The Uniting Church in Australia formally acknowledged that the Armenian massacres and forced deportations constitute genocide.
The UCA is the third denomination at a national level to acknowledge the Genocide that took place 100 years ago.
The total number of people killed as a result has been estimated at 1.5 million. A further one million were displaced.
Rev. Dr Krikor Youmshajekian from St Andrews Longueville Uniting Church and former minister at the Willoughby Armenian Evangelical Uniting Church of Sydney addressed the Assembly.
“In the years of 1915-1918, the Armenian people were under the grip of annihilation and the brutal plans of genocide – but God saved this first Christian nation from being wiped out, said Rev. Dr Youmshajekian.
The origins of the Armenian people date back to Noah. In 301 CE they became the first Christian nation and 100 years later developed their own alphabet and language which is still used today.
Rev. Dr Youmshajekian said that many countries and many communities in Australia had been involved in providing support, relief, food, and safe places for the Armenian people to live.
“By accepting this proposal the assembly will keep the story of the first Christian nation alive,” he said, giving thanks to the many Uniting Church congregations who had held liturgies to commemorate the genocide.
Rev. Dr Chris Walker, National Consultant for Christian Unity Doctrine and Worship, told the Assembly that it was deeply fitting for the Uniting Church to make give this acknowledgement as the Armenian people mark the centennial of the Genocide.
Rev. Dr Walker acknowledged that both the World Christian Council and the Christian Conferenceof Asia (CCA) had made statements acknowledging the massacre that took place and thesuffering of the Armenian community.
After the proposal was adopted a prayer was offered by the NSW Moderator Rev. Dr Myung Hwa Park, both sung and spoken in Korean and English.