KILLING OF PRELATE LAID TO 5 REBELS; Members of Group Advocating Armenian Republic Held in Archbishop's Murder. 40 WITNESSES EXAMINED Some Are Brought From Other States -- Assassin's Victim Hailed as a Martyr. KILLING OF PRELATE LAID TO 4 REBELS.
The New York Times, December 26, 1933
Five men, four of them admittedly members of Tashnag, a revolutionary organization whose aim is the restoration of the old Republic of Armenia, were under arrest early today in connection with the assassination of Archbishop Leon Tourian in the Holy Cross Armenian Church, 578 West 187th Street, on Sunday. [
Death of an Archbishop
A solemn procession moved up the aisle of Manhattan's small, crowded Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Church last Sunday morning. In it, in cope & mitre, was
Archbishop Leon Tourian. towering, grey-bearded primate of his Church in the Americas. Suddenly a knot of men sprang at him in the aisle. There one of them plunged a butcher knife through brocaded vestments deep into the Archbishop's midriff. The Archbishop groaned, leaned heavily upon his gold crozier, toppled to the floor dead. In horror the congregation milled about the defiled church.
Schism has rent the American Armenian Church ever since Archbishop Tourian became its shepherd two years ago. Part of Armenia is a Soviet Republic but all Armenians do not relish U. S. S. R. rule. Especially hostile to the Soviet is Tashnag, an organization dedicated to the restoration of the old Armenian Republic. Archbishop Tourian, 54, only churchman at the Manhattan banquet to Maxim Litvinoff last November, was accused of being proSoviet. He aroused factional wrath last summer, on Armenian Day at the Chicago World's Fair, by declining to make a speech until a pro-Soviet Armenian flag was removed. After being ganged last August at a church picnic in Westboro Mass, the Archbishop maintained an armed bodyguard. But last week his bodyguard leaped too late to his defense. Arrested for the murder were five Armenians, four of them members of Tashnag. Police heard that Tashnag assigned the Archbishop's assassins by drawing lots.
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