The Zohrab Center recommends the inaugural presentation of the newly formed International Association of Armenian Librarians and Archivists (IAALA): “The Armenian Digital Landscape” by Tigran Zargaryan, to take place by Zoom on January 22, 2022 at 1:00pm ET.
On Wednesday, January 26th, at 7:00pm ET, Konrad Siekierski, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College London will deliver a lecture entitled “The Materiality of Armenian Christianity: Gospel Books as Sacred Objects.”
This Zoom Webinar is jointly sponsored by the The Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University, The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research, & The Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center.
The Materiality of Armenian Christianity: Gospel Books as Sacred Objects
Armenian Gospel Books do not only contain the Word of God to be read by priests and the faithful, but some also act as sacred objects endowed with supernatural power and agency. As such, they are venerated during the feasts of the Armenian Apostolic Church and as ‘home saints’ – family relics held in unofficial shrines. Based on several years of ethnographic research in Armenia and recent anthropological literature on religion as a sensual and material phenomenon, I will discuss how Gospel Books (and some other religious texts) make visible the invisible, touchable the untouchable, and – ultimately – reachable the unreachable for Armenian Christians today. Furthermore, I will explore the Armenian veneration of home saints in the context of Soviet and post-Soviet Armenia’s changing socio-political landscape, the decay of traditional village life in the country, and the theft of many privately owned Gospel Books.
Konrad Siekierski is a PhD candidate in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College London. Based upon ten years of ethnographic research, his doctoral thesis, A Vow to Go: Religion, Reunion, and Roots in Armenian Pilgrimage, examines the different forms that pilgrimage takes today in the Armenian culture. In 2021, he conducted a research project Gospel Books as Home Saints: Between Vernacular Christianity and Armenian National Heritage, funded by the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research. Currently he is a recipient of The Orthodox Christian Studies NEH Dissertation Completion Fellowship at Fordham University. Konrad edited two collective volumes and authored several articles in academic journals.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com
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.
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.
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
Have you always wanted to read Franz Werfel’s 1933 masterpiece, but haven’t had the chance? Were you inspired by the film The Promise to learn more about what happened on a mountain named Musa Dagh in 1915?
On the occasion of the landmark historical novel’s 85th anniversary, you are invited to join the Zohrab Center’s The Forty Days of Musa Dagh Book Club on Thursday, April 12 at 7 pm in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese in New York.
Aida Zilelian, Elaine Merguerian, Haig Chahinian, Harry Koumrouyan, and Nancy Agabian will recite brief excerpts from the book and explain how the text resonated with them.
Others wishing to share their own responses to the book will be invited to step up to the OPEN MIC. Each participant will be limited to 3 minutes.
The Forty Days of Musa Dagh was written by the Austrian-Bohemian Jewish playwright, novelist and poet Franz Werfel in German in 1933. The historical novel was inspired by Werfel’s travels to Syria in 1930, where he met countless Armenian refugee survivors of the Genocide, most of them living in wretched, hopeless conditions. The acclaimed novel brought world-wide attention to the Armenian Genocide.
Musa Dagh (Mountain of Moses) is located just inside the current border of Turkey and Syria overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. In July 1915, six Armenian villages in the region mounted a successful resistance to the attacking Turkish army by converging on the mountain. The Armenians held back the Turks for 53 days until they were evacuated by Allied French warships. The event is depicted at the end of the recent Genocide film, The Promise.
The ZIC’s Forty Days of Musa Dagh Book Club grew out of a group of New York area Armenian writers who came together recently, guided by NYU Gallatin Professor Nancy Agabian and writer Haig Chahinian, to read and discuss The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. Energized by the portrayal of their people fighting back during the Genocide, they talked about how Franz Werfel’s novelization touched them individually, and as a whole.
All are encouraged to read or re-read The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, and to share their thoughts and reflections on the book on April 12. Those wishing to speak are asked to contact Haig Chahinian at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up and/or to receive tips on reading the work. All are welcome to attend. A reception will follow.
Nancy Agabian is the author of Princess Freak, a poetry collection; and Me as her again, a memoir. Her novel The Fear of Large and Small Nations was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially-Engaged Fiction. A past ZIC speaker and friend, Nancy teaches creative writing at NYU and through her Heightening Stories workshops. nancyagabian.com.
Haig Chahinian’s writing on parenting, race, and life as he knows it has appeared in The Washington Post, O The Oprah Magazine, and the New York Times. For clips, see chahinian.com. When he’s not churning out words, he runs a career counseling practice helping people find more fulfillment at work.
Harry Koumrouyan was born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, from parents who fled the Ottoman Empire. He started his career as a teacher before joining the administration
first as a school principal and later as the head of HR. He has written two novels in French, where the Armenian theme plays an important role. He has one son, Adrien, age 28.
Elaine Merguerian is Communications Director at Asia Society, where she promotes the organization’s arts and cultural programming. Before settling in New York, she worked in Washington, D.C. for the federal and local governments, and the Armenian Assembly of America. A native of Massachusetts, she earned a B.A. in English literature from Wellesley College. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
Aida Zilelian is a New York City writer. Her novel The Legacy of Lost Things (Bleeding Heart Publications) was the recipient of the 2014 Tololyan Literary Award. Her stories have been published in over 25 journals and several anthologies. She has been featured on NPR, the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and Kirkus Reviews. She is also the curator of Boundless Tales, the longest-running reading series in Queens, New York. She recently completed her second novel, The Last Echo Through the Plains.
Dr. Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan will present the memoirs of his grandfather, the renowned Soviet Armenian philosopher, Professor Artavazd M. Minasyan (1913-1993) in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese in New York on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 7PM.
Entitled, How Did I Survive?, Professor Minasyan’s memoirs were translated into English and edited by Dr. Gevorkyan, who will present the book.
Professor Minasyan was one of the founders of the dialectic school of philosophy. He made immense contributions to the scientific content of philosophy through his numerous research articles, monographs, textbooks, and conference presentations.
The book tells the remarkable story of an intellectual of the highest caliber, and the challenges, controversies, destruction and injustice posed by life in the Soviet Union. The author unveils intricate details of his time, describing his fight for survival and what inspired and gave him strength to go on from the days of his hungry childhood, Stalin’s purges, facing the enemy one-on-one during World War II, or struggling in peacetime for the right to voice alternative views in science.
Covering the period of approximately eighty years from the early 1910s to the early 1990s the narrative coincides with the author’s life-journey, touching upon every significant event of the time and the author’s personal involvement in each case. These situations are not told in simple chronological enumeration, but are enriched with complex nuances. They are analyzed through the prism of time and the author’s adherence to dialectical critique. Hence one man’s life becomes the reflection of the life of the entire country.
Dr. Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan is Assistant Professor of Economics in Department of Economics and Finance of the Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University in New York City; a Vincentian Research Fellow at the Vincentian Centre for Church and Society, and a Research Fellow at the Center for Global Business Stewardship. Dr. Gevorkyan also serves as Economics Subject Matter Expert for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See To the United Nations in New York. Additionally, Dr. Gevorkyan has worked as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Central Bank of Armenia. Dr. Gevorkyan’s extensive teaching and research experience covers themes in macroeconomic policy, economic development, international financial economics, labor migration, sovereign debt, commodities markets, and post-socialist transition economics. Dr. Gevorkyan is a co-editor (with Otaviano Canuto) of Financial Deepening and Post-Crisis Development in Emerging Markets (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016). He is also the author of Innovative Fiscal Policy and Economic Development in Transition Economies (Routledge, 2013 in paperback; 2011 in hardcover).
The book presentation is open to the public and free of charge. Books will be available for sale during a reception that will follow the presentation.
The first is contained within its pages, be it a novel, an atlas, a cookbook or a chemistry textbook. The second is the book’s own story—how that particular volume came to be—from the printing press to the bookstore or dealer—traversing perhaps multiple owners and readers, until it falls into your hands.
Recently the Zohrab Center was the beneficiary of the library of the late and beloved priest Fr. Garen Gdanian, who passed away in 2013. While sorting through cartons of books, I noticed the elegantly embossed leather binding that is the hallmark of a precious old book.
My suspicions were confirmed as I plucked it out of the box and carefully turned the book in my hands. Lustrous gilt edging glittered in my eyes while my fingers coursed over the grooves and ridges of the intricately embossed cover. Whoever bound this book spared no expense.
Stamped in gold leaf on the cover was this title: Առ բարձրաշնորհ Տ.Տ. Մաղաքիա Արքեպիսկոպոս Օրմանեան Պատրիարք Հայոց [T0 the Most Gracious Reverend Archbishop Maghakia Ormanian Patriarch of the Armenians].
He, of course, is the great Armenian churchman from the turn of the twentieth century, easily one of the greatest Armenian intellects of modern times, who served as Patriarch of Constantinople from 1896-1908.
Yet while Ormanian was a gifted and prolific author, the cover indicates that this book was not written by him, but addressed to him.
My first thought was that the book contained a letter directed to the Patriarch, who was a controversial figure. He resigned his position as Patriarch under pressure from political extremists, who had attacked him for his stubborn refusal to support any form of violence in the Armenians’ opposition to Abdul Hamid’s regime. Could this book be some anti-Ormanian diatribe?
But no. A gilt inscription on the book’s thin spine reads Կրօնի Ուսում [Course in Religion].
Indeed, turning to the title page, we read the full title of the work:
Illustrated Course in Religion from the Known to the Unknown, from the Impenetrable to the Believable. A Face-to-Face Course and Graded Study. Intermediate Level.
The author is a certain Tavit Khachgonts (1866-1918). It was published by the Balentz Press and Bookstore in Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1905.
Traversing the pages of our book we discover a comprehensive survey of the Armenian Church in 188 pages. It includes brief but incisive summaries of the Old and New Testaments, the history of the Armenian Church against the background of the universal church; key persons and saints, feasts and fasts, sacraments and liturgical services, vestments and vessels, church architecture and hierarchical structures, Armenian church pious customs and traditions, and more. A number of tables, charts and glossaries round out the extremely valuable manual, which may well be the finest one-volume survey of the Armenian Church that I have encountered.
The author adds this codicil to the title page:
Objective To transmit Armenian Christianity to Armenian young people and to present their mother church as something for them to love.
A noble goal indeed.
So much for the first story.
The gilt inscription on the leather cover addressing the book to Patriarch Ormanian turns out to be a glorified gift tag. This copy was a personal gift. It was specially bound for the Armenian Patriarch, whose monogram, M.O., is stamped on the title page. This book once belonged to the great Maghakia Ormanian.
How did the book travel from the sacred galleries of the Armenian Patriarchate in Constantinople over 100 years ago to Fr. Garen’s personal library in Troy, New York?
A new book by V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zohrab Information Center, will be released at a book presentation and reception on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 7PM in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese in New York. #AvakShapat
The book is entitled, Աւագ Շաբաթ Avak Shapat: A Guide to the Holy Week Services of the Armenian Church. The book is being published by the Zohrab Information Center. Conceived as a textbook for clergy, seminarians, deacons, choir members and others charged with conducting the Holy Week services, the guide will be of use to anyone interested in the worship of the Armenian Church, from faithful practitioners to students and scholars of other traditions.
The liturgical tradition of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church is one of the oldest and most magnificent in all of Christendom. The center of gravity of the Armenian Church’s liturgical year is undoubtedly Holy Week, the eight days preceding Easter. At no other time of the year is there such a concentration of poignant, ritually lavish, and theologically rich services in such a short period of time.
Yet with that exuberance comes complexity. The instructions for conducting these services are found in two books published centuries ago in Classical Armenian, which describe the services in a highly technical, abbreviated manner. As a result, conducting the Holy Week ceremonies properly, prayerfully and beautifully can be a challenge even for experienced clergy.
With the meticulous eye of a teacher and scholar of Christian liturgy, Fr. Findikyan guides the reader through each Holy Week service, presenting the sequence of prayers, hymns, Scripture readings and rituals, and describing them in detail. The book also contains valuable glossaries of liturgical terms in Armenian and English, as well as separate indexes of liturgical and biblical references. As such, the book serves as a useful reference work on the worship tradition of the Armenian Church as a whole.
The March 19 presentation will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 2nd Avenue, New York. As he presents his book, Fr. Findikyan will lead a worshipper’s tour through the sequence and meaning of Holy Week in the Armenian Church, emphasizing the meaning of Jesus’ final days for us today. At the conclusion of his talk, copies of the new book will be available for sale.
The presentation is free and open to the public. A light Lenten meal will be served beginning at 6:30PM. For further information contact the Zohrab Center at email@example.com or (212) 686-0710.
V. Rev. Fr. (Michael) Daniel Findikyan is a priest and vartabed of the Armenian Church. He has served as Director of the ZIC for two years. He is also Professor of Liturgical Studies at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, and Visiting Professor of Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana). He is an internationally renowned authority on the theology and history of the worship tradition of the Armenian Church and of other eastern churches, and has published widely in this area. Read more about Fr. Daniel’s education, teaching, ministry and publications.
For more information contact the Zohrab Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 686-0710.