The urge for survival outshone the crave for food and the thirst for water. Widowed mothers focused on tracing the Armenian alphabet on the hot desert sand in order to teach their children the letters that artfully told the story of the Word of God.
The 1915 Genocide was a systematic attack to annihilate the Armenians from the face of the earth. This crime against humanity broke the backbone of the Armenians. The Ottomans slaughtered most of the nation’s intellectuals, clergymen, teachers, grandparents, fathers, mothers, children, and unborn babies, leaving the future seemingly paralyzed.
Marching reluctantly away from their homes, those who survived the Genocide left behind their breathless loved ones in the land of Noah. Their innocent blood danced in the rivers of the Caucuses; their cries and prayers were sung by the splashes of the waters. The Syrian Desert then became the fertile land of the Armenian Christian martyrs, as their DNA materialized within the sand particles.
Exiled from the land of their forbearers, victims of the Genocide unwillingly abandoned their seminaries, sanctuaries, schools, land, belongings, and homes that had been ripe with life for centuries. In defiance, they carried their culture and faith as they followed the Word of God, Jesus Christ himself. Despite being uprooted, these victors planted seeds of faith and heritage within each Armenian who survived.
A century after the Genocide, those letters of St. Mesrop Mashtots resurrected from the desert of dry bones as Armenians spent years building churches, schools, seminaries, and cultural centers across the world. Armenian poets, novelists, writers, and composers now sing the song of victory, demanding justice. Armenians crowned the martyrs of the Genocide as saints of the Armenian Church. The Ottoman Empire attempted to murder the Armenians, but they failed. The victory of the Armenians included physical, cultural, and spiritual survival.
Louder than the splashes of the rivers, today Armenians boldly pray to Christ:
“Hear us from your holy and heavenly realm by the intercession of the Holy Mother of God and by the prayers of all your saints, especially the holy martyrs who gave their lives during the Armenian Genocide for faith and for the homeland. Forgive, redeem, and pardon our sins. Make us worthy thankfully to glorify you with the Father and with the Holy Spirit.”
God gave us a new life, yet again on the land of Noah. Today, our urge for eternal life may only be as small as a mustard seed, but it will move mountains. Following the examples of our Genocide survivors, our saints, our Mother of God, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself, let us trace our lives with the letters of the Word of God to receive the ultimate salvation already prepared for us by God.