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The Knights of Vartan Vahan Lodge #44, Orange County California, recently completed a fundraising activity specifically for the purpose of making a contribution to the mission of the Fuller Center for Housing in Armenia. The fundraising activity, a raffle with cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, culminated in a raffle drawing held on May 3, in the presence of a large majority of the Vahan Lodge Tivan members, including Commander Anton Markarian; of course, all were fully compliant with social distancing criteria and personal health safety guidelines!

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Washington, D.C. – Earlier this month, the Knights of Vartan Ani Lodge #21 and Daughters of Vartan Dikranouhi Otyag held two special events to mark the annual Vartanantz Day celebration. On Sunday, February 3, the Hamasdegh School at Soorp Khatch Armenian Church hosted the Knights and Daughters of Vartan for the first performance of a play on the historic Battle of Avarayr.

The following Sunday, February 10, the Shnorhali School at St. Mary Armenian Church hosted the second performance of the play. The Dikranouhi Otyag hosted the receptions at both churches and provided special gifts for the school children.  “It was a great educational opportunity for our Shnorhali school children to see an important part of Armenian history presented in an entertaining way with great taste and enthusiasm,” stated Rev. Fr. Hovsep Karapetian, Pastor of St. Mary Armenian Church. “The history and events surrounding the Vartanantz battle has inspired many generations to keep the spirit of Armenian patriotism and treasures of our Apostolic faith unshaken and alive.”

The play featured brother Nishan Dulgerian as Persian King Hazgert II, Ani Lodge Commander Jake Bournazian as Prince Vassag of Syunik, brother Taniel Koushakjian as Armenian Army General Vartan Mamigonian, Richard Vann as Ghevont Yeretz and sister Seda Gelenian as Narrator. Over 150 people attended the performances, including the school children that were excited to see one of their Armenian history book stories come to life.

“The Knights of Vartan have a special role in educating each generation of Armenians about the courage and sacrifice of the Armenians who fought and died against overwhelming odds in the Battle of Avarayr so that today Armenians can worship and live as a free and independent people,” Bournazian said.

Armenians commemorate Vartan Mamigonian who died in the Battle of Avarayr on May 26, 451 A.D. on the Avarayr plain in Vaspurakan.  66,000 Armenian rebel soldiers, driven by a desire to save their religion, Armenian culture and their way of life, fought against 260,000 Persian soldiers and 20,000 Armenian loyalists to the Persian emperor.  Although the Persians were victorious on the battlefield, the Armenian soldiers inflicted heavy casualties on the Persians.  In the Battle of Avarayr, 38,000 Armenian soldiers were killed and 1,036 captured, and 130,000 Persian and 3,544 Armenian loyalists soldiers were killed.  Armenian resistance continued in the decades following the battle, led by Vartan’s successor and nephew Vahan Mamigonian. The Armenians were eventually guaranteed religious freedom by Shah Peroz I in 484 A.D.

The Knights and Daughters were especially pleased by the incredibly hospitable and warm receptions displayed by the leadership and parishioners at both Soorp Khatch and St. Mary Armenian Churches. It was also a delightful way for the Knights to bring Armenian history to life while having a little fun showcasing their inner Broadway talents.

Photo Caption 1: Persian King Hazgert II receives Armenian Princes Vartan and Vassag

Photo Caption 2 (L-R): Taniel Koushakjian, Richard Vann, Seda Gelenian, Jake Bournazian, Nishan Dulgerian


Date: March 1, 2013

Contact: Taniel Koushakjian