ANC-IL Chair Raffi Killian Presides over Remembrance
GLENVIEW, Ill.—On Sun., April 24, more than 500 members and clergy of the greater Chicago Armenian community joined together at the All Saints Armenian Church in Glenview, to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The event opened with the Divine Liturgy, following by a short program by the Armenian National Committee of Illinois (ANC-Il) at the monument, located on the church grounds, dedicated to the 1.5 million Holy Armenian Martyrs.
Raffi Killian, chairperson of the ANC-IL, welcomed the crowd and clergy, the Very Reverend Father Ghevont Pentezian of All Saints Armenian Church, and acknowledged Father Zareh Sahakian, retired pastor of All Saints Armenian Church. Chicago area clergy present included Reverend Father Sahak Kaishian, St. George Armenian Church (Waukegan); Reverend Father Hovhan Khoja-Eynatyan, St. James Armenian Church (Evanston); Reverend Father Tavit Boyajian, Sts. Joachim & Anne Armenian Church (Palos Heights); Pastor Jeremy Tovmassian, Armenian Evangelical Church (Mt. Prospect), and Reverend Father Nareg Keutelian, St. John the Baptist Armenian Church (Greenfield, Wisconsin). Reverend Father Daron Stepanian of St. Paul Armenian Apostolic Church (Waukegan) was unable to attend but was represented by members of his parish.
In his remarks, Killian said that we must not only remember the genocide, but as Armenians, it is a duty and privilege to pursue a just resolution to this long-open wound in Armenian history. He commented, “Whereas commemoration at its core is a personal experience, seeking justice is our collective battle.” Killian went on to explain recent efforts to continue to distort and rewrite history by Turkey and Azerbaijan: the FactCheckArmenia campaign; Erdogan’s support of ISIS to continue persecution of Kurds, Yezidis, and Christian minorities in the Middle East; and Aliyev’s military offensive against Nagorno-Karabagh that specifically targeted civilian populated areas. He asserted, “Over 100 years have passed since the Armenian Genocide but the same motivations to create a pan-Turkic empire have not subsided within the Turkish power base.”
ANC-IL was successful in assembling a number of local, state, and national officials to attend this 101st commemoration. At Killian’s prompt, Very Reverend Father Pentezian opened the speaking program. The crowd was honored to hear from U.S. Congressman Bob Dold, Illinois 10th Congressional District, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues; Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss, 9th Senate District; Illinois State Representative Laura Fine, 17th Representative District; Cook County Commissioner Gregg Goslin, 14th District; Raja Krishnamoorthi, candidate for Congress, Illinois 8th Congressional District; Mark Dietzen, Outreach Coordinator for Senator Mark Kirk, who interestingly has spent half of the past decade in Armenia, first as a Peace Corps volunteer and later as executive director of Americans for Artsakh, a non-profit which supports development in the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic; and Endy Zemenides, Executive Director, Hellenic American Leadership Council.
The program concluded with the singing of the beautiful and haunting memorial to our Holy Martyrs, “Hanchetsek,” which translates as rest for the dead, during which the crowd placed red carnations upon the genocide monument.
Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West