AZUSA — On April 22, 2017, the Armenian Student Association at Azusa Pacific University (APU) through the generous gift of APU alumnus Gary Mkrtchyan and family, dedicated a khachkar (cross-stone) to their campus. This commemoration ceremony was in remembrance of the 1.5 million Armenians that were slain during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish empire.

As descendants of genocide survivors, APU’s ASA wanted to honor those who were slain for their Christian faith and Armenian identity. Elijah Hakobian, president of the ASA, hosted the ceremony. Rev. Joe Matossian, APU alumnus of 1963, opened up with prayer and gave an empowering and uplifting speech about the Armenian spirit. He extended a call to action for justice to be constituted on behalf of the Armenian people against the crimes that were committed by the Ottoman Turkish empire.

Secondly, the president of the university, Dr. Wallace, shared about a book his grandmother had published about her best friend who survived the Armenian Genocide called “Love Beyond Measure”. He shared how the Armenian story had an influence on his family and how it became a part of their story as well.

The final speaker was Dr. Baloian, pastor, author and professor of Biblical and Religious studies at the university. He shared entertaining highlights of one of his visits to Armenia where he learned the significance of the khachkar (cross-stone).

APU Vocal Performance students, Talar Arslanian and Maral Kurdian performed Armenian classical pieces. Arslanian, dedicated an Armenian hymn called “Der Voghormia (“Lord Have Mercy”) by Komitas. Kurdian, sang an Armenian folk song titled “Giligia” (Cilicia) that was written by Nahabed Rusinian.

Friends, family and members of the community joined in support to remember and honor the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

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