Aristakes Azarian From The History of the Armenian Village of Perkenik by Fr Ephrem Boghosian Chapter 22, Aristakes Azarian

In January 2009 Joe Topalian sent me a copy of a manuscript written in Armenian by the late Father Ephrem Bogosian, a Mechitharist of Vienna, about Perknik, an Armenian Roman Catholic village in the Sivas Provence of Turkey. Joe has been working on a translation into English.

In 2010 I was contacted by Armen Gurekian, an Azarian descendant living in Italy. Armen reads Armenian and was interested in the manuscript. He translated the page on the Aristakes Azarian into Italian and I have translated it from Italian to English.

Note: The founder of the Mechitharist [Mekhitarist] Monastinc Order the Abbot Mekhitar was born in Sebastia [Sivas] in 1676. See Mekhitarist Fathers

English Translation from the Italian by Maggie Land Blanck

As we have seen previously, the Azarians were natives of Prknik. Aristakes was the brother of the Patriarch Stepanos Bedros X Azarian, whose biography we have already provided.

Aristakes, the son of Hovhannes and Anna Azarian, was born in Constantinople in 1820. He received his primary and higher education in the Institute of Lazarati (Constantinople). He was an extraordinarily gifted and superior scholar. His teachers immediately noticed that the boy, thanks to his exceptional intelligence and diligence, would later become a person of consequences.

However, the talented young man was not satisfied with the simple lessons at school, in addition, outside of school he pursued "self education". He worked seriously and did not waste time.

When he finished school he went to work for his father and became an important assistant. His father was in commerce. To extend and strengthen the "Azarian Trading Company " Aristakes Azarian went to Boston (USA) where he reached his objective.

The trading company "Azarian Father and Son", daily increased in prestige and he was able to consolidate a commercial connection between America and Constantinople. For this purpose they built a sailboat, christened "Armenia", which become famous for its beauty and efficiency.

To further expand this business Aristakes Azarian, returned to America a second time.

After the death of his father in 1864, he became head of the company. As a result of his accomplishments and due to the confidence of the government, he became a broker in the arms trade.

The Sublime Porte, in a tribute to the commercial competence of Aristakes Azarian, appointed him President of the Chamber of Commerce. He held this post until his death. In addition, on his merits, the government appointed him a member of numerous committees.

Aristakes Azarian was also representative in Turkey of Germany's Krupp armaments. His work was so appreciated in Europe that he became representative in Constantinople of the world's richest bankers, the Rothschilds.

Aristakes Azarian received numerous decorations and honors, not only from the Turkish Government but also from foreign governments. He received the highest honors of Ula [Ulya] (Ուլա) and Bala (Պալա). 1 He was awarded the Order of Mejidie (Medjidie) third class (Մէեիտիէ)2 and Osman [Osmanieh]2 (Օսմա-իէ), as well as the honor of St. Gregory the Great, granted by the the Holy Father [Papal Order of St Gregory the Great].3

Aristakes Azarian was a true national benefactor. Here we recall some of his many charities: In Belgium, he constructed the building of a school for boys and girls. He founded two good schools in Hagen [Haagen]. He donated a considerable sum of money to the Bandrrma [Brandirma]4school and the Colleges of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. Other donations were made to the School of Prknik5.

Azarian married Hripsime Pekmezian (+1883), who was a great Armenian Catholic benefactor of the Hospital of St. Hagop and of the Hospice. Their marriage has been blessed with many children and grandchildren.

If we were to list all the charities of Aristakes Azarian it would fill several pages. We are satisfied by adding the following. He donated a large sum for the purchase of land near the Church at Buyukdere6.

He gave 3000 osm. in gold to the Hospital of St. Hagop so that 20 poor students might be instructed and educated: he also assumed the expenses for higher education of the most deserving among them.

His magnum opus was the founding of St. Krikor Lusavorich [Grigor Lusavorich - Gregory the Illuminator]7 in Pera, for which he made a large donation through his brother, S.E. X-Stepanos Bedros, patriarch and Catolicos (Megm. Achbar, Constantinople G.B. 1897 No 3421).

In October 1896, Aristakes Azarian, with the whole family, set out from Constantinople to Alexandria, Egypt - Cairo. In May 1897 he fell ill and May 13 while traveling from Egypt to Switzerland via Trieste, the disease worsened. Fortunately he received the last Sacraments from a Franciscan friar in Austria. He died on board the ship. He was transported by train from Brindisi to Trieste where, in the Chapel of Mechitaristi of Vienna, our Father Grigorig Galemkeryan celebrated the funeral after which the remains were transported to Constantinople (Megm Achbar Cit). The burial ceremony was held with great pomp.

All the highest authorities of the Armenian Catholic, both ecclesiastical and civil, the representatives of associations, schools, companies and institutions participated in the ceremony. Present at the burial were important members of the government, national and foreign - among whom were several high-level Pashas and authorities - of which is not possible to draw up a list. A substantial list was provided by Megm. Achbar (1897 No 3421) who described extensively the life and work of Aristakes Azarian as well as aspects of his funeral, which we broadly surveyed.

The body was buried in the great funerary chapel in the family Azarian at Buyukdere6.

Now I present some recollections from the Armenian Press on Aristakes Azarian, at the time of his death or earlier.

Masis (1864 No 646) writes: "The august Lord [sultan] has granted the honorable fourth class "Mejidie" order to the Armenian citizen of the United States of America, honorable Aristakes Azarian.

Arshaluys Araratyan (Smyrna n.1002 1874) reports: "The illustrious Azarian Aristakes Efendi who is a rich and respected Armenian businessman was awarded at Constantinople, by order of the Sovereign, the Honour of the Second and Third Class Yula Megide [Medjidie].

On September 26, 1879, our Father (Priest) Arsen Aydrnian wrote from the Convent of Constantinople: "Aristakes Eph. Azarian, for improvements to the Hospital of St. Hagop and the construction of new houses to increase revenues, donated 5000 Lira, to open a "regular" school. (Arch.Vienna Mech. 26 weeks. 1879).

Masis (Constitution 1897 n. 137) says on the occasion of the death of Aristakes Azarian "The President of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, the Hon Aristakes Eph. Azarian, polite, forward-looking and hard working, both in his private business and in government, has gaven ample evidence of the openness and the concreteness of his mind and therefore has always enjoyed public esteem and confidence. "

Zaghig (Constitution 1897, p.. 300) on the occasion of great public mourning,"Aristakes Azarian, for his charities to the Armenian Roman community, has immortalized his name. He excelled in his generous support both domestic and Philanthropic. He gave the expensive property at the Hospital of St. Hagop and Hospice, to Pangalti. He donated to the Armenian Catholic community schools for girls in Bandrma and Prknik, to the school for boys in Marash, he gave 500 Vosk (gold?) to open a school at Mush.......

Punch (Const. 1897 No 2252) writes, "Azarian Aristakes known not only as a rich and distinguished person but also as an educated, multilingual, caring and beneficent person has been elevated to the rank of BALA. He had always been re-elected to the Presidency Chamber of Commerce. He constructed the school at Bilegi for many years after he donated money to cover the expenses of the Institute ... "

As is evident Aristakes Azarian was an incomparable national benefactor and it is a great honor for the town of Prknik, to have given birth to such a son.

We include his photograph that we were given in 1960 by one of our students from Constantinople, Sign. G. Hekimian, engineer (currently in Paris), to whom I express my thanks.

1Bala and Ulya were honorific ranks or titles.

2 Mejidie Order (Mecidi Nishani) - Established in 1852 by Sultan Abdulmejid I, this order became the quintessential decoration of the Ottoman Empire. The order came in five classes - 1st class being the highest. 1st class was limited to 50 members and the fifth class was limited to 6,000. This limitation did not apply to foreign recipients, however, and many examples were awarded to foreign diplomats, heads of state, and British, French, and German military personnel.The Mejidie order could be awarded to women. You can see examples of the various medals online. They are frequently for sale to collectors.

Order of Osmanieh was the second highest honor in the Ottoman Empire. It was awarded for outstanding service to the state. Similar to the Mejidie with several classes and restrictions as to the number awarded in each class. The award was sometimes in the form of a saber instead of a medal. Order of Osmanieh medals are also frequently for sale to collectors.

3 Papal Order of St.Gregory the Great

4Bandirma is a city on the southern shore of the Sea of Marmara. The city is connected by boat and train to Izmir and Istanbul.

5 Prknik (also spelled Perkenik & Pirkinik) was a small Roman Catholic Armenian village a few miles from the city of Sivas in Anatolia. In addition to being the birthplace of Aristakes Azarian's parents it was the birth place of my husband's grandmother Lucy Arevian Hagopian. See Lucy Arevian Haogopian and Pirkinik

6 The Armenian Catholic Church in Buyukdere is St. Paul. The Azarians had a home in Buyukdere. See Azarian. However, Aristakes Azarian was not ultimately buried at Buyukdere. He was buried in the Armenian Catholic Cemetery in Sisli, Istanbul. See Istanbul Churches.

7 St Gregory the Illuminator at Ortakoy is an Armenian Catholic Church.

Italian Translation by Armen Gurekian

Capitolo 22 Aristakes Azarian Come abbiamo gia visto precedentemente, gli Azarian sono nativi di Prknik. Questo e il fratello del Patriarca Stepanos Bedros X Azarian, la cui biografia abbiamo gia fornito a suo tempo.

Aristakes e figlio di Hovhannes e di Anna Azarian ed e nato a Costantinopoli nel 1820. Ha ricevuto la sua educazione primaria e superiore nell'istituto dei Lazaristi (Costantinopoli). Essendo straordinariamente dotato e studioso era molto avanti. I suoi professori avevano subito notato che il ragazzo grazie alla sua eccezionale intelligenza ed applicazione sarebbe divenuto, un domani, una persona utile (?).

Comunque il ragazzo pieno di talento non si e accontentato della semplice istruzione scolastica, ma al di fuori della scuola, si e applicato alla autoistruzione. Ha lavorato seriamente e non ha buttato via tempo.

Finito il periodo scolastico entro nell'attivita di suo padre diventandone un importante supporto. Il lavoro di suo padre era il commercio. Per ampliare e confermare la "Societa Commerciale Azarian" Aristakes Azarian si reco a Boston (USA) e raggiunse l'obiettivo. La societa commerciale "Azarian Padre e Figlio", aumentando di giorno in giorno il suo prestigio riusci a consolidare un legame commerciale tra l'America e Costantinopoli. Per questo scopo avevano fatto costruire una veliero, battezzandolo con il nome "Armenia", che per la sua bellezza ed efficienza era diventato famoso.

Aristakes Azarian, per ampliare ulteriormente questa attivita commerciale ritorno per una seconda volta in America.

Dopo la morte di suo padre nel 1864, egli passo alla guida della societa. A seguito del suo comportamento e della fiducia ottenuta dal Governo, divento un intermediario nel commercio di armamenti.

Il Governo Superiore (la Sublime Porta ?) nell'elogiare la competenza commerciale e le riuscite di Aristakes Azarian lo nomino Presidente della Camera di Commercio. Mantenne questo incarico fino alla sua morte. A parte cio, per i suoi meriti, il Governo lo nomino membro di numerose commissioni.

Aristakes Azarian e anche stato rappresentante in Turchia delle fabbriche tedesche di armamenti Krupp. La sua attivita era talmente apprezzata anche in Europa che divento rappresentante in Costantinopoli dei banchieri piu ricchi del mondo, i Rotchild.

Aristakes Azarian ha ricevuto numerose decorazioni ed onorificenze, non solo dal Governo Turco ma anche da Governi stranieri. Aveva le alte onorificenze di Ula (Ուլա) e Bala (Պալա). Era stato insignito del terzo grado dell' Ordine di Megidie (Մէեիտիէ) e Osmanie (Օսմա-իէ), come anche dell'onorificenza di S. Gregorio Magno, concessa dal Santo Padre.

Aristakes Azarian e stato un Sincero Benefattore Nazionale. Ricordiamo qui qualcuna delle sue innumerevoli beneficenze: In Belgio aveva costruito l'immobile di una scuola per ragazzi e ragazze. Aveva fondato due belle scuole a Hagen. Aveva donato una somma considerevole di denaro alla scuola di Bandrrma ed ai Collegi delle Suore della Immacolata Concezione. Pari donazione aveva fatto, Aristakes Azarian, anche alla Scuola di Prknik.

Azarian si era sposato con Hripsime Pekmezian (+1883) che era stata una grande benefattrice dell'Ospedale Armeno Cattolico di S. Hagop e dell'Ospizio. Il loro matrimonio e stato benedetto da numerosi figli e nipoti.

Se dovessimo elencare tutte le beneficenze di Aristakes Azarian dovremmo riempire diverse pagine. Ci accontentiamo aggiungendo anche le seguenti.

Ha donato una grossa somma per l'acquisto del terreno vicino alla Chiesa di Il villaggio armeno di Prknik

Capitolo 22 - 1

Buyukdere. Ha donato 3000 osm. d'oro all'Ospedale di S. Hagop affinche 20 ragazzi poveri potessero avere istruzione ed educazione; aveva preso a suo carico anche le spese per l'educazione superiore dei piu meritevoli tra questi.

La sua opera magna e stata la fondazione dell'Istituto S. Krikor Lusavoric a Pera, per la quale ha fatto una elevatissima donazione tramite suo fratello, S.E. Stepanos-Bedros X, Patriarca e Catolicos (Megm. Achbar Costantinopoli G.B. 1897 n. 3421).

Nell'ottobre 1896, Aristakes Azarian, con tutta la famiglia, parti da Costantinopoli per Alessandria d'Egitto - Il Cairo. Nel mese di maggio 1897 si ammalo e il 13 di maggio, nel corso dell'andata dall'Egitto in Svizzera via Trieste, la malattia si aggravo. Fortunatamente ricevette gli ultimi Sacramenti da parte di un frate austriaco Francescano e spiro a bordo della nave. Venne trasportato con il treno da Brindisi a Trieste dove, nella Cappella dei Mechitaristi di Vienna, il nostro Padre Grigorig Galemkeryan celebro il rito funebre dopodiche la salma venne trasportata a Costantinopoli (Megm Achbar - Cit).

La cerimonia di sepoltura si e svolta in pompa magna. Hanno partecipato alla cerimonia tutte le massime autorita cattoliche armene, sia ecclesiastiche che civili, i rappresentanti delle Associazioni, degli Istituti Scolastici, delle Compagnie e delle Istituzioni. Erano presenti alla sepoltura personalita del Governo, personalita Nazionali e Straniere - tra le quali si trovavano numerosi Pascia ed Autorita di alto livello - delle quali non e possibile stilare un elenco. Un consistente elenco e stato fornito da Megm. Achbar (1897 n. 3421) che ha descritto in maniera estesa la vita e l'opera di Aristakes Azarian nonche gli aspetti del suo funerale, del quale ci siamo ampiamente serviti.La salma e stata sepolta nella grande cappella funeraria della famiglia Azarian a Buyukdere.

Ora fornisco qualche memoria dalla Stampa Armena, su Aristakes Azarian, in occasione della sua morte o in precedenza.

Masis (1864 n. 646) scrive: "L'Augusto Signore (?) ha concesso il Quarto Grado della Onorificenza Megidie all'onorevole Armeno, cittadino degli Stati Uniti d'America, Aristakes Azarian".

Arshaluys Araratyan (Smirne 1874 n.1002) comunica: "L'illustre Azarian Aristakes Ef. che e un ricco e stimato commerciante armeno e stato insignito, a Costantinopoli, con disposizione del Sovrano, delle Onorificenze del Secondo Grado di Yula e del Terzo Grado di Megidie".

Il 26 settembre 1879, il nostro Padre Arsen Aydrnian comunica dal Convento di Costantinopoli: "Aristakes Ef. Azarian, per i miglioramenti dell'Ospedale di S. Hagop e per la realizzazione di nuove case per aumentare gli introiti, ha regalato 5000 Lira, e li verra aperta una scuola "regolare"" (Arch.Vienna Mech. 26 sett. 1879).

Masis (Cost. 1897 n. 137) informa che in occasione della morte di Aristakes Azarian "Il Presidente della Camera di Commercio di Costantinopoli, On. Aristakes Ef. Azarian, corretto, lungimirante e lavoratore, sia nelle sue attivita private che in quelle statali, ha dato numerose prove della apertura e concretezza della sua mente e pertanto ha sempre goduto della pubblica stima e fiducia".

Zaghig (Cost. 1897, pag. 300) in occasione del grande lutto, pubblica: "Aristakes Azarian, per le sue beneficenze alla Colletivita Armena Romana ha immortalato il suo nome. Ha brillato con la sua generosita in tutte le sottoscrizioni sia Nazionali che Filantropiche. Ha regalato delle costose proprieta all'Ospedale di S. Hagop ed all'Ospizio, a Pangalti. Ha dotato la Comunita Cattolica Armena delle scuole per ragazze a Bandrma ed a Prknik, della scuola per ragazzi a Marash, ha regalato 500 voski (monete d'oro?) per aprire una scuola a Mush ......"

Il villaggio armeno di Prknik

Capitolo 22 - 2

Punc (Cost. 1897 n. 2252) scrive: "Aristakes Azarian noto non solo quale ricchissima e elevatissima personalita ma anche quale persona colta, poliglotta, altruista e benefattore, e stato elevato fino al Grado di BALA.E' sempre stato rieletto alla Presidenza della Camera di Commercio. Aveva costruito la Scuola di Bilegi e per numerosi anni a seguire ha regalato l'ingente spesa dell'Istituto ...."

Come e evidente Aristakes Azarian e stato un incomparabile Benefattore Nazionale ed un grande onore per la localita di Prknik, aver dato alla luce un simile figlio. Includiamo la sua fotografia che ci aveva regalato, nel 1960, uno dei nostri allievi di Costantinopoli, Sign. G. Hekimian, ingegnere (attualmente a Parigi),al quale rivolgo il mio ringraziamento. Il villaggio armeno di Prknik

Capitolo 22 - 3

Gurekian contains the Gurekian and Azarian family trees. Click on the tree in the lower right corner.

Abraham Azarian, born Sivas, Turkey, circa 1865
Lucy Arevian Hagopian
The Azarians of Constantinople
Images of the Armenian Catholic Churches in Constantinople
Old and New Pictures of Istanbul
Other related pages

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Copyright by Maggie Land Blanck - Page created 2011 - Latest update, January 2011