BATON ROUGE — Sunday, April 19, 2015 was a memorable day for the small but vibrant Louisiana Armenian community. More than a hundred people were gathered at the St. Garabed Armenian Church in Baton Rouge, where Divine Liturgy and Requiem Service (Hokehankist) was offered by Rev. Father Tatios Abdalian, in memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who perished at the hands of the Turkish government.
The church service was covered by the local ABC station.
Following the church services, food (Hokejash) was served in memory of the genocide victims.
After the Hokejash, a commemoration event was held at the Church hall. Opening remarks were delivered by St. Garabed Parish Council Chairman, Mr. Vazken Kaltakjian, who acknowledged the presence of community members from New Orleans, and other parts of the state and even from Alabama, who had to drive for hours, to attend this event.
Church Choir member, Mrs. Azadouhi Moutafian recited a poem titled “We Protest” by Hovhannes Shiraz.
The event’s guest speaker was Mr. Krikor Khodanian from Los Angeles. He talked about the progress which was made during the past fifty years, to achieve the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. He reminded the audience that there was a time when the Armenian Genocide was known as the “Forgotten Genocide.” Mr. Khondanian stated that “during the years since then, we have been able to bring the recognition to a level where it can no longer be ignored by the civilized world.”
During his closing remarks, Father Abdalian emphasized the importance and the meaning of the canonization of our martyrs as saints of the Armenian Church. Father Abdalian stated that each one in attendance has lost a loved one or a relative during the massacres, and as such, each one will become a descendant of a saint.
In conclusion, special thanks and appreciation was given to Tamar Gregorian, who was the organizer and the driving force behind the success of, not only this event, but the public relations campaign, which was launched to bring the issue of the Armenian Genocide to the attention of the local and state politicians, the media and the general public.
Following the commemoration event, the attendees walked to the Armenian Cemetery adjacent to the church, where a wreath was placed at the Armenian Martyrs’ Khatch Kar.