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Hovhannes Toumanian


The Family Lineage
The Children
The journeys and travels
The Society
Civil Activity
Toumanian and the orphanage

In 1888, nineteen-year-old Toumanian married Olga Machkalyan. She was seventeen.
Memoirs of Olga Machkalyan-Toumanian
How we met each other
In September of 1887, my friend Osan and I went to see my grandmother. After dinner we went for a walk in the street. It was a narrow road with old, one-storied buildings. Bagrat Toumanian and his wife lived next to my grandmother’s house. When we were passing by their house, a woman and a tall, lean, curly-headed young man came out. Seeing us the woman said - ‘Don’t you want to come along and see the recruits?’ We refused and went back home.
The next day, while looking out of the window, I saw the same tall curly-headed boy. Probably he had followed us the day before. On the third day he came to our house with a bunch of papers in his hand that his uncle Hovhannes Martirosyan who was Consistory member had asked him to pass to us. I took the papers, we looked at each other, he smiled and left. Later I learned that he was the clerk of the Consistory and that he had good handwriting. My grandmother Anushik said that she knew him long ago, he is was his neighbour and often wrote letters for her. His name was Ohannes and he was a very nice guy. He also brought in newspapers. My mother would often invite him in and have a small chat.
Later I learned that my mother together with Reverend Hovhannes and Reverend Nerses Abovyan had decided to engage us without telling me about their plans, and after our marriage, ordain Ohannes a priest. Nerses Abovyan (who was the uncle of Ohannes’s friend Anushavan Abovyan) was also a member of the Consistory.

Our Acquaintance

On January 1, 1888, in the morning, my mother found a bird in our kitchen. We put it in a cage. My mother told that it was a good sign and a good luck for the New Year. In the evening Ohannes visited us to congratulate for the New Year. My mother asked him in to our sitting room. We began to talk. Ohannes asked: ‘What kind of bird is it, how did you catch it?” My Mother showed.
Ohannes stayed for two hours and left. After two months we were engaged. His father Ter-Tadevos came along from the village with two priests. There were other two priests on our side, so that five religious men engaged us on March 24, 1888.
After engagement Ohannes used to visit us every day and stay for dinner. On Easter, he presented me a pair of beautiful fashionable shoes. The next gift after the shoes were Iliad and Odyssey of Homer and The Wounds of Armenia. Abovyan’s novel was familiar to me, but I had not read Homer. We read Homer’s books together and Ohannes would make comments and give explanations. Ohannes came from the village on September 20 of 1888. After two months, on December 1, we married. I was seventeen and Ohannes was nineteen.

…Some days past conversations about making Ohannes a priest resumed. They would urge him to go to the church and learn the liturgy. But he did not want that kind of career. During one year he visited all churches of Tiflis and was disappointed with all of them. In one place priests were quarrelling, the other church was too far. One day he wrote a critical letter to the Head of the Diocese Bishop Aristakes Sedrakyan and after that quitted his post in the Consistory.