June 15, 1915. Another tragic and at the same time glorious date in the history of the national liberation struggle of the Armenian people.
On the Beyazıt Square (Istanbul), twenty leaders of the Hunchak revolutionary party led by the famous tribune-revolutionary Paramaz (Matevos Sargsyan) ascended the scaffold.
They were arrested on July 12, 1914, for their intention to establish an independent Armenia and for organizing terrorist attacks for this purpose. A traitor gave away their plans. At the time, the group was preparing an attempt on Talaat Pasha who was among the “best friends” of the Armenian people, and, in fact, was already developing a Genocide scenario.
Paramaz said as his last words:
“You have lived for centuries as blood-suckers of our life force and at the same time did not want the source of this power – the Armenian people – to have the right to exist.
Among the peoples of this country, the Armenians were the most important yet the most persecuted creative force. Just for a dream of an independent Armenia, you are you going to send the sons of Armenia to the gallows.
We are not separatists in this country, gentlemen judges. On the contrary, this country seeks to get rid of us, people indigenous to this territory, planning to exterminate us only because we are Armenians. But I forgive them without asking for mercy. You will hang us, twenty people, and tomorrow, twenty thousand will come for us.
Where we end our life path, there will live Freedom. Where we find our rest, there will take its start the Resurrection!”
The words of Paramaz turned out to be prophetic: in five years, Armenia gained independence.
Today, the Holy Etchmiadzin Museum safeguards a cross that does not stand out in any particular way – neither by its antiquity nor by the fact that it had belonged to the Patriarchs of the Armenian Church.
The historical value of this cross is in the fact that all twenty Hunchak members kissed it before their heroic death on the Beyazıt Square. This cross accompanied them on their last journey. This cross was with them when they had neither weapons neither their banners.
This cross was and still is the only connection between them and the people that they sacrificed their lives for.
And they kissed that cross. They kissed their own people. And the kiss of the twenty sanctified the cross.
And it became a sacred relic of the Etchmiadzin temple. The cross is there, in Etchmiadzin, while the ideas of twenty revolutionaries gained wings and spread throughout the world, catching up with the people who were fleeing the Genocide.