Marching and Prayer: Commemorating Our Martyrs
The Very Revd Dr. Vahan Hovhanessian, Primate, joined the approximately 1500 Armenians, marching in the streets of London to mark the 95 commemoration of the martyrdom of 1.5 million Armenians during the 1915 Genocide. The march started at the gates of the Greek Cathedral of Holly Sophia on Moscow Rd. The marchers were led by scouts carrying the flags of UK and Armenia and wreaths to be placed at the Cenotaph in memory of the Armenian martyrs.
Leading the march was our Primate accompanied by Rev Fr. Shnork Baghdasarian, Mr. Ara Palamoudian, chairman of the ACCC, and Mr. Viken Haladjian, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the ACCC. Present at the gathering prior to the commencement of the march were Mr. Steve Pound, MP, North Ealing and Councillor Bassam Mahfouz.
AT the Cenotaph Fr. Vahan started the memorial ceremony by the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer (Hayr Mér), followed by the singing of the hymn Lord Have Mercy (Dér choghormya), and a special prayer in Armenian and English for the souls of the martyrs. This was followed by the laying of three wreaths by the Primate, Mr. Palamoudian and Dr. Vahe Gabryelian, Ambassador, Republic of Armenia. Following the laying of the wreaths, the crowd, led by the scouts, started singing the national anthem of the Republic of Armenia. The ceremony ended with a brief prayer by Fr. Vahan.
Many thanks and heartfelt gratitude to the members of the April 24 committee of the ACCC, CRAG, the Armenian Scouts and the London police forces for coordinating and escorting such a well planned and successfully accomplished march.
There were two requiem services (Hokehankisd) offered in Armenian Churches in
On the following day, Sunday, 25 April, Fr. Nerses Nersesian led the faithful in the celebration of the Badarak (Divine Liturgy), presided over by our Primate. Following the distribution of Communion, Fr. Vahan delivered his sermon in which he called upon the faithful to take the martyrdom of those massacred during the Genocide as a witness and example of committing one’s life to the gospel, faith, church and people.
“If the Ottomans cut the tongues of those who spoke Armenian,” said our Primate, “we have to make sure that every Armenian child has the opportunity to learn his or her language. If the Ottoman Asakir burned and desecrated churches in an effort to divorce us from the faith of our forefathers, it is our duty to make sure that we learn and understand our faith and work together on strengthening the mission of our church. If the caravans of deportations were intended to dissect our nation and disperse us, we need to make sure that we rise above any disagreement and personal conflict to maintain and support the unity of our people, especially in the diaspora.”
Following the sermon, members of the choir and deacons formed a procession in the central isle of the church, leading the Fr. Vahan and Fr. Nerses, followed by His Excellency Dr. Vahe Gabryelian, Ambassador, and Mr. Ara Palamoudian, chairman of ACCC, to the Khachkar (Cross-Stone) in the plaza of the Cathedral where the ceremony of the laying of the wreaths and Hokehankisd took place.