The anniversary of the pogroms of Armenians in Sumgait was commemorated on Sunday February 28, at St. Yeghiche Church after the Divine Liturgy in London. There was a special speech addressing the faithful and informing the public about the commemorative event. At the end of the commemoration, His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, The Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in the UK and Ireland, read the message of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. In His message to the worldwide Armenians, His Holiness stressed that “These tragic realities, the horrors of the second war of Artsakh prove that Artsakh cannot be part of Azerbaijan.” His Holiness called upon the faithful to make every effort to overcome the catastrophic consequences and trials, to strengthen homeland, to accomplish new achievements and make successes of the lives of the Armenian people. (Please click here to read His Holiness’ full message)
Furthermore, Mr Aram Araratyan delivered a message on behalf of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the UK recognising Armenia’s strong fighting spirit.
.“ Recalling the tragic events, that happened more than 32 years ago, paying tribute to our compatriots, who became victims of another manifestation of Azerbaijan’s barbaric acts towards Armenians, we once again emphasize the determination of the Republic of Armenia, Republic of Artsakh and all Armenians to live a free, independent and dignified life in their homeland.” At the end of the speeches, there was a special commemorative prayer for the loving memory of the victims of Sumgait and wreath laying by His Grace and Mr Araratyan at the Khachkar (Traditional Armenian cross stone) at the Churchyard. At the conclusion of the event, Bishop Hovakim invited the faithful to protect their legacy and unite around the Church. He said: “We have been having many commemorative events recently. Our recent history has become a history similar to that of the cross because of the many trials and tragedies that befell on our nation. However, we should not forget that our cross is a blossomed one. Our cross is the cross of the Resurrected Christ, and I am confident that our nation will rise again and overcome the consequences of the recent war, even in the situation of political turmoil we find ourselves in. We are fortunate to live in a multicultural and ethnically diverse country where we have the freedom of choice to embrace both Armenian and British identities. Faith is truly enough to overcome even the toughest challenge.
In 1988 when the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) demanded union with their motherland, the answer of Azerbaijani government of the time was repressions, pogroms and massacres of Armenians. The Soviet government turned a blind eye to it and was reluctant to interfere immediately. Within a few days over 200 innocent people were brutally killed. While we come to terms with our loss of recent war in Artsakh, we must not forget the past crimes perpetrated against our people. The prayer service was also an appeal for recognition and condemnation of the impunity of Azerbaijani government.