DETROIT — Armenian intellectual and political leader Edmond Y. Azadian was buried on Saturday, April 21, in Detroit’s Woodlawn Cemetery, after a weekend of solemn visitation and funeral services allowed family, friends and Armenian church and community leaders from the United States and abroad to pay their last respects.
Azadian, 87, had passed away in Florida on March 25, but had wanted his funeral to take place in his hometown, at his beloved St. John Armenian Church of Southfield.
Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, came from New York to preside over the services conducted, while Bishop Abgar Hovakimyan, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Canada, traveled from Montreal to also participate.
During the Friday evening wake, Fr. Aren Jebejian, pastor of St. John Armenian Church, introduced all the clergymen, including the married priests present, Fr. Garabed Kochakian and Assistant Pastor Fr. Armash Bagdasarian, before speaking about the role that Azadian had played in his own education and life, and praising him as a singular personality of the diaspora — as an Armenian patriot and intellectual. He then invited Bishop Hovakimyan to read the letter of condolences in the Armenian language sent by Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.
The wake was an opportunity to see Azadian one last time in his open casket adorned with the flags of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (ADL) and the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of the United States and Canada, two organizations which Azadian had served for decades as a leader and ideologue.
The next day, a large crowd was present at the church for the noon service, including family and many members of the Detroit Armenian community, as well as visitors who came specially for the funeral from Armenia, Europe and Canada. The Komitas Choir, led by Deacon Rubik Mailian and organist Arshaluys Gharibian, participated soulfully in the service. Fr. Kochakian read in English a translation of the letter of Catholicos Karekin II, while Diocesan Primate Fr. Parsamyan delivered a heartfelt eulogy both in Armenian and English.