HOUSTON — The ecumenical group Christian Churches Together in the USA hosted a panel on the Armenian Genocide as part of its annual convocation, held last month here.
The panel was held on February 12 at the city’s St. Kevork Armenian Church, where the Rev. Martiros Hakobyan, parish pastor, and local parishioners welcomed the Christian Churches Together delegates.
Historians Rachel Goshgarian and Taner Akçam spoke about the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath. Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director and the current President of Christian Churches Together, moderated the panel. Also present was the Very Rev. Aren Jebejian, a member of the Christian Churches Together organization.
Professor Akçam spoke about the “hidden Armenians” in present-day Turkey and related the story of a woman whose relative was ethnically Armenian but adopted the Islamic faith during the Genocide. He explained how the convert was treated like a second-class citizen in her village because her Armenian past was known to the locals. In recent years, a number of Turkish citizens with Armenian roots have been speaking openly about their Armenian heritage, which had been kept secret in the aftermath of the events of 1915.
Professor Goshgarian spoke about the Armenian architectural heritage in Turkey and how it represents the voices of the people who were deported and massacred during the Armenian Genocide. She noted the intentional destruction of monuments and the repurposing of churches and other religious buildings.