Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I

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YEREVAN (Panorama) — Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia announced at the Armenia-Diaspora Conference here last week that his office will initiate legal claims against Turkey to regain ownership of the historic headquarters of the catholicosate, which is in Sis, now part of Turkey.

“The Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia will soon present its legal claims to Turkey’s Constitutional Court, demanding the return of its historic seat, the Sis Catholicosate, to its rightful owners—the Armenian Church and the Armenian people,” said His Holiness.

Aram I’s message was delivered before the attendees of the fifth Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian meeting at the Yerevan Opera House on September 19, organized and hosted by Armenia’s Ministry of the Diaspora.

The city of Sis (modern-day Kozan) was where the headquarters of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia were located from 1293 to 1921. During the Armenian Genocide, the Armenians of Cilicia were subjected to massacres. The last Catholicos in Sis was Sahak II, who fled to Syria with the surviving Armenian population of Cilicia in 1921.

During the speech, he said, “We cannot remain indifferent towards the abuse of the rights of the Armenian nation. Indifference amounts to the betrayal of the nation.”

He stressed, “It is now time that we move the Armenian Cause efforts beyond the recognition of the Armenian Genocide into the legal sphere.”

The catholicos also added that during the past two years, under his supervision, work has been done towards that goal in collaboration with international law experts.

“If Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejects our claims, we will immediately present our case to the European Court of Human Rights,” declared Aram I. “If we win the case, the honor and victory will belong to our nation and Church. And if we lose the case, that will also be a victory, because in presenting our case we will have reminded the perpetrators and the international community that the Armenian nation remains committed to demanding its rights no matter the number of years that distance it from the onset of the Genocide.”

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