Learn Classical Armenian (Krapar, the Language of the Armenian Church) in the New Year!

Let your 2024 New’s Year resolution be to learn classical Armenian (Krapar)!

Zohrab Center director Dr. Jesse S. Arlen is offering a 12-week course (Jan. 8 – Mar 29) that will introduce participants to ancient or “classical” Armenian, the literary form of the language from the fifth to the nineteenth century and the liturgical language of the Armenian Orthodox Church today. An Indo-European language, Armenian is distantly related to Greek, Latin, English, and other western languages. It has a vast library of literature comprised of original compositions by literary and theological masters such as St. Gregory of Narek and St. Nersess Shnorhali, as well as important translations from Greek, Syriac, Latin, and Arabic, among other languages, some of which survive only in Armenian translation.

All sessions will take place by Zoom and no prior experience or knowledge is required. Students will learn the Armenian alphabet, basic grammar, and vocabulary, and will read simple prose narratives, while also gaining an appreciation for the culture and tradition of one of the ancient Christian peoples of the East. The course will be of interest to the faithful of the Armenian Church, as well as anyone with an interest in classics, medieval/byzantine/near eastern studies, biblical studies, theology, and liturgy, and will cover the equivalent of a one-semester university class for only $500. Minimum of 5 students required in order to run the course. A continuation class will be offered based on student demand. Email jarlen@fordham.edu to express interest and for scheduling.

Watch the Recording of the St. Nersess Shnorhali Conference in Rome on YouTube Now

The international conference “Plenitude of Grace, Plenitude of Humanity: St Nerses Shnorhali at the Juncture of Millennia” took place Thursday and Friday (Nov 30–Dec 1) at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. The recordings of all sessions from both days are available to view online through the YouTube Channel of the Pontifical Oriental Institute or below.A conference flyer and schedule are also available to view below.

Zohrab Information Center Special Collections available to the public

A group of special collections comprised of hundreds of photographs, letters, scrapbooks, and other artifacts has recently been processed and is now available for the interested public to view at the Zohrab Information Center. The collections were processed by Linda Smith, a graduate student at Simmons University, pursing a degree in Archives Management, who is concurrently an archival intern at the Zohrab Center.

The collection includes over 125 years of materials that were donated over the years by various individuals.

Dr Elias Riggs
Dr. Riggs was a missionary who lived from 1810-1901 and worked in the Ottoman Empire for decades. He helped guide the translation of the Bible into modern Armenian. The plate was made and colored by E.F. McLouglin, 36 Bromfield St., Boston.

The first series contains several small portrait photographs and photographic glass plates from Armenian photographers based in Constantinople/Istanbul in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. These photographs and plates show various leaders, religious figures, and people at work or with their families, as well as various sites in Armenia and the former Ottoman Empire.

Bashi Bozooks
Bashi Bozooks were irregular soldiers of the Ottoman army raised only in times of war.
Similar to a bashi bozook, a zeibek was an irregular militia and guerrilla fighter who lived in West Anatolia from the late 17th to early 20th centuries.

The second series consists of photographs and other personal artifacts from Zaven Melik-Shah Nazaroff, whose brother was Soss E. Melik. Both brothers were artists, but Soss’s renown far surpassed Zaven’s. Both brothers, their parents Efrem Melik Shah-Nazaroff and Maria Avanesov, and friends and family members are featured in photographs, and artwork from both brothers is photographed as well.

Zaven Melik-Shah Nazaroff
Zaven Melik-Shah Nazaroff with a work of art, 1949.
Soss E. Melik
Soss E. Melik (left) is pictured here with Reinald Werrenrath, an American baritone opera singer who regularly performed under the name Edward Hamilton. This photograph was taken on August 20, 1939 in Kingston, NY.

The next series is by far the largest and consists primarily of materials donated either by former diocesan employees or people active in the diocese. The contents document people and events related to the diocese, or were donated by people who thought the materials would be of interest to the diocese and those connected to it. The materials include photographs, photo albums, clippings, letters, postcards, certificates, and other documents.

Mekhitarist monks
This photograph’s caption (in French) translates to “Armenian church vestments” and refers to the island of San Lazarro degli Armeni, home to the Mekhitarist monastery.
Reuben Nakian
From left, Reuben Nakian, Alex Manoogian, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Mrs. Reuben Nakian, and Mrs. Alex Manoogian. The sculpture on the left, a permanent installation on the St. Vartan cathedral plaza, was created by Nakian and is called “Descent from the Cross.”
Armenian dances
Delegates and guests performing traditional Armenian dances at the gala banquet for the 88th Diocesan assembly in Worcester, Massachusetts on May 5, 1990.
A unique feature of this collection is the numerous scrapbooks and photo albums available. Here is a two-page spread from one album, available in box 11.

The fourth series is the Ashjian family donation. Zovig Ashjian donated these photographs, which are primarily of her father, Fr. Arten Ashjian (1919–2016), who played an influential and leading role in the diocese throughout his long pastoral ministry, including at St. James in Watertown, MA (1955–1969) and as a teacher at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary.

Father Ashjian, John A. Volpe, Archbishop Sion Manoogian
From left, Fr. Arten Ashjian, Massachusetts Governor John A. Volpe, and Archbishop Sion Manoogian at a banquet in Boston on March 28, 1965.
Father Ashjian
Fr. Arten Ashjian celebrating with others at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in 1988. To Fr. Arten’s left are current seminary dean Fr. Mardiros Chevian and current Diocesan Vicar Fr. Simeon Odabashian.

The next series is the Joseph and Joyce Chorbajian donation. Joseph served on the original steering committee responsible for the construction of St. Vartan Cathedral. After the cathedral was operational, he served in many positions within the diocese. Several photographs show Joseph, his wife Armenouhie, and daughter Joyce throughout his life. Highlights of this donation include old passports of Joseph, Armenouhie, and Joseph’s mother Veronica and cards and letters congratulating Joseph for different honors bestowed upon him by the diocese and a banquet held in his honor on November 6, 1977.

Zareh Kapikian, Ralph Anoushian, Edward Bashian, Edward Chapian, and Joseph Chorbajian
From left, Diocesan delegates Zareh Kapikian, Ralph Anoushian, Edward Bashian, Edward Chapian, and Joseph Chorbajian in May 1970.
Joyce, Joseph, and Armenouhie Chorbajian
The Chorbajian family (the three people in the background facing the camera). From left, Joyce, Joseph, and Armenouhie.

The final series in this collection contains materials from the opening of the Zohrab Information Center on November 8, 1987 through its early years. There are several photographs from events that took place in St. Vartan Cathedral, the Zohrab Information Center, and nearby, including an assembly that took place outside the diocese seeking help and awareness for Armenians suffering from an Azeri blockade in the early 1990s.

Photographs from the opening of the Zohrab Information Center
Photographs from the early days of the Zohrab Information Center, which include Dolores Zohrab Liebmann, Bishop Khajag Barsamian, Fr. Krikor Maksoudian, Dn. Hovannes Khosdeghian, and others.
Dolores Zohrab Liebmann
An undated photograph of Dolores with Mr. and Mrs. Haik Kavookjian (located in the Zohrab Information Center opening series).
Assembly against Azeri blockade
Photographs of an assembly that took place outside the diocese seeking help and awareness for Armenians suffering from an Azeri blockade in the early 1990s.

These collections illustrate the experiences of Armenian people from the 19th and 20th centuries across the globe. It serves as an invaluable look into the lives and work of many Armenian people throughout history, especially those connected with the Armenian Church and Eastern Diocese. This collection is now available for visitors looking to conduct research or simply admire documents, artifacts, and photographs from the past. A searchable finding aid of the collection is available to view here.

Watch the Recording of David Hotson on Saint Sarkis Church

If you missed David Hotson’s talk on “Raising Awareness of Armenian History through the Design of Saint Sarkis Armenian Church” then you can watch the recording of the talk below (or a previous and similar talk given at an international conference on Eastern Christian architecture and Modernity at Fordham University.

“The Making of Saint Sarkis Church,” Fordham University, June 1, 2023

“Raising Awareness of Armenian History through the Design of Saint Sarkis Armenian Church,” Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), November 1, 2023

REMINDER: Architect David Hotson to Speak on “Raising Awareness of Armenian History through the design of Saint Sarkis Armenian Church”

Come to Kavookjian Hall at the Diocesan Center this Wednesday, Nov. 1st, to hear architect David Hotson speak on “Raising Awareness of Armenian History through the Design of Saint Sarkis Armenian Church,” the award-winning church in Dallas, Texas. A reception will follow the illustrated presentation, which is organized by the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center under the auspices of Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan, primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America (Eastern).

6-part lecture series on St. Nersess Shnorhali available to view on YouTube

The Vemkar 6-part lecture series “Entering the World, Mind, and Soul of St. Nersess Shnorhali” is available to view on YouTube. Organized in commemoration of the 850th anniversary of the saint’s repose and in response to the pontifical encyclical of His Holiness Karekin II issued earlier this year (ARM ENG), the lecture series began on August 22nd and continued on consecutive Tuesday evenings through September 26th.

The six lectures may be viewed below or on the Vemkar YouTube channel.

Lecture One by Dr. Roberta R. Ervine — “Becoming Shnorhali: On the Context of Catholicos Nerses IV Klayets’i

Lecture Two by Dr. Jesse S. Arlen — “The Poetic World of St. Nersess Shnorhali”

Lecture Three by Matthew J. Sarkisian — “Odes of St. Nersess the Graceful”

Lecture Four by Dn. Hovannes Khosdeghian — “Today the Ineffable (Այսօր անճառ): A Reading of St. Nersess Shnorhali’s Good Friday Song”

Lecture Five by Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan – “St. Nersess Shnorhali and the Threefold Way of Theosis”

Lecture Six by Dn. Andrew Kayaian – “St. Nersess’ Ecumenical Relations with the Byzantines”

Architect David Hotson to Speak on “The Making of Saint Sarkis Armenian Church,” the Award-Winning Church in Dallas, Texas

On Wednesday, November 1st at 7:00pm ET at Kavookjian Hall of the Diocesan Center in New York, under the auspices of Diocesan primate, Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan, and organized by the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, architect David Hotson will give an illustrated presentation on “The Making of Saint Sarkis Church in Dallas, Texas,” which was named the US Building of the Year 2022 by World-Architects.

David Hotson_Architect is an architectural design firm based in New York City. 

Founded by David Hotson in 1991, the office works on private cultural, institutional and residential projects located anywhere in the world with current projects in New York City, the Hudson Valley, Vermont, Texas, and the Caribbean.

The firm focusses on architectural space as the primary medium of design, shaping figural spatial volumes filled with natural light.

The office has been featured in The New Yorker, the New York Times, Architectural Record, Interior Design, Detail, The Plan, Architectural Digest and many other publications, and has been featured on architecture and design websites in over thirty countries.

The office has been recognized by the international Architizer A+ Awards program, and has received a ‘Best of Ten’ Award from the editors of Interior Design Magazine, who selected the SkyHouse penthouse as the single most extraordinary apartment project from a decade of ‘Best of Year’ Award program winners.

In January 2023 the Saint Sarkis Church complex was designated as the 2022 ‘US Building of the Year’ on the influential ‘World-Architects’ web platform.

David Hotson received a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from the University of Waterloo in southern Ontario Canada and Master of Architecture degree from the Yale University School of Architecture.  He is a registered architect in the state of New York.

Zoom Lecture Series on St. Nersess Shnorhali– Aug 22 to Sept 26

The Zohrab Information Center cordially invites you to attend the Vemkar Zoom lecture series, entitled “Entering the World, Mind, and Soul of St. Nersess Shnorhali.” Organized in commemoration of the 850th anniversary of the saint’s repose and in response to the pontifical encyclical of His Holiness Karekin II issued earlier this year (ARM ENG), the lecture series begins a week from today on Tuesday, August 22nd at 7:00pm ET and runs six consecutive Tuesday evenings through September 26th.

Please register in advance for the Zoom lecture series.

A flyer with the speaker and title info for each session is available below:

Virtual Pilgrimage: Mt. Tabor, In Light of the Transfiguration

St. Nersess Armenian Seminary Professor Dr. Roberta R. Ervine will lead a virtual pilgrimage to Mt. Tabor to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. This free Zoom live session will take place on July 15, 2023 at 7:00pm.

To register, go to https://tinyurl.com/2kbp8dtw

To learn more about this and other virtual and in-person pilgrimages to Jerusalem, visit: holylandlights.com

David Hotson to present St. Sarkis Armenian Church (Dallas) at Fordham’s International Conference on Sacred Space

“The Shape of the Sacred: Eastern Christianity and Architectural Modernity,” an international conference organized by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America opened this evening, Tuesday, May 30th, at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus.

This three-day public international symposium explores the challenges of the dialogue between contemporary architecture and theological concepts of space. Sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in association with Fordham University, the symposium will be the first of its kind in North America. It honors the recently built and consecrated Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine, located at the World Trade Center and designed by Santiago Calatrava. The symposium includes a special event at Saint Nicholas Shrine featuring a welcome address by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America and a keynote conversation.

To find information on the conference schedule, which is free and open to the public, visit: The Shape of the Sacred: Eastern Christianity and Architectural Modernity | Fordham

To register visit: Forever Fordham – The Shape of the Sacred: Eastern Christianity and Architectural Modernity – Registrant

For those unable to attend in person, the conference may be livestreamed at the following link: https://publicorthodoxy.org/the-shape-of-the-sacred/

On Thursday morning, David Hotson, architect, will present “The Making of Saint Sarkis Church, Dallas” on a panel titled “Tradition Today and Tomorrow.” Saint Sarkis Church is also one of the sacred buildings featured on a poster at the exhibit that opened at the start of the conference.