TBILISI (Armradio) — The tombstone of Egor (Gevorg) of the famous Loris-Melikov family with Armenian inscriptions was found during the renovation of one of the private houses in Tbilisi. Thanks to the efforts of Tbilisi-based Armenian public figure Levon Chidilyan, it was moved to the yard of St. Etchmiadzin Church in Havlabar.
“The tombstone is unique in several respects, it belongs to the Loris-Melikov family. We know who this man is, we know his roots. Secondly, it is made of steel, which is already rare. It’s only in the yard of the Armenian church in Telavi that I have seen steel tombstones in Georgia,” Chidilyan said in an interview with Public Radio of Armenia correspondent Gita Elibekyan.
Lieutenant Colonel Gevorg Loris-Melikov was the Special Envoy of the Caucasus Viceroyalty in Tiflis (modern-day Tbilisi). His sons were high-ranking military men – Major General Hovhannes (Ivan) Loris-Melikov and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Loris-Melikov.
The newly-found tombstone is a steel mold about 1.65 meters high, 80 meters wide, which was used as a building material. Gevorg Loris-Melikov died in 1860. The district (Eliava), where the tombstone was located did not exist at that time.
Chidilyan believes someone could have moved it to that neighborhood during the Reed Terror to use as building material.
Under the Communists, in the early 1930s, the churches were already closed, and their destruction had begun. Tens of thousands of tombstones from churchyards were used as building materials for the construction of the main buildings envisaged by the master plan of Tiflis.
During the renovations carried out in different parts of Tbilisi, more than 10 Armenian tombstones have been discovered in recent years. Representatives of the Armenian community save them from becoming construction waste by moving them to the Pantheon of Armenian Writers and Public Figures in Khojivank. Gevorg Loris-Melikov’s steel tombstone with Armenian letters is in the yard of St. Etchmiadzin Church and is kept as a relic.