Senior Armenian clergymen led by Catholicos Garegin II prayed for at least 129 people killed in Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris during a requiem service held at the main cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church on Sunday.
Garegin presided over the service in Echmiadzin, attended by France’s ambassador to Armenia, Jean-Francois Charpentier, one day after sending a letter of condolence to French President Francois Hollande.
“We strongly condemn the terrorist actions against innocent French civilians,” wrote the supreme head of the Armenian Church. “Terrorism knows no nationality and is aimed at all of humanity, at the world's well-being, and at the safe and creative coexistence of people and nations.”
Garegin said that Armenians around the world are mourning the victims of the Paris attacks “along with our indebtedness” for thousands of Armenians who were rescued by the French Navy during the 1915 genocide in Ottoman Turkey. Tens of thousands of other Armenian genocide survivors were allowed to take refuge in France in the following years.
In a sermon delivered at the requiem service, Archbishop Yeznik Petrosian, a member of Garegin’s entourage, likewise mentioned Armenians’ “gratitude” to France, saying that it makes them “feel the pain” caused by the multiple suicide bombings and shootingsin the French capital. He called the attacks an “act against God.”
“Our people are praying for God to open His arms and receive those who were killed on Friday,” added Petrosian.
Scores of people lit candles and laid flowers outside the French Embassy in Yerevan and in the city’s France Square on Saturday. President Serzh Sarkisian took part in a candlelight vigil that was held in the square decorated with French national flags on the occasion. Sarkisian strongly condemned the attack in a message sent to Hollande.