Each year on May 28, Armenians around the world honor the anniversary of the Battle of Sardarabad and the establishment of the First Armenian Republic (1918-1920). This week marks 103 years since those fateful events.
In the depths of the Armenian Genocide, Ottoman forces advanced on Eastern Armenia—coming within striking distance of the capital city Yerevan and Holy Etchmiadzin—but were repelled by the native Armenians in a series of battles at Sardarabad, Abaran, and Karakilisa—which have come to be known as the “Heroic Battles of May.”
His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians—who prays at Armenia’s imposing Sardarabad Memorial (pictured here) every May 28—paid homage this week to the indomitable spirit of the heroes of 1918, as Armenians today face another life-or-death struggle to protect their ancient homeland:
“In St. Gayane Monastery we pray together today—as we did 103 years ago, during the Heroic Battles of May—for the defense of our national identity. We pray for the heroes who fought in the past to secure a free and independent life for our people; and we pray for their fellow Armenians who lost their lives in the second Artsakh war. We pray for the missing, captured, and wounded; for every family displaced from their home in Artsakh. In prayer we remember the souls of every spiritual brother who ever shed his blood ‘for the sake of the homeland and for the sake of faith.’ Finally, we pray to God for the well being of Armenia and Artsakh; for the stability of the world; for peace in our homeland, and for our people across the globe.”
In the days to come, as Armenians honor the memory of Sardarabad, and as we in America mark Memorial Day, let us remember alongside those heroes of history the new exemplars of heroism we have witnessed in our own day: our precious Armenian countrymen who risked and sacrificed their lives this year—and who continue to do so—with courage, resolution, and faith. God grant them peace, and bring consolation to their loved ones.
Click on the link to learn more about the Battle of Sardarabad.