Armenian church canonizes victims of 1915 mass killings

By REUTERS
April 23, 2015 20:03

 
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VAGHARSHAPAT, Armenia - The Armenian Apostolic Church on Thursday made saints of up to 1.5 million Armenians at an open-air ceremony to commemorate their killing by Ottoman Turks a century ago.

Armenia say the massacres during World War One constitute genocide -- a term used this month by Pope Francis. Muslim Turkey accepts many Christian Armenians were killed in partisan fighting during the war, but denies it amounted to genocide.

The ceremony attended by church leaders and state officials marked the start of the killings in 1915, and was held in bright sunshine outside the 4th century Echmiadzin cathedral in Vagharshapat, 20 km (12 miles) from the Armenian capital.

It was the first time in 400 years that the Armenian Apostolic Church had authorized any canonizations.

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