[Congressional Record Volume 142, Number 138 (Monday, September 30, 1996)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1822-E1823]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                          HON. SANDER M. LEVIN

                              of michigan

                    in the house of representatives

                      Saturday, September 28, 1996

  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, as the House adjourns today, I want to be 
certain that we take the fullest note of one of this year's most 
regrettable events, the death of Alexander Manoogian.
  Mr. Manoogian was a towering figure in the Armenian-American 
community and beyond. He built the Masco Corporation into a major 
business entity in this nation. He used his wealth with immense 
generosity for the benefit of his immediate community and the nation at 
  We are thankful that he was given a long and full life. That will 
only make it more difficult to fill the vacuum which his death leaves 
for us all.
  In further remembrance of Alexander Manoogian, I now insert into the 
Congressional Record an article written after his death by Dennis 
Papazian, a distinguished scholar as well as a leader in the Armenian-
American community.

                   A Befitting Tribute to a Great Man

                     (By Dennis R. Papazian, Ph.D.)

       The Alex Manoogian era of Armenian history, spanning 95 
     years, has come to a close. His earthly remains were laid to 
     rest with great dignity and solemn ceremony at the majestic, 
     cathedral-like St. John's Armenian Church of Greater Detroit, 
     which he helped to design and build, on Thursday, July 18, 
       The dan gark (wake) and funeral, both held in the church, 
     were presided over by His Holiness Karekin I, Supreme 
     Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians from Armenia and 
     carried out with the ministrations of several diocesan 
     Primates, a host of bishops and archbishops, and a score of 
     other clergymen and deacons representing the Armenian Church 
     in America, Armenia, and in the diaspora. Also represented at 
     the funeral were clergy of the Armenian protestant churches, 
     the Armenian uniate Catholic Church, the Armenian Prelacy, as 
     well as many sister American churches.
       A delegation of government officials from Armenia, led by 
     former vice-president of the Republic and current President 
     of the Constitutional Court, Mr. Gagik Haroutunian, had flown 
     in from Armenia to show their deep respect and abiding 
     affection for the Honorary Citizen of Armenia and the 
     ``National Hero of the Armenian People.''
       Leaders of the Armenian community and virtually every 
     Armenian organization and political party in the diaspora 
     were represented at the funeral, including members of the 
     Diocesan Council, the Board of Directors of the Armenian 
     General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the Armenian Assembly of 
     America, the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, the Armenian 
     Revolutionary Federation, and a host of others. Leaders of 
     the American community, from business, government, and 
     philantrophy, were visibly in attendance.
       Distinguished American political figures in attendance 
     included the governor of Michigan, the Honorable John Engler; 
     the former governor of Michigan and current American 
     Ambassador to Canada, the Honorable James Blanchard; various 
     members of the state House and Senate; and representatives of 
     Senators Carl Levin and Spencer Abraham as well as of the 
     Michigan US Congressional delegation, including the Hon. 
     Sander Levin. The dan gark was also attended by the Honorable 
     Dennis Archer, mayor of Detroit, as well as by other civic 
       The cavernous church was filled to overflowing on the 
     occasion of both the dan gark and the funeral with mourners 
     who had come from literally all over the world to pay their 
     last tribute to a great Armenian-American. Distinguished 
     personages arrived from as far as Armenia and Australia and 
     from Canada to Latin America, to pay homage to perhaps the 
     greatest Armenian philanthropist and leader of the 20th 
     century. Mr. Manoogian's rich and active life spanned 95 
     years, from the turn of the century to the present, from the 
     genocide of 1915 to the inauguration of the second free and 
     independent Armenian Republic.
       The homily at the dan gark was delivered by His Eminence 
     Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the 
     Armenian Church of America, from New York, who was introduced 
     by the pastor of St. John's Church of South field, MI, the 
     Very Rev. Fr. Baret Yeretzian, who also expressed his love, 
     respect, and devotion for Mr. Manoogian. Archbishop Shane 
     Ajemian from Jerusalem read the Epistle and Archbishop Vatche 
     Hovsepian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian 
     Church of America, chanted the Gospel. Archbishop Hovnan 
     Derderian, Primate of Canada, recited the ``Christos vorti,'' 
     Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian of New York read a message of 
     condolence from His Holiness Aram, I, Catholiocos of the 
     Great House of Cilicia, in Lebanon.
       The formal eulogy at the funeral, filled with insight and 
     pathos worthy of the solemn occasion, was delivered by His 
     Holiness the Catholicos who drew attention to Mr. Manoogian's 
     love for his own people, for the world community, for the 
     Armenian Church,

[[Page E1823]]

     for the good works of the AGBU, for Armenian education and 
     culture, and for all people great any small in America and 
     throughout the world. Before making his formal remarks, the 
     Catholicos prayed for the souls of the 230 persons who had 
     tragically lost their lives the previous day in the TWA plane 
     crash. Fr. Zaven Arzoumanian of Florida read the Epistle and 
     Archbishop Karekin Nersesian of Armenia chanted the Gospel. 
     Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian recited the ``Christos vorti.''
       The Catholicos chose for the scriptural theme of his 
     address a reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew 26:31-46. `` 
     `Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage 
     the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the 
     world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty 
     and you gave me drink I was a stranger and you made me 
     welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, 
     in prison and you came to see me.' Then the virtuous will say 
     to him in reply, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed 
     you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a 
     stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or 
     in prison and go to see you?'' And the King will answer, `I 
     tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the 
     least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.' '' 
     Surely, said the Catholicos, this exemplifies the life of Mr. 
     Alex Manoogian.
       At the end of the funeral, His Holiness the Catholicos 
     united the mourners in inviting all of them to join in the 
     singing of the Hayr Mer. (the Lord's Prayer). As the pipe 
     organ soared, the voice of the congregation filled the 
     cavernous church with brilliant song with testified to the 
     faith and hope of the people.
       The clergy and the congregation marched in solemn 
     procession from the church into the Armenian Cultural 
     Building for the memorial meal which was attended by nearly 
     1,000 mourners. His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian give 
     the invocation. Loving comments on the personal life of Mr. 
     Manoogian were made by Mrs. Louise Simone, President of the 
     Armenian General Benevolent Union, and Mr. Richard Manoogian, 
     Chairman of the Board of MASCO Corporation, Mr. Manoogian's 
     daughter and son.
       Mr. Gagik Haroutunian delivered the condolences of His 
     Excellency Levon Ter Petrosian, president of Armenia, and 
     offered his own words, of sympathy on behalf of the entire 
     delegation from the Republic of Armenia. Mrs. Simone then 
     read telegrams of condolence from President Bill Clinton of 
     the United States and President Levon Ter Petrosian of 
       Telegrams were also announced from His Beatitude Torkorn 
     Manoogian, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, and His Beatitude 
     Karekin Kazanjian, Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople 
     (Istanbul), which were among the thousands receive from 
     dignitaries and common folk from all over the world. 
     Archbishop Karekin Nersesian of the diocese of Ararat in 
     Armenia give the benediction.
       ``Today the entire Armenian nation is mourning, as we take 
     part in the funeral services of our Patriarch,'' said Mr. 
     Haroutiunian during his remarks. ``Alex Manoogian's death is 
     a tremendous loss not only for the Armenian people. . . . Mr. 
     Manoogian was an epoch-making phenomenon who shaped history. 
     He gave charity a new meaning and new content; he set an 
     example for teaching how to live with one's people and 
     nation. He taught how to impart devotion and love.''
       The color-saturated interior of the sanctuary, illuminated 
     by shafts of light pouring through the narrow, richly colored 
     stained glass windows and by dim golden lamps suspended from 
     the great parabola arches, was tastefully decorated by large 
     bouquets of white roses with cascading ivy. The black robes 
     and cowls of the numerous clergy stood is stark and solemn 
     contrast to the resplendent, although muted church.
       The Komitas Choir of St. John's Armenian Church was 
     conducted by Maestro Khoren Meikhanedjian of New York and 
     accompanied by Mrs. Louise Yardumian of St. Petersburg, FL. 
     Soloists included Ms. Maro Partamian of New York and a 
     quartet comprised of Mrs. Violet Cholakian, Mrs. Arlene 
     Baylerian, Mrs. Denise Karakashian, and Mrs. Barbara Widener 
     of metropolitan Detroit, who sang moving sharagans (hymns) 
     during the funeral service.
       Closed circuit television carried the services into the 
     lobby, the chapel, and the nursery of the attached Cultural 
     Building where elegant tables were set up to supplement the 
     700-seat Cultural Hall from where the ceremonies of the 
     hokejash (memorial meal), served to almost 1,000 persons, 
     were also telecast.
       Entombment services, held by the His Holiness the 
     Catholicos and the numerous clergy from Armenia, Europe, and 
     America, took place at Woodlawn Cemetery following the 
     hokejash with only family members in attendance. The casket 
     was covered by earth brought from Armenia by Mr. 
     Haroutiunian, and the tomb was sealed by the Catholicos with 
     a cross. The site will be marked by a elegant kachkar (cross-
     stone) brought from Armenia by the Catholicos.
       ``No one was invited to the funeral,'' said the pastor of 
     St. John's, Fr. Baret Yeretzian, ``that is not the custom. 
     Everyone, clergy and laity, attended of his own desire out of 
     love and respect for Mr. Manoogian. The funeral and dan gark, 
     attended by 2,000 persons over two days, were a fitting 
     memorial to a great and generous man.''
       ``Mr. Manoogian's genius lay in his determination to 
     resurrect the Armenian people after the genocide of 1915,'' 
     said Dr. Dennis R. Papazian, a professor of history at the 
     University of Michigan, Dearborn, and a resident of Troy, MI, 
     ``to rebuild the Armenian Church, to encourage a free and 
     independent Armenia, to preserve and expand Armenian culture, 
     and to help the Armenian people return to their rightful 
     place in the family of nations and in world history. We have 
     truly lost a great champion of the Armenian people.''
       ``We must also not lose sight of the fact that Mr. 
     Manoogian was a great American. In fact his life was a 
     monumental testimony to the greatness of America. Where else 
     in the world could a man rise from a poor immigrant to a 
     captain of industry, from a homeless boy to a great world-
     wide philanthropist? Surely Mr. Manoogian represented the 
     American dream, and he never forgot it. He gave to all sorts 
     of American causes. We are all the poorer for his passing. He 
     will be sorely missed.''
       The pallbearers were Mr. Manoogian's grandsons and nephews: 
     James Manoogian, Richard Manoogian, Jr., David Simone, Mark 
     Simone, Brian Manoogian, Douglas Manoogian, Chris Christo, 
     and Paul Christo.
       Security for the various dignitaries in attendance was 
     provided by the Michigan State Police and Masco Corporation. 
     The Parish Council of St. John's Church, along with the 
     Pastor, were active in preparation and administration. 
     Cynthia Oknaian provided coordination with the various groups 
     involved on behalf of the Church.