Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

Armenian Genocide Commemoration Takes Place in Providence

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — On Sunday, April 28, the Armenian Martyrs’ Memorial Committee of Rhode Island commemorated the 109th Anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide at the Martyrs’ Monument, North Burial Ground.

A service in Remembrance of the Holy Martyrs was held where a large procession commenced with flag bearers, clergy, invited guests and wreath presenters surrounded by able-bodied honor guards from the Armenian Masonic Degree Team, Homenetmen Scouts, and Knights of Vartan Arax Tahlij.

Gov. Dan McKee with MC Steve Zaroogian

A beautiful hymn was sung by choir members from the three local Armenian churches under the capable direction of Konstantin Petrossian. Officiating clergy Archpriest Rev. Gomidas Baghsarian, Rev. Kapriel Nazarian, Rev. Shnork Souin, Rev. Dr. Ara Heghinian, and Rev. Hagop Manjelikian conducted a service for the Holy Martyrs with the assistance of deacons and service participants from Armenian Evangelical Church, Saints Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Church and Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church.

Members of the clergy

It began with “The Lord’s Prayer” (“Hayr Mer”) being recited by the clergy and all those present; readings from St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews and the Holy Gospel according to St. John; the Litany of The Saints and concluding with the singing of “The Lord’s Prayer” by the choir and congregation. In addition, soloist Joanne Mouradjian sang a beautiful rendition of Hrashatsan Bagootsmamp to the Holy Martyrs.

Providence Mayor Brett Smiley welcomed the community to the city, where the Martyrs’ Monument standing 29-feet-tall, is located.

Providence Mayor Brett Smiley

Keynote speaker Alin K. Gregorian delivered a strong and convincing message linking the1915 Genocide with the 2023 ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Artsakh. She said the images of the recent forced depopulation of Artsakh, within full view of the world, made the Armenian nation live through a second genocide, almost a déjà vu. She called for the training of more academics as well as cultivating better contacts with major media players so that Armenians could successfully present their position to the world.

Keynote speaker Alin K. Gregorian after the address

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Gregorian has been the editor of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator since 1998. She received a Massachusetts State House Resolution for Contribution to the Armenian-American Community in 2018. She has a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Tufts University and a master’s degree in print journalism from Boston University.

 

From left to right are the following Committee members: Susie Chakmakian, Arthur Ventrone, Steven Zaroogian, Malcolm Varadian, and Terry Martiesian

Following the guest speaker and much to the delight of the audience of approximately 250, the Armenian School children of Saints Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Church and Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church performed where they sung a melody of Ov Hayots Kacher and Hayer Miatsek under the able direction of Director Raffi Rachdouni accompanied by Petrossian. Armenians continue to live through their faith, culture, and long-standing traditions but in this case the talented voices of our precious youth shined!

There were a few elected officials invited to speak at the Commemoration to say a few words including Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee, and the states US Senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse. There were several other political leaders in the audience who were recognized individually.

Sen. Jack Reed

Both senators voiced their support for Armenia, and expressed the need for continued recognition of the Genocide.

Although many changes have occurred over the years, the Armenian Martyrs’ Memorial Committee of Rhode Island for the past 47 years remember our departed martyrs who were canonized in 2015. We must never forget!

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