Armenian Genocide commemoration held in Providence, R.I.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—On Sunday, April 28, 2024, the Armenian Martyrs’ Memorial Committee of Rhode Island commemorated the 109th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide at the Martyrs’ Monument, North Burial Ground, Providence, RI. 

Armenian Genocide commemoration at the Armenian Martyrs Monument at North Burial Ground, Providence, RI

A service in remembrance of the Holy Martyrs was held, and a large procession commenced with flag bearers, clergy, invited guests and wreath presenters surrounded by honor guards from the Armenian Masonic Degree Team, Homenetmen Scouts and Knights of Vartan Arax Tahlij. A beautiful hymn was sung by choir members from the three local Armenian churches under the direction of Maestro Konstantin Petrossian. Officiating clergy Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian, Rev. Fr. Shnork Souin, Rev. Dr. Ara Heghinian and Rev. Hagop Manjelikian conducted a service for the Holy Martyrs with assistance from deacons and service participants from the Armenian Evangelical Church, Saints Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Church and Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church. The service began with “The Lord’s Prayer” (“Hayr Mer”) recited by the clergy and all those present, followed by readings from St. Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews, the Holy Gospel according to St. John and the Litany of The Saints. It concluded with the singing of the “Hayr Mer” by the choir and congregation. In addition, soloist Joanne Mouradjian sang a beautiful rendition of “Hrashatsan Bagootsmamp” for the Holy Martyrs.

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The 39th Mayor of Providence Brett Smiley welcomed the community to the city where the Martyrs’ Monument, standing 29 feet tall, is located. Alin K. Gregorian served as the keynote speaker and delivered a strong message linking the1915 Genocide with the 2023 ethnic cleansing of the Armenians of Artsakh. Gregorian has been the editor of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator since 1998. She has long volunteered in the community, including at St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Watertown, as well as with the Massachusetts committee that commemorates the Armenian Genocide every year at the Massachusetts State House. She received a Massachusetts State House Resolution for contribution to the Armenian-American community in 2018. Professionally, she received a New England Press Association Award for Best Regional Newspaper in 1998. She and her family moved to the U.S. from Iran. She has one daughter, Tenny, and one dog, Luna.

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Following the guest speaker, and to the delight of the approximately 250 attendees, the Armenian school children of Saints Sahag and Mesrob Church and Sts. Vartanantz Church sang “Ov Hayots Kacher” and “Hayer Miatsek” under the direction of Raffi Rachdouni and accompanied by Petrossian. Through their youthful voices, the children illustrated that Armenians continue to live through their faith, culture and long-standing traditions. 

Armenian school students from Sts. Vartanantz Church and Saints Sahag & Mesrob Church

Several elected officials were invited to speak at the commemoration, including the Honorable Dan McKee, the 76th governor of Rhode Island, and United States Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse. There were several other political leaders in the audience who were recognized individually.

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

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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