesses” about the plight of Armenian deportees in northern Arabia and the Lower Euphrates valley was extensively quoted by The New York Times in August 1916:

The witnesses have seen thousands of deported Armenians under tents in the open, in caravans on the march, descending the river in boats and in all phases of their miserable life. Only in a few places does the Government issue any rations, and those are quite insufficient. The people, therefore, themselves are forced to satisfy their hunger with food begged in that scanty land or found in the parched fields.

Naturally, the death rate from starvation and sickness is very high and is increased by the brutal treatment of the authorities, whose bearing toward the exiles as they are being driven back and forth over the desert is not unlike that of slave drivers. With few exceptions no shelter of any kind is provided and the people coming from a cold climate are left under the scorching desert sun without food and water. Temporary relief can only be obtained by the few able to pay officials.[45]

Similarly, Major General Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein noted that “The Turkish policy of causing starvation is an all too obvious proof, if proof was still needed as to who is responsible for the massacre, for the Turkish resolve to destroy the Armenians”.[26]:350

German engineers and labourers involved in building the railway also witnessed Armenians being crammed into cattle cars and shipped along the railroad line. Franz Gunther, a representative for Deutsche Bank which was funding the construction of the Baghdad Railway, forwarded photographs to his directors and expressed his frustration at having to remain silent amid such “bestial cruelty”.[23]:326 Major General Otto von Lossow, acting military attaché and head of the German Military Plenipotentiary in the Ottoman Empire, spoke to Ottoman intentions in a conference held in Batum in 1918:

The Turks have embarked upon the “total extermination of the Armenians in Transcaucasia … The aim of Turkish policy is, as I have reiterated, the taking of possession of Armenian districts and the extermination of the Armenians. Talaat’s government wants to destroy all Armenians, not just in Turkey but also outside Turkey. On the basis of all the reports and news coming to me here in Tiflis there hardly can be any doubt that the Turks systematically are aiming at the extermination of the few hundred thousand Armenians whom they left alive until now.[26]:349

Concentration camps

 The original caption of photograph reads: “The Above Photograph Shows Eight Armenian Professors Massacred by the Turks”[48]

A network of 25 concentration camps was set up by the Ottoman government to dispose of the Armenians who had survived the deportations to their ultimate point.[49] This network, situated in the region of Turkey’s present-day borders with Iraq and Syria, was directed by Şükrü Kaya, one of Talaat Pasha’s right-hand men. Some of the camps were only temporary transit points. Others, such as Radjo, Katma, and Azaz, were briefly used for mass graves and then vacated by autumn 1915. Camps such as Lale, Tefridje, Dipsi, Del-El, and Ra’s al-‘Ayn were built specifically for those whose life expectancy was just a few days.[50] According to Hilmar Kaiser, the Ottoman authorities refused to provide food and water to the victims, increasing the mortality rate, and Muslim men obtained Armenian women through recorded marriages, while the death of their husbands were not recorded.[51]

Bernau, an American citizen of German descent, traveled to the areas where Armenians were incarcerated and wrote a report that was deemed factual by Rössler, the German Consul at Aleppo. He reports mass graves containing over 60,000 people in Meskene and large numbers of mounds of corpses, as the Armenians died due to hunger and disease. He reported seeing 450 orphans, who received at most 150 grams of bread per day, in a tent of 5-6 square meters. Dysentery swept through the camp and days passed between the instances of distribution of bread to some. In “Abu Herrera”, near Meskene, he described how the guards let 240 Armenians starve, and wrote that they searched “horse droppings” for grains.[52]

Confiscation of property

The Tehcir Law brought some measures regarding the property of the deportees, but during September a new law was proposed. By means of the “Abandoned Properties” Law (Law Concerning Property, Dept’s and Assets Left Behind Deported Persons, also referred as the “Temporary Law on Expropriation and Confiscation”), the Ottoman government took possession of all “abandoned” Armenian goods and properties. Ottoman parliamentary representative Ahmed Riza protested this legislation:

It is unlawful to designate the Armenian assets as “abandoned goods” for the Armenians, the proprietors, did not abandon their properties voluntarily; they were forcibly, compulsorily removed from their domiciles and exiled. Now the government through its efforts is selling their goods … If we are a constitutional regime functioning in accordance with constitutional law we can’t do this. This is atrocious. Grab my arm, eject me from my village, then sell my goods and properties, such a thing can never be permissible. Neither the conscience of the Ottomans nor the law can allow it.[53]

On 13 September 1915, the Ottoman parliament passed the “Temporary Law of Expropriation and Confiscation”, stating that all property, including land, livestock, and homes belonging to Armenians, was to be confiscated by the authorities.[26]:224

International aid to victims

 Fundraising poster for the American Committee for Relief in the Near East – the United States contributed a significant amount of aid to help Armenians during the Armenian Genocide.

The American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief (ACASR, also known as “Near East Relief”), established in 1915 just after the deportations began, was a charitable organization established to relieve the suffering of the peoples of the Near East.[54] The organization was championed by Henry Morgenthau, Sr., American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Morgenthau’s dispatches on the mass slaughter of Armenians galvanized much support for the organization.[55] In its first year, the ACRNE cared for 132,000 Armenian orphans from Tiflis, Yerevan, Constantinople, Sivas, Beirut, Damascus, and Jerusalem. A relief organization for refugees in the Middle East helped donate over $102 million (budget $117,000,000) [1930 value of dollar] to Armenians both during and after the war.[56][57]:336 Between 1915 and 1930, ACRNE distributed humanitarian relief to locations across a wide geographical range, eventually spending over ten times its original estimate and helping around 2,000,000 refugees.[58]

The “Special Organization”

The Committee of Union and Progress founded the “Special Organization” (Turkish: Teşkilat-i Mahsusa) that participated in the destruction of the Ottoman Armenian community.[59] This organization adopted its name in 1913 and functioned like a special forces outfit, and it has been compared by some scholars to the Nazi Einsatzgruppen.[23]:182, 185 Later in 1914, the Ottoman government influenced the direction the Special Organization was to take by releasing criminals from central prisons to be the central elements of this newly formed Special Organization.[60] According to the Mazhar commissions attached to the tribunal as soon as November 1914, 124 criminals were released from Pimian prison. Little by little from the end of 1914 to the beginning of 1915, hundreds, then thousands of prisoners were freed to form the members of this organization. Later, they were charged to escort the convoys of Armenian deportees.[61] Vehib Pasha, commander of the Ottoman Third Army, called those members of the Special Organization, the “butchers of the human species”.[62]

Massacres

Mass burnings

 Of this photo, the United States ambassador wrote, “Scenes like this were common all over the Armenian provinces, in the spring and summer months of 1915. Death in its several forms—massacre, starvation, exhaustion—destroyed the larger part of the refugees. The Turkish policy was that of extermination under the guise of deportation”.[36]

Eitan Belkind was a Nili member who infiltrated the Ottoman army as an official. He was assigned to the headquarters of Kamal Pasha. He claims to have witnessed the burning of 5,000 Armenians.[63]:181,183

Lt. Hasan Maruf of the Ottoman army describes how a population of a village were taken all together and then burned.[64] The Commander of the Third Army Vehib’s 12-page affidavit, which was dated 5 December 1918, was presented in the Trabzon trial series (29 March 1919) included in the Key Indictment,[65] reporting such a mass burning of the population of an entire village near Muş: “The shortest method for disposing of the women and children concentrated in the various camps was to burn them”.[66] Further, it was reported that “Turkish prisoners who had apparently witnessed some of these scenes were horrified and maddened at remembering the sight. They told the Russians that the stench of the burning human flesh permeated the air for many days after”.[67] Vahakn Dadrian wrote that 80,000 Armenians in 90 villages across the Muş plain were burned in “stables and haylofts”.[68]

Drowning

Trabzon was the main city in Trabzon province; Oscar S. Heizer, the American consul at Trabzon, reported: “This plan did not suit Nail Bey … Many of the children were loaded into boats and taken out to sea and thrown overboard”.[69] Hafiz Mehmet, a Turkish deputy serving Trabzon, testified during a 21 December 1918 parliamentary session of the Chamber of Deputies that “the district’s governor loaded the Armenians into barges and had them thrown overboard.”[70] The Italian consul of Trabzon in 1915, Giacomo Gorrini, writes: “I saw thousands of innocent women and children placed on boats which were capsized in the Black Sea”.[71] Vahakn Dadrian places the number of Armenians killed in the Trabzon province by drowning at 50,000.[68] The Trabzon trials reported Armenians having been drowned in the Black Sea,[72] according to a testimony, women and children were loaded on boats in “Değirmendere” to be drowned in the sea.[73]

Hoffman Philip, the American chargé d’affaires at Constantinople, wrote: “Boat loads sent from Zor down the river arrived at Ana, one thirty miles away, with three fifths of passengers missing”.[74] According to Robert Fisk, 900 Armenian women were drowned in Bitlis, while in Erzincan, the corpses in the Euphrates resulted in a change of course of the river for a few hundred meters.[39] Dadrian also wrote that “countless” Armenians were drowned in the Euphrates and its tributaries.[68]

Use of poison and drug overdoses

The psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton writes in a parenthesis when introducing the medical experiments during the Holocaust, “Perhaps Turkish doctors, in their participation in the genocide against the Armenians, come closest, as I shall later suggest”.[75]

Morphine overdose: During the Trabzon trial series of the Martial court, from the sittings between 26 March and 17 May 1919, the Trabzons Health Services Inspector Dr. Ziya Fuad wrote in a report that Dr. Saib caused the death of children with the injection of morphine. The information was allegedly provided by two physicians (Drs. Ragib and Vehib), both Dr. Saib’s colleagues at Trabzons Red Crescent hospital, where those atrocities were said to have been committed.[76][77]

Toxic gas: Dr. Ziya Fuad and Dr. Adnan, public health services director of Trabzon, submitted affidavits reporting cases in which two school buildings were used to organize children and send them to the mezzanine to kill them with toxic gas equipment.[78]

Typhoid inoculation: The Ottoman surgeon, Dr. Haydar Cemal wrote “on the order of the Chief Sanitation Office of the Third Army in January 1916, when the spread of typhus was an acute problem, innocent Armenians slated for deportation at Erzincan were inoculated with the blood of typhoid fever patients without rendering that blood ‘inactive'”.[78] Jeremy Hugh Baron writes: “Individual doctors were directly involved in the massacres, having poisoned infants, killed children and issued false certificates of death from natural causes. Nazim‘s brother-in-law Dr. Tevfik Rushdu, Inspector-General of Health Services, organized the disposal of Armenian corpses with thousands of kilos of lime over six months; he became foreign secretary from 1925 to 1938″.[79]

Trials

Turkish courts-martial

In 1919, following the Mudros Armistice, Sultan Mehmed VI was ordered to organise courts-martial by the Allied administration who was in charge of Constantinople to try members of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) (Turkish: “Ittihat Terakki”) for taking the Ottoman Empire into the World War I. By January 1919, a report to Sultan Mehmed VI accused over 130 suspects, most of whom were high officials.

Sultan Mehmet VI and Grand Vizier Damat Ferid Pasha, as representatives of government of the Ottoman Empire during the Second Constitutional Era were summoned to the Paris Peace Conference by US Secretary of State Robert Lansing. On 11 July 1919, Damat Ferid Pasha officially confessed to massacres against the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and was a key figure and initiator of the war crime trials held directly after World War I to condemn to death the chief perpetrators of the genocide.[80][81][82] The military court found that it was the will of the CUP to eliminate the Armenians physically, via its Special Organization. The 1919 pronouncement reads as follows:

The Court Martial taking into consideration the above-named crimes declares, unanimously, the culpability as principal factors of these crimes the fugitives Talaat Pasha, former Grand Vizir, Enver Efendi, former War Minister, struck off the register of the Imperial Army, Cemal Efendi, former Navy Minister, struck off too from the Imperial Army, and Dr. Nazim Efendi, former Minister of Education, members of the General Council of the Union & Progress, representing the moral person of that party; … the Court Martial pronounces, in accordance with said stipulations of the Law the death penalty against Talaat, Enver, Cemal, and Dr. Nazim.

The term Three Pashas, which include Mehmed Talaat Pasha and Ismail Enver (the main perpetrators of the Genocide), refers to the triumvirate who had fled the Empire. This happened at the end of World War I, on the night of 2–3 November 1918 with the aid of Ahmed Izzet Pasha. In 1919 they were sentenced to death in absentia at the trials in Constantinople. The courts-martial officially disbanded the CUP and confiscated its assets, and the assets of those found guilty. The courts-martial were dismissed in August, 1920 for their impartiality and lack of transparence, according to then High Commissioner and Admiral Sir John de Robeck,[83] and some of the accused were transported to Malta for further interrogation. At least two of the three Pashas were later assassinated by Armenian vigilantes.

Prosecution in Malta

Ottoman military members and high-ranking politicians convicted by the Turkish courts-martial were transferred from Constantinople prisons to the Crown Colony of Malta on board of the SS Princess Ena and the SS HMS Benbow by the British forces, starting in 1919. Admiral Sir Somerset Gough-Calthorpe was in charge of the operation, together with Lord Curzon; they did so owing to the lack of transparency of the Turkish courts-martial. They were held there for three years, while searches were made of archives in Constantinople, London, Paris and Washington to find a way to put them in trial.[84] However, the war criminals were eventually released without trial and returned to Constantinople in 1921, in exchange for 22 British prisoners of war held by the government in Ankara, including a relative of Lord Curzon. The government in Ankara was opposed to political power of the government in Constantinople. They are often mentioned as the Malta exiles in some sources.[85]

Meanwhile, the Peace Conference in Paris established the “Commission on Responsibilities and Sanctions” in January 1919, which was commissioned by United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing. Based on the commission’s work, several articles were added to the Treaty of Sèvres. The Treaty of Sèvres had planned a trial in August 1920 to determine those responsible for the “barbarous and illegitimate methods of warfare … [including] offenses against the laws and customs of war and the principles of humanity”.[18] Article 230 of the Treaty of Sèvres required the Ottoman Empire “hand over to the Allied Powers the persons whose surrender may be required by the latter as being responsible for the massacres committed during the continuance of the state of war on territory which formed part of the Ottoman Empire on August 1, 1914″.

According to European Court of Human Rights judge Giovanni Bonello the suspension of prosecutions, the repatriation and release of Turkish detainees was amongst others a result of the lack of an appropriate legal framework with supranational jurisdiction, because following World War I no international norms for regulating war crimes existed, due to a legal vacuum in international law; therefore contrary to Turkish sources, no trials were ever held in Malta. He mentions that the release of the Turkish detainees was accomplished in exchange for 22 British prisoners held by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.[85][86]

Trial of Soghomon Tehlirian

On 15 March 1921, former Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha was assassinated in the Charlottenburg District of Berlin, Germany, in broad daylight and in the presence of many witnesses. Talaat’s death was part of “Operation Nemesis“, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation‘s codename for their covert operation in the 1920s to kill the planners of the Armenian Genocide.

The subsequent trial of the assassin, Soghomon Tehlirian, had an important influence on Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of PolishJewish descent who campaigned in the League of Nations to ban what he called “barbarity” and “vandalism”. The term “genocide“, created in 1943, was coined by Lemkin who was directly influenced by the massacres of Armenians during World War I.[87]:210

Armenian population, deaths, survivors, 1914 to 1918

While there is no consensus as to how many Armenians lost their lives during the Armenian Genocide, there is general agreement among western scholars that over 500,000 Armenians died between 1914 and 1918. Estimates vary between 800,000,[88] to 1,500,000 (per Western scholars,[89] Argentina,[90] and other states). Encyclopædia Britannica references the research of Arnold J. Toynbee, an intelligence officer of the British Foreign Office, who estimated that by 600,000 Armenians “died or were massacred during deportation” in a report compiled on the 24th May 1916.[67][91] This figure, however, accounts for solely the first year of the Genocide and does not take into account those who died or killed after the report was compiled on the 24th May 1916.[92]

According to documents that once belonged to Talaat Pasha, more than 970,000 Ottoman Armenians disappeared from official population records from 1915 through 1916. Talaat’s widow, Hayriye Talaat Bafralı, gave the documents and records in 1983 to Turkish journalist Murat Bardakçı, who has published them in a book titled The Remaining Documents of Talat Pasha (aka “Talat Pasha’s Black Book”). According to the documents, the number of Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire before 1915 stood at 1,256,000. The number plunged to 284,157 two years later in 1917.[93]

Justin McCarthy calculated an estimate of the pre-war Armenian population, then subtracted his estimate of survivors, arriving at a figure of a little less than 600,000 for Armenian casualties for the period 1914 to 1922.[94] In a more recent essay, he projected that if the Armenian records of 1913 were accurate, 250,000 more deaths should be added, for a total of 850,000.[95]

However, McCarthy’s numbers have been highly contested by many specialists. Some of them, like Frédéric Paulin, have severely criticized McCarthy’s methodology and suggested that it is flawed.[96] Hilmar Kaiser[97] another specialist has made similar claims, as have professor Vahakn Dadrian[98] and professor Levon Marashlian.[99] The critics not only question McCarthy’s methodology and resulting calculations, but also his primary sources, the Ottoman censuses. They point out that there was no official statistic census in 1912; rather those numbers were based on the records of 1905 which were conducted during the reign of Sultan Hamid.[100] While Ottoman censuses claimed an Armenian population of 1.2 million, Fa’iz El-Ghusein (the Kaimakam of Kharpout) wrote that there were about 1.9 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire,[101] and some modern scholars estimate over 2 million. German official Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter wrote that fewer than 100,000 Armenians survived the genocide, the rest having been exterminated (German: ausgerottet).[102]:329–30

Mass killings continued under the Republic of Turkey during the Turkish–Armenian War phase of Turkish War of Independence.[103] 60,000 to 98,000 Armenian civilians were estimated to have been killed by the Turkish army.[104] Some estimates put the total number of Armenians massacred in the hundreds of thousands.[105][25]:327

Reports and reactions

 Workers of the American Committee for Relief in the Near East in Sivas.

Hundreds of eyewitnesses, including the neutral United States and the Ottoman Empire’s own allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary, recorded and documented numerous acts of state-sponsored massacres. Many foreign officials offered to intervene on behalf of the Armenians, including Pope Benedict XV, only to be turned away by Ottoman government officials who claimed they were retaliating against a pro-Russian insurrection.[16]:177 On 24 May 1915, the Triple Entente warned the Ottoman Empire that “In view of these new crimes of Turkey against humanity and civilization, the Allied Governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold personally responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres”.[106]

The U.S. Mission in the Ottoman Empire

 A telegram sent by Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr. to the State Department on 16 July 1915 describes the massacres as a “campaign of race extermination”.

The United States had consulates throughout the Ottoman Empire, including locations in Edirne, Elâzığ, Samsun, İzmir, Trebizond, Van, Constantinople, and Aleppo. It was officially a neutral party until it joined the Allies in 1917. In addition to the consulates, there were numerous American Protestant missionary compounds established in Armenian-populated regions, including Van and Kharput. The atrocities were reported regularly in newspapers and literary journals around the world.[23]:282–5

On his return home in 1924 after thirty years as a U.S. Consul in the Near East, and most of the preceding decade as Consul General at Smyrna, George Horton wrote his own “account of the Systematic Extermination of Christian Populations by Mohammedans and of the Culpability of Certain Great Powers; with a True Story of the Burning of Smyrna” (1926 subtitle, The Blight of Asia).[107] Horton’s account quoted numerous contemporary communications and eyewitness reports including one of the massacre of Phocea in 1914, by a Frenchman, and two of the Armenian massacres of 1914/15, by an American citizen and a German missionary.[107]:28–9,34–7. It also quoted U.S. businessman Walter M. Geddes regarding his time in Damascus: “several Turks[,] whom I interviewed, told me that the motive of this exile was to exterminate the race.”[108]

Many Americans spoke out against the genocide, including former president Theodore Roosevelt, rabbi Stephen Wise, Alice Stone Blackwell, and William Jennings Bryan, the U.S. Secretary of State to June 1915. In the U.S. and the United Kingdom, children were regularly reminded to clean their plates while eating and to “remember the starving Armenians”.[109]

Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story

 
Audio recording of Chapter 24, “The Murder of a Nation”, from Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story.

As the orders for deportations and massacres were enacted, many consular officials reported what they were witnessing to the ambassador. In memoirs that he completed during 1918 Morgenthau wrote, “When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact …”[36]:309 The memoirs and reports vividly described the methods used by Ottoman forces and documented numerous instances of atrocities committed against the Christian minority.[110]

Allied forces in the Middle East

On the Middle Eastern front, the British military was engaged fighting the Ottoman forces in southern Syria and Mesopotamia. British diplomat Gertrude Bell filed the following report after hearing the account from a captured Ottoman soldier:

The battalion left Aleppo on 3 February and reached Ras al-Ain in twelve hours … some 12,000 Armenians were concentrated under the guardianship of some hundred Kurds … These Kurds were called gendarmes, but in reality mere butchers; bands of them were publicly ordered to take parties of Armenians, of both sexes, to various destinations, but had secret instructions to destroy the males, children and old women … One of these gendarmes confessed to killing 100 Armenian men himself … the empty desert cisterns and caves were also filled with corpses …[39]:327

Winston Churchill described the massacres as an “administrative holocaust” and noted that “the clearance of the race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an act, on a scale so great, could well be. … There is no reasonable doubt that this crime was planned and executed for political reasons. The opportunity presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race opposed to all Turkish ambitions, cherishing national ambitions that could only be satisfied at the expense of Turkey, and planted geographically between Turkish and Caucasian Moslems”.[39]:329

Arnold Toynbee: The Treatment of Armenians

Historian Arnold J. Toynbee published the collection of documents The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1916. Together with British politician and historian Viscount James Bryce, he compiled statements from survivors and eyewitnesses from other countries including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland, who similarly attested to the systematic massacre of innocent Armenians by Ottoman government forces.[111]

The book has since been criticized as British wartime propaganda to build up sentiment against the Central Powers[citation needed], but Bryce had submitted the work to scholars for verification before its publication. University of Oxford Regius Professor Gilbert Murray stated, “… the evidence of these letters and reports will bear any scrutiny and overpower any skepticism. Their genuineness is established beyond question”.[26]:228 Other professors, including Herbert Fisher of Sheffield University and former American Bar Association president Moorfield Storey, came to the same conclusion.[26]:228–9

***related articles:    HERE

MOST READ STORIES, HIGH-PROFILE ROME EXORCIST: ‘ISIS IS SATAN’


MOST READ STORIES - ISIS IS SATAN

MOST READ STORIES – ISIS IS SATAN (CLICK TO ACCESS THE ARTICLE AT CN)


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Saint of the Day for Saturday, April 18th, 2015, St. Apollonius the Apologist


Image of St. Apollonius the Apologist

St. Apollonius the Apologist

Martyr whose Apologia, or defense of the faith, is considered one of the most priceless documents of the early Church. Apollonius was a Roman senator who was denounced as a Christian by one of his … continue reading

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Saint of the Day for Thursday, April 16th, 2015: St. Bernadette


† Pray the Rosary † Wednesday and Sunday † The Glorious Mysteries † Powerful Prayers for Miracles †


†Pray the Rosary – Wednesday and Sunday – The Glorious Mysteries – Powerful Prayers for Miracles†

†Rome, Italy, Apr 15, 2015 / 02:25 am (CNA)†


Crucifix. Credit: Bluekdesign via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

High-profile Rome exorcist: ‘ISIS is Satan’ Crucifix. Credit: Bluekdesign via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

In a recent Facebook post, well-known Roman exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth said the Islamic State (ISIS) “is Satan,” and he also questioned the lack of response from Western nations.

“ISIS is Satan. Things first happen in the spiritual realms, then they are made concrete on this earth,” he said in an April 8 post on the social media website.

Father Amorth continued, “there are only two spiritual realms: The Holy Spirit and the demonic spirit.”

He said the demonic enters in “because evil is disguised in various ways: political, religious, cultural, and it has one source of inspiration: the devil. As a Christian I fight the beast spiritually.”

“The political world, which today seems to lack a response in face of the massacre of Christians, will also have to fight ISIS and it will do it in a different way. If it advances as it seems to be doing, we ask ourselves what has the West done over the course of the last decades.”

The priest, who founded the International Association of Exorcists, explained that Satan “keeps saying that the world is in his power, and what he says is true. Biblically speaking we are in the last days and the beast is working furiously.”

ISIS took control of the largest Christian city in Iraq, Qaraqosh, in August last year, causing tens of thousands of people to flee.

The terrorist group has persecuted and murdered Christians and other religious minorities in parts of Syria and Iraq.

Fr. Amorth, age 90, has performed over 70,000 exorcisms during the past 29 years. The number is so high because carrying out an exorcism can require multiple sessions and each time the rite is administered it is counted as one instance.

Fr. Amorth has previously spoken about the danger posed by people no longer believing in the devil, as well as a shortage of exorcists.
 

Tags: Exorcism, ISIS, Satan

Saint of the Day for Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 : St. Paternus


Image of St. Paternus

St. Paternus

St. Paternus.The first 5th century saint. He followed his father’s path by becoming a hermit in Wales. He founded the monastery at the great church of Paternus, and became a bishop of that region. He … continue reading

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Best Classical Music Series: Antonín Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” By Von Karajan


Antonín Dvořák – Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World” By Von Karajan

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, April 14th, 2015: St. Lydwine


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St. Lydwine

St. Lydwine is the patroness of sickness Lydwine of Schiedam was born at Schiedam, Holland, one of nine children of a working man. After an injury in her youth, she became bedridden and suffered the … continue reading

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Hristos a Inviat (Corul Madrigal)


Hristos a Inviat

Hristos a inviat – Hristos anesti – Christ is risen



Aceasta cantare este cantata la Sfanta Manastire Vatoped de pe Sfantul Munte Athos
This song is singed by the Monks of Vatoped the Holy Monastery of the Holy Athos mount

Hristos a Inviat!


Quotation: Pope Francis


“Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!” he said, and stressed that evil is never something that comes from God.

“It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood (and) has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror,” he said, noting that the enthusiasm to end such violence that came at the end of the Second World War seems to be “disappearing.”

By the “complicit silence of others who simply stand by,” the agenda of those who seek to eliminate others continues, the Pope said.

“Today too we are experiencing a sort of genocide created by general and collective indifference, by the complicit silence of Cain, who cries out: ‘What does it matter to me? Am I my brother’s keeper?’

Pope Francis

Pope recalls slaughter of Armenians in ‘first genocide of the 20th century’ (““Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”):: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


by Elise Harris

by Elise Harris

.- Pope Francis today referred to the mass killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks in 1915 as a “genocide,” prompting the Turkish government to summon the Vatican’s ambassador for questioning.

“In the past century our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies. The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the twentieth century,’ struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation,” the Pope said April 12.

Francis’ reference to the genocide was taken from a common declaration signed by both Pope Saint John Paull II and Supreme Armenian Patriarch Karekin II in 2001.

His comments took place before celebrating Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday, which is a feast instituted by St. John Paul II and is celebrated on the Second Sunday of the Church’s liturgical Easter season.

Francis offered the Mass for faithful of the Armenian rite in commemoration of the centenary of the “Metz Yeghern,” or Armenian “martyrdom.” April 24 is recognized in Armenia as the official date honoring the start of the event.

Many faithful and members of the Armenian rite were present for Sunday’s Mass, including Armenian president Serz Azati Sargsyan, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians Karekin II, Catholicos Aram I and Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX.

The Pope has kept strong ties with the Armenian community since his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires, and a group of Argentinian Armenians were among those gathered for the Mass.

During the Mass Francis also proclaimed Armenian-rite Saint Gregory of Narek a Doctor of the Church, making the 10th century priest, monk, mystic, and poet the first Armenian to receive the title.

Widely referred to as a genocide, the mass killings took place in 1915-1916 when the Ottoman Empire systematically exterminated its historic minority Armenian population who called Turkey their homeland, most of whom were Christians. Roughly 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives.

Reports have circulated saying that the Turkish government summoned the Vatican’s papal nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, for questioning after the Pope’s genocide comment.

When CNA phoned the Turkish embassy to the Holy See they declined to comment, however the apostolic nunciature in Ankara responded by saying that the nuncio had in fact been called.

After Francis made his comments, the Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement expressing their “great disappointment and sadness” at the Pope’s remarks. They said the words signaled a loss of trust and contradicted his message of peace, the Associated Press reports.

The foreign ministry also held that Francis’ words were discriminatory, because he only mentioned the pain suffered by Christians, and not Muslims or any other religious group.

Turkey has repeatedly denied that the slaughter was a genocide, saying that the number of deaths was much smaller, and came as a result of conflict surrounding World War I. The country holds that many ethnic Turks also lost their lives in the event.

However, most non-Turkish scholars refer to the episode as a genocide. Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and Uruguay are among the states that formally recognize the massacre as such.

In his greeting ahead of Sunday’s Mass, Pope Francis noted how “bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenseless children and the infirm were murdered” in the 1915 massacre, which targeted Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks.

Francis also called to mind other tragic events of the 20th century, including the violence perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism, as well as other mass killings carried out in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia.

“It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood (and) has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of terror,” he said, noting that the enthusiasm to end such violence that came at the end of the Second World War seems to be “disappearing.”

By the “complicit silence of others who simply stand by,” the agenda of those who seek to eliminate others continues, the Pope said.

“Today too we are experiencing a sort of genocide created by general and collective indifference, by the complicit silence of Cain, who cries out: ‘What does it matter to me? Am I my brother’s keeper?’

It’s both necessary and a duty to honor the centenary of the “immense and senseless slaughter” the Armenians had to endure, Pope Francis said, because when memories fade evil can enter and make old wounds fester.

“Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!” he said, and stressed that evil is never something that comes from God.

In a message given to the Armenian community after the celebration, Pope Francis said that to remember the event is not only the responsibility of Americans, but of the whole world, the Pope said, so that it can serve as a warning not to repeat similar “horrors” in the future.

He expressed his hope that Turkey and Armenia would work toward a greater reconciliation, and prayed that the Mass and proclamation of St. Gregory as a Doctor of the Church would be an occasion for all Christians to unite in prayer.

At the close of the Mass, Catholicos Karekin II spoke in English, saying that the Armenian genocide is “an unforgettable and undeniable fact of history.”

The genocide is deeply engrained into the consciousness of the Armenian people, the patriarch said, therefore “any attempt to erase it from history and from our common memory is doomed to fail.”

Karekin observed that according to international law a genocide is crime against humanity that closely intertwines condemnation, recognition and repatriation for the act, so therefore the Armenian cause is one of “justice.”

In the years after the genocide the Armenian Church has never forgotten “the continuous concern, assistance and solidarity of the Church of Rome toward Armenians,” he said.

The patriarch then expressed his “deep gratitude” to Pope Francis, praying that he would be strengthened in body and spirit so as to continue his ministry “with renewed dynamism and spiritual courage.”

Tags: Pope Francis, Divine Mercy, Armenian genocide

The Cross of Christ is not defeat: the Cross is love and mercy. (tweet by Pope Francis)Tweet by Pope Francis


NewsvaEnglish

The Cross of Christ is not defeat: the Cross is love and mercy. (tweet by Pope Francis) (click to access)

The Cross of Christ is not defeat: the Cross is love and mercy. (tweet by Pope Francis)

 

 

 

“Sheep May Safely Graze” BWV 208 – Johannes Sebastian Bach, Arr. Egon Petri – Pianist Lucas Porter


“Sheep May Safely Graze” BWV 208 – Johannes Sebastian Bach, Arr. Egon Petri – Pianist Lucas Porter

Saint of the Day for Saturday, April 11th, 2015: St. Marguerite d’Youville


Image of St. Marguerite d'Youville

St. Marguerite d’Youville

Foundress of the Sisters of Charity, the Grey Nuns of Canada. St. Marguerite D’Youville was born at Varennes, Quebec, on October 15, Marie Marguerite Dufrost de La Jemmerais. She studied under the … continue reading

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Sergei Rachmaninoff – All-Night Vigil – Op. 37


Sergei Rachmaninoff – All-Night Vigil – Op. 37

Saint of the Day for Friday, April 10th, 2015: St. Michael de Sanctis


Image of St. Michael de Sanctis

St. Michael de Sanctis

Michael de Sanctis was born in Catalonia, Spain around 1591. At the age of six he informed his parents that he was going to be a monk. Moreover, he imitated St. Francis of Assisi to such a great … continue reading

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this pressed: Proclaiming the Holy Year at the Holy Door | CNS Blog


Proclaiming the Holy Year at the Holy Door

Posted on April 9, 2015 by Administrator

By Elliot Williams*

VATICAN CITY — Saturday evening, in front of the Holy Door in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis’ will give the archpriests of the major basilicas of Rome copies of his “bull of indiction,” or formal proclamation, of the Holy Year of Mercy. An aide will read portions of it at the door before participants process into St. Peter’s for evening prayer.

The Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica. (CNS/Paul Haring)

The Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica. (CNS/Paul Haring)

The site chosen for the brief rite was not made casually; the door symbolizes a passage or transition into a special year of evangelization and prayer.

Pope Francis will be back at the door Dec. 8 to formally open it and the Year of Mercy.

Popes typically announce a jubilee every 25 years, although extraordinary Holy Years have been proclaimed for special anniversaries — for example, a Holy Year was celebrated in 1983 to commemorate the 1,950th anniversary of Christ’s death and resurrection.

The Holy Door is opened to evoke the concept of forgiveness, which is the main focus of a Holy Year.

According to “Mondo Vaticano,” a mini-encyclopedia published by the Vatican, the designation of a Holy Door may trace back to the ancient Christian practice of public penitence when sinners were given public penances to perform before receiving absolution.

The penitents were not allowed to enter a church before completing the penance, but they were solemnly welcomed back in when their penance was fulfilled. Still today, Holy Year pilgrims enter the basilica through the Holy Door as a sign of their repentance and re-commitment to a life of faith.

Both the opening and closing of the Holy Door take place with formal ceremonies to mark “the period of time set aside for men and women to sanctify their souls,” the book says.

The ritual for opening the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica goes back to 1499 when Pope Alexander VI opened the door on Christmas Eve to inaugurate the Holy Year 1500. This was when the door was wooden.

The bronze door panels that stand at St. Peter’s today, made by Vico Consorti, were consecrated and first opened Dec. 24, 1949, by Pius XII in proclamation of the 1950 Jubilee, a scene represented in the bottom right panel.

For centuries, the doors were opened with a silver hammer, not a key, “because the doors of justice and mercy give way only to the force of prayer and penance,” the encyclopedia says. Opening the Holy Year 2000, St. John Paul used neither a hammer, nor a key, but strongly pushed the door open.

St. John Paul II pushes open the Holy Door on Dec. 24, 1999. (CNS/Arturo Mari, Vatican)

St. John Paul II pushes open the Holy Door on Dec. 24, 1999. (CNS/Arturo Mari, Vatican)

The theme of human sin and God’s mercy is illustrated in 15 of the 16 bronze panels that make up the current door, with episodes from both the Old and New Testament, including the Fall of Adam and Eve, the Annunciation, and the Merciful Father (and Prodigal Son).

Between the panels on the door at St. Peter’s are little shields with the coats of arms of all the popes that opened it during the ordinary Holy Years, the last being St. John Paul. Pope Francis’ coat of arms will be etched onto one of the empty shields that remain for future jubilee years after he opens and closes the door.

Pope Francis will give the “bull of indiction” also to the archpriests of the Rome basilicas of St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls and St. Mary Major, which also have Holy Doors that are opened during jubilee years. The only other Holy Doors in the world are at Quebec City’s Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec; the shrine of St. John Vianney in Ars, France; and at the Cathedral of St. James the Great in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Elliot Williams is a Communication major at Villanova University. He is originally from Abington, PA, and is studying abroad at Roma Tre University, while interning for Catholic News Service’s Rome bureau. Elliot is an avid Nutella fanatic.

via Proclaiming the Holy Year at the Holy Door | CNS Blog.

Hilary Hahn Valentina Lisitsa Bela Bartók Romanian dances , great compositions/performances


Hilary Hahn Valentina Lisitsa Bela Bartók Romanian dances

forever poems: HOUSE Poem by Pablo Neruda (…’and stone I was, stone shall be, and for this caress this stone which has not died for me’…)


House Poem by Pablo Neruda

Perhaps this is the house in which I lived
when neither I, nor earth, existed,
 when everything was moon, or stone, or shadow,
 with the still light unborn.
This stone could then have been
 my house, my windows, or my eyes.
This granite rose recalls
 something that lived in me, or I in it,
a cave, a universe of dreams inside the skull:
 cup or castle, boat or birth.
I touch the rock’s tenacious thrust,
its bulwark pounded in the brine
and I know that flaws of mine subsisted here,
wrinkled substances that surfaced
from the depths into my soul,
and stone I was, stone shall be, and for this
caress this stone which has not died for me:
it’s what I was, and shall be – the tranquility
of struggle stretched beyond the brink of time.

Saint of the Day for Wednesday, April 8th, 2015: St. Julie Billiart


Image of St. Julie Billiart

St. Julie Billiart

St. Julie (Julia) Billiart was born in 1751 and died in 1816. As a child, playing “school” was Julie’s favorite game. When she was sixteen, to help support her family, she began to teach … continue reading

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Hana Matsuri 2011 – Celebração do Nascimento de Buda


Hana Matsuri 2011 – Celebração do Nascimento de Buda

today’s holiday: Hana Matsuri


Hana Matsuri

Hana Matsuri is a celebration of the Buddha‘s birthday, observed in Buddhist temples throughout Japan, where it is known as Kambutsue. The highlight of the celebration is a ritual known as kambutsue (“ceremony of ‘baptizing’ the Buddha”), in which a tiny bronze statue of the Buddha, standing in an open lotus flower, is anointed with sweet tea. People use a small bamboo ladle to pour the tea, made of hydrangea leaves, over the head of the statue. The custom is supposed to date from the 7th century, when perfume was used, as well as tea. More… Discuss

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, April 7th, 2015, St. John Baptist de la Salle


Image of St. John Baptist de la Salle

St. John Baptist de la Salle

John Baptist de la Salle was born at Rheims, France on April 30th. He was the eldest of ten children in a noble family. He studied in Paris and was ordained in 1678. He was known for his work with … continue reading

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Corul George Enescu in concert de paste 2015 sergiu mihoc sergiu mihoc


Corul George Enescu in concert de paste 2015

THIS PRESSED: In Ukraine, Churches confront fearsome suffering :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Military chaplaincy in eastern Ukraine, 2015. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need.

Military chaplaincy in eastern Ukraine, 2015. Credit: Aid to the Church in Need.

Suffering and hardship are also the lot of the faithful shepherded by Greek-Catholic Bishop Jaroslav Pryriz of the Eparchy of Sambir-Drohobyc, in western Ukraine. Twenty priests provide pastoral care of soldiers, mostly young men: volunteers as well as Ukrainian conscripts.

The bishop told Aid to the Church in Need that his priests “rotate every 45 days, because no one can stand it there any longer. Some who return never want to go back again because the psychological strain is just enormous. However, they go back because they want to take care of the faithful.”

“No matter whether they are Catholics, Orthodox, or members of other faiths, they are all are happy when a priest is just simply there for them, even though some have never even heard of God,” Bishop Pryriz added.

The bishop also reported on the situation in Kyiv: “Wounded soldiers from the east are being cared for at a temporary military hospital set up in the Greek-Catholic cathedral in Kyiv. Never before have I seen so much suffering, sorrow and tragedy. I am 53 years-old and have never experienced war, but what I am seeing now – people without hands, without legs, without eyes, ears – will haunt me forever.”

The prelate continued: “Many soldiers from our diocese have been killed. Either they have simply disappeared or no one knows anything about their whereabouts. We have been told that a number of them have been burned to death. Or they return in coffins. You cannot imagine it. There is so much sorrow over sons, fathers, husbands!”

via In Ukraine, Churches confront fearsome suffering :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Saint of the Day for Monday, April 6th, 2015: St. William of Eskilsoe


Image of St. William of Eskilsoe

St. William of Eskilsoe

Missionary. Born at Saint-Germain, France, circa 1125, he served as a canon at the church of St. Genevieve, Paris, under the great Abbot Suger until about 1170, when he was sent to Denmark with the … continue reading

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today’s holiday: Dyngus Day ( Always the Monday after Easter)


Dyngus Day Hits The Big TimeDyngus Day

When : Always the Monday after Easter

Dyngus Day, also spelled Dingus Day, is a fun Polish Holiday.  It is very popular in Poland, and in Polish communities across America. After the long Lenten holiday, Dyngus Day is a day of fun. And, perhaps a little romantic fun. It is always celebrated on the Monday after Easter.


Dyngus Day Tradition:

There are all sort of ways for boys to meet girls. But, this one takes the cake.  

Guys, on this day you get to wet the ladies down. Sprinkling or drenching with water is your goal. Chase after the ladies with squirt guns, buckets, or other containers of water. The more bold and gallant boys, may choose to use cologne. Hitting (gently, please) the ladies on the legs with switches or pussy willows is also common.

Yes ladies, you can strike back. Ladies , you get your revenge on Tuesday, when tradition has it that you throw dishes or crockery back at the boys. It has become increasingly popular for the ladies to get their revenge on Monday, tossing water back at the boys.

Note: Dyngus Day is also called Wet Easter Monday. Hmmmmm, I wonder why!?


Origin of Dyngus Day:

When exploring the roots of Dyngus Day, Historians point to the baptism of Polish Prince Mieszko I in 966 A.D. Baptism with water signifies cleansing, fertility, and purification.  

Somewhere along the way, the tradition of tossing water on the girls and hitting them with pussy willows evolved.


Ecards We’ve got you covered with free Ecards for just about any other holiday, occasion, event, or no event at all!


More Info:

Dyngus Day, a Buffalo tradition

Dyngus Day