The 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire was honored on April 24 in Armenia, Artsakh, and the Diaspora. Around the world, a series of events and ceremonies took place in completely different conditions because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic
The Tsitsernakaberd Memorial was empty for the first time since its installation, and tribute was given without leaving the house. All trekking and transport routes, leading to Tsitsernakaberd, were closed, from April 21 to 25 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and for the citizens’ safety. On the 105th anniversary, the monuments of Armenia and other places inhabited by Armenians were also hatchbacks.
Candle lighting instead of chandeliers
On April 23, the traditional torchlight procession to Tsitsernakaberd, organized by the ARF youth wing, was replaced by a candlelight vigil. The commemoration events began at 9:00 p.m. with the church bells ringing, under which the external lighting of Yerevan and regional centers went out. At that time, all Armenians turned off the lights in their apartments and lit lanterns and candles near the windows as a sign of their symbolic presence at the Eternal Flame at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial. The symbolic beginning of the lighting was announced by the song “Ari im soghak” (Come on, my bow) performed by Liana Aleksanyan and Kamo Seyranyan.
On April 24, at 10:30, the Holy Liturgy was served in the Holy See of Holy Etchmiadzin and all the churches of Armenia, at the end of which a special church ritual was accommodated. The clergy called on the sons and daughters of the Armenian people to pray at home in the harsh conditions of the coronavirus epidemic, in memory of the victims of the Genocide for the honor of Armenians around the world.
On April 24, at 10:00, the leadership staff of the Republic of Armenia, headed by President Armen Sargsyan, expressed their respect. The ceremony of 105th anniversary was accompanied by a live performance with famous pianist, honored artist Hayk Melikyan. Due to the epidemic restrictions in the country, the traditional march to “eternal flame” was limited.
The Government of the Republic of Armenia laid down 105,000 flowers at the “eternal flame” of the memorial on behalf of Armenians around the world. On the same day, from 08:00 a.m., the citizens could send a message to the short number “1915” from Armenia, and to a special number from abroad, by which they confirmed their remote participation in the day’s gathering. The names of the citizens who sent the message were reflected in the columns of the memorial in the evening. The virtual march symbolized the eternity of the Armenian people and the Republic of Armenia.
It was possible to send a maximum of 5 messages from the same phone number. The cost of each message sent from Armenia and Artsakh was 1 AMD, the tariff for sending messages from abroad was calculated according to the countries and operators.
Thus, more than 800 thousand citizens from all over the world took part in the “march”.
Within the framework of the 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial on April 24, at 22:00, an art program dedicated to the memory of the holy martyrs was launched, which lasted for 8 hours. Before the completion of the event, folk songs of different genres were included.
The best soloists of the country: Narek Hakhnazaryan, Liana Aleksanyan, Liparit Avetisyan, Hayk Melikyan, Vahagn Hayrapetyan, and others performed. Based on the conditions prescribed by the state of emergency, the music organizations of the republic presented themselves in small groups. The concert was attended by the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Armenian State Symphony Orchestra, the State Chamber Orchestra of Armenia, the soloists of the Yerevan National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet after A. Spendiaryan, the State Chamber Orchestra of Armenia, vocal ensembles and soloists of Yerevan State Chamber and “Hover” State Chamber Choirs.
This unique event of musical commemoration was the incense and bowing of Armenian artists in an emergency under the motto ” By respecting the memory, we respect life.” At the same time, the columns of the memorial housed the names of about 1 million names who took part in the 105th anniversary virtual march.
The big calamity
The Armenian Genocide is the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey has traditionally denied allegations of massacres of about 1.5 million Armenians during World War I and has been extremely sensitive to Western criticism.
The Armenian Genocide has been recognized by many countries, including Uruguay, Lithuania, Russia, France, the lower house of the Italian parliament, the Czech parliament, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, 49 US states, as well as the parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Wales, Argentina, and Belgium and Luxembourg, the House of Commons of Canada and the Sejm of Poland, the Senate of Paraguay, the Vatican, the Council of Europe, the World Council of Churches, the US Congress, the German Bundestag, and other parliaments.
Translated by Mariam Ispiryan