LOS ANGELES—Community members on Sunday gathered at churches across the Western United States for special prayers and sermons to honor the memory of the Lisbon 5, who 31 years ago sacrificed their lives for the advancement of the Armenian Cause.
Vache Daghlian, Simon Yahneian, Sarkis Aprahamian, Setrak Adjemian and Ara Kerdjelian were memorialized with special prayers at Prelacy churches around the Western US, while members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee, area ARF chapter leaders, representatives of the Armenian Youth Federation, the Armenian Relief Society, Homenetmen and Hamazkayine gathered at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello for a special service led by Very Reverend Father Muron Aznigian.
Wreaths in memory of the Lisbon 5 lined the altar representing each organization present at the ceremony.
On the same day, after celebrating Mass at St. Sarkis Church in Pasadena, Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian offered special prayers in memory of the Lisbon 5.
The Prelate reflected on the courage of the young Armenians, and prayed for their souls, saying they sacrificed their lives in the example of other heroes in our nation’s history.
Similar prayers were also said at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral in Burbank, officiated by Western Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.
Following the church services at Holy Cross, the crowd made a pilgrimage to Evergreen Cemetery, where another Armenian hero, Missak Torlakian is interred. At his gravesite a special ceremony took place to honor all Armenian heroes who have selflessly sacrificed their lives in the name of the Armenian Nation.
At Evergreen Cemetery, Dr. Viken Yacoubian, a member of the ARF Western US Central Committee, presented a moving keynote address, which characterized the legacy of the Lisbon 5 in our modern-day reality.
“Their deaths came to epitomize our will to never surrender, to continue our struggle and to never silence our demands for the just aspirations of our nation,” said Yacoubian.
The ARF leader said that the Lisbon 5 legacy elevates the concept of enlistment for the cause, which can multiple facets in the service of the nation, from sparing financial resources to sacrificing with one’s life.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Prelate of the Eastern US Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, who was visiting the region, made remarks emphasizing the critical role the Lisbon in amplifying the need for service to the Armenian Cause.
Local activist and host of the popular “Arakelutyun” program on Horizon Armenian Television, Balabek Barsamyan presented a historical account of the Lisbon 5 and emphasized the day’s message of elevating our national heroes as a way to emphasize sacrifice and service for the Armenian Cause.
Speaking on behalf of the youth, Armenian Youth Federation member Saro Babikian introduced the narrative of the armed struggle, which began with Operation Nemesis, of which Torlakian was an integral part. He then stressed that the sacrifice by the Lisbon 5 serves as a lesson for youth today, 31 years after the fateful day in Lisbon.