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The Armenian Island in Venice


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#1 gamavor

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 01:34 PM


http://www.euronews....time=1490091642



The Armenian presence in Europe stretches from London to Larnaca, Lisbon to Lviv; the Armenian Catholic Mkhitarian Congregation is among the most impactful examples of that legacy and this year marks a three-century-long presence in one of Europes most iconic towns.

The vaporetto leaves from San Zaccaria to one of the most unique corners of Venice, a testament to the centuries of multi-cultural history of that magnificent city. The unique corner is really an island Isola di San Lazzaro degli Armeni, or the Island of St. Lazarus of the Armenians. This year marks the 300th anniversary of that island becoming home to the Mkhitarian or Mechitarist Congregation.

Mkhitar was born in Sebastia (modern-day Sivas, in central Turkey) in 1676. He joined the Armenian Church at a time when it was facing the challenges of a modernising world. Drawn to Western Christianity and its already-established traditions of education and publishing, Mkhitar ran his own printing house in Constantinople (Istanbul), bringing together other like-minded individuals who longed to rejuvenate and invigorate a community at times struggling in the social and political milieu of the 17th century Ottoman Empire. Facing the resistance of the authorities, Abbot Mkhitar and his followers, who established the congregation named after the founder in 1700, spent some time moving from place to place first to Greece, then up the Adriatic before finally establishing themselves on what used to be a leper colony off Venice in 1717.

In the centuries that followed, the Mkhitarian fathers had a profound effect on research, education, and publishing in Europe generally, and for the Armenian world in particular. Still today, the monastery they founded continues to produce books; Venice is one of two cities in the world that can boast having published at least one Armenian book every year for three hundred years or more, with just a few interruptions (the other city being Istanbul). Whether as first-time publications of ancient manuscripts, translations of significant European works, or the other way around, the Armenian legacy has been showcased to the European and broader world through the efforts of these monks, and the doors of Europe have likewise been opened for Armenians thanks to their activities.

The Mkhitarian Congregation has always served as a bridge, says Father Serop Jamourlian, both for tying the Armenian reality to the European world in terms of scholarship and spirituality, and also as a bridge of universal human values: it is a representative of the East in the West and the conveyor of Western ideas to the East.

Perhaps the most significant impact the Congregation has had involves the development of language and identity. It was the Mkhitarian fathers who first published modern dictionaries of the Armenian language. Modern scientific approaches to research and education also owe much to these Armenian priests in Venice, who once upon a time ran a network of some thirty schools across Europe and the Middle East.

The reputation of San Lazzaro was so strong that Napoleon Bonaparte offered that monastery special permission to continue functioning even after he shut down other religious institutions in Venice in 1810. A few years later, the islands most famous guest Lord Byron spent some months during 1816-1817 studying the Armenian language.

The Mechitarists have suffered some setbacks over the course of their rich history, such as a significant split in the Congregation that led to a second monastery being established in Vienna in 1811. They reunited in 2000. The two had meanwhile carried on Abbot Mkhitars mission diligently. Both Venice and Vienna are known as centres of learning for the Armenian world.

Although the Mkhitarian Congregation is not as active as it used to be, with a smaller membership and growing challenges within a generally more secular global environment, it continues to run four schools in places reflecting the footprint of the Armenian Diaspora: Beirut, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, and Istanbul. A school was established in Yerevan, in the Republic of Armenia, in the year 2007 a good indication of the renewal of Diaspora-Homeland ties since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Special commemorations are planned for September during this 300th anniversary year celebrations alongside the people of Italy and Venice. Father Serop emphasises that their welcoming and hospitable attitude towards the Armenians is based on the experience of many centuries of deep ties. What lies in store for the Mkhitarian Congregation? Father Serop says that the mission has always been and remains, Service to the Armenian nation.



PS: If there is anything Armenian in the present world that made me proud of being Armenian then for sure one of these is St. Lazaro Degli Armeni. I visited the place twice and I'll go again. Beside the unique exhibits from Europe, Armenia and the World there is a very special ambience in the place that can't be described with words. Every Armenian and not only should go and see this magical place.


Edited by gamavor, 22 March 2017 - 01:35 PM.

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#2 onjig

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 12:43 PM

Thank  you again gamavor. I've long been interested in San Lazzaro and have books printed by the Mechitarist. I've though of the Island and read of Lord Byron, his going each morning to progress and study the Armenian Language. In the video of your post there is and overhead view of the our island, that is particularly good to see. The video it's self is well done with the panning of the buildings, artifacts and the playing of music by Gomidas Vartabed added to it as lemon and Modzoon to sarma ( I just went back to reference the words Arpa used for sarma when scolding the use of furkis on the forum~but haven't found it.)

 

Hyeforum.com is the truest Armenian forum of it's kind, and today looks like the only one. The Archives here are a treasure. Conversations, arguments, discussions carried on by people, members, cousins never met, and now silent are more valuable than can be put into words.  Arpa for one, a relative I never met, but learned to love, reminded me of my Uncle Kevork, with his angle of angle of arrogance and dogged sticking to his truth and love for Armenians and their Culture. 

 

There are several, many others, you, Yervant and MosJan stand tall among them, I am a new comer, happy to have found this forum, an institution really. ( the alumni, are they gone forever, I wonder?)

 

Long live Hyeforum it records, it's Library and the family of Hye who brought it together and have kept it alive! God love them.


Edited by onjig, 31 March 2017 - 12:54 PM.


#3 onjig

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 10:18 PM

I didn't mention Vanetsi, are you in touch with him? vadic and amora, have we any way of taping them on the shoulder?

 

Amora and vadic if there is any way of taping them on the shoulder that would be nice.


Edited by onjig, 31 March 2017 - 10:26 PM.


#4 Yervant1

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 12:17 PM

I believe Arpa used the word "Battos" exact translation of sarma meaning to wrap and "lidtz" for dolma again translation.



#5 gamavor

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 08:38 AM

Venice, itself is one of the most amazing places on Earth in terms of human achievement. San Lazzaro is not the only Armenian point of interest.There are many, - due to the close relationship between Venetian and Cilician merchants. One place not to miss is Collegio Armeno Moorat Raphael. Venice has a well preserved historic Armenian street and a Church of Holy Cross in the heart of the city. Another shocking discovery was the "Armenian graffiti" from 12 c. AD on the columns currently installed at the main cathedral of San Marko, that were "brought" from Constantinople by the Crusaders. Next is the tomb of the last Armenian Queen - Charlotte de Lusignan (actually she was the Queen of Armenia, Cyprus and Jerusalem). I was lucky to have a very knowledgeable guide (a local Armenian guy) whose name I don't remember, but it is a must to have someone as a guide to show you around.

http://freepages.gen...VAL/armenia.htm





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpwCuJBnmQw&t=72s




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