ATHENS (Azat Or)–Funeral services for long-time Armenian Revolutionary Federation leader and Bureau chairman Hrair Maroukhian were held Wednesday at the St. Gregory the Illuminator church.
The solemn service was officiated by Prelate of Greece Archbishop Sahag Ayvazian and was attended by ARF Bureau member Mgrdich Mgrdichian–members of the ARF Central Committee of Greece–the first secretaries of the Armenian Embassy in Greece Gagik Kirakosian and Rouben Karapetian–as well as representatives of the Armenian Democratic League (Ramkavar Party) and the Social Democratic Hunchakian party. Also present were leaders of the Catholic and Evangelical communities–representatives of the Armenian Relief Society–the Homenetmen–the Hamazkayin–the ARF Youth Organization of Greece–the administration of Armenian schools and Azat Or.
Maroukhian’s coffin was covered with the Armenian tri-color and was borne by members of the ARF Central Committee of Greece.
Following the funeral Mass–Arch. Ayvazian commended Maroukhian for his decades-long service to the Armenian nation and his unwavering commitment to the Armenian Cause. Following the brief eulogy–Ayvazian read a condolence statement from His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.
In his message the Catholicos praised Maroukhian’s dedication to the Armenian nation–the church and the betterment of Armenian culture.
"I learned–with great satisfaction–that Hrair Maroukhian’s body will be transported to Armenia–where he will find his final resting place. This is a just and commendable decision–because Armenia and the collective burdens and the supreme interests of the Armenian nation–became the permanent basis and ideals of the struggle and the sustenance for Hrair Maroukhian’s life," declared Aram I in his message.
In his remarks–ARF Bureau member Mgrdichian outlined the impact and the role Maroukhian had played in forging the premises of ARF and national policy toward a more aggressive pursuit of the Armenian cause.
He highlighted that since the 50th anniversary of the Genocide to the recent Karabakh liberation struggle–Maroukhian was an integral part of implementing the ARF agenda of bearing the people’s burden and struggling for the nation’s just aspiration.
Mgrdichian reflected back on June 29–1992–when Maroukhian was expelled from his own homeland by the regime of the day–but added that the ARF leader did give up the fight and continued to walk the path of righting the wrong.
The Bureau member detailed efforts in garnering international recognition for the Armenian Genocide–and breaking the silence of denial in the world arena. He spoke of Maroukhian’s role in prioritizing this issue and his dedication to seeing the task through.
In conclusion–praising Maroukhian’s embodiment of the ARF ideals and spirit–he assured his late colleague that the struggle had not ended and would continue "in the same path–with the same goals–the ARF’s path and goals."
Also speaking at the funeral service was Shahan Faradjian–the chairman of the ARF Central Committee of Greece.
Meanwhile a delegation representing the ARF Central Committee of Western US left Los Angeles for Yerevan to take part in Maroukhian’s national burial ceremony scheduled for Saturday. The delegation is headed by ARF CC chairman Hovig Saliba–ARF CC and Central Executive Council of the Catholicosate member Arsen Danielian and Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region Board of Directors chairman Vahe Yacoubian.
Immediately following Maroukhian’s death–which occurred Monday–the ARF Bureau appointed a special commission to oversee the national burial proceedings. The commission includes–Beno Tontian (ARF Bureau chairman)–Tatul Ohanian (Bureau member)–Garo Armenian (Bureau member)–Hratch Dasnabedian (former Bureau chairman)–Yervant Pamboukian (former Bureau member)–Rouben Hovsepian (former Bureau member)–Khajag Ter-Grigorian (former Bureau member)–Vahan Hovanessian (ARF Executive Council of Armenia leader)–Roland Sharoyan (Armenian Minister of Culture–Sports and Youth Affairs)–Levon Mkrtchyan (Armenian Minister of Education)–Hrand Markarian (ARF Executive Council of Armenia chairman)–Rouben Hakopian (Armenian member of parliament)–Shahan Faradjian (ARF Central Committee of Greece chairman)–Maro Minassian (chairwoman of the Armenian Relief Society Inc.) Hagop Yapoudjian (Hamazkayin Central Executive chairman) and Missak Arzoumanian (Homenetmen Central Executive chairman).