Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Death of an Archbishop (Cont'd)

Monday, Jan. 29, 1934

Waving banners inscribed DEATH TO THE MURDERERS, a mob of more than 1,000 Armenians surged and shouted in front of Manhattan's Homicide Court one day last week. To be arraigned were seven men accused of stabbing to death huge Archbishop Leon Tourian, primate of 130,000 souls in the Armenian Apostolic Church in America, before the altar of Holy Cross Armenian Church on Christmas Eve (TIME, Jan. 1). The mob lusted to get their vengeful hands upon the seven, but 75 mounted police charged into the street, drove them back. From nowhere, a patrol wagon whizzed up, out of which seven trembling Armenians were hustled into court. Promptly their case was adjourned.

Meanwhile the murder of Archbishop Tourian continued to cause violent repercussions wherever there were Armenians to line up for or against the Tashnag, Armenian ultra-nationalist party. Tashnag members were supposed to have drawn lots to pick the Archbishop's killers. In Boston a noisy anti-Tashnag mass meeting was held. In Philadelphia, 500 members of St. Gregory's Apostolic Armenian Church took possession of the building, guarded it in relays night & day, ousted their hot-eyed pastor, Rev. Bassig Sarkisian. They charged that in defiance of the orders of the Catholicos, supreme head of the Armenian Church, he had refused to hold 40 days of mourning for the Archbishop.

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