Homenetmen History

Dating back to 1910, Armenians living in Constantinople participated and prospered in various athletic groups. One of the coaches of these groups, Shavarsh Krissian, with the help of his periodical “Manramarz” publicized the need to unite all Armenians under one organization. Unification plans were halted as in 1914 World War I began. Soon after in 1915 the Armenian Genocide tragically took the life of Shavarsh Krissian as he along with other Armenian intellectuals and leaders were killed at the Ayachi prison in Bosporus.

With the end of the war, a new group of Armenians set out to continue Krissian’s dream. Seven Armenians convened a meeting in Constantinople on November 16, 1918 in order to unite all of the Armenian athletic groups under the name ‘HomenetmenM (Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts). The participants of the Homenetmen Constituent Meeting were as follows: Grigor Hagopian, Dikran Khoian, Levon Hagopian, Karlo Shahinian, Haig Jizmejian, Vahram Papazian, &Jirair Khorasanjian.

The first Homenetmen Executive Committee was formed on December 16 of 1918. After its establishment in 1918, four Homenetmen chapters were soon opened in various Constantinople neighborhoods.

On July 20, 1920 the founding members of Homenetmen were officially invited to the independent Republic of Armenia. The purpose of the meeting was to share both their knowledge and expertise regarding athleticism and scouting with the Republic’s government. The Homenetmen Executive Committee sent Vahan Cheraz, Dikran Khoian, and Onig Yazmajian to the meeting. Although initially successful in their efforts to spread Homenetmen’s athletic and scouting movement within Armenia, Homenetmen later was banned from Armenia after Armenia’s succession into the Soviet Socialist Republic.

Similarly, in 1922, the Homenetmen chapters in Constantinople were forced to close their doors, This caused the organization’s leaders to disperse throughout the world. In 1924, the organization’s development resumed establishing a chapter in Beirut, Lebanon, and later on in 1925 in Aleppo, Syria. From that point on Homenetmen continued to organize chapters within the large Armenian communities in the area.