Return of Relics
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Innakian Sourp Garabed

The principal buildings of the monastery from the south-west, photo by Bodil Bioern, 1905; The remnants of the monastery in 1972, photos by architect Armen Hakhnazarian.

Learn about the Return of Churches Resolution

Spearheaded by senior U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee member Ed Royce (R-CA) and the panel's Ranking Democrat Howard Berman (D-CA), H.Res.306 was overwhelmingly adopted by the House of Representatives on December 13, 2011.

Similar legislation (S.Res.392) was introduced in the spearheaded in the Senate by Senators Mark Brown (R-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). It has been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

This religious freedom resolution calls upon the government of Turkey to honor its international obligations to return confiscated Christian church properties and to fully respect the rights of Christians to practice their faiths in freedom.

This bipartisan effort to press Turkey to safeguard the Christian community and heritage within its present-day borders reflects America's enduring commitment to religious freedom, as so powerfully reaffirmed in the enactment by Congress of the International Religious Freedom Act, and represented, on the international stage, by America's leadership in supporting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


"Conditions in Turkey have deteriorated with violent hate crimes increasingly linked to religion. My resolution urges Turkey to protect its vulnerable religious minorities. They should be able to freely practice, worship and study their faith without fear of discrimination or violence. We expect Turkey to make good on its obligation to provide this protection."

-- Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)



"By expropriating church properties, harassing worshippers, and refusing to grant full legal status to some Christian groups, Turkey has failed to fulfill its obligation as a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which requires 'freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.' Turkey must end its deeply disturbing practice of religious discrimination, cease all restrictions on gatherings for religious prayer and education, and return stolen church property."

-- Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA)