Lecture On Armenian Surnames At St. Illuminator’s Armenian Cathedral In New York

Last Sunday a near-capacity crowd attended an illustrated lecture by writer and editor C.K. Garabed on the Etymology of Armenian Surnames. The event was co-sponsored by St. Illuminator’s Cathedral and the Hamazkayin Regional Executive – Eastern USA.
“We are honored and privileged to host this unique event,” said Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, who introduced Garabed on behalf of St. Illuminator’s and Hamazkayin. In sharing Garabed’s biography, Der Mesrob described how Garabed came to study and compile Armenian surnames –- first as a hobby and later in order to assist fellow Armenians in deciphering their own names.
In his talk, Garabed discussed the origins of Armenian surnames and the detective work involved in researching name derivations and deconstructing highly unusual ones. Using visual examples, Garabed defined a host of Armenian surnames, including those belonging to personalities familiar to the Armenians such as editor Aram Arkun, writer Eddie Arnavoudian, opera singer Lili Chookasian, General Drastamat Kanayan, celebrity Kim Kardashian, author David Kherdian, aviatrix Khatun Sebiljian (Sabiha Gökçen), patriot Dajad Terlemezian and academic Khatchig Tölölyan.
This lecture was organized to celebrate the online release of Garabed’s “Dictionary of Armenian Surnames” and the 30th anniversary of his weekly column, “Uncle Garabed’s Notebook,” appearing in the Armenian Weekly.
In referring to the title of the talk, “What’s in a Name?” the New York Hamazkayin’s Dr. Herand Markarian remarked that “the answer to the question in the title of this talk is: the identity of the Armenian people.” Indeed, Garabed’s lecture shed light on how Armenians came to acquire their surnames, the definitions of which happen to cover the gamut of our ancestor’s life activities in the Old Country.
To close the event, Mrs. Arevig Caprielian of the Hamazkayin Regional Executive quoted the writer/ philosopher Voltaire: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
On behalf of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral Der Mesrob presented Garabed with a plaque for his “years of outstanding service, contributions and commitment to the Armenian community.” A lively discussion and reception followed the program.
Garabed’s presentation encompasses more than 40 years of research on the subject of Armenian surnames.
The Dictionary can be accessed online at:
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