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CAR BOMB EXPLODES OUTSIDE ARMENIAN SANCTUARY IN BAGHDAD

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  • Rev. Fr. John-Brian Paprock
    PRESS OFFICE Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) 630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016 Contact: Chris H. Zakian, Coordinator of Public
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2004
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      PRESS OFFICE
      Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
      630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
      Contact: Chris H. Zakian, Coordinator of Public Relations
      Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 44; Fax: (212) 779-3558
      E-mail: prl@...
      Website: www.armenianchurch.org

      August 2, 2004
      ___________________

      CAR BOMB EXPLODES OUTSIDE ARMENIAN SANCTUARY IN BAGHDAD

      AUGUST 2, 2004, NEW YORK CITY -- Many people have contacted the
      Eastern
      Diocesan Center in New York City to inquire about yesterday's attack
      by
      Islamic extremists on Christian churches in Iraq. To the many who
      have
      expressed their concern, the Eastern Diocese conveys its thanks. This
      message is intended to confirm and, to the extent possible, expand the
      information currently available.

      News reports have already detailed that an Armenian sanctuary in
      Baghdad's prosperous Karada district was the target of the first of
      several coordinated car-bomb attacks on churches in that city and in
      the
      city of Mosul, some 200 miles to the north.

      According to a communiqué from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the
      targeted Armenian Church was an Armenian Catholic sanctuary. His
      Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All
      Armenians, was able to contact the chairman of the church via
      telephone,
      to express his sympathy and assess the situation. The chairman
      stressed
      that no Armenians were killed in the explosions.

      Holy Etchmiadzin's official statement (which appears below) affirms
      that
      the attacks did not extend to any of Baghdad's several Armenian
      Apostolic churches, nor to the local Diocesan headquarters.

      Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, primate of the Diocese of the Armenian
      Church of America (Eastern), received the above information during a
      telephone conversation with Catholicos Karekin II. He expects shortly
      to be able to contact Archbishop Avak Asadourian, the primate of Iraq,
      who returned to the embattled country last week after a brief sojourn
      in
      the United States. (In early July, Archbishop Asadourian discussed
      the
      Iraqi Armenian community at the Diocesan Center in New York City;
      details can be found here:
      http://www.armenianchurch.org/news/index3.php?
      newsid=445&selmonth=7&sely
      ear=2004)

      The August 1 attacks are being seen as a new development in the
      tactics
      of the Islamic terrorists, who until now have not directly targeted
      Iraq's minority Christian communities. However, recent weeks have
      witnessed a campaign of violence and intimidation against alcohol
      sellers throughout Iraq, the majority of whom are Christians of the
      Assyrian, Chaldean, and Armenian denominations. (Muslims are
      prohibited
      by their religion from selling or imbibing alcohol.) Present
      estimates
      place the Christian population of Iraq at around 800,000, mostly
      concentrated in Baghdad. The Armenian community numbers itself at
      around 20,000, more than half of whom reside in and around Baghdad.

      The Eastern Diocese will continue to provide updated information to
      the
      public as it becomes available. In the meantime, our hearts and
      prayers
      go out to our countrymen in Iraq. And our thoughts are with all the
      people of Iraq, as they struggle to defend the seeds of democracy.

      --8/2/04

      * * *

      STATEMENT FROM THE MOTHER SEE OF HOLY ETCHMIADZIN
      ON THE CHURCH BOMBINGS IN IRAQ

      [August 2, 2004] The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin learned with
      sorrow
      from the Armenian Diocese of Iraq of the terrorist events of August 1,
      the result of which caused loss of life and many to be injured. Five
      churches were damaged, among them being an Armenian Catholic church.
      The Armenian Apostolic churches and Diocesan headquarters of Iraq were
      not attacked or damaged.

      The Armenian Apostolic Holy Church expresses her sympathies to the
      families of the victims and all Iraqi people, and wishes complete
      recovery to the wounded and injured. We pray that the centuries of
      friendship and peaceful co-existence among Christian and Muslim
      peoples
      in the East will not be endangered by similar condemnable violence;
      for
      peace to be re-established in the region; and that the Iraqi people
      continue with the creation of their safe and progressing lives.
      # # #
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