90th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide to be Commemorated in NYC
- Joint Commemorative Committee for the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian
Genocide of 1915
138 East 39th Street New York, NY 10016
Contact: Iris Papazian, 212-689-7810
Chris Zakian, 212-686-0710
Date: February 28, 2005
90th ANNIVERSARY OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE TO BE COMMEMORATED IN NYC ON APRIL 24,
Joint Committee of Armenian American Organizations Plan Day of Remembrance,
Recognition for the "Forgotten Genocide"
* * *
NEW YORK, NY-On Sunday, April 24, 2005, Armenian Americans from throughout
the northeast will converge on New York City to commemorate the 90th
anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide-in which 1.5 million Armenians
perished at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish empire.
Historians consider the attempt to exterminate the Armenians as the first
instance of genocide in the 20th century: a precursor to mass killings
throughout the century, and an explicit model for Hitler's own "final
solution." Still, 90 years after the catastrophe that scattered surviving
Armenians across the globe, the Republic of Turkey continues to deny the
facts of the Genocide.
For this year's New York observance of the Armenian Genocide on April 24
(the date annually observed as "Martyrs Day" by Armenians around the world),
the main Armenian American organizations have joined forces to plan a major
commemoration, built around the themes of remembrance, justice, and
The day will start with church services at 9:00 a.m., in Manhattan's two
Armenian cathedrals: St. Vartan Cathedral (Second Ave. at 34th St.) and St.
Illuminator's Cathedral (27th St. between Second and Third Avenues).
At 12:00 noon, a large memorial gathering at Times Square (Broadway at 43rd
St.) will bring together several thousand Armenian Americans from the Mid
Atlantic and New England areas.
Finally, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., a solemn ecumenical requiem service will be
held at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral (Fifth Ave. at 50th St.),
where dignitaries from the religious, political, diplomatic, and media
arenas will be present.
In the run-up to the main commemoration, related events have been planned
throughout the northeast, to build momentum towards April 24. These include
speaking engagements by Dr. Peter Balakian-professor at Colgate University
and acclaimed author of the New York Times bestsellers The Burning Tigris
and Black Dog of Fate. Also planned is a production/reading of the
award-winning drama, Beast on the Moon, by Richard Kalinoski- an immigrant
love story whose two central characters are survivors of the Armenian
Other events will involve elderly Genocide survivors, noted Armenian
American scholars, and civil rights leaders who support the goal of gaining
official political recognition for the Armenian Genocide, both in Turkey and
in the United States.
Organizers view this anniversary year as a chance to heal the emotional
scars of the survivors of the Genocide-who fled their homeland to the safety
of America's shores-and their descendants.
"We see it as an opportunity to catalyze leaders, at home and abroad, to
recognize the Genocide and seek justice for its victims," say Ken Sarajian
and Roy Stepanian, co-chair of the joint 90th anniversary committee.
Despite the passage of 90 years, recent events make the Armenian Genocide a
relevant topic. Human rights questions, including the Genocide, have become
sticking points with the international community as Turkey attempts to gain
entry to the European Union. And Turkey's decade-long land and rail
blockade of the neighboring Republic of Armenia has caused deep economic
problems for Armenia's struggling citizens, already burdened with building a
free society over the ruins of the Soviet period.
More generally, genocide itself remains a horrifyingly relevant political
matter, as current events in Africa testify. Identification and prevention
of such atrocities is an important theme for Armenians in the upcoming
"This memorial will educate, in the hope that such things never happen
again," says Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the
Armenian Church of America.
Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of
America, adds: "The justice we seek will stretch beyond our borders and
prevent similar events from taking place."
# # #
The Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee is coordinating events on April 24,
2005, to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The
committee is comprised of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America
(Eastern), Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America,
Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, Apostolic
Exarch for Armenian Catholics in the U.S., Armenian General Benevolent
Union, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian National
Committee of America, Armenian Relief Society of the Eastern United States,
Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Armenian Social Democratic Hunchakian
Party, Knights and Daughters of Vartan.