PRAYER AT DZIDZERNAGAPERT MEMORIAL
Pope John Paul II

WE ARE APPALLED BY THE TERRIBLE VIOLENCE DONE TO THE ARMENIAN PEOPLE

On Wednesday, 26 September, the Holy Father visited the Dzidzernagapert memorial in Yerevan and paid a moving tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians who were killed in the early 20th century. The Armenian Monument, Dzidzernagapert, was constructed in 1965 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Armenian massacre. The monument is a towering grantie needle flanked by an eternal flame. Twelve imposing pylons, representing the twelve provinces where the Armenians were massacred, surround the memorial flame inside the fortress. The flame burns to represent the Armenian spirit, which can never be extinguished. The monument which means "Citadel of Swallows" is named for a bird that always returns to its nest, even if its home has been destroyed. The needle-shaped shaft beside it represents the rebirth of the Armenian people. The Holy Father left a red rose at the eternal flame. As many as 1.5 million Armenians died in the persecutions that lasted from 1915 to 1923. In his prayer, the Holy Father begged the Lord to listen "to the lament that rises from this place, to the call of the dead from the depths of the 'metz yeghérn'". The Holy Father used the term "Metz Yeghérn" which is usually translated as the great evil or the great crime. In his prayer he deplored the violence that continues in our world. "We are appalled by the terrible violence done to the Armenian people, and dismayed that the world still knows such inhumanity".


O Judge of the living and the dead, have mercy on us!
Listen, O Lord, to the lament that rises from this place,
to the call of the dead from the depths of the Metz Yeghérn,
the cry of innocent blood that pleads like the blood of Abel,
like Rachel weeping for her children because they are no more.
Listen, Lord, to the voice of the Bishop of Rome,
echoing the plea of his Predecessor Pope Benedict XV,
when in 1915 he raised his voice in defence of
"the sorely afflicted Armenian people
brought to the brink of annihilation".
Look upon the people of this land
who put their trust in you so long ago,
who have passed through the great tribulation
and never failed in their faithfulness to you.
Wipe away every tear from their eyes
and grant that their agony in the twentieth century
will yield a harvest of life that endures for ever.
We are appalled by the terrible violence done to the Armenian people,
and dismayed that the world still knows such inhumanity.
But renewing our hope in your promise, we implore, O Lord,
rest for the dead in the peace which knows no end,
and the healing of still open wounds through the power of your love.
Our soul is longing for you, Lord, more than the watchman for daybreak,
as we wait for the fullness of redemption won on the Cross,
for the light of Easter which is the dawn of invincible life,
for the glory of the new Jerusalem where death shall be no more.
O Judge of the living and the dead, have mercy on us all!


Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
3 October 2001, page 6

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