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May 13 2015 | NAPLES, ITALY

Naples looks to the East: a panel discussion to commemorate the massacre of Armenians and persecuted Christians

On the occasion of the presentation of The Massacre of Christians, by Andrea Riccardi and The Martyrdom of Armenians, by Marco Impagliazzo

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The Church of San Gregorio Armeno in Naples, which houses the relics of Gregory the Illuminator, the founding father of the Armenian Church, hosted last Monday the presentation of The Massacre of Christians, by Andrea Riccardi, and The Martyrdom of Armenians, by Marco Impagliazzo. The debate, moderated by Rai journalist Guido Pocobelli Ragosta, saw the interventions, together with the authors, of Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, historian Daniela Luigia Caglioti, the rector of the L’Orientale University Lida Viganoni and philosopher Aldo Masullo.

Introducing the meeting, Guido Pocobelli recalled that, thanks to the Community of Sant'Egidio, Naples has become a place of meeting and history, as in 2007 with the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, inaugurated by Benedict XVI’s visit.

In the baroque setting of San Gregorio Armeno, Andrea Riccardi and Aldo Masullo underlined the deep bond between Naples and the Church of the East, a relationship sometimes forgotten, but it survives in numerous historical testimonies and in the architecture of the Convent of San Gregorio Armeno.
In the interventions, the many genocides of the twentieth century were remembered, like that of the Jews during World War II, that of the Muslims in Bosnia during the war in the Balkans and that of Tutsi in Rwanda. Massacres animated by a mad desire to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, as the intent by "young Turks" against the Armenians. Yet, as pointed out by Andrea Riccardi, globalisation is the revenge of the attempts of ethnic cleansing, as there are already 100,000 Armenians living and working in Turkey today, as the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated.

Aldo Masullo then emphasised the cruelty and brutality with which the deportation of Armenians resulted in a real slaughter of women, children and men told in numerous historical testimonies reported in both volumes.
Andrea Riccardi then told that the interest in persecuted Christians and especially Armenians was born during a trip to Syria, noting the depiction of a church of Mardin where, in addition to the Armenians, he then met in another trip also Chaldean Christians, settled in the Caucasus region. He then recalled that "history, without geography, is disoriented ideological history".
Marco Impagliazzo finally focused on the figure of the martyr, the real subject of history, not only of religious history.
The meeting was also attended by some Armenians living in Naples.

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