WCC remembers 109th anniversary of Syriac-Aramaic genocide

WCC remembers 109th anniversary of Syriac-Aramaic genocide

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is marking the 109th anniversary of the the Syriac-Aramaic genocide, or “SAYFO.” WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay reflected on our moral obligation to remember humanity’s historic propensity for genocide and atrocity crimes, “especially in these times when that propensity is – tragically – once again increasingly evident in current affairs,” he said.

The date 15 June mark the 109th anniversary SAYFO, in which, in 1915, over half a million Syriac-Aramaic Christians are estimated to have lost their lives. 

“Though taking place in the same historical and political context, these events are understood as distinct and separate from the Armenian genocide,” said Pillay. “Alongside the Armenian genocide, the upheavals of that historical period were marked by genocidal acts against several – mostly Christian – communities of Aramean, Chaldean, Syrian, Assyrian, and Greek descent, which have blighted history at the beginning of the 20th century but which remain under-recognized and for which accountability has never been pursued.”

All too often, Pillay said, the victims of genocide and their descendants face silence and the denial of historical facts, and must struggle for recognition of what their people have experienced, compounding their anguish and despair. 

“On this occasion, we remember the victims of the SAYFO 1915, as we appeal yet again for accountability for all such crimes, in order to help ensure that they are not repeated now or in the future,” he said.

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Minute on Syriac-Aramaic genocide “SAYFO” | World Council of Churches (oikoumene.org)