|NEW YORK, NY - The Armenian National Committee of New York (ANC-NY) today welcomed Governor George Pataki's proclamation naming June 17th as the Empire State's Armenian Apostolic Church Recognition Day.
"We extend to Governor Pataki our great appreciation for his having joined with our community in celebrating this defining event in the history of the Armenian nation," said an ANC-NY spokesperson Alex Sarafian. "Governor Pataki has always been a close and valued friend of the Armenian people, in the tradition of former President and New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt, who protested against Ottoman Turkey's campaign to destroy its Armenian population and described Turkey's genocidal campaign as 'the greatest crime' of World War I."
The proclamation, issued on the occasion of the 1700th anniversay of Armenia's adoption of Christianity as a state religion, draws the attention of New Yorkers to:
-- The apostolic origins of Christianity in Armenia, and the great legacy of theologians such as Gregory of Nareg and Nerses of Lampron.
-- The creation of the unique Armenian script by St. Mesrob in 404 A.D. and Armenia's contributions to the architectural heritage of the world.
-- The long and proud history of the Armenian American community of New York State, dating as far back as the 1830's.
-- The Armenian Genocide, a tragedy which former President and New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt called the "greatest crime" of the First World War.
Proclamation by New York Governor George E. Pataki
State of New York
Whereas, the Empire State is strengthened by its communities of people representing various ethnicities and faiths, who benefit from the freedom and democracy upon which our Nation was founded; as a global leader in many areas of basic human rights, New York State has a prominent role in acknowledging longstanding institutions that teach valuable lessons from which our greater society benefits; and
Whereas, the Armenian Apostolic Church, founded by the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew, is such an institution; this year marks the 1700th anniversary of the conversion of the Armenian King Drtad by St. Gregory the Illuminator in 301 A.D. and King Drtad's subsequent declaration of Christianity as the official state religion of Armenia, making it the first nation to declare Christianity as the official state religion; and
Whereas, Armenia's conversion led to the creation of the unique Armenian script by Saint Mesrob in 404 A.D., and the bestowal of exquisite ecclesiastical gifts upon the architectural heritage of the world, like those found at Ani and Aghtamar; the conversion also resulted in the manuscript illumination of masters such as Thoros Roslin and Momig, and impressive theologians such as Gregory of Nareg and Nerses of Lampron; and
Whereas, Armenians have paid a dear price for their faith, beginning in the fifth century, when they were led in a religious battle against the Persians by the great prince Vartan, who died defending Christianity; today, the unbreakable spirit embodied by Saint Vartan prevails among Armenian Americans; their continuous struggle was witnessed in the martyrdom of an estimated 1.5 million Armenian Christians in the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923, a tragedy which former President and New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt called the "greatest crime" of World War I; and
Whereas, Armenian Americans have constituted a vital part of New York since the 1830's; the first Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church in New York City was offered in 1889, and the New York State is now home to one of the largest Armenian American communities in the United States; all the people of New York share in this noble commemoration and join with the Armenian American community as it honors this defining event in their history;
Now, Therefore, I, George E. Pataki, Governor of the State of New York, do hereby proclaim June 17, 2001 as
ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH RECOGNITION DAY
in the Empire State,
[Seal of the State of New York]
Given under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State at the Capitol in the City of Albany this eighteenth day of May in the year two thousand one.
[Signed: George E. Pataki]