Gabriel Madilyan: The Defender Of The People On Both Shores Of The Black Sea
Illustration: Anaïs Shahangirian
Gabriel Madilyan was born in 1885, in the village of Sürmene near Trabzon. The fidain took his first steps under the guidance of his father, the famous hayduk Vagharshak Madilyan.
Together with Sev Garapet, Misak Torlakyan and Abgar Chepnyan, Gabriel was the soul of the Armenian military groups in the regions of Sürmene and Emur. Since 1908 Gabriel was engaged in the preparation of self-defense units and led an active rebel struggle in the local mountains and forests.
The news of the actions undertaken by the fidayins from Sürmene spread throughout the region and their bold and noble deeds became the subject of legends and stories. From 1915 to 1916 Madilyan’s detachment held a series of successful actions to take revenge on Turkish officials and beys, guilty for the deaths of peaceful Armenians. The attempts of the Turkish authorities to put an end to the Madilyan’s detachment, proved unsuccessful. In the struggle for the freedom of the Armenians Gabriel was supported by his blood-brother hemshil Aziz Tekkenun from the village of Haruqs. Later, Gabriel together with Aziz temporarily moved to Sochi.
A constant series of events made Gabriel and his detachment take part in several battles on different shores of the Black Sea. So, in 1917, when the Russian troops were already in the city of Rize, Madilyan’s detachment crossed the front, joined them and was in the vanguard of the battles against the Turkish army.
Later, in order to prevent the massacre in the village of Loo, Gabriel and his seventeen friends had to move to their relatives, to Sochi.
In the period from 1918 to 1923, Gabriel returned to his homeland several times, took part in the partisan defense and returned to Sochi again.
After 1923 Gabriel started a family in Sochi and started a new life there, however his partisan past was a problem for the Bolshevik authorities. He was jailed, then released and was constantly pursued...
In 1936 Gabriel moved to Crimea to meet his familiars and since than his traces were finally lost…
Translated by Manan Ajamyan