Hrair Maroukhian Laid to Rest in Armenia Thousands Pay Last Respects

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Long-time Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau Chairman Hrair Maroukhian was laid to rest on Saturday in Yerevan in the presence of senior party officials and the entire Armenian leadership.

Maroukhian–70–died at his home in Athens on Dec. 21–and was flown to Armenia Thursday night for his final resting place. The burial ceremony was attended by President Robert Kocharian and his key ministers. The procession–accompanied by army guards–began from the City Music Chambers in Central Yerevan to end at the City Pantheon which hosts prominent public figures.

Among the thousands who paid their last respects to the deceased ARF leader were the Speaker of the National Assembly Khosrov Harutunian–Deputy Speaker Albert Bazeyan–Minister of Foreign Affairs Vartan Oskanian–Minister of Defense Vazken Sarkssian–Minister of Internal Affairs and National Security Serge Sarkssian–National Democratic Union leader Vazgen Manoukian–Democratic Party of Armenia leader Aram Sarkssian–Constitutional Rights Union leader Hrant Khatchadrian–Armenian National Movement representative Vano Siradeghian–former Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Arzoumanian–prominent intellectuals Hrand Matevossian–Zori Balayan and Sylva Kaputikian among others.

The burial sermon was officiated by Archbishop Karekin Nersissian–Vicar General of the Araratian Diocese and Catholicosal Locum Tenens of the Catholicos of All Armenia’s.

Eulogies were delivered–at the Pantheon by ARF Bureau chairman Beno Tontian–ARF Executive Council of Armenia political representative and presidential advisor Vahan Hovanessian–Armenia’s Minister of Culture–Youth Affairs and Sports Roland Sharoyan and Maroukhian’s youngest daughter Shaghig Maroukhian.

In her eulogy–Maroukhian’s youngest daughter–spoke about her father’s dedication to the Armenian Cause. Speaking of his work–Shaghig Maroukhian noted that Hrair Maroukhian was not only a father and grandfather–but also a family member of all ARF members. As for her immediate family–Shaghig said–"[Dad]–you’ve been a father–you’ve been an Armenian–you’ve been a trusted friend–and you are a hero in that you have instilled in us our love for our people and our country. And I know that you leave us with a smile on your face."

Tontian spoke of Maroukhian as an activist and a leader–emphasizing his relentless pursuit of justice. In closing–Tontian spoke on behalf of all ARF members and sister organizations–saying–"You have finally been united with this holy land. In the name of the ARF Bureau and all of our regional organizations–I assure you the your work–the ARF’s work is being continued and must be continued. May you rest in peace in your holy homeland."

On Sunday–divine liturgy was officiated at the Holy Cathedral of Etchmiadzin–during which Karekin I–the Catholicos of all Armenia’s’ condolences were read by the Locum Tenens.

In a condolence message sent Thursday–President Kocharian offered his deep sympathy to Maroukhian’s family–calling the late ARF leader a national figure. "It hurts to realize the loss of Hrair Maroukhian who–by his public activities–made a great contribution to the development of the idea of independence and to the establishment of an independent Armenian state," read part of the message.

Hrair Maroukhian was born in the Iranian town of Kermanshah–on Dec. 19–1928. Graduating from the department of mechanical engineering of State University of Iran–he founded his own trade engineering enterprise.

In his youth he joined the Tehran-based ARF Junior Union–then joined the ran’s of the ARF. He was one of the founders and chairman of the Ararat Sports and Cultural Union of Tehran.

From the very outset of his public activities Maroukhian displayed his talent for organization and strict adherence to the party ideology.

In 1963 Maroukhian participated in the 18th World Congress of the ARF as representative of the ARF Central Committee of Southern Iran which was considered a turning point for the Party.

As one of the most outstanding representatives of the younger generation of party members–Hrair Maroukhian was elected to the ARF Bureau. In 1964 Maroukhian relocated his family to Beirut–Lebanon..

In 1967–the 19th World Congress of the ARF reelected Maroukhian to the Bureau. In 1972 he took over the post as Bureau Acting Representative.

The 20th World Congress of the ARF elected Hrair Maroukhian ARF Bureau Representative. Maroukhian was reelected to the post up until his debilitating brain aneurysm in 1994.

Beginning in 1988 Maroukhian played a pivotal role in the reawakening of Armenia’s political and social psyche–as he led the party in the Karabakh liberation movement.

Armenia’s then-president Levon Ter-Petrosyan–in an attempt to undermine the growing popularity of the party–which had begun its activities in Armenia after a decades-long exile–expelled Maroukhian from the country.

Hrair Maroukhian remains today a symbol of struggle against dictatorship and oppression–and his legacy will guide generations to come.

Hrair Maroukhian was married and had two sons and two daughters.

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