His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, has issued a message on the 33rd anniversary of the Sumgayit pogroms:
Dear Pious People,
Today, we are commemorating the victims of the pogroms in Sumgait organized by the Azerbaijani authorities in 1988.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Republics of the Union proclaimed their independence, and our people of Artsakh also declared their will to live independently with the right of self-determination.
Against this fair decision, massacres and pogroms of Armenians were carried out in the whole territory of Azerbaijan.
The organizers of the Sumgait atrocities regularly attacked Artsakh and the border regions of Armenia with the planned new genocide.
Last year, Azerbaijani along with Turkey and terrorist groups unleashed a large-scale military operation against the Republic of Artsakh, brutally shelling the territory of Artsakh.
Many civilians and homeland defenders of our children killed, thousands of Armenians were displaced, spiritual and cultural monuments were destroyed, we lost a significant part of Artsakh, as well as there are still missing and captives.
We note with regret, that after the cessation of the war, violence and atrocities are still taking place, the rights of our country and people are being violated.
These tragic realities, the horrors of the second war of Artsakh prove that Artsakh can not be part of Azerbaijan.
Beloved ones, the pain of the losses caused by the war in our hearts, we must make every effort together to overcome the catastrophic consequences and trials, to strengthen our homeland, to accomplish the new achievements and make the successes in our lives.
Bowing in front of the blessed memory of our victims, we pray from the bottom of our hearts for the peace and tranquility of their souls.
We ask God to keep His mercy, graces and benevolence spread all over our people, our Homeland, under the protection of His most caring Holy Right Hand. Amen