Some 80 years later a visitor comes to Kayseri from Lebanon. He is a descendant of one of the survivors of the Armenian genocide of 1915 and has come to see the village where his family had lived. At the church he is shown the shelves of Armenian Bibles, carefully preserved over the decades. He reaches forward and pulls out a book at random. On the flyleaf there is handwriting, and in astonishment he reads a familiar surname “Adourian”. He has close relatives, the Chorbadjian family, who are descendants of
[A story told to Barnabas Fund by the Chorbadjian family.]
[Image to right: A traditional Armenian khatchkhar (cross-stone). The year 301 AD is when King Trdat IV of Armenia decided that his country would be a Christian country]
The year 1915 was the pivotal year in almost three decades of violence inflicted on the Armenian inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire. Because of the vast scale and centrally planned strategy of the killings, most historians agree that this was genocide. Armenians themselves have called it their “Golgotha”.
Seeking equality and protection
The Armenian people have a strongly Christian identity. Many converted from Zoroastrianism to Christianity in the early centuries of the Christian era. Then in 301 AD the king of Armenia decided that his country was to be a Christian country, making it the first ever Christian nation-state.
Slaughtered like animals
The 1894-6 massacres were fomented by Sultan Abdul Hamid’s agents who would incite the Turkish Muslims of a town to rise up against their Armenian Christian neighbours. The Sultan promoted a belief that Muslims could help themselves to the property of non-Muslims and kill them if they resisted. In addition his agents would tell the Turks that the Armenians were plotting to attack them. This procedure was repeated in 13 large towns. When 8,000 Armenians were killed in Urfa in December 1895, the young men were killed by the traditional ritual Islamic method for slaughtering animals. They were thrown on their backs, held by their hands and feet, and then their throats slit while a prayer was recited...
You can read the rest and see the pictures (including some exquisite crosses) at the Barnabas Fund website http://www.barnabasfund.org/articles/armenia/ When Hitler gave his orders for the "final solution" he commented "Who now remembers the deaths of the Armenians". Armenian grief remains potent now, 90 years later.