‘Today I Light A Large Candle For Ammo Tigran’

ammotigran
Hovig Ralph Vartan with his Ammo Tigran

Hovig Ralph Vartan with his Ammo Tigran

BY HOVIG RALPH VARTAN

On November 26, Tigran Sarkuni passed away. He was a devoted member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and held leadership roles in the party on both the Western and Eastern regions and had an active and extensive in various community organizations and institutions.

During his funeral service on Decemeber 3 at St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church in Hollywood, his nephew, Hovig Ralph Vartan, eulogized him. Below we present the heartfelt words that celebrated the late Tigran Sarkuni.

Սրբազանը հայր, հոգեւոր հայրեր, Family & Friends:

My name is Hovig Vartan, son of John O. Vartan and nephew of Tigran Sarkuni. I was six at the wedding of my Ammo

igran to my beloved aunt Maggie Parseghian Sarkuni.

I loved Tigran better than I can now explain, and cherish his memory. I like to imagine him now reunited and having a coffee with his brother Vartan, his sister Madeleine and his brother Movses, who preceded him to the next life.

Tigran was from Anjar. He came to this country in 1970 to run the computer department for the Rockefeller family office. He was by any measure a brilliant man.

He was always telling jokes (often re-telling the same ones), he was the first to laugh at his own jokes, and always laughed the loudest. All his jokes, by the way, were terrible and the corniest things you ever heard.

He had the habit in recent years of calling me to ask how the family is doing. The conversation never lasted more than 45 seconds. Before abruptly ending the call, he would always tell me to write down his number (it was already saved in my phone, I wanted to say to him) and call him day or night, 24/7, if I ever needed anything. He would say he loved me and that he missed my dad.

He was a pious man. Although his life’s path was secular, he was always devoted to the Church. He was an elector (along with my dad) in the historic conference at Antelias in 1995 that elected His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia. I was just a boy at the time, but I got to accompany the two of them on the trip.

My father called him “a pious patriarch … who gives of himself and asks nothing in return.” I guess he left out “stubborn” and “eccentric” because people in glass houses don’t throw stones.

It is true that Tigran loved unconditionally. Some of us nieces and nephews would joke that he loved us more than our parents did, and there was probably some truth in that. His heart had a vast capacity for love.

The love of his life was his daughter, Marae, who, like her father, has the gift of lighting up whatever room she walks into. She is his greatest legacy. She is as bright and vivacious as she is beautiful. I can hardly begin to imagine how proud Tigran was of this remarkable young woman.

About 15 years ago, I attended badarak here at St. Garabed with Tigran. At the time, there were two sizes of candles, and I remember asking Ammo Tigran why. He said in a dry tone, “Some people believe the larger candles make your prayers more pleasing to God.” Then he burst out in loud laughter that echoed throughout the church.

Աստուած հոգին լուսավորէ:

Today I light a large candle for Ammo Tigran

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