On Friday, April 26, 2019, the Saint Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church community gathered together in order to commemorate the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide and to observe the 104th Anniversary of the “Great Calamity” that came upon the Armenian people in April of 1915.
Following the evening service and nakhadonag (Pre-festal observance) during which the hymns composed on this occasion were sung and the Holy Martyrs were commemorated in prayer, the faithful gathered in Jaffarian Hall for a fellowship meal prepared by the Ladies’ Guild of Saint Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church.
Following the dinner, a commemorative program was held featuring students of Saint Gregory Sunday School. During the program, the students presented about the historical province of Kharpert in Armenia. In the years leading up to and during the Genocide, the vast majority of Armenian immigrants who settled in the New England area originated in Khapert Province. These included the ancestors of virtually all of the program’s participants.
Also during the program, a scale model of Dzidzernagapert, the internationally known monument located in Yerevan, Armenia, and dedicated to the Armenian Genocide Martyrs, was unveiled. As a labor of love, several of the students and their parents had built the model out of cardboard and other materials. Flowers were placed all around the monument, as in real life thousands upon thousands of visitors pay their respects to the deceased by placing flowers at Dzidzernagapert every April 24th.
Following the students’ presentation, Fr. Stephan Baljian, pastor of Saint Gregory Church made closing remarks. Der Hayr commended the students for their effort and for a job well done in learning about their heritage and their communal history. He reflected on the province of Kharpert, once referred to as the “Slaughterhouse Province” due to the extreme persecution and violence that took place there between the years of 1895 and 1918. In his remarks, he encouraged not only the students but also everyone in attendance to learn more about his/her family history, village of origin and more about each villages unique story and way of life.
The evening ended with a benediction and the singing of Giligia.