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Date Change for Dr. Rachel Goshgarian’s Presentation to WEDNESDAY, February 6th

Please note that Dr. Rachel Goshgarian’s Enrichment Evening for the Zohrab Information Center’s Winter/Spring Series on Migration, “The Kings of Cilicia, the Condes de Aragon, and the Arm of St. Thecla: Armenians, Catalans, and the Mediterranean Relics Trade in the 14th Century” has been moved to Wednesday, February 6th at 7 PM in the Guild Hall. The revised poster can be found below and full details of the presentation are in the previous post.

Also note that Dr. Melissa Moreton’s presentation on Thursday, January 31st at 7 PM remains the same.

We hope to see you at both events!

relics trade goshgarian

Upcoming Enrichment Evenings: January 31st with Dr. Melissa Moreton on Armenian Manuscripts and February 6th with Dr. Rachel Goshgarian on the 14th Century Cilician Armenian Relics Trade

The Zohrab Information Center is pleased to announce the next two Enrichment Evenings in the Winter/Spring Series on Migration. Dr. Melissa Moreton, will present the work of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library to digitize manuscripts, including Armenian manuscripts on Thursday, January 31st at 7 PM in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese at 630 Second Ave. in New York. This work is important and timely, given that many of the manuscripts being digitized are from Aleppo and other conflict zones. Dr. Moreton will introduce our audience to some of the Armenian manuscripts in the collection of Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, give an overview of the digitization project, and demonstrate the use of the digitized website,

The following Wednesday, February 6th [PLEASE NOTE THE DATE CHANGE], also at 7 PM in the Guild Hall of the Diocese, Dr. Rachel Goshgarian, Associate Professor of History at Lafayette College will present “The Kings of Cilicia, the Condes de Aragon, and the Arm of St. Thecla: Armenians, Catalans, and the Mediterranean Relics Trade in the 14th Century.” Dr. Goshgarian offers a history of the movement of both people and objects, in this case, relics of the saints, during the period of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.

hmml and armenian manuscripts moreton

melissa moreton bio photoDr. Melissa Moreton is a codicologist and historian of medieval and early modern manuscripts – specifically Italian books, their production and exchange throughout the wide Mediterranean. She was previously a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Iowa, where she ran a Sawyer Seminar focused on the study of ancient and medieval manuscript traditions. The seminar, ‘Cultural and Textual Exchanges: The Manuscript Across Premodern Eurasia,’ brought together international manuscript and textual scholars to discuss how manuscript technologies developed, were distributed, and shared throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa between 200-1500 CE. She has a PhD in History, a Graduate Certificate in Book Studies and Technologies, and a Master’s degree in Italian Renaissance Art History is from Syracuse University, Florence, where she has lived and worked extensively. She currently works at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library [HMML] where her experience with manuscript scholarship, conservation, and Humanities project management supports the library’s goals of the global cultural preservation of endangered manuscripts, digital humanities leadership, and public and scholarly engagement worldwide.

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rachel-goshgarian-289x3001-160x160Dr. Rachel Goshgarian is Associate Professor in the Department of History at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Dr. Goshgarian earned her PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University with her dissertation, “Between the Social and the Spiritual: Redefining Late Medieval Anatolian Urban Confraternities.” She has taught at Columbia University, worked as a research fellow at Koc University in Istanbul, and served as the Director of the Zohrab Information Center for several years. Publishing widely in her areas of research of medieval Anatolian and early Ottoman history, she also co-authored an Armenian language textbook in Turkish. Her book, Interfaith Interactions and Urban Self Governance in the Medieval Middle East: Homosocial Communities of Place in Anatolia, is forthcoming with I.B. Tauris Press.

Both of these wonderful presentations continue with the Zohrab Information Center’s Winter/Spring Theme of Migration. A topic of clear contemporary import, the series seeks to widen our ideas of what constitutes migration–for instance, the movement of manuscripts and relics–and to use cases from Armenian Christian events and history to contemplate migrations past and present. The digitization of manuscripts that have found their way to the Midwest of America from far afield and the digitization of manuscripts from conflict zones is an oblique but important window into movements and migrations. Tracing the relic trade of the 14th Century offers the opportunity to contemplate the connections between the movements of people and the movements of things. Please join for these two events and the rest of our series on migration!

Asya Darbinyan Presents “Mass Population Movement, Humanitarian Emergency, and the Armenian Refugee Assistance at the Caucasus Front of WWI” on Thursday, January 17 at 7 PM

The Zohrab Information Center is pleased to announce the first Enrichment Evening of 2019 with Asya Darbinyan on Thursday, January 17th at 7 PM in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese at 630 Second Ave. Asya Darbinyan will present her talk, Mass Population Movement, Humanitarian Emergency, and the Armenian Refugee Assistance at the Caucasus Front of WWI. A reception will follow.

This Enrichment Evening, the first of 2019, is part of the Winter/Spring Series at the Zohrab Information Center on Migration. The full schedule of this series will be announced shortly. It will cover early modern movements of Armenians between Empires, late Ottoman migration from the provinces to Istanbul, what happens to ethnic and religious aspects of identity in Diaspora, and much more. The series aims to consider a highly relevant contemporary issue, namely migration, through the lens of Armenian history and the experience of Armenian Christians.

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This first talk in the series, by Asya Darbinyan, takes us to the Caucasus Front during World War I. Situated between the Ottoman and Russian Empires, where the First Republic of Armenia would emerge in 1918, the front saw many important battles as well as incredible horrors. In additional to the genocidal policies of the Triumvirate of the Committee of Union and Progress, the ravages of war contributed to one of the most drastic refugee crises the world had yet seen. Asya Darbinyan, PhD candidate at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, takes us to the Caucasus Front during World War I, detailing the humanitarian emergency there and the assistance provided to Armenian refugees.

Asya Darbinyan is a PhD Candidate at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University (Worcester, MA). Her dissertation explores the Russian Empire’s response to the Armenian Genocide and to the refugee crisis at the Caucasus front of the Great War (advisor – Dr. Taner Akçam).

092817_clarku_27Previously, Darbinyan worked at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, Yerevan, as a senior research fellow and the Deputy Director of the museum (2008- 2013). She was awarded multiple scholarships and grants to pursue archival research in Geneva, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tbilisi, Yerevan, and elsewhere. She has presented at a number of international academic conferences and workshops, and has scholarly articles published in Armenian and in English, and a co-authored chapter in the volume Plight and Fate of Children During and Following Genocide – Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review.

“Armenian Commentaries on the Church Building,” with Dr. Roberta Ervine on Thursday, December 6th at 7 PM

Join the Zohrab Information Center next Thursday, December 6th at 7PM for the final enrichment evening of 2018. Dr. Roberta Ervine, Professor of Armenian Studies at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, will present “Armenian Commentaries on the Church Building,” in the Guild Hall. A reception will follow.

This will be the conclusion of our series of presentations celebrating the 50th anniversary of the consecration of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral. Dr. Ervine, an expert on the Armenian medieval intellectual tradition, will discuss newly translated material and the practice of writings commentaries about the physical structure of the Church itself. Vartabeds, the monk-scholars of the Armenian Church, wrote commentaries not only on Scripture itself, but on liturgical services, philosophical texts, and grammatical works. As we saw with Dr. Christina Maranci’s talk last month, there were commentaries written about the Rite of Foundation for a new church. Dr. Ervine will discuss how the physical church structure itself was given a Christian interpretation by Armenian monks and theologians. The talk promises to be a wonderful bookend to our focus on the physical building of St. Vartan on the 50th anniversary of its consecration and will offer spiritual enrichment for anyone who enters an Armenian church building.

Armenian Commentaries on the Church Building Dr Ervine ZIC Presentation 12.6.001

After informal lessons in Armenian language from the late Rev. Fr. Levon Arakelian at Holy Ascension parish in Trumbull, CT, Roberta Ervine enrolled in the newly-reopened Armenian Studies Program at Columbia University, where she studied with Profs. Nina Garsoïan, James Russell, and Very Rev. Fr. Krikor Maksoudian. She holds her PhD from Columbia University. 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. For sixteen of her twenty-one years in the Holy City, Prof. Ervine taught for the Holy Translators Academy; she also lectured for several other Jerusalem 2017-11 Robertainstitutions, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 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. Prof. Ervine pursues topics related to the history of Armenians in Jerusalem and the intellectual tradition of the Armenian middle ages (particularly the thinking of Vanakan Vardapet, Vardan the Great and Hovhannēs of Erznka). She is also interested in medieval Armenian grammatical texts.


Please join us for this final enrichment evening of 2018! A poster will follow. Please contact with any questions about the event. We look forward to seeing you!



“Made by These Unworthy Hands” with Dr. Sylvie Merian on Tuesday, November 13th at 7:45 PM

Join the Zohrab Information Center this coming Tuesday, November 13th at 7:45 PM in the Guild Hall to welcome Dr. Sylvie Merian of the Morgan Library and Museum as she presents “Made by These Unworthy Hands”: The Armenian Silversmiths of Kayseri.

This exciting talk is presented in connection with the exhibition Armenia! at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the 17th and 18th centuries especially, the Armenians from Kayseri (Caesarea) were known for the excellent craftsmanship of art and devotional objects made in silver. Some of these artworks in silver are on display at the Armenia! exhibition at the Met, and Dr. Merian writes about them in her contribution to the exhibition catalogue, Armenia: Art, Religion, and Trade in the Middle Ages. Dr. Merian will discuss those and other important pieces made by the Armenian silversmiths of Kayseri in her talk for the Zohrab Information Center. There are even connections to the item in the exhibition loaned by the Armenian Diocese, the first printed Armenian Gospel. Come learn about these beautiful pieces of art and about Armenian artists of Kayseri. The talk is sure to enhance any visit to the exhibition!

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Sylvie Merian headshot_May 2017

Sylvie L. Merian received her B.S. degree from the University of Pittsburgh with a double major in chemistry and art history, and her Ph.D. in Armenian Studies from Columbia University, writing a dissertation titled “The Structure of Armenian Bookbinding and Its Relation to Near Eastern Bookmaking Traditions.” As Curatorial Assistant, she contributed extensively to the Pierpont Morgan Library’s 1994 exhibition, Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts, and was a contributor to the accompanying catalogue. She is also a contributing author of the catalogue for the exhibition, Armenia!, currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which will be open until Jan. 13, 2019. She has published and lectured on Armenian codicology, binding, silverwork, and manuscript illumination. She currently works at The Morgan Library & Museum as Reader Services Librarian.

A reception will follow the talk, and copies of the Armenia! exhibition catalogue, Armenia: Art, Religion, and Trade in the Middle Ages will be available for purchase.

We look forward to seeing you at the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese (630 Second Ave.) on Tuesday, November 13th at 7:45.

Please note the day (Tuesday) and time (7:45), which is different from our usual schedule.

“The Glorious House” on November 2 at 5:30 PM with Dr. Christina Maranci

Join the Zohrab Information Center for the next installation in our series celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the dedication of St. Vartan Cathedral. On Friday, November 2nd, at 5:30 PM, Dr. Christina Maranci, the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian art and architectural history at Tufts University, will present The Glorious House: Armenian Church Architecture and the Rite of Foundation. The talk will take place in the Guild Hall with a reception to follow.

The Glorious House Maranci ZIC Presentation 11.2.001Following after Fr. Garabed Kochakian’s introduction to the art and architecture of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, Dr. Maranci will delve into the “Rite of Foundation,” the liturgical service the Armenian Church performs to begin the construction of a new church. This liturgical “groundbreaking” also makes reference to architectural elements of the church building. Dr. Maranci, an expert in Armenian art and architecture, will explore the connections between the liturgical service and the architecture of the church. Join the Zohrab Information Center as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the dedication of the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, a striking example of Armenian architecture in the heart of Manhattan. With this presentation, Dr. Maranci will help us to appreciate the Cathedral even more, through the exploration of a little-studied liturgical service and its connections to Armenian church architecture.

Christina Maranci is the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian art and facultyMaranciarchitectural history at Tufts University and is also Chair of the Department. She has held visiting positions in Armenian art at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the author of three books and over sixty articles and essays on medieval Armenian art and architecture; including most recently The Art of Armenia: An Introduction with Oxford University Press. Her most recently published monograph on the seventh-century architecture of Armenia won the Sona Aronian Prize for best Armenian studies monograph from the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and also the Karen Gould Prize for Art History from the Medieval Academy of America. Maranci has engaged with the cultural heritage of Armenians for over a decade, working on historically Armenian churches and monasteries in what is now Eastern Turkey. Her campaign for the Cathedral of Mren, near Ani in present-day Eastern Turkey, resulted in its inclusion on the World Monuments Watch List for 2015-17.

A reception will follow the talk, and copies of Dr. Maranci’s recent book The Art of Armenia: An Introduction will be available.

We look forward to seeing you at the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese at 630 Second Avenue in New York on Friday, November 2nd at 5:30 PM.

Note the day (Friday) and time (5:30), which are different from our usual event times.

Dr. Sylvie Merian’s Presentation Rescheduled for NOV 13

Friends of the Zohrab Information Center:

Our Fall programs are well underway! Thank you to those of you who have made it out to our recent programs.

Due to a conflict, Dr. Sylvie Merian’s presentation, “Made by These Unworthy Hands”: The Armenian Silversmiths of Kayseri, has been rescheduled. It is no longer tomorrow (Tuesday, October 23), but will now take place on Tuesday, November 13 at 7 PM. 

Further details and the program poster will follow soon. Look for details for our upcoming talk on Friday, November 2, with Dr. Christina Maranci in your inbox in the next few days.

Date and Time Changes in Fall Schedule

Thank you to everyone who has come out to our first two events this Fall! Look for pictures and summaries from our Fall events so far, coming soon!

In an effort to avoid conflicts with all of the exciting Armenia-related events taking place around New York City this Fall (and there are more than usual, with the exciting Armenia! exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art), the Zohrab Information Center has made two changes to the Fall Schedule: Dr. Sylvie Merian’s talk will be moved to Tuesday, November 13 at 7 PM and Dr. Christina Maranci’s talk will begin a little earlier than normal, at 5:30 PM on Friday, November 2. Further details of both presentations can be found below.

The Zohrab Information Center encourages everyone to take advantage of all the events, including the two events which led to these schedule changes:

On Tuesday, October 23 at 6 PM, Dr. Helen Evans, curator of the incredible Armenia! exhibit, will be giving the annual “Orthodoxy in America” Lecture organized by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University. Details of the event can be found here: “Presenting Byzantium in the Modern World.”

On Friday, November 2 at 7 PM, in conjunction with the Armenia! exhibition, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting a concert, “The Sound of Stone.” Our event that night is starting early to allow interested participants the chance to get to the Met in time for the show.

Upcoming Events with New Dates:

The Glorious House: Armenian Church Architecture and the Rite of Foundation   Dr. Christina Maranci                                                                                                     November 2, 2018 (Friday) 5:30 PM *NOTE EARLY TIME                                           As part of our St. Vartan Cathedral series, Dr. Christian Maranci, the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Professor of Armenian Art and Architecture at Tufts University, will present new work on the service of the dedication of an Armenian church.

“Made by These Unworthy Hands”: The Armenian Silversmiths of Kayseri           Dr. Sylvie Merian                                                                                                    November 13, 2018 (Tuesday)     NEW DATE!!                                                             In conjunction with the Armenia! exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dr. Sylvie Merian of the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City will present on one of the topics in the catalogue of the Armenia! exhibit to which she contributed, the beautiful silver artifacts made by Armenians from the city of Kayseri (Caesarea).

Holy Building, Holy Place: The Breath of Faith and Worship in St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral with Father Garabed Kochakian

Join the Zohrab Information Center in welcoming Fr. Garabed Kochakian, a priest of the Armenian Apostolic Church and a specialist in Armenian art and architecture with an MA in Art History from the University of Wisconsin for his presentation “Holy Building, Holy Place: The Breath of Faith and Worship in St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral” at 7 PM on Thursday, October 11, 2018IMG_4432

This exciting presentation will inaugurate the Zohrab Information Center’s series of talks and presentations celebrating the 50th anniversary of the dedication of St. Vartan Cathedral. For this series, beginning with Fr. Garabed’s presentation, we will do something a little different: our talks with partially take place in, and make reference to, the cathedral sanctuary itself. St. Vartan Cathedral is a magnificent structure and a striking presence in Manhattan; these presentations will celebrate that presence and deepen our understanding of the relation between the church structure and the liturgical life of the Armenian people. Each presentation will have a meditation or liturgical element incorporated into the talk, offering the full richness of St. Vartan Cathedral.

Holy Building Holy Place Der Garabed ZIC Presentation 10.11.001

With “Holy Building, Holy Place,” Fr. Garabed will provide an overview of the art and architecture of the cathedral, with reference to the history of the construction of the cathedral. After a portion of the presentation in the cathedral, Fr. Garabed will lead the group outside to view the facade and the beautiful monumental doors, of which he was instrumental in their addition to the cathedral. The official program portion of the evening will end with a short service, modified from the Armenian Church’s Service of Baptism, that makes reference to the doors and to entering the church.

The evening will conclude with a reception in the Guild Hall.


Fr. Garabed Kochakian, ordained to the priesthood of the Armenian Apostolic Church in 1976, is originally from Massachusetts. He studied graphic art at the Vesper George School of Art and Boston Museum School of Art, majoring in graphic design, before earning a BA from Iona College in New Rochelle, a Masters of Divinity from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary while studying at the St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, and later an MA in Art History from the University of Wisconsin. As a priest, he served in parishes in Worcester, MA, in Racine, WI, as the Chancellor of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, and most recently was the pastor of St. John’s Church in Southfield, MI for nearly 20 years. He has written books on Armenian sacred art and is himself an iconographer.

My Story: Hagop Vartanian (1873-1950), a Book Presentation Friday, September 28 at 7 PM

Join the St. James Evanston Parish this Friday, September 28 at 7 PM for this book talk, the published diary of Hagop Vartanian, which offers a unique perspective on the Genocide. Mr. Vartanian was already in America during the Genocide, and his diary provides details about his earlier migration and the anguish he felt as the horrors of Genocide touched his family even as he was thousands of miles away. Presented in conjunction with a pilgrimage to the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral by parishioners from the St. James Armenian Church in Evanston, descendants of Mr. Vartanian will be present to introduce the book and the remarkable story of the diary. Fr. Hovhan Khoja-Eynatyan and members of the family will read excerpts.

These memoirs offer a less common view of the Armenian Genocide. Through this unique perspective, we can gain a greater understanding of Armenian history and the Armenian-American experience. We invite you to join us for this opportunity!

A reception with light refreshments will follow

ZIC Presentation Poster My Story September 28 2018 (1)