Pope Francis Refers to Mass Killings of Armenians by Turks as ‘Genocide’

Nation/World

In this file photo, Pope Francis delivers his Christmas Day message from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica on Dec. 25, 2014, in Vatican City. The “Urbi et Orbi” blessing (to the city and to the world) is recognized as a Christmas tradition by Catholics. (Credit: Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Pope Francis risked Turkish anger on Sunday by using the word “genocide” to refer to the mass killings of Armenians a century ago under the Ottoman Empire.

“In the past century, our human family has lived through three massive and unprecedented tragedies,” the Pope said at a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian massacres.

“The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the twentieth century,’ struck your own Armenian people,” he said, referencing a 2001 declaration by Pope John Paul II and the head of the Armenian church.

His use of the term genocide — even though he was quoting from the declaration — upset Turkey.

Turkey responded by summoning the Vatican ambassador for a meeting at the Foreign Ministry, Turkish state broadcaster TRT reported.

More than a million massacred

Armenian groups and many scholars say that Turks planned and carried out genocide, starting in 1915, when more than a million ethnic Armenians were massacred in the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

Turkey officially denies that a genocide took place, saying hundreds of thousands of Armenian Christians and Turkish Muslims died in intercommunal violence around the bloody battlefields of World War I.

The Armenian government and influential Armenian diaspora groups have urged countries around the world to formally label the 1915 events as genocide. Turkey has responded with pressure of its own against such moves.

Pope Francis said Sunday that “Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks” were also killed in the bloodshed a century ago.

He said Nazism and Stalinism were responsible for the other two “massive and unprecedented tragedies” of the past century.

Most Popular

Latest News

More News

KTLA on Instagram

Instagram

KTLA on Facebook

KTLA on Twitter