Prelate Presides over Memorial for National Hero Misak Torlakian

On Sunday, November 18, 2012, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, presided over Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello.

The ARF Dro Gomideh had organized a memorial for Armenian national hero Misak Torlakian. The ceremonies took place under the auspices of the ARF Central Committee of the Western U.S.

The memorial began at 10:00 a.m. with a graveside memorial prayer at Evergreen Memorial Park led by the Prelate. Holy Cross Cathedral Pastor Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian assisted in the service.

The Prelate then delivered the sermon at Holy Cross Cathedral, in which he spoke of greatness and humility, the message of the day’s Scripture reading. The Prelate highlighted three important lessons from the Gospel reading: “The first is that the mission of the Incarnation was the humility of the Cross. The exalted, the ever living God, became a lowly creature in order to die for our sins. Out of His great love, the Almighty was determined to humble Himself and submit to death on the Cross. Second, is that the mission of Christians is the humility of service. If our vision of a successful life is to have power by receiving wealth and prestige and praise, we are very much like the disciples of our reading, and very much unlike our God. But if our vision is to reach out to the little people of the earth, those who are poor and needy and helpless and rejected by the high and mighty of the world, to spend and be spent for their sakes, to treasure and esteem them, then we have learned the ways of our God. Finally, the mission of the Church is the humility of love. Arrogance is not tolerated by our Lord. All believers in Jesus Christ are commanded to love each other in the same way that He has loves us, humbly and sacrificially. As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and give praise and gratitude to Almighty God for His abundant blessings in our lives, may we also remember that the Greatest of the great took the form of a servant to be born that first Christmas Day and in His example, may we learn to do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than ourselves”.

Speaking on the 44th anniversary of the passing of national hero Misak Torlakian, the Prelate said, “Our history has been shaped by the valor of our heroes; heroes who experienced the sufferings of our people, and which impelled them to embark on a path of struggle to alleviate the plight of the Armenian people. We had heroes who fought covertly, but their efforts did not remain in obscurity and hidden from the pages of history. Rather, their efforts became a symbol and were transformed into timeless messages. We are overcome with these sentiments as we bow our heads in tribute to our national hero Misak Torlakian, who departed from the physical world over four decades ago but whose spirit remains alive as an eternal flame. Misak Torlakian was among the generation who witnessed and experienced the horrors of the Genocide and its aftermath, however through their deeds and actions, they bellowed like David of Sassoun that the Armenian nation is not dead, the Armenian people live and furthermore will demand justice for injustices suffered, will broadcast to the world the Armenian Cause, and send a message to advocates of truth and justice to honor their obligations and responsibilities. The assassination of Behbud Khan Javanshir, Azerbaijan’s Internal Affairs Minister at the time, was one manifestation among many of the Armenian people’s struggle for justice, along with the just acts of Soghomon Tehlirian, Aram Yerganian, Arshavir Shiragian, and many other justice seeking Armenian youth. It is true that Misak Torlakian is remembered predominantly for his just act against Javanshir, just as our other avengers are remembered for their respective missions. However, the service of our heroes for the Armenian Cause is not limited to their one act. Misak Torlakian joined the fight for his people and his homeland at a young age. He provided a substantial amount of arms from a Turkish army depot in Trabizond for Armenian self-defense units. Tasked to obtain military intelligence during World War I, he provided valuable information about Turkish arms dispositions. In 1918 he joined the Armenian army forces and fought with distinction in the battle of Bash Abaran. And after the obligatory formation of the Diaspora, he remained a humble yet effective soldier for the Armenian people and a faithful member of his organization, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. Misak Torlakian served and worked discreetly for the advancement of the Armenian Cause throughout his life, not for personal gain or recognition, but for his beloved organization, people, Armenian nation, and the Armenian Cause. May his memory remain ever blessed. May the legacy of our avengers live on forevermore. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.”

After the service a memorial luncheon was held at “Tumanjian” Hall adjacent to the Cathedral.

After the blessing of the tables by the Prelate, Dro Gomideh representative Ara Malazian presented Misak Torlakian’s life’s work in English and Vatche Proudian in Armenian. Guests then had the opportunity to recall their personal memories of Misak Torlakian.

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