Separated by the Fate of Genocide: A Father’s Struggle Abroad

By Emily Ekshian

My Story tells an intricate, biographical account of Hagop Vartanian’s struggle supporting his family during the Armenian Genocide from abroad. His story encompasses a journey across continents. It follows Vartanian’s early days before World War I and his later life in the United States. He details the heartrending realities that took place during the Armenian Genocide. The core of Vartanian’s experience is captured in his years living in the United States, though the Armenian Genocide, and the events ensuing in the chaotic aftermath, play an important role in shaping him as a father and the responsibilities that were inviolable.

The memoir is exclusively written as a first person narrative, detailing Vartanian’s origins in Northeastern, Turkey. Vartanian was born in the village of Adish, located in the Turkish Armenian vilayet (province) of Diarbekir. Residing amid the serene town, his family enjoyed a relatively stable life. He and his wife, Yeghisapet, had six children. Four were boys; Garabed, his oldest child, Levon, Vartan, and Vahak, his youngest child. They also had two daughters, Hripsime and Azniv. 

Armenia’s greatest river, the Euphrates, passed three miles from the village, and Vartanian alludes to the tens of thousands of Armenian corpses lying at the mouth of the river. The 1911 – 1918 wars in the region left the Armenians in the hands of the ruthless Turkish enemy.

Adish’s gardens and vineyards were not sufficient to provide livelihood for the village’s fifteen hundred inhabitants. Often, many were obliged to work in Istanbul or abroad, and then return to their homes to spend time with their families.

Vartanian says that circumstances took a turn with the onset of World War I, prompting the Armenian Genocide. With the support of the German allyship, the Turkish government implemented a set of policies that eventually guided the systematic destruction of Armenian identity in the Ottoman Empire, and the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians who were living in the region. The Armenian Genocide is officially the world’s first documented Genocide, and the first Genocide of the 20st century. The Genocide involved death marches through the Syrian Desert and the forced islamization of Armenian women and children— a few among many heinous strategies perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks.

At the start of the Genocide, Vartanian was confronted with a difficult decision. For the benefit of their families, many Armenian men would immigrate to surrounding countries and cities to earn a living. In many cases, men moved to Istanbul, Europe, the Middle East, and in other cases, some, like Hagop Vartanian, would make the long voyage to the United States. Vartanian documents the path that led him to Chicago, and the frustration he met while supporting his family in war-torn Armenia.

On August 7, 1909 Vartanian’s ship finally dropped anchor in the harbor of New York City. Leaving the city of Mezre, Turkey, a month previously, Vartanian eventually settled in the American city of Chicago. He lived there until he went back to the ‘fatherland’, about nine years later, in the summer of 1919. During his time in Chicago, Vartanian was able to secure a stable job at Griess Pfleeger Tanning Co. with a weekly pay range averaging about $25. 

Through his chronicles, Vartanian conveys his anguish to the reader, as he learns of the atrocities being carried out in his homeland. In 1914, while the European World Wars began, he said “sadness seized me, for I saw that while the great powers were occupied with the wars, Turkey would have a favorable opportunity to masacre and annihilate the Armenians.” He later shares that he regrets not immigrating his eldest son, Garabed, to the United States. He wanted his son to focus on his studies instead of labor, yet now his fate seemed to be in the hands of the Turks. Vartanian became increasingly concerned with the advancement of the World Wars in 1915.

A month later, reports of massacres and hangings reached the United States. Those reports included details of Turkish mandates deporting all Armenians to Mesopotamia. In September of 1915, even more devastating news had reached Chicago – an increase in massacres, famine, deportations and rape across the Armenian territories.

Several months later, Vartanian found that those Armenians who were in the region of Adish were deported, and by the end of 1916, the American Consul in Aleppo, Syria notified Vartanian that his wife and four children were alive, and in great need of money. However, that news worried Vartanian because he had six children. He pondered that the two missing were his eldest boys Garabed and Levon. The American Consul had informed Vartanian that Garabed was separated from his mother in Malatia.

On 6 June 1917, Vartanian received a postcard from his wife from Aleppo, who had listed the names of the four children and saying that they were alive and unharmed. That is when Vartanain noticed that Garabed and Azniv, his eldest son and youngest daughter’s names had not been included on the postcard. He knew that they were lost. Azniv was abducted by the Turks when the family reached Ourfa. A year and a half later she escaped and reached her mother in Aleppo. Hripsime, his eldest daughter, became ill amid the destitution and subsequently died a month after Azniv arrived to her family. 

Two years later, he received a family picture of his four surviving children and Yeghisapet, his wife. In the picture, it was apparent that his wife was sick as her bones were defined, to which Vartanian concluded that she was dying. Azniv wrote to her father, making it clear that her mother’s illness was indeed serious. 

Vartanian decided to leave the United States very quickly to see his sick wife. After nine years in Chicago, Vartanian departed on July 26 1919 to Detroit. Despite his effort to obtain a visa to leave New York through Greece and Smyrna, circumstances of the world wars had tightened the opportunities for travel.

On August 15, 1919, the bitter notice of death appeared in the mail, his wife’s passing. Consequently, his children were then put in an orphanage in Aleppo, and he delayed his travel plans to see them.

A year later, thanks to the conclusion of the world wars, Vartanain was able to travel aboard the ship that would reach Le Havre, France. On May 28, 1920, Vartanian was at last reunited with his children in Aleppo. Eventually, Vartanian and his four children moved to the United States, where they took up residence in Chicago.

Grappling with the historical context of the time, the memoir explores the economic and socio-political realities Vartanian, along with thousands of other Armenian men abroad supporting their families back home, had experienced during the Genocide.

Vartanian presents a unique experience within the constructs of the Genocide – he witnesses familial loss and his homeland’s destruction, while travel restrictions render him incapable of seeing them. Today, the majority of Adish’s population is to be found in the United States, as a result of the destructive anti-Armenian policies and extermination agenda of the nascent Turkish state. During the Genocide, his wife and eldest daughter became ill and died, and his eldest son was killed.

The beautiful account takes the reader along Vartanian’s journey moving to the United States, exploring a father’s responsibility to support his family. The cycle of the anguish he dealt with while not being able to help his family members survive was later resolved in part when he reunified with those that did.

Dr. Roberta Ervine translated Hagop Vartanians story from the original diary manuscript. She holds her PhD from Columbia University. Her dissertation research led her to Jerusalem, where she lived in the Armenian Monastery of St. James as a disciple of His Grace Abp. Norayr Bogharian, curator of manuscripts. In 2001, she returned to the United States to teach at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, where she lectures on topics related to the history of Armenian Christianity and Armenian Christian thought. 

This account is among many gencoide survivor stories available to read at the Zohrab Information Center, which readers and the interested public are encouraged to visit. The center is open Monday through Friday by appointment. The book can be found here:
Zohrab catalog: https://dac.kohalibrary.com/app/work/10067

Emily Ekshian is a master’s student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her concentrations include international and investigative reporting. Emily is also an intern at the Zohrab Information Center, where she seeks to explore the unique experiences of Armenian Genocide survivors.

Dr. Jesse S. Arlen’s St. Nersess Lecture Series on Armenian Histories now available on YouTube

Zohrab/Fordham Postdoc and Director Dr. Jesse S. Arlen’s Fall Public Lecture series at Saint Nersess Armenian Seminary is now available to stream on YouTube. The six sessions cover the major medieval Armenian historians and histories composed between the fifth and tenth centuries. Part II of the series will take place in the beginning of the Spring 2022 semester.

Lecture 1: An Overview of the Armenian Historical Tradition
Lecture 2: The Conversion and Early History of Armenia: Agathangelos, Epic Histories, & Moses of Khoren
Lecture 3: Narrating the Religious Struggles with Zoroastrian Iran: Ghazar of Parpi and Yeghishe
Lecture 4: Early Engagements with Islam: The Histories of Sebeos and Ghewond
Lecture 5: Regional Histories: History of Caucasian Albania & History of the House of the Artsrunik
Lecture 6: End of the First Millenium: John the Catholicos, Ukhtanes, and Stepanos of Taron

A playlist of the full series is available here.

A resource guide is available here.

Series Description: The Armenian historical tradition is rich and well developed, with texts written in this genre produced continuously from the first century after the invention of the alphabet up until the modern period. Of all the Armenian literary genres, it is the histories that have received the most attention from modern scholars, thanks to their importance for our knowledge of the Near East and Mediterranean. Nevertheless, the Armenians who wrote their histories did not conceive of history in the same way we do today, nor did they approach their topics with the same preoccupations and concerns of modern historians. In this six-week course, we will seek to approach the Armenian histories on their own terms, attempting to understand the context in which they were produced, the religious and imaginative world of the authors who composed them, and the goals and purposes that motivated both the patrons who sponsored them and the authors who wrote them. Proceeding chronologically, this semester our goal is to cover twelve major Armenian histories from the fifth to tenth centuries (about two per session). At the same time, we will introduce participants to books and online resources where they may acquire the primary texts and gain access to important secondary materials to facilitate deeper study on their own.

Dec. 2nd Book Release with Shahé Mankerian has been postponed to early 2022

Unfortunately, we will have to postpone tomorrow’s scheduled event — the book release of Shahé Mankerian’s History of Forgetfulness. Shahé is the principal of St. Gregory Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian School in Pasadena, California, and learned today that he had close exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. So, he is not coming to NY and we are going to reschedule the event in early 2022, date TBA. We share in your disappointment and will be in touch with a rescheduled date.

This Giving Tuesday Buy a Book for the Zohrab Center Research Library

Today on “Giving Tuesday” purchase a book for the Zohrab Information Center’s Research Library.

The Zohrab Information Center is a research and teaching facility and cultural center that promotes the full range of Armenian studies and assists students, scholars, the Armenian community, and general public in deepening their appreciation for Armenian history, civilization, and culture, especially within their overwhelmingly Christian ambit. 

At the core of this mission stands the vast collection of Armenian printed material in our library, which is one of the best in the Western hemisphere thanks to generous support and donations.

Help us expand our holdings of recent books published in Armenian studies by buying a book (or two or three!) to add to our library. We have compiled a wish list of books on Amazon.

Ship to:
Jesse Arlen
Zohrab Information Center
630 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10016

Let us know how you would like your donation to be noted on the book and in our catalog:

option 1: “Donated by NAME”
option 2: “Donated by NAME in memory of NAME”

Note: After you purchase the book it will automatically be removed from the list, so as to avoid duplicate purchases from multiple donors.

For questions, email: zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org

Dr. Jesse Arlen a contributor to new Eastern Christianity Reader

Zohrab/Fordham Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Jesse S. Arlen edited and translated the texts for the Armenian section of a new volume that presents English translations of important texts from the Eastern Christian (Oriental Orthodox) traditions, many of which are appearing in English for the first time. This important volume, which also includes introductions to the each of the languages represented, aims to make the Eastern Christian literary traditions more accessible to a wide and scholarly audience. The volume contains Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, Arabic, Coptic, and Ethiopic Christian texts from late antiquity to the early modern period.

To purchase the book visit the publisher Eerdman’s website, where it is currently 25% off.

DESCRIPTION

English translations of Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, Arabic, Coptic, and Ethiopic Christian texts from late antiquity to the early modern period 

In order to make the writings of Eastern Christianity more widely accessible this volume offers a collection of significant texts from various Eastern Christian traditions, many of which are appearing in English for the first time. The internationally renowned scholars behind these translations begin each section with an informative historical introduction, so that anyone interested in learning more about these understudied groups can more easily traverse their diverse linguistic, cultural, and literary traditions. A boon to scholars, students, and general readers, this ample resource expands the scope of Christian history so that communities beyond Western Christendom can no longer be ignored.

Contributors

Jesse S. Arlen, Aaron M. Butts, Jeff W. Childers, Mary K. Farag, Philip Michael Forness, John C. Lamoreaux, Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent, Erin Galgay Walsh, J. Edward Walters, and Jeffrey Wickes.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Part One: Syriac
          1. The Doctrina Addai
          2. Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns against Heresies 3 and 53
          3. Martyrdom of Mīles, Abursam, and Sinay
          4. Jacob of Serugh, The Fourth Homily on Cain and Abel
          5. Narsai, On the Canaanite Woman
          6. Simeon of Beth Arsham, Letter on the Ḥimyarite Martyrs
          7. The Syriac Life of Mary of Egypt
          8. Timothy I, Letter 47
          9. Theodore bar Koni, Scholion, Mēmrā 10
Part Two: Armenian
          1. Koriwn, The Life of Mashtotsʿ
          2. Eznik of Koghb, Refutation of the Sects (or, On God)
          3. The Teaching of Saint Grigor
          4. Anania of Narek, On This Transitory World
          5. Grigor of Narek, Book of Lamentation, Discourse 1, Discourse 88
          6. Nersēs Shnorhali, Hymn for the Sunrise Hour, Instructional Preface to a Prayer of Nersēs, Prayer of Nersēs
Part Three: Georgian
          1. Martyrdom of St. Shushanik
          2. John Sabanisże, Martyrdom of Habo, the Perfumer from Baghdad
          3. George the Athonite, The Lives of John the Iberian, Euthymios the Athonite, and George the Minor, The Life of George the Athonite
          4. Mark the Deacon, The Life of Porphyry of Gaza
Part Four: Arabic
          1. Homilies on the Gospel Readings for Holy Week
          2. Theodore Abū Qurrah, That God Is Not Weak
          3. The Disputation of Abraham of Tiberias
          4. Ḥunayn Ibn Isḥāq, How to Discern the True Religion
          5. Miracles of Saint George
          6. Commentary on the Pentateuch
Part Five: Coptic
          1. Life of Pachomius
          2. Shenoute of Atripe, I Have Been Reading the Holy Gospels
          3. Pseudo-Dioscorus of Alexandria, Encomium on Macarius of Tkōou
          4. The Anaphora of Saint Thomas the Apostle
          5. Christophoria, Letter to the Comes Mena
          6. John of Paralos, Homily on the Archangel Michael and the Blasphemous Books of the Heretics
          7. Pseudo-Cyril of Alexandria, Encomium Interpreting Part of the Apocalypse of John the Apostle of Christ Jesus
Part Six: Ethiopic
          1. Select Inscriptions of ˁEzana
          2. Homily on Frumentius
          3. Synaxarion on Yared
          4. Glory of the Kings (Kǝbrä Nägäśt)
          5. Miracles of Mary
          6. Zär’a Yaʿəqob, Book of the Trinity
          7. Prayer Amulet: MS Duke Ethiopic 15

REVIEWS
“Here is a really excellent and most welcome volume: it aims to provide ‘a series of windows’ into the literatures of the various languages of the Christian Middle East. For each language, well-chosen excerpts, ranging from four to nine in number, are introduced and translated, accompanied by helpful bibliographical guidance in each case for readers who wish to explore further. The book provides both the general reader and scholars in related areas with a wonderful gateway into little-known areas of early Christian literature.”
— Sebastian Brock, University of Oxford

“Scholars and students have rarely had easy access to primary sources across the array of continents, languages, and cultures where ancient Christians forged their places. This volume responds to that need. Concise and efficient, it offers a rich assortment of texts from an often-unfamiliar variety of language traditions. Demonstrating fundamental commonalities as well as distinctive traits for each, this volume is a marvelously rich entry into global Christianity over its first millennium and more, far to the east of Europe’s shores.”
— Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Brown University

“Providing short introductions to the various Eastern churches alongside fresh translations of some of their most important texts, this ‘dream team’ of contributors has created the first truly accessible entryway into the diverse traditions associated with Eastern Christianity. Thanks to their efforts, there is no longer any excuse for the history of Christianity to be taught as the history simply of Western Christianity. For anyone interested in understanding Christianity as a global religion—whether professor, graduate student, seminarian, undergraduate, or practitioner—Eastern Christianity is nothing short of required reading.”
— Michael Philip Penn, Stanford University

Dec. 2nd Poetry Reading & Book Release: Shahé Mankerian’s History of Forgetfulness with other NY area writers and scholars

Come to the Zohrab Center on Thursday, December 2nd at 7:00pm ET for an in-person poetry reading and the book release of Los Angeles poet Shahé Mankerian’s debut collection History of Forgetfulness (Fly on the Wall Press, 2021). Joining Shahé will be NY area writers and scholars, who will read from the collection as well as their own work: Nancy Agabian, Christopher Atamian, Alina Gregorian, Alan Semerdjian, Alina Gharabegian, & Lola Koundakjian.

Book signing and reception to follow!

Shahé Mankerian releases his critically-acclaimed debut collection, taking readers back to 1975 Beirut, where an un-civil war is brewing. Mankerian asks, “Who said war didn’t love / the children?” setting the tone for a darkly humorous collection in which memories of love, religion and childhood are entangled amongst street snipers and the confusion of misguided bombings.

Shahé Mankerian is the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School and the director of mentorship at the International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA). This debut collection has been a finalist at the Bibby First Book Competition, the Crab Orchard Poetry Open Competition, the Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Award, and the White Pine Press Poetry Prize.

Distinguished California poet Shahé Mankerian reminds us in this powerful debut poetry collection that we forget painful memories deliberatively, yet his gut-punching poems relive for himself as well as for us the horrific shredding of humanity that war, especially civil war, inflicts. A survivor of the Lebanese civil war in the late 20th century, Mankerian unspools in devastating simplicity and directness, in seemingly inconsequential scenes, the horrors and suffering of children, parents, neighbors, schoolmates, friends, lovers navigating daily bombardments, scavenging for food, dodging snipers’ bullets, and trying to find a modicum of normalcy among the ruins. One poem, “Continuum,” sums beautifully the people’s daily attempts to keep their fractured lives afloat: patching broken windows, cooking meals, clearing debris—in essence struggling to forget the chaos that surrounds them. In the process, Mankerian’s clear-eyed, honest poetry paints unforgettable pictures of human beings we relate to, ordinary heroes and victims that sadden us but uplift us with their resiliency and stoic determination to prevail.

–Thelma T. Reyna

Poet Laureate Emerita; Author of Dearest Papa: A Memoir in Poems

______________________________________________________________________________

In the ironically titled The History of Forgetfulness – ironic because the poems in this book are riveting and indelible – Shahé Mankerian never leaves a reader un-engaged. In these accessible and irresistible poems, a character wonders if he should tell his mother the lentil soup needs salt, ponders the laws of war, and prescribes a generic brand Jesus. The great Russian poet Osip Mandelstam wanted poetry to achieve “a heightened perception of what already existed.”  That is precisely what Mankerian does in this eminently readable and memorable collection.  Buy three copies:  read one, give one to a friend, keep the third so you’ll have it handy when you wear the first one out. 

–Ron Koertge, widely published for more than fifty years, has poems in two volumes of Best American Poetry and a recent Pushcart Prize.  He is the author of “Negative Space,” short-listed for a 2018 Oscar in Animated Short Films.

______________________________________________________________________________

As we proceed through these sharply etched memories of a childhood in wartime Lebanon, it seems increasing remarkable that the poet emerged alive, and even more remarkable that he was able to convey the violence and mayhem—both in and outside the home—in such spare but vivid, harrowing poems. They are not marred by the dreaded bugaboos, sentimentality, melodrama, or self-pity. Shahé Mankerian recounts, as we sometimes say, the sort of thing you wouldn’t know unless you’d been there, lived it. Imagine a spot on the globe where if children playing hide-and-seek come upon the rotting body of a woman, it’ll be up to them to bury her.

There are many such spots on the globe. However, few survivors emerge with the will, wherewithal, talent, and opportunity to tell their stories with such power. Their story and that of thousands like them. No, millions.

–Suzanne Lummis

Author of Open 24 Hours – Winner of 2013 Blue Lynx Prize

Sample poems:

La Quarantaine

During the Karantina Massacre, 
Father wired the stereo directly 
to the generator in the basement

so that he could block the bloodshed 
with the Requiem. From our bedroom 
window, the rise of the satanic smoke

swallowed the Palestinian shanty town.
Amadeus seemed demure next to 
the screaming children. Father

pulled the abat-jours and demanded 
we give Mozart our attention.
The timpani competed with the rat-

a-tat-tat of Kalashnikovs.
I felt lightheaded from the mazout
fumes of the generator. “Son, listen!”

Kyrie, eleison. Christe, eleison.
I preferred the sirens over the harrowing 
howl of the angels concocted by Wolfgang.

Like Eliot’s Prufrock

Like a slab of meat etherized upon a table, 
she felt obligated to clean her fiancé. A nurse
pulled the curtain and left her alone with a limp

rag in a bedpan full of warm, lathery water.
From the unfurnished apartment to the ambulance, 
she used her unfitted wedding gown to wrap

his punctured belly with shrapnel shells.
The doctors cut the dress like a gauze. She dabbed
his foaming mouth with the veil. They didn’t have

a balcony anymore. Torn pages from his dissertation 
covered a pool of blood. Soap residue stained
his torso, the floor tiles, his diaphragm.

Please note, as per the New York City Covid-19 Executive Order 225proof of vaccination, as well as an I.D., will be required upon entryProof of vaccination may include a CDC Vaccination Card, an NYC Vaccination Record, NYC Covid Safe App, Excelsior Pass, or an official immunization record from outside NYC or the U.S., showing proof of receipt of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use or licensed for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization.  Negative COVID 19 Tests are not accepted.

Book Presentation: “Black Garden Aflame: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Soviet and Russian Press” with Dr. Artyom Tonoyan, Nov. 10th 7:00pm (in person & Zoom)

The next Enrichment Evening will take place on Wednesday, November 10th at 7:00pm (EDT). Dr. Artyom Tonoyan, of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, will present his newly published book Black Garden Aflame: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Soviet and Russian Press (Minneapolis, MN: East View Press, 2021).

This hybrid event will take place in person and by Zoom.

Book Presentation
Black Garden Aflame: The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Soviet and Russian Press

For a few brief weeks in fall 2020, Western media buzzed with news of the intense war in Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated region that declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1991. The conflict had been “frozen” since 1994, so the new outbreak of violence caught many journalists unawares.

By contrast, this conflict has been a mainstay in the Soviet, then Russian press. The sheer volume of published material – including eyewitness accounts, interviews with notable figures, and incisive, well-researched analyses – far exceeds anything produced by Western media.

Moscow’s knowledge of the region is as strong as it is permanent, dictated mainly by geopolitical interests. The present collection of articles – carefully translated, edited, and culled from a vast repository of Russian-language press curated by East View – presents in book form for the first time in English some of the most important material that has appeared from 1988 to the present.

By bringing together this unique collection, East View Press aims to provide readers with the immediate context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict through the lens of Moscow, along with some insight into its complex historical, political and ethnic underpinnings. Black Garden Aflame will be of interest to specialists and general readers alike.

A native of Gyumri, Armenia, Dr. Artyom Tonoyan is a sociologist and a research associate at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. His research interests include sociology of religion, religion and politics in the South Caucasus, and religion and nationalism in post-Soviet Russia. His articles have appeared in Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, Society, and Modern Greek Studies Yearbook, among others. He has been a frequent guest on the BBCDeutsche WelleFrance 24, and other outlets. He is currently working on a book charting the social, historical, and religious backgrounds of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He received his Ph.D. from Baylor University.

This hybrid event will take place in person and via Zoom.

Advance Zoom registration required: https://bit.ly/3nm9uGL

Please note, as per the New York City Covid-19 Executive Order 225proof of vaccination, as well as an I.D., will be required upon entryProof of vaccination may include a CDC Vaccination Card, an NYC Vaccination Record, NYC Covid Safe App, Excelsior Pass, or an official immunization record from outside NYC or the U.S., showing proof of receipt of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use or licensed for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization.  Negative COVID 19 Tests are not accepted.

Zohrab 2021 Fall Schedule of Events

Fall 2021 Schedule of Events

October 20th (Wednesday), 7:00pm ET
Krapar & Kini / Classical Armenian & Wine reading group with Bp. Daniel Findikyan on liturgical prayer text
For Zoom link, email: zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org | https://krapar.org/

October 27th (Wednesday), 7:00pm ET IN PERSON in Guild Hall
Enrichment Evening — “Diaspora, Homeland, and Economic Development” with Dr. Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan
Also available by Zoom: https://bit.ly/3AnnLXZ

November 10th (Wednesday), 7:00pm ET IN PERSON in Guild Hall
Enrichment Evening — Book presentationBlack Garden AflameThe Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Soviet and Russian Press with Dr. Artyom Tonoyan
Also available by Zoom: https://bit.ly/3nm9uGL

November 17th (Wednesday), 7:00pm ET
Krapar & Kini / Classical Armenian & Wine reading group with Ashley Bozian on violent and graphic scenes in medieval Armenian histories
For Zoom link, email: zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org | https://krapar.org/

December 2nd (Thursday), 7:00pm ET IN PERSON in Zohrab Center
Enrichment Evening — Book Release & Poetry Reading: Shahé Mankerian’s debut poetry collection History of Forgetfulness with readings by NY area writers/intellectuals Nancy Agabian, Christopher Atamian, Alina Gregorian, Alan Semerdjian, Alina Gharabegian, & Lola Koundakjian

December 13th (Monday), 7:00pm ET
Krapar & Kini / Classical Armenian & Wine reading group with Andrew Kayaian on Eznik of Koghb
For Zoom link, email: zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org | https://krapar.org/

all attendees of in person events must provide proof of COVID vaccination

Dr. Jesse S. Arlen to give Zoom lecture series on Armenian histories (starting this evening)

Dr. Jesse S. Arlen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Armenian Christian Studies at the Zohrab Information Center and Fordham University, will give a public lecture series through St. Nersess Armenian Seminary  via Zoom, entitled: “‘An Eternal Memorial for You and the Generations to Come:’ An Introduction to the Classical and Medieval Armenian Histories.”

The Fall Public Lecture Series begins this evening, Thursday, October 14th from 7:00–9:00pm and continues for the next six Thursday evenings through November 18th. Participants may attend all the lectures or just a few. Click here to register online.

title page of Mikayel Chamchean’s three-volume History of Armenia. Courtesy of Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/item/70232039/

Lecture Series Description: The Armenian historical tradition is rich and well developed, with texts written in this genre produced continuously from the first century after the invention of the alphabet up until the modern period. Of all the Armenian literary genres, it is the histories that have received the most attention from modern scholars, thanks to their importance for our knowledge of the Near East and Mediterranean. Nevertheless, the Armenians who wrote their histories did not conceive of history in the same way we do today, nor did they approach their topics with the same preoccupations and concerns of modern historians. In this six-week course, we will seek to approach the Armenian histories on their own terms, attempting to understand the context in which they were produced, the religious and imaginative world of the authors who composed them, and the goals and purposes that motivated both the patrons who sponsored them and the authors who wrote them. Proceeding chronologically, this semester our goal is to cover twelve major Armenian histories from the fifth to tenth centuries (about two per session). At the same time, we will introduce participants to books and online resources where they may acquire the primary texts and gain access to important secondary materials to facilitate deeper study on their own.

Lecture 1 (Oct 14) – Movses of Khoren and an Overview of the Armenian Historical Tradition

Lecture 2 (Oct 21) – The Conversion and Early History of Christian Armenia:  Agathangelos and Pawstos Buzand 

Lecture 3 (Oct 28) – Narrating the Religious Struggles with Zoroastrian Iran: Ghazar of Parpi and Yeghishe Vardapet

Lecture 4 (Nov 4) – Early Engagements with Islam: Sebeos and Ghewond

Lecture 5 (Nov 11) – Regional Histories:  Thomas Artsruni’s History of the House of the Artsrunik and Movses of Daskhuran’s History of Caucasian Albania.

Lecture 6 (Nov 18) – Looking Back at the End of the First Millenium: Catholicos John of Draskhanakert, Ukhtanes of Sebasteia, and Stephen of Taron

“Diaspora, Homeland, and Economic Development” with Dr. Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan, Oct 27th 7:00pm (in person & Zoom)

The first Enrichment Evening of Fall 2021 will take place on Wednesday, October 27th at 7:00pm (EDT). Dr. Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan, the Henry George Chair in Economics and Associate Professor of Economics at St. John’s University (NYC), will present a talk entitled “Diaspora, Homeland, and Economic Development.”

The Zohrab Center looks forward to welcoming you back in person!!

Diaspora, Homeland, and Economic Development

What do we mean by saying that diaspora is “the oil” of a developing nation? Can diaspora be the true “first mover” transforming and joining small economies with highly competitive international markets before multinational foreign investors? What is a diaspora? For some countries, like Armenia, these and related questions have been high on the agenda for centuries, if not millennia, of national history. However, it has taken the latest pandemic to elevate the largely academic research to more applied levels of policymaking across both industrialized and emerging markets. This presentation will address the problems of home country and diaspora relations in the context of mutual coexistence, national economic development, and sustainable future. Informed by an original survey of Armenian diaspora and examples of diaspora engagement across the world, this talk will review possible new diaspora development frameworks in practical and conceptual terms. Three essential elements formulate a diaspora network, requiring deeper reflection in business discussion seeking quick solutions: identity, trust, and engagement infrastructure. In the absence of transparent engagement infrastructure, diaspora’s links with a developing economy are short-lived and, usually, at best, sector, event, or location specific.

Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan, Ph.D. is a macroeconomist with research focus on open economy development, economic history, labor migration, diaspora, and post-socialist transition economics. He is the Henry George Chair in Economics and Associate Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics and Finance of the Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University in New York City. Dr. Gevorkyan is a Senior Research Fellow at the Vincentian Centre for Church and Society and a Research Fellow at the Center for Global Business Stewardship. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Henry George School of Social Science and a Board Member at the Armenian Economic Association. Dr. Gevorkyan also serves as Economics Subject Matter Expert for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See To the United Nations. Dr. Gevorkyan is the author of Transition Economies: Transformation, Development, and Society in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union (Routledge, 2018). For a complete list of publications and ongoing research please see http://agevorkyan.com/

This hybrid event will take place in person and via Zoom.

Advance Zoom registration required: https://bit.ly/3AnnLXZ

Please note, as per the New York City Covid-19 Executive Order 225proof of vaccination, as well as an I.D., will be required upon entryProof of vaccination may include a CDC Vaccination Card, an NYC Vaccination Record, NYC Covid Safe App, Excelsior Pass, or an official immunization record from outside NYC or the U.S., showing proof of receipt of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use or licensed for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization.  Negative COVID 19 Tests are not accepted.