Saluting a “Soldier of the Light” March 24 at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary

1767_001The Zohrab Information Center and St. Nersess Seminary will co-sponsor a day-long symposium dedicated to the life and vision of His Holiness Catholicos Karekin Hovsepian, a true titan among the Armenian people in modern times.

The symposium is titled, Soldier of the Light: The Aspirations of Catholicos Karekin Hovsepian.” It marks the 150th anniversary of Hovsepian’s birth and the centennial of the Battle of Sardarabad (in which he fought). It will take place on Saturday, March 24, at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, 486 Bedford Road, Armonk, NY.

Speakers include Dr. Abraham Terian, Dr. Roberta Ervine, Dr. Christine Maranci, Rev. Fr. Karekin Kasparian, and Mr. Nubar Kupelian. V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zohrab Center and Professor at St. Nersess Seminary, will moderate. Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian will preside.

A Man of Staggering Accomplishments Abounding in Grace 

HovsepiantsBefore being elected Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Catholicos Karekin Hovsepian (1867-1952) served as Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America during the turbulent years following the assassination of Archbishop Ghevont Tourian in New York in 1933. Born in Artsakh, Armenia, he earned graduate degrees from the best universities in Europe, encouraged the Armenian troops on the front lines of the Battle of Sardarabad, chaired the Department of Archaeology and Art History at Yerevan State University, led pioneering archaeological expeditions in western Armenia, published learned books on the art of medieval Armenian manuscript illumination, and previously obscure chapters in Armenian history, and inspired countless people through his preaching and teaching. Through it all Hovsepian tirelessly summoned his flock to rise up from pettiness and division, and to embrace the dignity, richness, and eternal values of Christian life as embodied in Armenian art, culture and history and above all, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Church.

On this occasion a volume of selected essays and sermons by the Catholicos, translated for the first time into English by Dr. Ervine and Fr. Findikyan, has been published. Those present for the symposium will receive a complimentary copy of Toward Light and Life: Reflections of Catholicos Karekin Hovsepian.

The March 24 conference starts at 10:30 a.m. (10 a.m. check-in) and concludes at 4 p.m., with a light lunch served at midday. The symposium and lunch are free and open to all interested.

Please contact St. Nersess Seminary at (914) 273-0200 to reserve your seat. SPACE IS LIMITED.

The event has is generously underwritten by Mr. and Mrs. Berge and Vera Setrakian.

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Double Header Next Week at Zohrab: Armenian Saints, Bible, Churches

2016-05 Mren
Prof. Christina Maranci will explore the 7th-century Armenian Church of Mren on Thursday, May 26 at ZIC.

The Zohrab Center will feature two extraordinary opportunities for Armenian learning, enrichment and conversation next week.

Saints and the Armenian People

On Tuesday, May 24 Dr. Marianna Apresyan, Instructor of Theology at the Gevorkyan Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin, will lecture on the Saints in the Life and Worship of the Armenian People [Սուրբերը հայ ժողովուրդի կեանքին ու պաշտամունքին մէջ]. She will lecture in Armenian but a printed text of her talk in English translation will be provided.

Also participating will be His Eminence Abp. Yeznik Petrosyan of Holy Etchmiadzin, who is a long-time member of the Armenian Bible Society. He will speak about the work of the Bible Society in Armenia to translate the Bible into Modern Armenia and to disseminate it.

Three Early Armenian Churches and their Message

2010-05 VigilantPowersBookOn Thursday, May 26, Professor Christina Maranci, Arthur H. Dadian and Ara T. Oztemel Associate Professor of Armenian Art at Tufts University, will deliver a talk entitled, Vigilant Powers: Ethics, Art History and Preservation of Armenian Churches. 

Dr. Maranci, returns to the Zohrab Center to present her new book, Vigilant Powers: Three Churches of Medieval Armenia. The leading historian of Armenian art and architecture in the West today, she will present the case of three iconic Armenian Churches built during the “global wars” of the seventh century: Mren, Zvartnots and Ptghni. Examining the meaning of their unique designs, she will show how Armenian architects were closely engaged with both Byzantine imperial interests and with contemporary events in the Holy Land, as she uncovers Christian Armenia’s vibrant visual culture, its message, and its precarious state today.

Copies of Dr. Maranci’s book will be available for sale.

2016-05 MaranciVigilantPowersFlyer.001CLICK HERE to download a full-color flyer.

Both events will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese in New York at 7PM. All are warmly invited to attend the free events. Each will be followed by a reception and conversation.

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

 

What Makes Armenian Art “Armenian”? Lecture by Dr. Helen Evans. Thursday, April 30

Dr. Helen Evans of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art will discuss the unique features of Armenian art at an illustrated lecture at the Zohrab Center.
Dr. Helen Evans of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will discuss the unique features of Armenian art at an illustrated lecture at the Zohrab Center.

The distinguished specialist in Early Christian, Byzantine and Armenian art, Dr. Helen Evans, will give an illustrated lecture entitled, Armenian Art: Voice of a People at the Zohrab Center of the Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern) on Thursday, April 30 at 7PM.

A visual tradition of the Armenian people that spans many centuries and prosperous communities from the Armenian homeland across the globe, Armenian art is at the same a highly specialized and a vast phenomenon. Dr. Evans will explore what makes a work “Armenian” by looking at key works of art of several historical periods. She will consider the role of the Armenian communities producing the works as well as that of the varied peoples with whom Armenians were in contact in attempting to define new and old ways to make Armenian art compelling not only to its people but also to the larger world.

Helen Evans is the Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator for Byzantine Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She earned her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. After joining the curatorial staff of the Museum in 1991, she installed the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Byzantine Art, the first galleries dedicated to Byzantine art in an encyclopedic museum, in 2000 and expanded them in 2008. Dr. Evans has lectured widely in the United States and abroad and has taught at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, Columbia University, Hunter College, the University of Chicago, and Oberlin College. She is a member of the Board of the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Holy Cross College; treasurer and a founding member of the Association of Art Museum Curators; and former chair of the Editorial Board of the Art Bulletin.

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The lecture is free and open to the public. A wine and cheese reception will follow. For further information contact the Zohrab Center at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org 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.

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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 zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter #LiturgicalEncounters.

Treasures from ZIC: Zvartnots Literary and Art Review

photo 1The Zohrab Center recently received a dozen early issues of the Armenian periodical Zvartnots. The journal of literature and art was published intermittently in Paris from 1929 to 1964. The precious issues were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hagop and Sylvia of Boyajian of Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

The Zohrab Center is the only library in the United States to hold these issues.

Zvartnots contains original poems, short stories, essays, literary criticism and articles on aspects of Armenian arts and music by Armenian authors. As well, the reader will discover Armenian translations of noted non-Armenian authors of the day. Among the contributors were some of the giants of twentieth century Armenian literature and art including Vahan Tekeyan, Arshag Chobanyan, Hagop Oshagan, Yeghishe Charents, Shahan Shanhur, Shavarsh Nartuni, Nvart Kalpakian, Nigoghos Sarafian, Gurgen Mahari,and a host of mysterious pen-names.

Alongside marvelous poems and short literary pieces, the inaugural issue features an Armenian translation of an essay by the Austrian philosopher and novelist Stefan Zweig; an article on pre-Christian Armenian architecture by the great historian of architecture Toros Toromanian; and  a tribute to Franz Schubert on the hundredth anniversary of his death by a very young Ara Bartevian, who would later become a well-known musician, composer and choral conductor.

Indeed, in the preface to the first issue of Zvartnots, the editor, Hrant Paluian, stresses that the new journal would be “the refuge for those young people who have been held captive to the aged caretakers of our literature.” True to the secularism of the moment, he  continues sardonically:

The residents of Zvartnots, with angelic innocence, have been purified of political passions, partisan enmities and ridiculous heresies. They have been purged of religious and moral prejudices. They believe only in Armenian literature and art.

The word Zvartnots derives from the Armenian zvartunk, literally, “vigilant ones,” the angels who serve God joyfully and tirelessly, and who serve as models of the Christian life. The name was given to the famous seventh-century round church in Etchmiadzin, the ruins of which can be seen today.

The Zohrab Center’s new issues of this marvelous testament to Armenian intellectual vitality between the World Wars in Europe have been added to the ZIC online catalogue. Anyone interested in perusing them is welcome to visit the Center or to contact the staff for questions and further assistance.

MDF