Victims of the first major genocide of the last century will be remembered in churches across Wales today (April 24).
An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were systematically exterminated during World War I in what was then Ottoman Turkey. Now, 100 years later, the Church in Wales recognises April 24 as Armenian Genocide Memorial Day .
Dr Thomas is Honorary Pastor to Armenians in Wales and will be assisting at a service at the Genocide Memorial in the Gardens of the Temple of Peace at Cathays Park at 11am on 24 April (Armenian Genocide Day). It will be led by the Revd Dr Vrej Nersessian of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church and prayers will be offered in Armenian, English and Welsh, and flowers will be laid at the Memorial in memory of the Martyrs of the Genocide.
Dr Thomas, who is Chancellor of St Davids Cathedral and Vicar of Christ Church, Carmarthen, has written a new book about the genocide which will be launched today at the National Assembly Pier Head Building in Cardiff Bay. It is Remembering the Armenian Genocide 1915 (published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, £8.95) and its cover is featured in the picture above.
April 24 1915 was the date on which leading Armenian community leaders, journalists, authors, poets and churchmen in Istanbul were arrested by the authorities and deported to a death camp from which only a handful escaped with their lives. It is the day on which Armenians throughout the world remember the victims of the Genocide.
The Church in Wales, through Archbishop Barry, played a significant role in ensuring that a public memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide was placed in the garden of the Temple of Peace in Cardiff in 2007.
Dr Thomas has a deep interest in Armenian culture, history and spirituality and has visited the Republic of Armenia five times since 2005. He is also the author of From Carmarthen to Karabagh: a Welsh Discovery of Armenia. It was following his request that the Church in Wales officially recognised April 24th as Armenian Genocide Memorial Day.
You can download the prayers at the link above or here: