Matteos Sarkissian was born in 1863,
Matteos Sarkissian attends Meghri’s
local schools, and by the age of sixteen transfers to the
Kevorkian Seminary of Echmiadzin. In 1883, with the intention of
teaching, he travels to the Nakhechevan region. There, he is
introduced to a fellow teacher Stepan Sabah-Goulian. During his
years as a teacher Matteos Sarkissian increases his intellect by
constantly studying. By early 1890’s he devotes himself with the
revolutionary politics of the Hunchakian Party and adopts the
nickname of Paramaz.
During this time Paramaz not only
continues his profession as a teacher but he also promotes the
revolutionary ideas of the Hunchakian party in many of the notable
Armenian villages of Iran (Ardabeel, Pahashoug, Salmasd, etc…). In
addition, while in Iran Paramaz becomes the chief advisor to newly
created fedayee groups, and in Salmasd he forcefully punishes
those responsible for the assassination of Zolab Sargesian.
In the summer of 1897, Paramaz, along
forty of his colleagues travels to Van where he is eventually
arrested as a revolutionary. In August of 1898, during the trial,
Paramaz proves that it is the government officials greed that
instigate the people to revolt. In addition, he substantiates that
during the last four years, over 175,000 Armenians have been
massacred, over 80,000 families have been robbed, and over 250
villages have been burned. Despite his intrepid speeches and
testimony the court sentences Paramaz to death, but being that he
is a Russian citizen and through the efforts of the Russian
consulate, Paramaz is handed over to the Russian Government where
he remains in jail till 1900.
After his release in the early 1900,
Paramaz establishes an anti-Tsarist movement in the central
Caucasus, and heads a group of Armenians who urge the Catholicos
Khreamian Hayreeg to resist the orders of the Tsarist government
and hold on to the treasured relics of the Armenian Church.
In 1903, under the order of the
Hunchakian central committee of Baku, Paramaz organizes the famous
assassination attempt of Russian governor Golitsyn. Although
Golitsyn does not die from his wounds, the assassination attempt
is seen as a productive step in warning that no enemy of the
Armenian people is out of harm's way.
From 1905 through 1906, Paramaz leads
Hunchakian troops in Erevan, Echmiadzin, Zangezour and Kharabagh
in the Armenian-Tatar wars. In Tatar towns he also tries to
promote anti-Tsarist sentiment as well as the vision that Armenian
and Tatars can and should live together peacefully.
As a administrator for the Hunchakian
Party’s Caucasus branches, Paramaz visits Hunchak branches in
Iran, Boulgaria, Romania, and other European countries. Through
these travels he becomes acquainted with leading leftist theorist
With the establishment of a
Constitutional Ottoman Empire, Paramaz moves to the Ottoman Empire
and moves to establish a anti-Ittihad movement. Through his
efforts to establish an anti-Ittihad movement, he travels to
Constantinople, Adapazad, Deekranagerd (where he also establishes
a workers union), Hayny, Arzny-Maren, Malatia, Kharpert, Aintab,
Ourfa, Van, Gareen, etc…. Through these visits he in influential
in strengthening the Hunchakian ranks, giving lectures, and is
active in promoting Armenian self defence.
Through a pen-name of 'Hayr Seeva', he
is an integral part of the newspaper 'Arevelk' in the Ottoman
Empire. His writings were also included in the organ of the
executive committee of the Hunchakian party, Hunchak, and through
his writing the revolutionary and political life of Armenians, and
Armenian organizations are reinforce.
participates in the 7th General Convention of the Social Democrat
Hunchakian Party, in Costanta, Romania, 1913. At the convention
Paramaz is elected in the Central Committee, as well as given
the task of organizing a covert operation of assassinating the
leaders of the Young Turk Ittihad government.
Regrettably the resolutions of the
convention were given to the Young Turk Government by an Armenian
spy, and Paramaz along with other Hunchakian leaders and members
is arrested upon his arrival to Constantinople.
After spending two years in the horror
known as Turkish jails that included lengthy interrogations as
well as torture and a mock trial, Paramaz was sentenced to death
by the court along with 20 other members.
Before his hanging Paramaz stayed true
to his principles and declared to his executioners, you can only
hang our bodies, but not our philosophy.
1. Stepan Sabah-Goulian was fortunate to escape jail,
but was also condemned to death in absentia.
Monument of Paramaz
Officially Opened in Meghri’s Central Square
A monument of a great Armenian freedom
fighter and representative of the Social Democrat Hunchakian
Party, Paramaz (Matteos Sarkissian) was officially opened on
Saturday, 16 June 2001 in the main square of Meghri, Armenia.
Paramaz and 19 other fellow Hunchak
members were hung in the central square of Constantinople on June
15, 1915. The monument also commemorates 19 freedom fighters from
Meghri who died in the Karabakh war.
The opening of the statue was attended
by the city administration, the head of the Syunik Diocese of the
Armenian Church, members of the Social Democrat Hunchakian party,
as well as ordinary citizens of Meghri and countless Armenians
from the Diaspora.