“THEY DIED SO WE MAY LIVE”: BRITISH ARMENIANS REMEMBER THEIR DEAD ON REMEMBRANCE DAY AT CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL

by Nora Vosbigian (London 11.11.2019).

On a grey, November 11th, 2019, a delegation of Armenians left London for Canterbury Cathedral to attend the annual Remembrance Day commemoration marking the end of WWI. The ceremony honoured British soldiers and civilians who fell victim in the Great War, as well as remembering the victims of all wars and terrorism, and praying for peace.

The main ceremony took place in the main Cathedral and included Rev. Fr Nshan Alaverdyan, pastor of St. Yeghiche Church who attended the event with the blessings of His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan and was representing the Primate. After the church service and two minutes’ silence, several regimental banners were presented to remember the dead, in a somber, moving ceremony. Many of the attendees were the comrades to those who perished so many years ago.

Following the service, a small procession continued to the Cathedral’s memorial garden’s khachkar for a special prayer to remember the one-and-a-half million Armenians who perished for their faith and nation in the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Father Nshan was accompanied by Rev. Max Kramer and the Venerable Jo Kelly Moore of the Anglican church, as well as Nayiri Afrikyan and Ara Sarafian of AGBU London and others. The Canterbury khachkar, a prominent feature of the memorial garden, was made by local craftsmen Brigadier John Meardon and Vartan Moskofian. During the prayer service Brigadier Meardon lay a special wreath with the dedication, “They died so we may live” “Մեռան որպէսզի մենք ապրինք.”
“We are blessed by the kindness of the Anglican church” noted Moskofian, “in allowing us the voice to mourn our dead in such a manner. We remember “and pray for peace.” Three quarters of historical Armenia was cleansed of its Armenian population in 1915, in what is today the Turkish republic.

The Khachkar dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide” was inaugurated on February 22nd last year by Archbishop of Canterbury and His Grace Bishop Manukyan. It is also a symbol of fraternal relations that exist between the Anglican and Armenian Churches worldwide.