By Ani and Philippe Pilibossian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
SOFIA, Bulgaria — On October 4, the Sofia Regional History Museum inaugurated an exhibition called Pamet [Memory] in the presence of a large crowd of over 100, including some Bulgarian state officials and Fr. Hrach Mouradian, parish priest of the Armenian church of Plovdiv. This exhibition in the Bulgarian capital is dedicated to the welcoming of Armenian refugees 100 years ago by the Bulgarian state. Organized by the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations, it coincides with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Bulgarian Republic and the Republic of Armenia. The event took place under the patronage of the ambassador of the Armenian Republic to Bulgaria, Armen Yedigaryan.
The exhibition contains rare handcrafted items, books, and personal memoirs presented in the showcases at the entrance to the museum. Many were lent by individuals whose ancestors fled the Greco-Turkish war in the years 1918-1922.
Finely chiseled and sculpted religious objects are presented in the center of the showroom. They are from the Armenian church Sourp Kevork in Plovdiv (the second biggest city of Bulgaria), which is a cosponsor of the exhibition. The museum adjoining this church preserves various objects brought in oxcarts by Armenians fleeing the war from different cities such as Rodosto, Edirne, or Malgara.
The exhibition’s opening started with a performance by the singer and songwriter Haygashot Aghasian, the grandson of the Armenian translator of the novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. He sang several Armenian and Bulgarian songs, accompanied on piano. Ambassador Yedigaryan gave a speech in English, which was simultaneously interpreted into Bulgarian. The director of the Sofia History Museum, Dr. Veneta Handziiska-Yankulova, spoke, as did Lazar Lazarov, Bulgarian deputy minister and chairman of the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Integration Issues, which is part of the Bulgarian Council of Ministers. The latter congratulated the Armenian community on the excellent organization of the exposition.