Every year on May 19 Nikolaidi Fruntik of Yerevan
meets his relatives near Kievyan bridge and together
they walk to Tsitsernakaberd memorial to lay flowers.
Armed with flags of Greece, Yerevan's Greek community
"Ponty", headed by 57-year old Fruntik,
follows the path walked each April 24. On May
19, the Greeks pay homage to their relatives who
were also among the Turk's victims during the
May 19 Greeks in Armenia gather at the Genocide
Memorial to remember victims of the 1922 massacres.
"May 19 is the most tragic day of our nation,"
says Gerges Alamanos, the charge d' affaires of
Greece in Armenia.
Multiple thousand Greeks residing on the south
side of the Black Sea were killed in 1922, part
of the same genocide that earlier devastated Western
Armenia. According to some historical records,
more than 350,000 residents of Pontos were among
the Armenians on April 24, the Greeks remember
their beloved a month later with marches to
The Greek Genocide Day is shared by many Armenians,
including Albert Stepanyan, director of the Armenian-Greek
"Finishing the Armenian Genocide in 1915,
in which (the Turks) seemed to succeed, they started
the same activities against Greeks in 1919,"
Stepanyan says. "The existence of the Ottoman
Turk government was the environment of genocide
where such violence was done to different nations."
"Today April 24 and May 19 mix," says
director of Armenian Genocide Museum and Institute
Lavrenti Barseghyan. "On the area of this
small and modest memorial two most ancient nations
recall tragedies which they will never forget."
Some 5,000 residents of Greek origin call Armenia
home. About 2,000 live in Yerevan. During Soviet
times their numbers were several times more and
included entire Greek villages.
In 1990s the Government of Greece started programs
supporting the repatriation of Greeks from post-Soviet
"There are several Greek families in Armenia,
which are pure-blooded Greeks, and others have
mixed with Armenians," says Fruntik. "Armenian
and Greek people are very similar in both appearance
and inner world, as well as in fate from the last
Fruntik leads the Greek community in memorial
According to Fruntik the community tries to preserve
all Greek traditions as far as possible. One of
those traditions is the commemoration at Tsitsernakaberd.
There is no Greek Orthodox Church in Armenia,
so most attend Russian Orthodox churches. But
negotiations are underway to build a Greek Orthodox
Through a program sponsored by the Embassy of
Greece, children get free Greek language lesson
twice a week. And each summer Greek children ages
9-12 are given free visits to Greece.
There is also a Greek dance ensemble headed by
Fruntik's Armenian wife, Agapi Khurshudyan, whose
family is from the Western Armenian town of Mush.
"During the years of slaughter, only my
father stayed alive of my 58-member family. Do
you imagine the extent of brutality?" says
Agapi. "There is a Greek movie that tells
about the slaughter of Greek people in 1922. I
always compare it with the movie 'Ararat', as
both films tell the same phenomenon.
"I am married to a Greek and gave birth
to a Greek child, and the same fate fell to my
child's grandfathers' and grandmothers' lot."