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Armenian Martyrs’ Memorial Monument

Dedicated 1977, Updated 1998

The most prominent area monument constructed to memorialize the victims of the Armenian Genocide, or the “martyrs,” is this stone structure built in 1977 and expanded in 1998. The idea for a monument was introduced in 1971 by local resident Peter Tikoian, chairman of the board of trustees for Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence. Tikoian proposed that the three Rhode Island Armenian churches—Sts. Sahag and Mesrob, Sts. Vartanantz, and Euphrates Evangelical Church—jointly organize the planning and construction of a monument to commemorate the memory of the 1915 Genocide. The monument consists of a central domed arch over an etched collage of Khachkars, or Armenian stone crosses, which very closely resembles the towers of the Mother Cathedral of Holy Ethcmiadzin in Ejmiatsin, Armenia. A smaller, less ornate Khachkar sits atop the dome. The structure stands 29ft. high, 27ft. long, and 5ft. wide, and was carved out of a natural-color granite mined from Vermont. There is one smaller stone on each side of the archway, each inscribed: “We Armenians dedicate this monument to the immortal memory of the 1,500,000 Armenian martyrs massacred by the Turkish government during the 1915 Genocide,” in Armenian on the stone to the right and English on the left. In 1998 the Martyrs’ Memorial was expanded to include two polished stone walls that curve around the original edifice, with a stone walkway at the base, and another, larger inscription stone embedded within.

Ashley Melikian, MA, Rhode Island College