Roots of Armodoxy: Children Lost
Yerablur is place where you sober up quickly. Sometimes the beauty and charm of Armenia and all of its wonders are very exciting and mesmerize the senses. It becomes easy to forget that there was and there still is a cost to this beauty.
Graves on a small hill in Yerevan, called Yerablur, with an abundance of flags, incense and flowers, dazed family members, and “brave soldiers that cannot get older” make it clear that freedom has a cost, that is, freedom is not free. These graves are of the soldiers that paid the price.
Most of these graves are from the 44 day war in 2020, when the Azeris attacked the Armenians and young men, many in their teens, we called to defend the homeland. The grave markers, or tombstones, stare at you with pictures of these children.
As we stood there on this hill, I reflected on our purpose for being here: Peace.
As the Armenian Church we offer something that no one else can, namely the peace through an effort of love and compassion. Walking “in the shoes” of others is a form of compassion. In Armenian, the “In His Shoes” formula is summed up, “Tzav’t Tanem” – let me feel your pain. To feel the pain of others is the beginning of compassion, and the next step is to help alleviate the pain. The way of the world is to send weapons of war – guns, bombs – the way that we have discovered in the ancient form of Armenian Christianity is not by passing along guns – weapons of violence – but by offering the tools to overcome the guns.
A little chapel sits at Yerablur, where we offered a prayer for the souls of all those who’ve fallen for this sacred land, but not before reciting the song by Stephen Stills, which serves as our prayer,
Daylight again, following me to bed
I think about a hundred years ago
How my father’s bled
I think I see a valley covered with bones in blue
All the brave soldiers that cannot get older
Been asking after you
Hear the past a’ calling from Armageddon’s side
When everyone’s talking and no one is listening
How can we decide
Do we find the cost of freedom buried in the ground?
Mother Earth will swallow you
Lay your body down