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Imagining a Christian Armenian Nation. Lecture by Prof. Robin Darling Young. Thursday, March 1, 2018.

2018-3 RobinKings.001Robin Darling Young, Associate Professor of Theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC will speak at the Zohrab Center on Thursday, March 2 at 7PM in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese in New York.

[CLICK HERE to download a full schedule of the Zohrab Center’s Spring 2018 enrichment events]

The specialist in early Christian history and thought will present a lecture entitled, A Righteous King for Armenia: The Early Historians and their Political Theology.

When Armenia became Christian, its leaders — and later, its writers — had to rethink their country’s politics.  Professor Darling Young will explore how the earliest Armenian historians adapted biblical interpretation and political ideas to describe and measure their own rulers and imagine the first Christian nation.

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Dr. Robin Darling Young is a theologian specializing in early Christian thought, including Armenian and Syriac Christiantiies.

An accomplished interpreter and historian of early Christianity, Robin Darling Young has published widely on topics in the history of early Christianity and its thought, including the areas of scriptural interpretation, the history of asceticism and monastic thought, and the Christian cultures of ancient Syria and Armenia.

In 2015 she hosted a symposium at Catholic University entitled, From Victims to Victors: The New Armenian Saints of 1915which brought together Armenian, Roman Catholic, and Greek Orthodox scholars to discuss the significance and ramifications of the canonization of2018-3 RobinKings.001 the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. She has also lectured at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary.

The lecture is free and open to the public. CLICK HERE for a color brochure. For further information contact the Zohrab Information Center at(212) 686-0710 or zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org.

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Trafficking Sacred Antiquities and Embezzling Heritage: ZIC Book Presentation on February 2

2018-01 IconHunterBookNative Cypriot Tasoula Hadjitofi is a refugee, icon hunter and culture-crime detective who has made it her life’s work to recover the countless icons, frescoes, mosaics and cultural artifacts that from time immemorial have been the coveted booty of art smugglers, war profiteers, and terrorists.

She will present her new memoir, The Icon Hunter: A Refugee’s Quest to Reclaim Her Nation’s Stolen Heritage, at the Zohrab Center on Friday, February 2, 2018 at 7PM.

The Icon Hunter is the story of Hadjitofi’s perilous journey from refugee into the underworld of art trafficking. The riveting story culminates in her orchestration of “The Munich Case,” one of the largest European art trafficking stings since World War II.

CLICK HERE to download a flyer.

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This 14th-century Armenian manuscript Gospel, seized and lost during the 1963 expulsion of the Armenian community of Nicosia, was recovered by the efforts of “the Icon Hunter,” Tasoula Hadjitofi.

Hadjitofi’s daring multi-year crusade ended in the arrest of the notorious Turkish art trafficker Aydin Dikmen and the recovery of over $60 million in stolen icons and other antiquities from Cyprus and around the world. The haul included a priceless 14th-century Armenian manuscript Gospel stolen from the Armenian Church of the Mother of God in the northern part of Nicosia in 1963.

Cyprus has had a continuous Armenian community since the 6th century at least. The Armenian Quarter of Nicosia was captured by Turkish-Cypriot extremists in 1963, leading to the loss of medieval Armenian churches there, as well as in Famagusta on the island’s east coast. Later, following the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island, the 11th-century Armenian monastery of St. Macarius of Alexandria [Մակարավանք] in the mountains of northern Cyprus was seized and desecrated.

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The thousand-year old Armenian Monastery of St. Macarius in northern Cyprus in a photograph dated 1974.

In her Zohrab Center presentation, the only Armenian engagement in her current national book tour, Ms. Hadjitofi will delve into the Armenian heritage of the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

Tasoula Hadjitofi was born and raised in Famagusta, Cyprus. In 1974, with her family she was forced to flee their home after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Tasoula eventually settled in The Netherlands and became Honorary Consul to Cyprus. Approached by a notorious art dealer with information about stolen sacred artifacts looted during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, she spent the next ten years convincing the art dealer to inform on his former partner. Tasoula places everything on the line to repatriate her country’s sacred treasures.Tasoula-Hadjitofi-Octagon

“I entered the fight against art smugglers in 1987, and it was then I had to learn the rules of their game,” the intrepid crusader said in a recent interview. ” I was very fortunate to receive the best legal advice owing to the late [Orthodox Church of Cyprus] Archbishop Chrysostomos I, which meant that before every single battle to regain stolen treasures I was appropriately prepared. And let me tell you—in spite of the mentally and physically exhausting effort, there is nothing more rewarding than the smiles of vindication when a relic is repatriated.”

The book presentation is free and open to the public. Copies of The Icon Hunter will be available for sale with all proceeds going to benefit the Walk of Truth NGO, which works to locate sacred artifacts looted from conflict areas and to restore the cultural identity of those countries to their people.

A reception will follow the presentation. The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome. For further information contact the Zohrab Center at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710.

 

NYC Exhibit Includes Precious Medieval Armenian Bindings

KayseriBIndingFriends of the Zohrab Information Center and art lovers who live in the New York area or who may be visiting during the Christmas season will not want to miss an extraordinary exhibit at the Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan.

Magnificent Gems: Medieval Treasure Bindings presents one of the world’s finest collections of lustrous, gem-encrusted medieval bindings for ancient handwritten and early printed books. Also included in the exhibition are all three of the Morgan Library’s 17th-century Armenian silver bindings from Kayseri.

Dr. Sylvie L. Merian, Scholar and Reader Services Librarian at the Morgan, and a frequent lecturer and visitor at the ZIC, is one of the world’s leading experts on medieval book bindings, especially those produced in Armenian workshops.

Visitors will also see one of the Zohrab Center’s two precious copies of the first printed Armenian Bible, produced in Amsterdam in 1666.

The exhibit is on display until January 7, 2018.

“The Embodiment of the Best Attributes of the Armenian People.” Dr. Roberta Ervine to Speak About Catholicos Karekin Hovsepiants

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Catholicos Karekin Hovspiants (1838-1945)

The Zohrab Center will devote its last evening enrichment program of the year to one of the greatest leaders of the Armenian people in modern times, Catholicos Karekin Hovsepiants, on the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Professor Roberta Ervine of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary will present a lecture entitled, Catholicos Karekin Hovsepiants and the Value of Simple, Timeless Things on Thursday, November 30 at 7PM in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 2nd Avenue, New York.

CLICK HERE to download a flyer.

Hovsepiants must be ranked among the greatest figures in the entire history of the Armenian people.  The sheer range of his abilities and the scope of his achievements is simply astounding. Before rising to the Catholicate of the Great House of Cilicia, Hovsepiants had battled the Turks at Sardarabad, earned advanced degrees from Europe’s most prestigious universities, led archaeological expeditions, lectured in philology and history, shepherded the Armenian Diocese of America during its most tumultuous era, and become one of the leading scholars of Armenian art history in the world.

2017-11 ErvineHovsepiants.001During his tenure as Primate in New York (1938-1945), Hovsepiants established the Diocesan publication Հայաստանեայց Եկեղեցի / Hayasdanyaits Yegeghetsy [The Armenian Church], raised funds to liquidate the Diocese’s debts, drafted a vision and plan to build a Cathedral and a Seminary for the American Diocese, and inspired many through his passionate and uplifting preaching.

“Catholicos Karekin was the embodiment of the best attributes of the Armenian people,” wrote the late Archbishop Yeghishé Gizirian in an essay published in 1962 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Catholicos’ passing. He added, “In his diminutive but attractive body was stored tremendous energy, physical, mental and spiritual. Ever active, ever alert with a very keen, retentive memory, quick in perception, and equally quick in formulating his opinions and arriving at a decision.”

2017-11-roberta-e1511383762455.jpegProfessor Ervine will survey the Catholicos’ life and achievements, while she seeks to identify the invisible spirit that fueled them.

“Revered and reviled in his own lifetime, Karekin Hovsepiants became one of the Armenian Church’s most inspired and inspiring figures,” Ervine says.” His life—and even more, his spirit—challenges today’s Armenians to embrace the demands of their faith to the fullest.”

A regular lecturer at the Zohrab Center, Roberta Ervine is Professor of Armenian Studies at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in Armonk, New York, where she teaches Armenian Church History and Theology, and Modern and Classical Armenian languages. She recently taught a one-week intensive course on the life and writings of St. Nersess Shnorhali.

“Dr. Ervine has the rare ability to breathe life into history in such a way that persons from the past seem to rise up out of the pages of books and speak to the most pressing questions of our time and place,” one of her students said.

The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. For further information contact the Zohrab Center at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710.

 

Being Armenian in Istanbul Today. Lecture by Christopher Sheklian.

2017-11 ConstantinopleAnthropologist and Armenian Deacon Dr. Christopher Sheklian will deliver a lecture at the Zohrab Center on Tuesday, November 7 at 7PM entitled, Sharagans in the City: Being Armenian in Istanbul Today.

Armenians in Istanbul today navigate a city that is undeniably their home, yet often feels exclusionary. People rarely speak Armenian on the street and many of the churches are hidden behind high walls. Yet the Armenians living there do not necessarily feel excluded or discriminated 2017-11 SheklianSharagan.001against. “Bolis” is their home, and they feel a sense of belonging there.

Download a color flyer here.

Dr. Sheklian will discuss the complicated sense of belonging that Armenians feel toward Istanbul and toward Turkey. He suggests that the inheritance of the Armenian Apostolic Church’s liturgy helps many Armenians to navigate the city. Through constant exposure to Armenian sharagans and other hymns, Armenians are able to hear the soundscape of Istanbul as one where they also belong.

Christopher Sheklian, a native of central California, earned his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2017. His dissertation, entitled, Theology and the Community: The Armenian Minority, Tradition, and Secularism in Turkey, was based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork with Armenians in Istanbul. An ordained deacon of the Armenian Church, Dr. Sheklian spent a year as a student and researcher at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New York. He previously attended the University of California, Berkeley where he majored in Anthropology, and he worked as a substitute

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Anthropologist and ordained deacon of the Armenian Church Dr. Christopher Sheklian will speak about how the Armenian Church and especially its sacred music affords a sense of belonging to Armenians of Istanbul.

teacher before earning his MA and PhD at Chicago.

This year, Dr. Sheklian is a Manoogian Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan, where he plans to develop the conceptual apparatus of his dissertation by considering the connections between Christology, semiotics, and hermeneutics and to pursue a second ethnographic project with Armenian refugees from Syria and Iraq living in the greater Detroit area.

The lecture at the Zohrab Center will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese in New York. The event is free and open to the public. As always, a reception and conversation will follow the lecture.

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

ZIC Launches Fall Season with a Talk on Orthodox Christian Unity

ChaillotOrthCrossThe words Eastern and Oriental are synonyms. Yet in the 20th century these two words came to be be used to distinguish the two major families of Orthodox churches that were estranged in the fifth century over the dilemma of how properly to understand Jesus’ divinity and his humanity.

ChaillotEthCrossThe Zohrab Center will inaugurate its Fall 2017 season of evening enrichment events on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 with a book presentation by the internationally acclaimed Orthodox ecumenist and author, Christine Chaillot. Madame Chaillot will present a major new book, edited by her, which brings together essays by over 50 renowned ecumenists, theologians, and clergy representing all of the Orthodox Churches. The book represents the most important new 2017-10 Chaillot.001step in the reconciliation of these ancient eastern churches.

CLICK HERE to download a full-color flyer of the event.

The Eastern Orthodox Churches are most prominently represented by the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, as well as the Romanian, Bulgarian, Georgian, and other churches, including, especially here in North America, the Orthodox Church of America and the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

The so-called Oriental Orthodox Churches comprise the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Syrian, and Syrian Malankara Orthodox Churches.

ChaillotBookThe massive new book, entitled, The Dialogue Between the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, includes important essays by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zohrab Information Center, and V. Rev. Fr. Shahé Aramian, of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin.

The talk and book presentation will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 2nd Avenue, New York, NY beginning at 7PM. All are welcome to the free event, which will conclude with a reception.

Christine Chaillot is Swiss (Geneva) and Eastern Orthodox (Patriarchate of Constantinople). She is internationally known and respected for her ardent advocacy of the full reconciliation of the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Mme. Chaillot is the author of numerous books and articles on the life and spirituality of the churches of the two families and the history and progress of their ecumenical dialogue. A frequent visitor to Armenia, Ethiopia, and all of the lands of historic Orthodoxy, she is not only a friend to hierarchs and theologians of every Orthodox church, but a personal catalyst for deeper relationships and dialogue among them.

ZIC Launches New Online Catalog

ZICPageArrow.001The Zohrab Center is pleased to launch its new online library catalog. The catalog allows anyone to remotely search the precious resources of the ZIC library.

The catalog is accessed at dac.kohalibrary.com or by using the link at the top right of the ZIC website.

The new catalog replaces ZIC’s original library catalog with a state-of-the-art system incoporating powerful research tools. The catalog is powered by Koha, a full-featured open-source integrated library system that is used by hundreds of libraries and research centers around the world, including the Armenian National Library and the Union Catalog of Armenian Libraries (ՀԱՅԱՍՏԱՆԻ ԳՐԱԴԱՐԱՆՆԵՐԻ ՀԱՄԱՀԱՎԱՔ ԳՐԱՑՈՒՑԱԿ)

“Our new Koha system gives anyone with an internet connection access to the treasures housed in the Zohrab Center’s library,” said the Director, Fr. Daniel Findikyan. “The system provides a range of tools to facilitate research in every facet of Armenian Studies,” he added.

World-Class Collection of Rare and Old Books

The Zohrab Center’s library numbers well over 50,000 items with particular emphasis in modern Armenian literature, Armenian history, Armenian art and architecture, Armenian theology and Church culture, and Genocide studies. ZIC also houses a world-class collection of Armenian journals, newspapers and periodicals from throughout the world. Many titles are not found in any other library in the western world and a number of rare and old volumes exist nowhere else.

As a non-circulating research library, the ZIC’s largely irreplaceable holdings generally do not leave the reading room. Every effort is made to provide users with electronic scans or photocopies of materials. Of course readers and researchers are always welcome to visit the Center during normal business hours or preferably by appointment.

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 6.59.39 PMEven though much of the ZIC collection remains to be catalogued, it already offers a wealth of resources and information to users. Researchers can search for materials by author, title, subject, place or date of publication, language and other variables. As they browse the library’s holdings users can collect items into a personal “shopping cart” and create various lists to facilitate research.

Surprises Abound

“People will be surprised at the variety of treasures we have,” Fr. Findikyan noted. “Researchers will find standard works in every branch of Armenian Studies. Well-known authors from ancient times to the present are represented as well as obscure writers, who are otherwise unknown. Surprises abound. Works by Armenian authors share shelf space with classic works by Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, Milton, Aesop, Dante, and others, which were translated into Armenian long ago by our bibliophile ancestors.”

Give the catalog a spin. Type your last name or that of a friend or relative into the search bar and see what comes up! Your great uncle may have been an author! Enter the Armenian village where your grandparents were born and follow the trail of books and materials…

A Growing Repository of Armenian Culture and Thought

Looking ahead, ZIC will catalog its many 19th and early 20th-century manuscripts, many of them eyewitness accounts of the Genocide that await study. The Center’s many old photographs too will eventually be registered into the database allowing users to search for images of ancestors. In addition, electronic versions of many rare materials will be linked to their catalog entry, allowing users to access them directly.

Researchers may search for Armenian materials by using the Library of Congress transliteration system, which is the international standard. Koha supports unicode, so in the future, users will also be able to search for materials in Armenian and other non-Latin alphabets.

As funding becomes available, the Zohrab Center will acquire a professional, high resolution touch-fee scanner, which will allow us to digitize rare and fragile books and documents to make them available to scholars and students. For further information and to contribute toward this and other projects please contact the ZIC at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710.