The engagement of Harutyun Ohanian and Meleki Maldjian

Started by Dr. Meroujan Ardziv Maljian, MD on Saturday, December 26, 2009


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12/26/2009 at 10:29 PM

According to Maldjian family historian Francois Maljian, Harutyun Ohanian was a very educated man who was also very traditional at the same time. When it was time for Harutyun to be married, his grand-uncle Hovsep Maldjian wished for him to be married to his daughter Lutvia and asked his brother Bedros Maldjian if he could make the arrangements. This was because Bedros was extremely close to Harutyun, who was the grandson of his sister "Aba" Savgul Dimijian. Bedros would end up becoming Harutyun's father-in-law after he married his daughter Meleki. Lutvia was a schoolteacher at the time. When Bedros Maldjian made the suggestion to Harutyun on behalf of Hovsep that he marry Luvia, Harutyun reportedly declined the offer. He was even rumored to demand that if he was to marry this lady, that he should be provided with a dowry of 150 pieces of solid gold. Bedros responded by telling Harutyun he should not say such things because they were not selling him "khokh'mush at," or "rotten meat" in the Turkish language. These were his own relatives he was talking about. At the same time, as Harutyun was living in the home of his uncle Khatcher Dimijian and his wife Gyurju Zulalian-Dimijian (the sister of Bedros' wife Mariam), it occured to Gyurju to ask her sister Mariam if she did not think it would be a good idea for Harutyun to marry Mariam's daughter Meleki Maldjian. Although Harutyun was very close to Meleki's father Bedros, strangely, he was somehow not aware of his daughter Meleki. A plan was worked out between the two sisters to bring Harutyun and Meleki together. Mariam gave Gyurju her iron and said she would send her daughter Meleki over to retrieve the iron from her wearing her nicest clothes. After all, Gyurju was Meleki's maternal aunt, or "morakuyr" in the Armenian language. So Mariam sent Meleki to Gyurju's home to retrieve the iron, and Gyurju told Meleki to wait until she finished using the iron. Then Harutyun walked in and saw Meleki for the first time. Meleki was reportedly so shaken and surprised upon seeing Haryutyun that she ran back to her mother's house without bringing back the iron and told her mother she was afraid because there was a bald-headed young man there who she never saw before (in fact Harutyun was a very good looking fair-skinned and fair-haired young man). Harutyun, upon seeing Meleki and her shyness was immediately interested in her, learned from Gyurju that she was the daughter of Bedros, and asked to marry her. The rest is history. The news reportedly did not sit well with Bedros' brother Hovsep who wanted Harutyun to marry his daughter Lutvia the schoolteacher, and according to Francois Maljian, this incident created a rift in these two sides of the Maldjian family that persisted for many years.

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