MOSCOW (PanARMENIAN.Net) — Responding to an uproar in Armenia, the Russian Orthodox Church clarified on Monday, January 11 the comments of its supreme head, Patriarch Kirill, during a television interview. He did not deny the 1915 Armenian Genocide when he praised the Ottoman Empire’s treatment of its Christian minorities, RFE/RL Armenian Service reports.
A spokesman for Kirill said that the Russian church continues to believe that the World War One-era slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians constitutes genocide.
The Patriarch raised some eyebrows in Armenia when he discussed the plight of shrinking Christian communities in the Middle East in a weekend interview with Russian state television. In a clear reference to atrocities committed by Islamist militants, he said Christians in the region are being subjected to genocide.
“Nothing similar to the current events had ever happened in the Islamic world,” Kirill said, adding: “Take, for example, the Turkish, Ottoman Empire. Yes, there were Christian minorities there but they were not exterminated.”
The remarks angered many Armenian social media users before being similarly condemned by some political figures. Giro Manoyan of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), called them “unacceptable.”