Vartanantz Marked at Radnor, PA Armenian Sisters’ Academy


RADNOR, Penn. — The 1,500-year-old holiday of Vartanantz has been commemorated every year at the Armenian Sisters’ Academy of Radnor. The first Thursday before Poun Paregentan, Armenians celebrate Vartanantz Day and remember the heroic struggles of Vartan Mamigonian and his troops as they fought the fire-worshipping Persians. Greatly outnumbered, with the Armenian troops numbering 66,000 to the Persians’ 300,000, the battle was lost but the Armenians won the right to maintain their Christianity.
Montessori students, waving white flags with red crosses, proudly started the program with Mer Hairenik and followed with the poem “Hye Yem Yes.” They wrapped up their portion of the celebration with the Vartanank song. Their angelic voices would have made their ancestors proud.
Intermediate Level students (grades 4-6) worked together to depict the historic battle of Avarair of 451 AD. Armenian historian Yeghishe, played by fifth grader Matthew Selverian, is said to have documented this historic tale. Sixth grader Daron Pogharian played the part of General Vartan Mamigonian who divulged his plan to Ghevont Yeretz, sixth grader Stephen Ajdaharian; Hovsep Catholicos, sixth grader Stepan Cannuscio; Yeznig Goghpatsee, sixth grader Derek Dervishian; as well as other princes and soldiers. King Hazgerd, the Persian ruler hoping to force the Armenians to renounce their Christianity, was played by sixth grader Paze Yeremian. Not to be outdone, the Intermediate Level girls narrated the program in Armenian and English and, who played the wives of the soldiers, gave away their gold and jewels in favor of their Christian martyrs. As the boys lay on the ground to portray a defeated battlefield, all students’ voices joined together to sing Kaylerk Shavarshanee, Vartanantz Song — with a touching solo by sixth grader Meline Avrigian, and lastly, Vartan’s Song.
As is tradition at the Academy, individuals worked together to create a beautiful combined effort. Principal Sister V. Louisa Kassarjian thanked Armenian teachers Tamar Panosian and Ovsanna Sadjonian, along with music teacher Maroush Paneyan-Nigon, for their efforts in preparing the students and continuing tradition. She praised the students for their superb performance.