GUMRI (Armenpress–Noyan Tapan)–President Robert Kocharian traveled Friday to Armenia’s second largest city of Gumri to pay tribute to the memory of thousands of victims of the Dec. 7–1988 devastating earthquake that claimed the lives of 25,000 people.
Gumri was among the towns affected most from the disaster–and an estimated 16,000 people were buried under the ruins. One hundred and fifty of them have not been identified and are buried in a common grave.
President Kocharian laid a wreath at a monument erected at the graveside. He was accompanied by Head of the government Territorial Administration Department Hovik Abrahamian–governor of Shirak Felix Piroumian–Urban Development Minister David Lokian and other officials.
Wreaths were also laid on behalf of the Armenian parliament–government and different parties.
Thousands of Karabakh residents visited the memorial in Stepanakert to pay homage to the memory of the victims of the 1988 earthquake.
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Arkady Ghoukassian–representatives of the legislative and executive branches of the government–high-ranking officials–clergymen and the public laid flowers at the memorial.
A liturgy in memory of the earthquake victims was held at Shoushi’s Ghazanchetsots church.
December 7 is the day of remembrance of the devastating earthquake of 1988. On this day–Catholicos of All Armenia’s addressed the Armenia’s of France through the Armenian "Aib" radio station and then said a prayer of remembrance for the victims of the 1988 earthquake in Spitak.
According to the information system of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin–His Holiness–in particular–remembered with gratitude the French assistance to the victims of the earthquake as well as the assistance of the Armenian community of France.
"It is not sorrow and mourning that fills our hearts today–as it was during those terrible days. There is more room for optimism and faith in our hearts today–even though the northern regions of Armenia’still bears the wounds of the earthquake that need to be healed up by the joint efforts of the Armenian State and the Diaspora," His Holiness said in his speech.