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Nowhere: A Story of Exile. ZIC Book Presentation November 13, 2014

TurcotteNowhereAnna Astvatsaturian Turcotte lost her childhood to the ethnic cleansing in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1988.

Her life was swept away at the tender age of 10 when Muslim Azeris drove the Armenian community out of the country using terror and violence. Fleeing to Armenia, which was still reeling from the earthquake of 1988, she found herself an outsider; a nationless girl surviving in an unheated basement and facing discrimination again, this time by her own people.

Nowhere: A Story of Exile is a riveting story of organized terror, refugee life, and the desperate search for one’s home told through the diary entries of a young girl. Anna gives voice to a horrific tragedy little reported in the West, to the Armenian community of Azerbaijan and to the child victims of ethnic cleansing everywhere.

TurcottePhotoAnna Astvatsaturian Turcotte will speak of her experiences at the Zohrab Information Center on Thursday, November 13 at 7:00PM. Her presentation will be held in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 2nd Avenue, New York. It is being co-sponsored by the Zohrab Center and the Armenian Network of America Greater NY Chapter.

Ms. Astvatsaturian Turcotte came to the United States as an Armenian refugee in 1992 and became a US citizen in 1997. She holds a law degree and was one of the first Americans to clerk for the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands after observing its creation at the United Nations. Anna is currently living in the United States and working in the financial industry. She is married and has two children.

“Anna’s diary, written from the wide-eyed perspective of an 11-year old girl, is nevertheless remarkably incisive and haunting in its portrayal of the cruelties inflicted on the Armenian people of Baku,” said V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zohrab Center. He added, “Anna is the Armenian Anne Frank of our times.”

AnnaTurcotteFlyer.001The book presentation is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.


For further information contact the Zohrab Center at or (212) 686-0710.


ZICVID. Prof. Maxwell Johnson Speaks on Martyrdom in the Early Churches and the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide

On Thursday, October 9, Prof. Maxwell Johnson of the University of Notre Dame spoke at the Zohrab Center about the phenomenon of Christian martyrdom in the early church in light of the anticipated canonization by the Armenian Church of the countless martyrs of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 who surrendered their lives for the name of Jesus Christ.

A Poetry Evening at ZIC. Thursday, October 23

The Zohrab Information Center will host an evening of original poetry on Thursday, October 23 at 7:00PM.

Nancy Agabian

Nancy Agabian

Featured will be three American-Armenian poets: Nancy Agabian, Lola Koundakjian, and Alan Semerdjian. They have chosen to read works that have been inspired by the Zohrab Center’s rich book collection.

Award-winning author Nancy Agabian is a part-time faculty member of the NYU Gallatin School. She was a Fulbright scholar to Armenia in 2006-7.

Alan Semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian is a poet, teacher, musician and artist, whose acclaimed collection of poems, In the Architecture of Bone, explorees issues of Genocide and survival.

Lola Koundakjian

Lola Koundakjian

Making her second visit to the Zohrab Center to read her work, Lola Koundakjian is an internationally acclaimed and published poet whose work has been translated into Spanish and Ukrainian. She is curator of the online Armenian Poetry Project.

The Evening of Poetry will place at the Zohrab Center of the Armenian Diocese, 630 Second Avenue, New York.

2014-10 PoetryEvening.001CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A FLYER.

All are welcome to attend. Suggested donation is $5. Students with ID will be admitted free. A reception and refreshments will follow.

For further information, contact us at or (212) 686-0710. #ZICPoetry


From the ZIC Photograph Archives. Do You Recognize These Faces?

One of the treasures of the Zohrab Center is its rich collection of historical photographs, some of them from 19th century Armenian communities in western Armenia and the Middle East, many of them documenting the early history of the Armenian community in the United States.

The collection, numbering hundreds of photographs, has grown gradually thanks to the donations of American Armenians going back to the establishment of the Diocese of the Armenian Church over a century ago.

One person working with the ZIC collection is Dr. Joseph Malikian, an expert in 19th and early 20th century Armenian photography and photographers, who has his own vast and precious personal collection of historical photographs, and who published the recent album, The Armenians in the Ottoman Empire: An Anthology and a Photo History (Antelias, Lebanon, 2011). (Read about a recent exhibit from his personal collection of Ottoman-era photographs).

Dr. Malikian recently brought to our attention one of the rare photographs that contains identifying information.

IMG_1346The print, measuring approximately 5 x 7 inches, depicts 8 well-dressed young men standing behind two distinguished gentlemen and an Armenian clergyman, all seated. On the reverse we read the following caption:

Ագ-Շէհիրի դպրոցի բարձրագոյն կարգի աշակերտները իրենց տնօրէնը Լեւոն Աղապապեան, Գարեգին Սրբազանը՝ ներկայիս Պօլսոյ պատրիարք Խաչատուրեանը, Արմենակ Օրմանեան։ 1913-1955.

The students of the senior class of the Ak-Shehir school [with] their principal, Levon Aghababian, Bishop Karekin Khachadourian—currently the Patriarch of Constantinople, [and] Armenak Ormanian. 1913-1955.

Relatively few of the ZIC photographs include identifying captions such as this one.

Relatively few of the ZIC photographs include identifying captions such as this one.

The fascinating photo and caption provide a glimpse into a long-forgotten page in the story of the Armenian people. Ak-Shehir is a city in west-central Turkey that had a small, but vibrant Armenian community far from the larger pre-Genocide Armenian centers hundreds of miles farther east.

Patriarch Karekin Khachadourian, a native of Trabizon, served as Patriarch of Constantinople from 1951-1961. The years “1913-1955″ that conclude the caption probably indicate the date of the photograph (1913) and the date that the caption was written (1955).

But who is Levon Aghababian, the principal? And who is Armenak Ormanian? Is the latter a relative of Maghakia Ormanian, the great intellectual and prolific scholar who converted from the Armenian Catholic Church eventually to become Patriarch of Constantinople in 1896?

If you can provide any additional information about these individuals, the photograph, or the Armenian community of Ak-Shehir, please post a note on this blog.

Read more…

The Canonization of the Armenian Martyrs of 1915. What is Christian Martyrdom Anyway?

JohnsonImage.001In April 2015, on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, under the auspices of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church will take the momentous step to officially recognize as saints of the church the countless souls who perished during the Genocide in witness of their Christian faith.

The Rev. Dr. Maxwell E. Johnson, Professor of Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN) will present a lecture entitled, The Blood of the Martyrs: Seed of the Church Yesterday and Today on Thursday, October 9 at 7:00PM.


Surveying traditional interpretations of Christian martyrdom, Professor Johnson will address the relevance of the canonization of the Armenian Martyrs of 1915 for the Armenian Church and people today.   

Maxwell E. Johnson is Professor of Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Maxwell E. Johnson is Professor of Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

The illustrated lecture is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 Second Avenue, New York, NY.

The Rev. Dr. Maxwell E. Johnson is an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a leading scholar of early Christian liturgy and worship. He has written extensively on topics related to Baptism, Eucharist, the Liturgical Year, Mary, the Saints, and Ecumenism. He has lectured at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary on Armenian Baptismal Rites and Spirituality.

Professor Johnson’s most recent book, Praying and Believing in Early Christianity: The Interplay between Christian Worship and Doctrine, is concerned with how the worship of the church shapes and is shaped by doctrine. Copies will be available for purchase at the lecture. Guests will have the opportunity to greet Prof. Johnson during a wine and cheese reception that will follow his presentation.

For further information contact the Zohrab Center at or (212) 686-0710.


Where Armenian Architecture and Worship Meet. A Presentation by Prof. Christina Maranci on September 25

Sculpted images on the exterior of the 7th century Armenian Cathedral of Mren may reveal more than meets the eye.

Sculpted images on the exterior of the 7th century Armenian Cathedral of Mren may reveal more than meets the eye.

The distinguished expert in Armenian Art and Architecture, Professor Christina Maranci, will present an illustrated lecture at the Zohrab Center on Thursday, September 25 at 7PM entitled, The Great Outdoors: Liturgical Encounters with the Early Armenian Church.

Dr. Maranci is the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara T. Ozetemel Associate Professor of Armenian Art at Tufts University.

She will present the results of recent research on the exterior structure and decoration of certain medieval Armenian churches. Maranci believes that the intricate carved images and the epigraphic writings that adorn the exterior walls of many Armenian Churches were not produced simply to beautify the buildings. Instead, she suggests that the Armenian architects and artisans were guided by liturgical services that took place outside the church. Maranci supports her view with Armenian hymns and rituals found in medieval Armenian liturgical books.

This coordinated study of architecture and liturgy provides a potential material setting for liturgical texts, suggests new interpretations of the relief sculpture, and offers insight into the medieval experience of the Armenian Church.

Prof. Christina Maranci is an expert on medieval Armenian architecture.

Prof. Christina Maranci is an expert on medieval Armenian architecture.

Prof. Maranci received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in the Department of Art and Archaeology in 1998. She has lectured and published widely, particularly in the area of Armenian architecture. Her books include Medieval Armenian Architecture: Constructions of Race and Nation (Peeters, 2001), and Vigilant Powers: Three Churches of Early Medieval Armenia (Brepols, forthcoming). Her articles have appeared in the Revue des études arméniennes, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Gesta, the Journal for the Society of Architectural Historians, the Art Bulletin, the Oxford Companion to Architecture, and the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages.

Her recent work on the Cathedral of Mren (Kars region, Eastern Turkey) led to the successful application for its inclusion in the World Monuments Fund Watch List for 2014-17. She is campaigning to increase awareness of the fragile condition of this significant monument and others in the Kars/Ani region.

2014 MaranciGreatOutdoorsFlyer.001CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A FLYER.

The lecture will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 Second Avenue, New York. It is free and open to the public. A reception and refreshments will follow.

For more information contact the Zohrab Center at or (212) 686-0710. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter #LiturgicalEncounters.

ZIC Schedule of Autumn Events

ZZohrab.001The Zohrab Information Center announces a wide-ranging and captivating schedule of educational programs for the Autumn season. Armenian and non-Armenian scholars and artists will present programs on Armenian architecture and liturgy, literature, film, poetry and the anticipated canonization of the martyrs of the Genocide by the Armenian Church.

The first program on Wednesday evening, September 10, will be the screening of the film Garod (Yearning) by the award-winning Armenian filmmaker Frunze Dovlatyan. The movie will be presented in Armenian with English subtitles and will be introduced by writer, translator and filmmaker Christopher Atamian, who will also lead a discussion following the movie.


All ZIC events take place at the Armenian Diocese, 630 Second Avenue, New York, and are open to the public. Most presentations will be video-recorded and posted on this website within a day or two of the date of presentation.

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