Thomas Cosmades





While Vahram was being used by God as a blessing and enrichment to many, a few people were speaking against him, sometimes even smearing him.  Others couldn't stand him at all.  But no one could recall a single instance where he reacted adversely to criticism. At all times towards all people he would act with the love of Christ.  He would show affection toward those who derided him; he even spoke well of them and prayed earnestly for them.  He never entertained hatred, anger or retaliation in his heart.  Anyone wanting to see a person in a constant mood of happiness could see it in Vahram.  Whatever he was in private, he was in public.  He would always point to the Lord as the spring of his joy and sufficiency.  He often said, "Passing events can cause a great deal of distress, but our Lord supplies constant contentment.  We must always look up to Him."

Vahram witnessed an easily understandable way to explain salvation.  He used a simple illustration to everyone he talked to. He would point to one place and say, "You are here."  He would then point to another place and say, "Christ was here.  He took your place and transferred you to the place of His holiness.  Believe it now!"  The former place represented sinfulness and the latter holiness. In this way, he helped countless people to commit their lives to Christ.  He would say, "If I don't bear witness there is no happiness for me."  After a fruitful meeting, he would jubilate, "The Lord abundantly blessed everybody and saved souls."

He communicated at the level of his hearers and always with humility.  He could speak as a child to children, as a young man to young people, as a thinking man to the educated.  He would not miss any opportunity.  He found it easy to open up a conversation and establish a good rapport with anyone.  His unpretentiousness and ready smile inspired confidence in everyone.  He came across as a believer who could trusted.  The distinctive quality of his character was his total devotion to the sinless Christ, whom he as a mortal man scrupulously emulated.  He was a Christian who could say with the Apostle Paul, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (I Corinthians 11:1).  He could effectively combat spiritual lethargy around him through the power of the Holy Spirit.  He would express his joy with exclamations of ‘Hamdolsun,’[1] ‘Hallelujah!’  Whenever he said, "Christ is alive!" that indicated special joy in his heart.  Sometimes in his exuberance he would call out to anyone around him, ‘Brother!’ or ‘Sister!’  To the query, "What do you want, Brother Vahram?" his response was, "Hallelujah!"  Instead of engaging in chatter or gossip, he would unreservedly express himself in hearty praises.

To call him a simple man and on some occasions simplistic would not be a misnomer. As far as balance and intellect were concerned, there were times when he spoke imprudently.  But his uninhibited, generously expressed out-flowing love made up for his deficiencies.  The topic at hand with anyone Vahram met was the salvation of that person's soul.  Conversation about anything else had to come later.  He had the knack of getting to the heart of the matter in a brief time.  When questioned about why he gave his whole emphasis to this subject he would say, "Some opportunities in life come only once."  He was firmly convinced that the way to bring someone to repentance was through love.  This can be verified by the many he literally pushed into the Kingdom of God.  And they in turn pushed others.

To people who came from a traditional Christian background he would ask, "Have you experienced the new birth?"  Some in a rather hesitant and embarrassed manner would say 'yes.'  Knowing their real condition Vahram would say, "But your face shows no sign of the joy that salvation brings.  If you truly repent and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ you will be pardoned of your sin and find true happiness." In this way he led many to the forgiveness of their sins and assurance of salvation.

At a time when there were very few spiritual books or magazines in Turkish, Vahram's life was the most effective epistle being read by many.  He took special pleasure in selling or distributing books where Jesus Christ was the central topic.  For him the dissemination of God's Word by every possible means was a joyful involvement.  He lived and worked a couple of generations before the explosion of mass communication.  We each can ask ourselves, “Am I communicating the testimony of Christ with the same zeal as Vahram did? Do I speak out for my Savior and also utilize the advanced technology at my disposal?” God's Word had truly made its home in Vahram, and he conveyed the message of life and death to everyone he met. 

It was unthinkable for him to indulge in trite conversation.  His commitment to the testimony of Christ affected his fellow-believers in their own life and witness.  Among his close prayer companions were Moscho Bekleyen, Hagopos Karakochian, James K. Lyman and a few others.  He loved to pray with both young and old.  Jesus Christ said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).  The outworking of Vahram’s encounter with Christ could be noted in the distinctives of his life: repentance, justification by faith, assurance of eternity in Christ's presence and an exemplary everyday life with persevering witness.

As an enlightened person on these basic truths, he was able to enthusiastically delve into the depth of theological subjects.  His ability to grasp and expound God's Word sprung from the motivating reality of God's grace in his own life.  He would always silence every sort of misguided and erroneous teaching in a loving manner.  The so-called 'Jehovah's Witnesses' always avoided him.  On the other hand, some people compared him to Elijah or John the Baptist.  Like Amos and Ezekiel he had a definite call, and like Philip the evangelist he constantly sought to be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  He would share his visions with others.  He always started every visit with prayer, this way setting the tone for a spiritual conversation.

  [1] Hamdolsun - "May praise be given"

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