France Recognizes the Plight of Assyro-Chaldean Christians

Source: FSSPX News

The Rabban Hormizd monastery, of the Assyrians and Chaldeans

France has recognized that between 1915 and 1918, 250,000 Christians were put to death by a dying Ottoman Empire. The genocide took place from Cilicia to eastern Anatolia, passing through the province of Mosul or Persian Azerbaijan. 

On February 8, 2024, the Senate adopted the resolution – presented by Bruno Retailleau and Valérie Boyer – aimed at having the French State recognize the tragedy which resulted in the elimination of half of the Assyro-Chaldean community. Between 1915 and 1918, more than 250,000 of them died at the hands of the Ottomans, Kurdish irregulars, and other ethnic groups.

The massacres were accompanied by a vast damnatio memoriae enterprise: historical monuments were destroyed, churches and cemeteries desecrated, schools demolished, libraries burned.

The Assyro-Chaldeans speak and write a Syriac language close to Aramaic. They form an autocephalous Eastern Church that has been separated from Rome since the fifth century.

The French Dominican Hyacinthe Simon (1867-1922), witness to the massacres in Mardin, wrote in a 1919 report given to his superiors: “The spring was not in our mountains, but in the capital; and I will deny the existence of the sun rather than the truth of this axiom: The Young Turks of Constantinople massacred the Christians of Turkey.”

Fr. Jacques Réthoré, O.P., was also present in Mardin at this time. In his memorandum – sent to his superiors in 1920 – he blamed the Ottoman authorities in these terms: “These ministers of Constantinople have decreed the massacres, these senior officials have accepted the mission to carry them out.”

On April 29, 2024, the National Assembly therefore ruled on this crime unearthed from the dustbin of history. The text submitted to the vote is a resolution “on the recognition and condemnation of the persecutions of the Assyro-Chaldeans of 1915” carried jointly by the president of the Renaissance group, Sylvain Maillard, and by Anne-Laure Blin, of the Les Républicains group.

The resolution was adopted. It should be noted that the text does not have the force of law for the executive, who is “invited to officially recognize the mass extermination” of the Assyro-Chaldeans.