His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenian Church of Cilicia, to visit Switzerland

The religious leader of Armenians living in the diaspora in Lebanon, His Holiness Aram I, will visit Switzerland from September 24 to 26. On the occasion of the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Catholicos of Cilicia will be welcomed by the FSPC and honor the outstanding commitment of Swiss citizens to helping the survivors of the massacres and their descendants. His Holiness Aram I, a highly recognized political figure in Lebanon, will also talk about the current situation in the Middle East.

“I want to express our deeply felt gratitude for the solidarity with the Armenians that the Swiss population has been showing for 100 years. I want to honor all the “righteous ones” who dedicated their strength, and indeed even their lives, to the Armenian cause. It is my wish that these celebrations may deepen the cooperation between our people and strengthen our joint commitment to work for peace and justice. I call upon the women and men of Switzerland to support the war victims of today, especially those from the Middle East,” His Holiness Aram I. declared.

“To help those who are suffering is a core value not only of the Christian faith, but also of our country. So, let us follow the example of those who embodied these values and continue to put them into practice,” urged Gottfried Locher, Council President of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches.

His Holiness Aram I. plans to meet with Federal authorities several times and will give speeches on the following three occasions in Switzerland:

  • Memorial event in Begnins (VD), Salle Fleury, on Thursday, September 24, at 6:30 p.m. In 1921, an Armenian orphanage was founded here by the Reverend Antony Krafft-Bonnard of Waadtland Canton.
  • National memorial event at the Bern Minster on Friday, September 25, at 5:30 p.m. – with FSPC President Gottfried Locher. The ecumenical worship service will be accompanied by the Ensemble Eskeniangeli, which combines Armenian liturgical music and Baroque music. Additional participants include: Representatives of the Armenian parishes in Switzerland, federal authorities, political representatives, representatives of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, the Association of Christian Churches in the Canton of Bern, the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, the Armenofas Foundation, as well as descendants and family members of the “Swiss Father of Armenians,” Jakob Künzler.
  • Memorial event in Walzenhausen (AR) on Saturday, September 26, starting at 2:30 p.m. in honor of Jakob Künzler. Participants include: Representatives of local public authorities and churches, representatives from the Swiss-Armenian Society, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, scholars, as well as descendants and family members of Jakob Künzler.

More information – especially regarding the solidarity between Switzerland and Armenia – can be found here (in German).

On the occasion of the 100 year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Armenofas Foundation, which organizes this visit in cooperation with the FSPC, has issued a badge that is available free of charge: “Armenian Genocide Centennial:  Remembrance and Gratitude.”

Abel Manoukian has written a book about the humanitarian support offered to the Armenians by the Swiss people between 1894 and 1923. “Zeugen der Menschlichkeit” (“Witnesses of Humanity”) will be published in German in late September and will be available at the above-mentioned events. (Published by: Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, Bern, ISBN 978-3-7229-0012-4, CHF 32.-)