Armenian Bible Church            

Հայ Աստուածաշունչի Եկեղեցի

Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 40322  Pasadena, CA 91114 USA

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By Thomas Cosmades


Chapter 22 


             Haralambos started preaching at sixteen immediately following his conversion to Jesus Christ.   The sixteen years of his ministry were rewarding but also stormy and at times controversial. Today he would have been described as a person with charisma. Since his time two generations have come and gone.  Many grandchildren of people who knew Haralambos regard him with awe and wonder.  To this day, his books are being circulated in circles of similar background. There were certain extravagances in his books and preaching.  An admirer of Haralambos remarked that these were accidental faults which might have been rectified had he lived longer.

            His motto was, “Not only to suffer, but to die for Christ.” His late wife Aneta pointed to the following text as his life experience:

            O LORD, you deceived me, and

                        I was deceived;

            You overpowered me and prevailed.                    

            I am ridiculed all day long;

                        everyone mocks me.

            Whenever I speak, I cry out

                   proclaiming violence and destruction.

              So the word of the LORD has brought me                               

                      insult and reproach all day long.

                But if I say, “I will not mention him,

                      or speak any more in his name,”

                his word is in my heart like a fire,       

                      a fire shut up in my bones.

                I am weary of holding it in;

                         Indeed, I cannot.

            I hear many whispering,

                        “Terror is on every side!

                 Report him! Let’s report him!”

            All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying,

                 “Perhaps he will be deceived;

                 then we will prevail over him

                 and take our revenge on him.”

‘           But the LORD is with me likely a mighty warrior;

                  so my persecutors will stumble

                            and not prevail.

            They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;

            Their dishonor will never be forgotten.

                                                            (Jeremiah 20:7-11)

            People disgraced him whenever they found the opportunity.  He even became a topic of mockery from boys in the market place. Some went as far as naming their donkeys and dogs ‘Haralambos’ to express their derision. In the Middle Eastern milieu these two animals are held in low esteem.  He never retaliated, but composed himself as a poised dedicated minister. The chain of insults was a precursor of the devastating storm which lay ahead.  He could not be intimidated.  No one could prevent him from speaking what he believed to be right. As already quoted from Jeremiah’s experience, God’s message was like a fire in his bones.  His faith and dedication to Christ meant everything to him.

            At his death, adversaries were silenced while admirers turned to his several books, each of which was a bold account of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. His books were read for several decades, printed and reprinted, circulated and serialized in a number of countries, especially among Armenian people.

            His first book was that highly controversial one, ‘Christ’s Second Coming.’ His next writing was on ‘Healing by Faith,’ where he dealt with this quite sensitive matter at the time.  Among the missionaries in Turkey this line was not preached.  His position was more-or-less like that of A.B. Simpson, founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance.  His next book was on the Holy Spirit; ‘Bearing the Cross’ was his final book where he characterized the four corners of the Cross as the cross of persecution, the cross of self-denial, the cross of separation from the world and the cross of travail for lost lives. This book was translated into English and Greek. Two smaller books, one on Heaven and the other on Hell, were books used for study in Armenian churches. He was a gifted hymn writer, putting down the words and composing the music.  Hymns he had prepared over the years which were ready for publication were confiscated in the police raid at his home on the day of his arrest. They were never seen again.

Many giants of the faith lived and died in Anatolia throughout the centuries, each one making his particular contribution in his own time. Haralambos’ ministry left an impact on his generation at a very crucial period of Anatolian history. “He was an eloquent man, well versed in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24). 


            When the news of Haralambos’ execution in Marash reached her, Aneta was crushed. Since the day the couple had been torn apart in Aintab, her ordeal was almost unbearable. But when the Lord touched her in the midst of her debilitating crisis, she sensed his extraordinary sustenance. He enabled her to carry on. Even after Haralambos had been marched in chains to Marash she entertained a dim hope in her soul that somehow a message would be coming from her beloved husband. Friends warned her against building hopes that would never materialize. People around her knew very well that the walk to Marash was the march of death.

            A week after the execution a little leather pouch reached her. In it was hidden a four-page letter. It had passed through several hands before it safely arrived. Till the day of her death, Aneta never knew whose hands carried the pouch from Marash to Aintab and how it was safely delivered to her.  She was always thankful to her heavenly Father that this balm to her wounded heart had not gone astray.  Hardly anyone could read the message. It was written in Turkish with Greek characters. The Ottomans used Arabic script, the Armenians their own characters, and the Greeks the Greek script, all to express themselves in the same language!

            He was relating his deep gratitude to the Lord for Aneta’s standing with him so faithfully throughout the trying sequence of events. Aneta shared with the writer of this book one part of the letter, written November 27, 1916, from the prison of Marash:

“My pearl Aneta,

            “Another night has gone and nothing happened.  One of these days I will be executed.  I desired to live long and preach the glorious Gospel of Christ in other places.  I may die at the age of thirty-two, but the Word of God is not bound.  The Lord will raise up many workers for his harvest.  You are one of them, being my other half.  Do not say, ‘I am but a weak woman; what can I do?’  The Lord can use you as an empty vessel for his glory; keep in mind II Timothy 2:15.  Adorn yourself with God’s Word and all the useful knowledge which enriches the soul.  According to the Word of God, let ‘Freely you have received; freely give,’ be your motto.  Work with your hands for your living.

            “I do not want you to continue living in Turkey.  Go to England or America.  Wherever you go, have fervent love for all believers.  On the other hand, flee from modernism as you would from a deadly snake.  How great and gracious is our heavenly Father!  Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear,” was fulfilled at my arrival to the prison in Marash.  Even before I could settle myself in the cell, someone by the name of Katerina was searching for me.  God bless and reward her.

            “Love to my mother — her labors for me are beyond measure.  I was well pleased in everything about you.  I will be waiting for you up yonder.  Farewell, my beloved, farewell.

                                                            Your loving husband,


Like Paul from his prison cell, Haralambos’ main concern was to encourage her in the walk of faith. There was a note of deep disappointment for not being able to exalt Christ through to the end of a normal life span. To be cut off from a well-appreciated service at age thirty-two deeply wounded his heart.

            Yet he was filled with a sense of confidence in the Lord that He would raise others to carry on. Haralambos was assuring Aneta that she was one of those workers. Therefore, he strongly urged her to study and avail herself of every opportunity to become more useful in Christ’s service. This encouragement from the prison cell was a God-provided seal of Aneta’s call to serve the Lord for the rest of her life.      Following personal and spiritual matters, he went on to relate his horrendous trials. He told of the three days’ march while being laden down with heavy chains hanging over his shoulders. It was a trial that killed him several times. From the moment he and the rest of the prisoners arrived in Marash he was aware of his impending doom. He had an appointment with death for which be braced himself so he could meet it as a true soldier of Jesus Christ.  In the Turkish Bible with Arabic characters that Katerina had brought him his last days in prison, he had made a note in the margin of John 17:1, “…Father the hour has come…” She retrieved the Bible after his death.

            The letter was his last farewell. Every line was heart-rending.  Throughout the letter, Haralambos was showering words of encouragement on Aneta to continue serving the Lord.  Her resolve had already been made a while before and she was going forward. This letter became her most sacred treasure. She kept it with her until August 1970, when her eyesight became so weak that she tore it up. She couldn’t bear to have this, her most valuable possession, pass on to anyone else.

            As the children of Israel carried the bones of Joseph in the wilderness for the duration of forty years, she cherished Haralambos’ message and carried it with her for fifty-four years. The Jews were prevented from returning to Egypt as long as Joseph’s bones had a definite destination. Similarly, with her sacred possession she was enabled to look forward although there was still a sentimental recollection of past events.

            Destroying the letter was another traumatic experience in the long chain of deep sorrows; it was like burying him anew. But as her earthly pilgrimage approached its end, her thoughts were occupied with the joyful expectation of meeting her resplendent Lord and her beloved Haralambos.