About the Knights of Vartan
The Knights of Vartan (Vartanantz Asbedner) is an Armenian fraternal service organization established by twelve visionary men to encourage its members to assume leadership roles in cultural, educational, religious, and charitable organizations and activities on the local, national and international level for the betterment of the Armenian nation worldwide.
On May 27, 1916, a small group of Armenian community leaders in the United States knelt at an altar in a room at Bingham House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and took the solemn oath of the Knights of Vartan, thus officially establishing the Brotherhood. The founding fathers included a bishop of the Armenian Apostolic Church (later Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia), five ministers of the Armenian Protestant Church, three professors, and three lay leaders of the Armenian community in America. Today there are 24 chapters of the Knights of Vartan and 23 chapters of the Daughters of Vartan throughout the United States.
The Knights of Vartan, Inc. was founded during the Armenian genocide and massacre of the religious and intellectual leaders of the Armenian people. After appeals to prominent political personalities in the United States, Germany and Russia, the realization dawned on the Founders that Armenians in America, and worldwide, not only lacked political and financial influence with the Great Powers (including the U.S.) to obtain political independence one day in historic Armenia, but in fact, were facing cultural and physical annihilation there. The primary aims of the organization were: to champion the Armenian cause, to alleviate the suffering of the Armenian people, to ensure the safety of displaced Armenians by interceding with the leaders of the Christian world, and to train leaders to serve the religious, cultural, educational, and charitable needs of the Armenian people.