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(SAN DIEGO) – The Knights of Vartan, Gomidas Tahlij #43 of San Diego has donated a commissioned painting of St. Vartan and Ghevont Yeretz for the side altar of St. Sarkis Armenian Church, San Diego.

The painting by Armenian artist Tigran Hovumyan was dedicated and blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, and parish priest Very Rev. Father Pakrad Dz. V Berjekian, on Sunday, February 5, 2023, as part of St. Sarkis’ First Anniversary Celebration.

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107th Commemoration of Armenian Genocide in Times Square, New York

AS Steven Adams remarks

1915 to 2022, 107 years later and we find ourselves once again standing in front of the world remembering the Genocide of the Armenian people at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.  Is it even imaginable that after 100 years we still need to be here, standing on this platform?  Some would even argue as to why we are even still here.  Why do we come together over an event that was over 100 years ago?

The Turkish government would love us to forget.  They would like nothing better than to see us quietly go away and just disappear in history.  But let me tell you this, we are not going away and we will never forget.  100 years in the history of the Armenian people is like a drop in the bucket.  To make this point clear as to how good the Armenian memory is, let me only point to the battle of Vartanantz.  A battle that took place 1571 years ago.  A battle for their Christian faith that the Armenians lost but eventually overcame to gain their freedom to worship. Yes 1571 years and we still remember, we still commemorate. So to the world and especially to the Turkish government, let me assure you, we aren’t going away and we will never forget.

So we clearly have a problem. It’s not like Turkey is a far distant land from Armenia.  We can’t simply ignore each other.  We are tied together geographically.  So we hear from time to time that a reconciliation is in the works.  How hard is it to extend your hand when you look at the hand you are about to shake and you see blood on it?  The stain of Genocide covers the hand and can’t be washed off.  Trying to deny the stain, trying to cover it up won’t work.  The only soap that will take away that stain is the admittance of what was perpetrated on the Armenian people at the turn of the 20th century. The blood that covers the hand is not merely the dried blood of history but the fresh blood of denial.  It is the blood of one and a half million Armenian people who had lived in their historic homeland for millennium. To live in peace is an admirable goal, but false peace is only temporary.  History needs to be confronted, no matter how painful or distasteful it may seem.  The wound of denial will never heal on its own.  It only festers growing worse as the years pass. Turkey must confront its past to heal itself. As Armenians, we gather together on April 24th not only to draw the world’s attention but as our own form of healing.  We gather in our churches, in public squares to remind ourselves and the world to never forget.  There is no one alive today that has in their own memory the brutality that was inflicted on the Armenian people, yet virtually every Armenian alive today can draw on their own family history of the Genocide, stories of family members that were massacred.  My wife’s family comes from the villages of Musa Dagh, where Armenians took a stand to defend themselves. My family has a completely different story.  My grandmother was born in this country in 1899. Seeing the plight of the Armenians growing worse, her family escaped to this the land of freedom.  I asked my grandmother one day, had she ever met her grandmother, still living in that village of Perchanj outside of Kharpert.  She said only through letters that they would exchange back and forth.  I asked what happened with those letters.  She said that one day they just stopped coming. The Armenians had lived in that village for maybe thousands of years yet, one day they just stopped existing.  I often wonder what happened to that village.  I am sure there are still buildings there, but the soul of that land is gone.  Its like a person has died. The body may remain but the soul has left.  The historical lands of the Armenians are physically still there, we can see them on the map but the soul of that land has gone.

We stand here today in freedom, speaking the truth. Our freedom requires us to defend that truth. To stand up and proclaim to the world that Genocide has been committed and the world will not tolerate it again.

I want to thank the Knights of Vartan Times Square organizing committee for bringing us all here again today. I also want to thank all of the co-sponsors and all of you who came by our side on this day of remembrance. The Knights of Vartan was founded in 1916 to bring help to the victims of the Armenian Genocide and we continue today to bring justice to those that perished and truth to those who deny.

Thank you all for being here today.