Thousands Pay Tribute to the Victims of the Armenian Genocide in Montreal at Saint Joseph Oratory
Monday, April 20, 2015 at 19:15pm Montreal’s St. Joseph Oratory was filled to capacity with around 3000 faithful who came to pay homage to the memory of the 1.5 million Armenian victims of the first genocide of the 20th century.
The Armenian Apostolic, Catholic and Evangelical churches jointly organized the ecumenical commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Participating in the services were around 15 denominational churches, including the Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox and Evangelical churches.
The procession of the clergy was led by students of AGBU Alex Manoogian, Notre Dame de Nareg and Sourp Hagop Armenian Schools of Montreal, and the scouts of AGBU and Homenetmen, while the Joint Choir of Montreal Armenians sang the traditional “Hrashapar” (Hymn of procession-Te Deum), directed by choirmaster Hasmik Gasparyan.
Monseigneur Kevork Zabarian delivered the welcoming and opening statement in French and Armenian. The religious ceremony began with the Lord’s Prayer. Each church leader took to the podium and delivered a prayer and a message in French or English, paying their respects to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
Between prayers, the 80-member Joint Choir of Montreal Armenians rendered spiritual songs in Armenian, as well as Gomidas Keshishian’s Hymn by soprano Hasmik Gasparyan and Albert Hay Malotte’s Lord’s Prayer by tenor Elie Berberian.
A candle-lit ceremony followed, as the students and scouts distributed the candlelight of the clergy to the faithful. The lights of the cathedral were dimmed and the entire congregation sang the “Der Voghormia” hymn. An ostensorium containing the relics of victims of the Armenian Genocide, from the desert of Der Zor, was brought forth through a procession by Very Reverend Father Vartan Tashjian and placed on the Holy Altar.
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Montreal, Most Reverend Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal, was the keynote speaker of the ecumenical service.
The memorable Martyrs’ prayer and ecumenical service ended with “Cilicia” and “Etchmiadzin I Hore” hymns by a procession of clergy presided by Bishop Abgar Hovakimyan and Bishop Meghrig Parikian.
Photos © Hovig Boghossian