I do not remember all the prayer, for I was crying too bitterly and was too frightened, but I know the priest pleaded for me and my people, and that he reminded the Father we were His first believers and had been true to Him through many centuries of persecution. As the priest went on I became soothed, and unconsciously I began to listen—hoping to hear with my own ears the answer I felt must surely come down from up above to Father Rhoupen’s plea.
When he said “Amen” the priest knelt with me, and together we waited. Suddenly Father Rhoupen pressed me close to his breast and began to speak.
“The way is clear, my child. The answer has come. Trust in Jesus Christ and He will save you as He deems best. It were better that you should die, if need be, or suffer even worse than death, than by your example lead others to forswear their faith in the Saviour. Go back to your father and mother and comfort them, but obey them.”
All that day and the next messengers rode back and forth between Harpout and our city, bringing the latest scraps of news from Van. We were filled with joy when we heard the Armenians had barricaded themselves and were fighting back, but we dreaded the consequences. No one slept that night in our city. All day and all night Father Rhoupen and his assistant priests and religious teachers in the Christian College went from house to house to pray with family groups.