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This year the Armenian Heritage Cruise (AHC) took place January 20 to January 27, 2019 aboard Royal Caribbean’s “Allure of the Seas”.  The AHC Committee honored the Knights and Daughters of Vartan by providing time to present a program during the cruise.  Members of the Knights and Daughters leadership in attendance were Grand Commander Dr. Gary Zamanigian, Grand Matron Diana Tookmanian, Past Grand Commander Bob Barsam and Past Grand Matron Sona Manuelian.  Special guests included Archbishop Khoren Toghramadjian, Prelate of Cypress and Prof. Taner Akcam, author of “The Killing Orders – Talaat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide”.

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Ararat Lodge #1 Participates in 103rd Genocide Commemoration

On April 20, 2018 the Greater Boston Armenian community commemorated the 103rd anniversary of the 1915-1923 Genocide in the Chamber of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives.  This local event began in the 1980’s and has been supported by the Knights of Vartan Ararat Lodge #1 every year since its inception by taking an active role on the committee and especially providing financial and logistics support for free round-trip buses for the local community including school children.

For several years Ararat Lodge asbed and current Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian chaired the event as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  He followed many years of chairing the event by the Honorable George Keverian. This year Massachusetts State Representative David Muradian did the honors, chairing the event.  Many Ararat Knights and Arpie Otyag Daughters were present.  Reverend Father Stephan Baljian (also Ter Sbarabed of Arakadz Lodge in the Merrimac Valley) officiated with the invocation.  Numerous State Representatives and other State officials were present and made remarks.  Keynote speaker Raffi Bedrosyan gave an inspiring speech highlighting the 1915-23 Genocide, honoring the memory of the victims of the first genocide of the 20th Century.  St. Stephen’s Armenian School children participated as honor guards and sang the national anthems and Opera star Knarik Nerkararyan performed renditions of Armenian songs.

Local editors of the Armenian media and a 108 year-old genocide survivor were honored.  There followed a presentation of two $5,000 scholarships by Ararat Lodge asbed  Dr. Jack Keverian preserving the memory of his deceased brother the Honorable George Keverian, long-time, distinguished Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  The Keverian family funded the scholarships to two worthy students who plan to focus on public service, bringing positive change and advancing the principles of democracy.

By N.S. Jack Medzorian, Ararat Lodge #1