Saturday, May 26, 2018

Remembering the Orthodox Holocaust

The Armenian Genocide is commemorated on April 24 each year, the Pontian Greek Genocide on May 19. Together with the Assyrians and other Christians under Ottoman rule, the combined total of Orthodox and Eastern Christians massacred by the Muslim Turks from 1894 to 1923 reached 3.6 million.

Still from the film 'Ravished Armenia', based on a survivor's eyewitness account.

While it is essential to remember the Armenian Genocide and to work to stop the Islamic genocide against Christians in the Middle East and Africa being committed today, we must recall that the term 'genocide' is a secular one.

As Christians we commemorate those killed not so much as 'genocide victims', but as MartyrsWitnesses for Christ — for they were persecuted and killed by the Turkish Muslims primarily because they were Christians, who refused to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ. As the Lord tells us, "You will be hated by all for My Name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved" (MT 10:22), and "The hour is coming when those who kill you will think they offer service to God" (JN 16:2).

Therefore, the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Martyrs from a hundred years ago are a sign for us today, who are living through a new age of mass Christian martyrdom, which may even result in the extinction of Christians from huge areas in the Middle East and Africa. They call out to us to be zealous and faithful to Jesus Christ to the end, for He has conquered the devil and death itself. They and all the New Martyrs of the 21st Century join to call us to deep repentance, and they admonish us to live fully the Christian life.

'Now one cannot be a half-hearted Christian, but only entirely or not at all.' 
~ Hieromonk Seraphim Rose (†1982) ~

For further reading:

May 19, Pontian Greek Genocide Remembrance Day - Records show a minimum 350,000 Pontian Greeks exterminated through systematic slaughter by Turkish troops, deportations involving death marches, starvation in labor and concentration camps, rapes and individual killings. Entire villages and cities were devastated, while thousands were forced to flee to neighboring countries.

The Orthodox Christian Holocaust: 1894 to the Present - The most significant Orthodox Christian resource on this subject, compiled by the Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes. Includes summaries of genocide against 3.6 million Armenians and Greeks by Turkish Muslims from 1894-1923.

Armenian Church canonizes victims of Ottoman genocide

Islam, via both Turkey and ISIS, threatens 5,000-year-old Assyrian culture with annihilation