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Primate’s Letter To President Joseph R. Biden

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No. A1220                                                                                                            January 29, 2021

The Honorable President Joseph Biden

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

Honorable President Biden,

As the spiritual leader of the largest Armenian population outside of the Republic of Armenia, I congratulate you wholeheartedly on your election as the 46th President of the United States of America.

The Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the United States of America, established in 1898, by the Pontifical Encyclical and Decree of His Holiness Mkrtich Khrimian, has been the spiritual center for the Armenian-American community in the United States for over 120 years. Because of the expansion of the Armenian-American community, the Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church was established in 1927.

Our diocese has closely collaborated with city and state governments to ensure the prosperity of the communities, which we serve. Our Diocese has been represented on the national level as well. We have delivered the opening prayer on the House Floor. On several occasions, we have hosted a number of high-ranking government officials, (including a town hall with the US Ambassador to Armenia) at Diocesan religious, social, and cultural functions. The Western Diocese has been committed to preserving our outstanding relations with all levels of government.

Dear President Biden,

As an avid proponent of historical justice, you have been committed to bringing social justice and have always been a staunch proponent in the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the 20th century.

The genocidal ambitions of Turkey carried over to 2020, with its full-fledged military support of Azerbaijan’s expansionist determinations. In fact, the Turkish President Erdogan was quoted saying that Turkey vows to “continue to fulfill this mission, which our grandfathers have carried out for centuries, in the Caucasus” (Recep Tayyip Erdogan – July 24, 2020). In the war against Artsakh, whose people pursued a just cause of defending their ancestral lands of thousands of years and fighting to live freely, Turkey sent its special forces, and recruited thousands of radical Islamists.

In the aforementioned war, Azerbaijan repeatedly committed war crimes, targeting innocent civilians and the international press. Azerbaijan’s shelling of a hospital in the northeast region of Artsakh on October 14, where civilians were receiving medical treatment, the shelling of the Holy Savior Church on October 8, with children, women, and reporters seeking shelter inside, the skinning of an Armenian soldier and the dismemberment of his body, the brutal murder a woman and her disabled son, are uncontestable facts of Azerbaijani war crimes.

For nearly 45 days, Armenia fought international terrorism backed by the genocidal Turkish government. According to Russian and French intelligence as well as numerous reports by the international press including interviews and video footage, NATO member Turkey smuggled jihadist terrorists from Libya and Syria into Azerbaijan to fight against the first Christian nation in the world.

Honorable President, we urge you to utilize your leadership, statesmanship, diplomatic influence and power on the global stage, to call out these heinous actions of the Turkish and Azeri governments. The massacre of innocent people on a daily basis leave no room for double standards, hypocrisy, political correctness, or weightless statements. Quite frankly, as descendants of genocide survivors, we have grown tired of empty promises and rhetoric by previous administrations. Whether it was promises made to recognize the Armenian Genocide or promises made during the most recent war in Artsakh, we have continuously been deceived. Upon assumption of the Office of the President, the pursuit of justice seems to vanish. We are indeed hopeful, with your election and Vice President Kamala Harris, that we, as a people who have made significant contributions to this great nation, will no longer be neglected.   

Honorable President Biden, we pray for you and your family and wish you a prosperous presidency. May you continue to represent the American people with honor, respect and humility.

May God bless the United States of America.


Archbishop Hovnan Derderian


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