28 May 2005

Armenian life in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

In the 29th April 2005 issue of "Addis Tribune" (a publication of Tambek
International, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, established in 1992) printed an
article by Garbis Krajian, under the title: "Genocide 90 years ago �?" and

Garbis Kradjian is a graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and
a teacher of ethics courses. His current assignment is in Ethiopia and

The article was more than a tribute to the memory of the victims of the
Genocide. It was a blend of memories on personal, communal, national and
trans-national levels, all intermingled in an interesting way. After all,
our life is a reflection of the reality within those four circles.

The article begins with the following statement:

As a form of introduction, I was born in Ethiopia from Armenian parents. My
family�?Ts history in Ethiopia goes back over 150 years. From my father�?Ts
side, I am fortunate to trace my genealogy back five generations. From my
mother�?Ts side, I am only able to go back as far as my grandfather.

I grew up in the Arat Kilo region and still remember many of my childhood
friends. I became fluent in Amharic [the majority language in Ethiopia] and
loved doing everything a child would do in our neighborhood. Ethiopia became
my home country and home to almost all Armenians who live in Ethiopia. Right
after the fall of the Emperor I left Ethiopia for Canada.

After living abroad for thirty years, I have returned to Ethiopia as an
educator. Upon my arrival I learned that the once vibrant and prosperous
Armenian community that numbered around 1,500 has dwindled to less than one
hundred. The remaining twenty families still run the community school, a
club and a church.

On April 24th, like it has been done for the last 90 years, I also went to
my church to pray for the soul of my ancestors.

It is estimated that over ten million Armenians and friends in one hundred
fifty-two countries gathered in churches, community centers, and national
assembly halls to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

I was one of sixty Armenians who congregated at St. George (Kevork) Armenian
Church [in Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia] to pay tribute to my
ancestors who were victims of the atrocities committed by the Turkish
Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

Needless to say, I could not think of being anywhere else in the world at
this particular moment than this sacred place in Addis which is still
situated in the same setting where I regularly prayed as a child until I was
19 years of age. This was the same site, where every year, on April 24th, a
thousand or so Armenian-Ethiopians gathered to remember their ancestors, the
children, and the elderly who were slaughtered by the Ottoman Army. In fact,
what makes my conviction so much stronger is that I am the grandchild of one
of the Forty Orphans, the �?oArba Lijoch,�?� who survived the genocide and
escaped to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, these forty orphans were given shelter
at the Armenian Monastery later to be adopted by Emperor Haile-Selassie.

The Emperor brought them to Ethiopia, where they made this lovely country
their home. These forty young men, who were a band had impressed the Emperor
with their musical skills. Upon their arrival to Ethiopia, they were
commissioned, under the directorship of Noubar Nalbandian, uncle of Nerses
Nalbandian, to compose the National Anthem of Ethiopia. It remained as the
anthem, �?oTeferi Marsh�?� or �?oEthiopia Hoy,�?� until the arrival of the
[military committee formed in 1974 after the overthrow of Emperor Haile

Before I move to the topic of my immediate concern, I pay much gratitude to
all Ethiopians, present and past, for giving the Armenians a home for the
last 100 years.

Garbis Krajian then gives a summery of the Genocide explaining why Turkey
should recognize it.

He ends the article by borrowing Reverend Martin Luther King�?Ts �?oI have a
dream�?� speech:

I have a dream that one day little Armenian boys and girls will be able to
join hands with little Turkish boys and girls as sisters and brothers
without having to bring up the past. I hope one day, my daughters Sara and
Ani will be able to play with the children of my very good Turkish friend
Serdar, without even going there�?�there �?�there, to the past, a very sad
that is inevitable to surface when an Armenian and Turk meet.


70th anniversary of St. George (Kevork) Church in Addis Ababa.

On the 16th January 2005, the Armenian Community in Ethiopia witnessed one
of its memorable days, the celebration of the 70th anniversary of St. George
(Kevork) Armenian Apostolic Church of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

The celebration was presided by Archimandrite V. Rev. Fr. Ashot Mnatzakanyan
(Locum Tenens of the Diocese of Armenian Apostolic Church of Egypt and all
Africa), Rev. Fr. Myron Sarkissian, Pastor of the Community (and other
nearby countries such as Sudan) attended the ceremony. The celebration
enjoyed the support of His Holiness Patriarch Abouna Paulos, the Head of the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church. This fact in itself was a proof of ages old
friendly relationship between the Oriental Orthodox Churches of both
countries: Armenia and Ethiopia.

Catholicos Aram I helps the Ethiopians of Lebanon build their first church.

Antelias, Lebanon (10 February 2005)- His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of
Cilicia, has contributed to the church-building efforts of the Ethiopian
community of Lebanon. The community will soon construct its first church in
the Ainaar village, located in Mount Lebanon. The land was registered as a
property of the Catholicosate of Cilicia [donated by a Lebanese Christian

His Holiness Patriarch Abouna Paulos, the Head of the Ethiopian Orthodox
Church, had visited the Catholicosate two years ago and asked Aram I to
assist the Ethiopian Community of Lebanon. Upon his request, Catholicos Aram
I closely followed the religious activities of the community during the last
two years. The Ethiopian Patriarch�?Ts visit has paved the way for continual
cooperation between the Catholicosate of Cilicia and the Ethiopian Orthodox

See photo and links at the following link:


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