(Armenia Now) - For the first time in 400 years, the Armenian Apostolic Church will resume the rite of canonization, to be conferred on the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The solemn ceremony will be part of the 100th anniversary commemoration of the genocide during which up to a million or more Armenians died at the hands of Ottoman Turks, starting in 1915.
Bishop Bagrat Galstyan, Director of Ecclesiastical Conceptual Affairs Office at Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin, said that there is no special number for Canonization, because it is not clear how many genocide victims were followers of the Apostolic Church; it will be a collective ritual.
“After a long pause the order was restored in the Armenian Church last year, in 2014 by final decision and declaration at the Episcopal Assembly,” Galstyan told reporters on Tuesday.
The Bishop said that there are four conditions for Canonization, they are martyrdom for the faith and the fatherland, pious life - pious behavior of an individual or a collective, existence of miracles alive or dead, and preaching the faith, spreading the belief.
“The Armenian Church does not bestow sanctification, it merely recognizes the saints or the sanctity of those people,” he said.
He said that many church members were invited to the canonization, and next month it will be clear who will be present.
The ritual of canonization will take place on April 23 at the Mother See.