Armenian Church Canosises Victims of Ottoman KillingsWorld | April 23, 2015, Thursday // 21:50| views
People attend a canonization ceremony for the victims of the Armenian Genocide at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin complex outside Yerevan, Armenia, 23 April 2015, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Photo: EPA
The Armenian Church held a ceremony near Yerevan on Thursday, canonising the victims of the mass killings perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.
The aim of the ceremony, which canonised 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians, was to declare the martyrdom of those killed for their faith and homeland, the BBC reports.
The canonisation comes on the eve of the centenary commemorating the mass killings, which will be marked on Friday.
After the ceremony, which constituted the first time the Armenian Church used the rite of canonisation in the past 400 years, bells were sounded in Armenian churches around the world.
This development comes as the West has recently renewed its call on Turkey to recognise the mass killings of 1915 as genocide.
Pope Francis recently described the killings as constituting the “first genocide of the 20th century”, while the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on Turkey to recognise the genocide.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu responded by commemorating the victims of the mass killings, but refrained from describing them as genocide.
Turkish authorities, which will hold a special commemorative ceremony on Friday, maintain that the number of victims is exaggerated and many of them were killed in clashes during the First World War.
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