Part IV: National-public activity in 1914-1917
Sargis R. Melkonyan-Candidate of Historical Sciences
In the previous parts of our study dedicated to Garegin I Hovsepyan, which were published in the issues of 2018 (N 1 (61), 2 (62), 3 (63)) of journal “Vem”, we thoroughly presented his student years and the programs of the great scholar and church leader for the reformation of the Armenian Church. The current publication, continuing a series of our articles on Hovsepyan, we present to the reader the national-public activities of Garegin Hovsepyan in 1914-1917 as the Head of the General Committee of Fraternal Assistance of St. Etchmiadzin and as the rector of the Gevorgian Theological Seminary.
ector of the Gevorgian Theological Seminary. During the years of the First World War, due to genocide and deprivation of the homeland of Armenians organized by the Turkish government, many refugees from the western provinces of Armenia found their salvation in St. Etchmiadzin. For organizing the salvation and care of these refugees and orphans in December 1914, by order of Catholicos Gevorg V Surenyants, the General Committee of Fraternal Assistance was established in Etchmiadzin, which from September 1915 to August 1916 was led by Archimandrite Garegin Hovsepyan. Under his leadership, the committee implemented the following activites.
1. From the staff of the Teaching Department of Gevorgian Seminary a separate department of specialists was organized, which was supposed to deal with the salvation and research of the cultural values of the Armenians preserved during the genocide.
2. For providing refugees with clothing the Work House was opened, thanks to which many refugee women were provided with jobs.
3. A school for refugee children was opened adjacent to the parish schools of Vagharshapat.
In the article, we presented especially in detail the travel and collection of donations of Garegin Hovsepyan in St. Petersburg and Moscow in the spring of 1917 for preserving Gevorgian Seminary and taking care for orphans. In this regard, we have published an unpublished document, in which Hovsepyan presents the results of his trip to Catholicos Gevorg V Surenyants.
During this journey for the first time to St. Petersburg and for the second time to Moscow, Garegin Hovsepyan was able to collect the necessary amount, with the help of which it was possible to ensure the work of the Gevorgian Theological Seminary before its closure due to the war, and then due to the revolution.