GLENDALE—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee on Sunday organized a 40th day memorial service at St. Mary’s Church for Raffi Bchakjian, an ARF member and the commander of the community defense effort, who died while defending Armenian community institutions in Aleppo. The event also served as a memorial for all Armenians who have died during the five-year Syrian conflict.
Following a requiem service at the church, community members gathered for a memorial reception at the Krikor and Mariam Karamanoukian Armenian Youth Center, where speakers Vahan Bezdikian of the ARF Glendale Aharonian Gomideh and Raffi Yaralian spoke about Bchakjian and the sacrifices of the Syrian-Armenian community for survival and existence.
In his remarks, Bezdikian discussed the human and financial toll on the Syrian-Armenian community as a result of the civil war in that country, adding that 126 Armenians had lost their lives since the conflict began.
Bezdikian said that in the struggle to protect the Armenian community in Syrian many ARF members will follow Bchakjian’s example and continue to ensure the community’s safety.
Yaralian presented Bchakjian’s biography, outlining that from a young age Raffi had espoused the revolutionary ideals of the ARF.
Through his hard and humble work, Bchakjian had assumed leadership roles in the organization becoming a dedicated ARF member who served his country and party valiantly.