Tchevahirtchyan, a soldier in the Turkish army
took micanite, a stone, from the nearby hill while
on a mission to the town of Changhr town and added
it to the micanite in his grandfather's collection
of stones. It was in 1947. His grandfather, Misak
Tchevahirtchi, doctor at the Turkish court also
brought micanite from Changhr where he had been
exiled together with Armenian intellectuals from
Constantinople in 1915.
Tchevahirtchyan read his grandfather's name on
the fourth stone of 99-bead "worry-beads"
in the State Museum of Armenian History in 1985.
Every bead in the chain has a name of an exiled
person on it. Two beads hold two names and one
holds four, making a total of 103 names memorialized.
The worry-beads were carved by exiled martyr
and district council head Varderes Atanasyan,
who engraved his name on the 71st bead. In 1965
the worry-beads were presented to the Museum of
History by his daughter Ezheni Atanasyan-Gulbolyan
who returned from France in 1946 and died in 1993.
She told the story of the worry-beads to her close
neighbor Margarit Barseghyan.
"Ezhen told me that one day in Constantinople,
when she was a little child police burst into
their house," Margarit recalls. "Her
mother Srbui took children to the other room and
locked them there as far as according to the tradition
of that time children shouldn't hear adults talks.
A little later mother returned crying. Her husband
was arrested. Some time later a Turkish cabman
visited them and told Srbui: 'Your husband gave
me a watch and asked to hand this relic over
to you.' And he gave her these worry-beads. They
didn't get any other news from their father after
Three months ago, Karine Avagyan, a scientist
working in the museum published "Genocide
Commemoration relic or Confession and Evidence
of the Cross", a book devoted to the worry-beads.
In the book she gives information about those
intellectuals who were arrested in Constantinople
(now Istanbul) on April 24, 1915, whose names
appear on the beads.
"There was the poster devoted to Sevak's
60 year anniversary being prepared in the Museum
of History in 1984," says Karine, who has
been working in the museum for 27 years. "Head
of our department advised me to use exhibited
worry-beads. It didn't have inscription and was
exhibited as a piece of jewelry of 19-20th century.
I placed a picture of the worry-beads on the poster
and made an inscription 'Refound relic'."
Karine used the worry-beads in 1991 for the second
time after seeing the book "Armenian Golgotha"
in a book store written by Grigoris patriarchy
Palakyan, whose surname was engraved on the 99th
bead of the worry-beads. The book is devoted to
the exiled intellectuals and there are only 69
names of those exiled to Changhr mentioned.
"Armenian Golgotha" became for Karine
an incentive to investigate the destinies of those
whose names were engraved on the worry-beads.
It was written on the bead connecting the row
of beads "Changhr, 1915, April 11, to remember".
24 (April 11 according to the old calendar) became
a genocide commemoration day because that day
in 1915 black lists of Armenian intellectuals
prepared in advance were opened in Istanbul police,
and about 220 intellectuals such as physicians,
teachers, journalists, writers, pharmacists, traders,
lawyers, clergymen and political figures were
arrested in their homes.
Their exile way is described in "Genocide
Commemoration relic", the book based on
comparison with other sources where the information
regarding victims and those rescued is provided.
Seventy one exiled were taken to Ayash village-town
and majority of them (45 according to the "Armenian
Golgotha") were murdered by the order of
local authorities. Saimanto was one of the murdered
Other exiled were taken to Changhr, and Karine
Avagyan provides information about 80 people murdered
there. Not all the names of exiled are engraved
on the worry-beads.
The names engraved on the beads of the worry-beads
are published in the book together with a separate
list providing information regarding every person
under his name. Thirty-five people from the list
were killed by the authorities in various circumstances
and sixty-one survived. The author hasn't succeeded
in finding information regarding seven people.
There are names of composer patriarchy Komitas
engraved on the first bead of the worry-beads,
poet Ruben Sevak killed in exile -on the seventh
bead, and Daniel Varuzhan - on the eighth bead.
Pictures of their children are placed in the book.
There is also information regarding descendants
of the people whose names are engraved on the
"One day I asked a permission to see the
worry-beads," tells Misak Tchevahirtchyan,
"and after I read my grandfather's name on
it with magnifier I made sure for myself that
it is not false because my grandfather was exiled
Misak Tchevahirtchi was gynecologist to the sultan's
400 wives, and was released due to the women's
protest. The other courtier physician Omar Besit
pasha also asked for his liberation.
Misak Tchevahirtchyan came to Armenia from Istanbul
in 1958, saying that he ran away. But he keeps
secret why he ran away. "If you want to preserve
your head on your shoulders you need to be very
careful," says Misak, now 80. He is a mechanic,
the author of four culture-history books, and
still works in one of Yerevan's scientific institutions.
During her investigation Karine has found in
Yerevan the granddaughter of Gaspar Cheraz --
whose name is engraved on the 30th bead -- Byurakn
Andreasyan teaching Armenian language in Yerevan
"My mother often visited and looked after
Gaspar Cheraz by the request of my father Vahan
Cheraz while being in Constantinople in 1920-1924,"
Byurakn says. "He was exiled to Changhr in
1915. He was released due to persistent efforts
of his Turkish colleague from the university,
but got mental illness by that time. Karine found
me in 1996 and told me about the worry-beads."
In the book there is a comment of 80-year old
Ara Karmiryan from Montreal to Karine Avagyan's
report about the worry-beads presented at a conference
and published in Haraj daily Parisian newspaper
Karmiryan informs in his letter to Haraj that
Karapet Tashjyan, whose name is engraved on the
60th bead, is his close friend's father. He also
says in his letter that he is acquainted to the
descendants of dentist Vahan Altunyan, a name
engraved on the 15th bead.
"The only survivor is a girl residing in
Montreal, Suzan Halepli. She is an intelligent
one," the letter says."