A new book based on research in the Vatican’s secret archives shows that the Vatican’s representative in Turkey took extraordinary measures to stop the genocidal campaign against Armenians in the early 20th century.
Archbishop Angelo Mario Dolci (who would later be made a cardinal),
while acting as apostolic delegate in Constantinople, wrote to Turkish
authorities in 1915 to argue against the genocide, writes researcher
When his pleas fell on deaf ears, the papal
legate tried to rally other diplomats to defend the Armenians—and even
went beyond his brief, approaching political figures and circulating
private documents in an attempt to stop the campaign.
“The Vatican did
what it could, and in some cases what it could not, because the nuncio
went to meet with people who were outside the diplomatic sphere.”
Archbishop Dolci wrote vivid reports on the genocide, and Pope
Benedict XV was moved to involve himself in the effort to stop it,
The book also shows that Archbishop Dolci
understood the Turkish campaign that began in 1915 as a bid to rid the
country not only of Armenians but also of other Christians, including
Assyrians, Chaldeans, Melkites, and Maronites.