GENEVA — This week, Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director Archbishop Vicken Aykazian led an international religious gathering on the plight of refugees around the globe. The December 12 gathering of religious leaders in Geneva preceded the Global Refugee Forum (meeting in the same city December 13-15).
As vice-moderator of the World Council of Churches’ Central Committee, Archbishop Aykazian opened the event with his remarks. He noted that the WCC “is proud to host this meeting during Advent, preparing to celebrate Christmas. Christians see this as God on the move, coming into the world as a baby born to refugee parents, escaping political violence by crossing the border into Egypt.”
He went on that today, “moving with this Holy Family are another 100 million people…. Displacement from and within countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Sudan — to name just a few — stems from longstanding destabilizing forces which the political community fails to halt. My own people, Armenians, once again this year have had to experience the tragedy of displacement.”
Over the past three years, Archbishop Aykazian has made a profound mark on the international ecumenical stage as an outspoken advocate for the Armenians of Artsakh, during the tribulations of war, blockade, and exile they have endured. His remarks throughout the forum turned to the current situation of Armenia and Artsakh, including his eye-witness experiences.
Among the other figures addressing the forum was Greek Orthodox hierarch Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who delivered a keynote address on the ecological and refugee crises facing the world.
Message of Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Vice-Moderator of the WCC Central Committee