During KOHAR’s stay in Lebanon for its sold-out performances on 24, 25 and 26 September 2010, the Symphony Orchestra & Choir materialized another noble accomplishment by honouring the scattered remains of Armenian Orphans in a solitary graveyard and erected a massive cross-stone known as “Khatchkar” in Armenian, at the cemetery of St. Joseph College, Aintoura.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010, marked the time wherein the restless troubled spirits of the Armenian martyr orphans found their final rest. At 5 p.m., on that day the monument was inaugurated by Mrs. Kohar Khatchadourian, through the initiative and financial patronage of Mr.Harout Khatchadourian, the founder of the grand family of KOHAR.
The “Khatchkar” holds on its top a copy of the crown of the late king of Cilicia, King Levon, along with the flag of the kingdom engraved on the cross-stone and the picture of five orphans, Armenian alphabet and harp which all symbolize culture and history intertwined which is the message delivered by KOHAR through its performances.
The massive cross-stone stands on a pedestal, which reads “In Memory of the Martyrs of the Genocide Perpetrated by the Ottoman Authorities”
A bronze casted young orphan sits with a golden globe in his hand on the stair of the pedestal. He symbolizes the Armenian people who, despite their torture, continue to strive because of their conquest in life. The young orphan appears to be gazing at the world with wonder.
Between the years 1915 – 1918, Armenian orphans who had survived the Armenian Genocide, arrived at St.Joseph College in Aintoura village, of the district of Kesserwan, in Lebanon. At that period, the college was under Turkish occupation. Jemal Pasha converts the college into an orphanage and assigns Halide Edib Adivar as principal to enforce the policy of Turkism. As a first step, the names of the orphans are changed. One thousand two hundred young orphans, primarily Armenian, were exposed to brutal torture and “falakha” (beating of the soles of the feet with an iron rod). Several died as a result of this torture, simply because they spoke in Armenian. Another three hundred children died of starvation and of cholera.
In 1993, during construction works of the college, close to the chapel area, bones were discovered. They were the bones of the young Armenian orphans. The clergies of the college placed the bones of the orphans in a corner of the cemetery of their high ranked priests.
Five years later, Mr.Missak Keleshian researcher of historical archives, exposes this hidden part of the Armenian Genocide. From 2005 onwards, he makes public announcements to several representatives and leaders of the Armenian community.
Shortly following Mr.Keleshian’s notification, only Mr.Harout Khatchadourian readily responds in writing, to volunteer his full readiness and every means to fulfil this national sacred duty.
The souls of these young orphans, accompanied by musical performance of KOHAR, travelled in tranquillity, to find their final destination – their paternal Cilicia, wherein “The Mortal Remains” now rest in serenity and eternal peace.