Armenians remember the 40 days of heroic defence against invading Turks
Anjar – On Saturday 23 August 2010 in the afternoon, His Holiness Aram I, accompanied by the President of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabagh), and members of the clergy, arrived in Anjar. After a warm welcome by the people of Anjar and pilgrims arriving from the diaspora, the Catholicos and his entourage walked to St. Paul?s Church for the service of the canonical hour. At the end of the service, Catholicos Aram I thanked everyone for their warm welcome, and said that the presence of the President of Artsakh, Bako Sahakian, added to the significance of these anniversaries.
The procession then moved to the monument of the martyrs of Musa Dagh, which they inaugurated with wreathes, and marked the event with speeches and cultural presentations. His Holiness Aram I closed the evening with the following words: ?The past should shape our vision for future action. Our history has shown that since the foundation of our nation by our forefather Haig, we have struggled for our independence and for justice for our people. The heroic defense of Musa Dagh against the Ottomans demonstrates that in spite of our different convictions we can unite and defy our oppressors.? Referring to the present, His Holiness continued, ?After the genocide and deportation, we built ?little Armenias? wherever we went. Anjar is a living example of this ?little Armenia?. As diaspora communities, we express our loyalty to our host countries, without giving up our demand for justice, and today, we are assisting our young Armenian Republic to grow and thrive. I am certain that we shall remain united in our demand for justice in memory of our martyrs?.
At the end of his speech, Catholicos Aram I decorated Dr. Vazken Der Kaloustian with the ensignia of St. Mesrob Mashdots, in recognition of his services to his people of Musa Dagh and the Church, following the steps of his late father, Movses Der Kaloustian, one of the heroes of Musa Dagh.
On Sunday, His Holiness Aram I presided over the Eucharistic celebration. The two-day celebration came to an end with a Service in Memory of the martyrs and an agape meal. Before giving his final blessing, Catholicos Aram said, ?Anniversaries should be the yeast, the leavening agent that shapes our future actions. Our actions should safeguard our specificity as Armenians, as they have in Anjar, strengthen our common will as a people and deepen our Christian faith through the teachings and spirituality of our Church?.
Photo: His Holiness Aram I presides over commemorations in Anjar (Photo Ashnag).
Source: Website of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, 21 August 2010