Three Torches and Two Dreams

A Photographic Journey

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ISTANBUL—Three flames, lit in Armenia, Cilicia and Artsakh, will converge in Stepanakert in August at the launch of the 7th Pan-Armenian Games (August 5 to August 17).

One torch was lit in Khor Virap, Armenia in memory of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the other in Tigranakert, Artsakh, while the third made its journey to Stepanakert from historic Armenian towns and villages in Turkey.

The Armenian Weekly spoke to Istanbul-Armenian singer Sibil, who accompanied the Pan-Armenian Games delegation to Turkey. The 23-member delegation chartered a direct flight from Yerevan to Van—the first flight ever between the two cities. Sibil called the flight “historic” and added, “It was moving to take off from Yerevan and land in Van only 35 minutes later.”

This was the second time Sibil participated in a similar trip to historic Armenian sites in Turkey. “Four years ago, I realized a dream by singing ‘Desnem Anin ou nor mermen’ (‘To See Ani and Then Die’) in the ruins of the historic Armenian capital city of Ani,” she recalled. “This time around, I realized another dream by singing ‘Giligia’ (Cilicia) in Cilicia itself,” said Sibil.

The torch was lit at the Holy Mother of God Church in the village of Vakif at the base of Musa Dagh. The region was part of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Vakif is known as the only Armenian populated village remaining in Turkey.

Sibil will also be performing in the closing ceremonies of the games. 

The Pan-Armenian Games started in 1999 and have since brought together thousands of athletes from Armenia and the Diaspora to compete in the motherland. In 2015, the games hosted 6,352 athletes from 175 cities (35 countries). 

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