Simon Zavarian Centennial Marked in Lori

Flowers laid beside Simon Zavarian's gravestone, Lori, Armenia.

LORI, Armenia—The 100th anniversary of the passing of Armenian Revolutionary Federation founder and national hero Simon Zavarian was marked on Saturday in his birthplace of Aygehad village, at his gravesite, with hundreds of ARF members, ARF Youth and Nigol Aghbalian Student Association, as well as almost all the residents of the village, along with invited guests and clergy.

Zavarian was one of the three founders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and part of Armenian national liberation movement, along with Kristapor Mikaelian and Stepan Zorian.

Zavarian was born in 1865 in Aygehat, Lori. He attended the college in Moscow, and later settled in Tiflis, where he met Kristapor Mikaelian and Stepan Zorian. They co-founded the Armenian Revolutionary Federation in 1890.

This political party gained public support by demanding reforms and taking up arms to defend Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire. As a cofounder of the party, he participated in the framework of the party’s Program and By-laws and served as a member of the ARF bureau until his death.

As an activist, he did research for the party and performed organizational work during his many travels to different worldwide locations. Zavarian traveled to Mush and Sassoun as a teacher and eventually settled in Istanbul, where he worked on the newspaper Azadamard.

A scene from Saturday's commemorative event

During the 1908 Constitutional revolution in Turkey, he participated in the development of reforms for Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. Using the archives of the Istanbul Patriarchate and applied scientific researches, he developed a census of the number of Armenians living in Western Armenia.

He died in 1913 in Istanbul.

Saturday’s commemorative event began with a requiem Mass performed by parish priest of Odzoun and surrounding town Rev. Vrtanes Baghlian, accompanied by the Holy Mother Choir of Vanadzor’s St. Mary’s Church.

In his remarks, Father Baghlian pointed to the large number of young Armenians in attendance and said that their presence proves that the national spirit, which Zavarian embodied, will be an indivisible part of the lives of their lives to continue to realize the aspirations of the great leader.

Also speaking at the event were ARF Bureau member and historian Levon Mkrtchyan, Simon Zavarian organization chairman Gagik Shahverdian, historian and editor of Vem academic journal Dr. Gevork Khoudinian and principal of the school in Aygehad Paruyr Shahverdian.

The speakers outlined Zavarian’s important contributions to the Armenian reality and the undeniable role he has played in the advancement of the Armenian Cause, be it for ARF rank and file and Armenians in general.

Mkrtchyan said that 2015—the centennial of the Armenian Genocide—marks the 150th anniversary of Zavarian’s birth, which will provide another opportunity to reflect on the great accomplishments of the national hero and a fitting tribute to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

At the conclusion of the event an oath ceremony administered by the Baruyr Hagopian of the ARF body in Iraq, several individuals joined the ranks of the ARF and the ARF Youth Organization.

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