“You are proposing that I save my own life in Byurakan or on the top of some impregnable mountain? No, thousand times no! I will not leave Mayr Ator [Holy See] bequeathed to us by the holy ancestors!
If the Armenian military cannot stop the advance of the enemy, if they are not able to defend our shrines, may I die right here!
I have always believed in the strength of our people, and I am sure that my nation has not yet told its final word to the enemy. And there is no doubt that this word will become victorious.”
Gevorg V Tpghisetsi Sureniants, Catholicos of All Armenians, May 20, 1918
The great role of the Armenian clergy in inspiring the people and encouraging them to fight the enemy should not be underestimated. Famous Armenian scholar and inspector of the Gevorgyan seminary Archbishop Garegin Hovsepyants (the future Catholicos of Cilicia Garegin I) and spiritual leader of Karin Bishop Zaven Babayan with weapons would visit the villages of Etchmiadzin and urge the locals to immediately join the Armenian army with their own weapons.
Thanks to their efforts, militia units were formed, which would actively participate in the battle of Sardarapat.
Archbishop Garegin Hovsepyants called the 5th regiment “the suicide regiment”. The soldiers of this regiment and its commander Poghos Bek-Pirumyan vowed to go into battle without fear and not back down no matter what.
Vardapet Yeznik from the Akhtamar community (one of Van’s self-defense heroes of 1915 and the right-hand man of the head of the military authority of Kaghakamej) who had put an end to Turkish and German gunners with well-aimed fire urged people to cover themselves with shrouds and follow him. Five hundred volunteers wrapped in white shrouds hurried to the front line not to die but to decisively win.
May their memory be blessed.
Հիշատակն արդարոց օրհնությամբ եղիցի ..