Syrian-Armenian girl’s gift to Artsakh

The announcement of Naregatsi Art Institute about Naregatsi-Shoushi Orchestra and the donation of necessary instruments for the full operation of the orchestra also sparked the interest of the Keshgerian family of Syria.

Alisa Keshgerian, 9, is a member of the club for Syrian-Armenians that is part of the Sevan Naggashian Painting Class of Naregatsi Art Institute. She found out about the need for donating musical instruments to Naregatsi-Shoushi Orchestra from the club.

Alisa Keshgerian had been performing with her small musical instrument (canon) for several months, but since her parents recently gave her a big canon as a gift, she wished to donate the small canon to the newly created Naregatsi-Shoushi Orchestra as a contribution to this wonderful initiative for the flourishing of Armenian culture.

Naregatsi Art Institute accepts the donation from the Keshgerian family with a great feeling of gratitude. The purity and sincerity of these children towards the arts serves as a ground to state that the efforts of the Naregatsi Art Institute for the preservation and development of Armenian culture give fruit.

Zvartnots reserve-museum to host ‘Armenian classical poetry in Mansurian music’ concert

Zvartnots Historical-Cultural Reserve-Museum will host a concert-evening dedicated to renowned Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian’s compositions based on the Armenian classical poetry on 19 October.

The program of the concert titled “Armenian classical poetry in Tigran Mansurian music” features performances by the Armenian Chamber Choir (ACC), headed by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Robert Mlkeyan, with Irina Zakyan (soprano), Henrietta Harutyunova (soprano), Kristine Sahakyan (mezzo soprano), Yana Daryan (viola) and Artur Avanesov (piano) performing as soloists.

To remind, similar concerts have already been held in Armenia’s Vanadzor and Artik towns.

Serj Tankian is in Armenia

World-famous rock singer, lead vocalist of System of a Down Serj Tankian is in Yerevan, Armenia, since 11 October.

The rock star has posted a photo on Instagram, adding the post, ‘Good to be back in Armenia’.

To note, the Armenian premiere of Serj Tankian’s Orca Symphony No. 1 will be held at Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall on 19 October as part of the 5th Aram Khachaturian International Festival.

Self-defense, not rebellion-Turkish website covers Battle of Musa Dagh

The Turkish has covered the story of the Armenians of Musa Ler who took arms to defend themselves during the years of the Armenian Genocide, stating that this is one of the stories of the most impressive resistance movements of the 20th century.

Talking about the Armenian resistance of Musa Ler, Turkish columnist Soner Sert uses the word “self-defense”, not the term “rebellion”, which is accepted in official historiography in Turkey.

Sert also stressed that what happened to the Armenians in the early 20th century was genocide and that it had begun with the perpetration of different massacres back in the late 19th century.

The author also states that the Armenians of Adana received the first blow in the district of the Armenians of Cilicia.

The Turkish columnist states that even though the Armenians were not armed well during the resistance of Musa Ler, one of the reasons why the Armenians managed to resist an entire government army for a long time was because the weather was favorable and the locals had the opportunity to benefit from the goods, writes

Azerbaijanis attempt to steal stand property of the Armenian Pavilion at the Frankfurt Book Fair

“On October 12th, 2017 at the Frankfurt Book Fair two Azerbaijani men came to the Armenian stand and took away several maps of Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh),” Deputy Culture Minister of Armenia Nerses Ter-Vardanyan wrote on Facebook.

According to him, Armenian representatives tried to stop them, requesting the return of the stand property, but one of them shouted out political statements and returned to the Azerbaijani stand.

“The representative of the Armenian stand, including me followed them to their stand and I took back the maps from their hands. I immediately called the book fair security and police, as well as the Deputy Director of Frankfurt Book Fair, Mr Tobias Voss. The police talked to the witnesses of the event and took written notes. Mr Voss promised to do his best to solve the situation. I offered to organize a discussion with the representatives of the Azerbaijani stand with participation of Frankfurt Book Fair officials,” wrote Ter-Vardanyan.

According to the message, the incident was recorded and photographed on camera by journalists. Despite Azerbaijani efforts to delete the recordings, the Armenian side promises to share the materials with the press.

“Today, I have already seen the article in the Azerbaijani press about the incident, which states that they have found and extinguished maps from the “separatists’”stand.  And this is done by a country whose stand is overwhelmed by political propaganda to the detriment of culture and literature (see some pictures attached). We are looking forward to a positive solution of the problem from the Frankfurt Book Fair management,” the message read.

Genocide Deniers Introduce “Fake” Armenian Genocide Resolution

In a highly offensive political move aimed at derailing H.Res.220, a bipartisan genocide prevention measure drawing upon the lessons of the Armenian Genocide, three of the U.S. House’s remaining enemies of Armenian Genocide remembrance have introduced “fake” legislation on Turkish-Armenian relations, controversially stripped of any mention of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
“A sick and cynical ploy: historically inaccurate and morally offensive.  All the world knows that any improvement in Armenian-Turkish relations will need to start with Ankara openly acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and accepting its modern-day responsibility for the vast moral and material consequences of this still unpunished crime,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “Reps. Stivers, Cohen, and Sessions, – in stripping out language about the Armenian Genocide from a bill about Turkish-Armenian relations – are, effectively, carrying Turkish President Erdogan’s water in Washington, advancing his shameful denial campaign even as he’s doubling down on his government’s anti-American actions and attitudes.”
H.Res.573 was introduced by Ohio Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH) with the support of Congressional Turkey Caucus Co-Chairs Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Steve Cohen (D-TN).  Rep. Sessions spearheaded a similar resolution in the previous Congress, by all accounts, at the urging of former Congressman Connie Mack, who, upon retiring, was retained by the Turkish Institute for Peace.  That resolution secured a total of 2 cosponsors.

Armenian Culture Days kick off in Lithuania

On October 12, the Vaydilos Theater in Vilnius hosted a concert and reception dedicated to the 26th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Armenia. The concert featured performances of Armenian and Lithuanian classical music (works by Komitas, Khachaturian, Dalalian, Čiurlionis and Dvarionis) by Merited Artist of the Republic of Armenia, pianist Haik Melikyan, reported the press service of the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Hayern Aysor.

In the beginning of the concert, RA Ambassador to Lithuania Tigran Mkrtchyan stated that celebrating Armenia’s Independence in Lithuania with performances of Armenian and Lithuanian music was symbolic. The Ambassador said the session of the Armenian-Lithuanian inter-governmental commission ended successfully a week ago in Armenia. “The agreements concluded during the inter-governmental meeting and the meetings with the Lithuanian delegates generally mark the depth and level of the bilateral relations. In addition to the active political dialogue, we continue to expand our economic, decentralized, educational, legal, social and cultural cooperation. Culture has a special place and weight in the relations between our countries since it has been the cornerstone of our relations for centuries. Culture helps highlight the values that we have shared and continue to share. In this sense, this concert is a symbolic expression of our common cultural values,” Ambassador Mkrtchyan stated.

Among the attendees of the concert were Lithuania’s high-ranking legislators and government officials, ambassadors accredited to Lithuania, intellectuals, journalists and representatives of the local Armenian community.

The local presses, including Lithuania’s Public Television provided wide coverage of the concert.

Haik Melikyan’s solo concert in Vilnius marked the launch of the Armenian Culture Days organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Lithuania. Haik Melikyan will also give another solo concert in Kaunas on October 13. On October 15, the Kaunas Symphony Orchestra will give a gala concert that will be held under the direction of Konstantin Orbelyan and will feature performances of operatic arias by winners of the Aram Khachaturian International Vocal Competition, including Julieta Alexanyan, Gagik Vardanyan and Azamat Zheltirguzov.

#HelpArtsakh Campain Continues: AGBU to Donate Reanimation Equipment to Military Hospital in Armenia

October 13, 2017, Yerevan – The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Armenia and the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia signed an agreement under which AGBU will donate two ventilators for artificial respiration and a defibrillator monitor to the Medical Department of the RA Armed Forces to upgrade the intensive care unit of the Central Military Hospital in Yerevan. The donation is part of the AGBU Help Artsakh campaign and is made possible by the generous support of the Cherchian Family Foundation and AGBU Marseille.

“Upgraded capacity and professionalism are the essential preconditions for the Armenian Armed Forces’ ability to deter aggression and promote peace. Together with the Ministry of Defense, we are proud to have the joint responsibility of strengthening Armenia’s preparedness level and cultivating leadership. AGBU welcomes all types of support from individual donors and institutions to accomplish this very important mission,” said Vasken Yacoubian, AGBU Armenia President and AGBU Central Board member.

Since 2012, AGBU has been helping to enhance educational capacities of the Armed Forces. It provides scholarships to cadets and officers taking leadership and English language courses at the Extension Program of the American University of Armenia (AUA). Earlier this year, AGBU donated 1,000 kindles with over 160 books, including non-fiction and professional literature, to graduating officers and cadets.

After the four-day war in April 2016, AGBU launched #HelpArtsakh campaign, aiming to provide aid to the people of Armenia and Artsakh, and the Armenian Armed Forces. To help the Ministry of Defense provide urgent and effective medical service, AGBU donated two mobile digital X-ray machines to military hospitals in Yerevan and Stepanakert, two thousand combat application tourniquets, and two stretchers fully equipped with intensive care devices and customized for air transportation.  AGBU also provided financial aid to families affected by the four-day war. To contribute to the AGBU  #HelpArtsakh campaign, please visit

The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world’s largest non-profit Armenian organization. Established in 1906 and headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of 500,000 Armenians around the world.  For more information about AGBU and its worldwide programs, please visit More about AGBU Armenia at

Ministry of Diaspora hosts discussion devoted to development of strategy on development and preservation of Western Armenian language

On October 13, under the instruction of President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan and in light of the 6th Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian Conference held under the title “Mutual Trust, Unity and Responsibility”, the Committee on Development of Western Armenian Language and Preservation and Regulation of Purity of Western Armenian Language held a consultation at the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia. The consultation was chaired by RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan. Among the participants were RA Deputy Minister of Diaspora Serzh Srapionyan; Doctor of Historical Sciences, senior scientific worker of the Western Armenian Language Section of the Institute of Language at the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia (NAS RA) Hagop Cholakian; Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor of the Armenian State Pedagogical University (ASPU) Suren Danielyan; Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor of the ASPU Lalik Khachatryan; Head of the Department of Armenian Language at the ASPU Vazgen Hambardzumyan; scientific worker of the Western Armenian Language Section at the NAS RA Ani Fishenkyan; Head of the Division for Coordination and Organization of Universities at the RA Ministry of Education and Science Sasun Melikyan and employees of the RA Ministry of Diaspora.

Highlighting the importance of the issue, Minister Hranush Hakobyan stated that RA President Serzh Sargsyan had held a discussion devoted to the study of the state of Western Armenian three months ago and had instructed to develop a strategy on the development and preservation of Western Armenian, and the RA Ministries of Diaspora and Education and Science have set up a joint committee for that purpose.

Hranush Hakobyan suggested that the members of the Committee submit a description of the state of Western Armenian and the paths for solutions through studies, research and practical steps.

Afterwards, the participants of the consultation presented their proposals.

Talking about the development of Western Armenian in the Diaspora in particular, senior scientific worker of the Western Armenian Language Section of the Institute of Language of the NAS RA Hagop Cholakian suggested turning one-day schools into daily schools for preservation of the language, raised the issue of remuneration of Armenian teachers abroad and the preparation of specialists. The linguist attached importance to the development of textbooks and suggested setting up a council for the coordination of Western Armenian. To see Western Armenian be used in Armenia, the linguist said there should be texts in Western Armenian in textbooks (especially for juniors) so that Armenian children know Western Armenian and that the the level of propaganda of Western Armenian literature should be raised in Armenia by presenting the books by Diaspora Armenian authors in libraries and bookstores.

Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor of the ASPU Lalik Khachatryan suggested carrying out the activities in theory and practice, use Western Armenian more often in the sphere of culture and follow the example of the Diaspora to create unions in Armenia that will foster preservation of the language. According to the specialist, it is also important to have a Western Armenian language section within the to-be-created Higher Council for the Armenian Language.

Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor of the ASPU Suren Danielyan attached importance to teacher training  through a Master’s Degree Program and suggested creating longstanding bridges with the Diaspora through TV shows and increasing the number of hours of Western Armenian language lessons at universities in Armenia.

Head of the Department of Armenian Language at the ASPU Vazgen Hambardzumyan talked about the multi-vector actions in the strategy, attaching importance to the convergence of languages and the issues of orthography.

Scientific worker of the Western Armenian Language Section of the Institute of Language of the NAS RA Ani Fishenkchyan touched upon increasing the role of Armenological centers abroad (particularly in Aleppo) and the digitization of Armenian media and Western Armenian literature in the Diaspora.

Head of the Division for Coordination and Organization of Universities at the RA Ministry of Education and Science Sasun Melikyan attached importance to target education and the conduct of research.

In closing, Minister Hranush Hakobyan recommended that the members of the Committee group the issues, benchmark the points in the strategy and hold discussions with specialists in Armenia and the Diaspora within a short period so that the draft strategy is sent to the Government of the Republic of Armenia by the end of this year.

Ishkhanadzor has new football stadium

A football field and a playground have been built in Ishkhanadzor community of Kashatagh region, Artsakh under the auspices of the Hayrenaser charity NGO operating in the United States.

In an interview with “Artsakhpress”, the head of the community of Ishkhanadzor Arsen Teylunts said that the football field is covered with 1000 square meter artificial turf.

“A playground has been also built adjacent to the football field, where the children of the community spend their time,” he noted.

It should be noted that Hayrenaser organization contributes to socio-economic development of Kashatagh and Karvachar regions.

Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents’ meeting scheduled for October 16 in Geneva

On the initiative of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, on October 16 a meeting will be held between Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Geneva, Switzerland.

U.S.-based Armenian dentist says dentistry is quite developed in Armenia

U.S.-based dentist, prosthetist/implantologist Vahik Paul Msrkhani was born in Iran. After graduating from school, he received his higher education in Tehran and continued his studies in Barcelona and the USA, starting at UCLA and the University of Georgia.

In an interview with Hayern Aysor, Vahik Paul Msrkhani informed that when it came time to choose his profession, Msrkhani was inspired by the image of one of his familiar dentists, who had a great impact on him. Besides running a family dental clinic in Glendale, Vahik Paul Msrkhani has also opened branches in San Diegoand other cities and gives lectures.

Touching upon the activities of the Armenian Dental Society of California, our interlocutor informed that the Society comprises nearly 300 Armenian and foreign dentists based in Glendale. As a matter of fact, Vahik Paul Msrkhani was elected president of the Society for 2017-18.

“I always keep in touch with my colleagues in Armenia and am very happy and willing to share my professional experience with them and give them advice. I intend to invite them to the United States to become familiar with the Society’s activities and understand the problems related to the field,” the dentist stated, adding that dentistry is quite developed in Armenia. He has noticed that there is quality service and that the specialists are smart and prepared.

One of the major programs for next year is the organizing of a conference for Armenian dentists of Armenia and the Diaspora, the issues related to which Msrkhani discussed during a recent meeting with RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan. The goal of the conference will be to enhance dentistry in Armenia, consolidate the potential of Armenian dentists of the world and help them exchange their experiences.

During his visit to Armenia, Msrkhani has managed to not only go sightseeing, but also give a lecture for the students of Yerevan State Medical University after Mkhitar Heratsi. “I am impressed and charmed by the meeting with the young Armenians. They asked me literate questions, and I realized that they have great interest in medicine,” Vahik Paul Msrkhani concluded.

Gevorg Chichyan

John Malkovich visits TUMO Center for Creative Technologies

These days, Armenia is hosting Hollywood actor John Malkovich, who participated in the solemn opening ceremony of the 5th Aram Khachaturian International Music Festival and read excerpts from the poem “Book of Tragedies” by Gregory of Narek.

On October 12, the international movie star John Malkovich visited TUMO Center for Creative Technologies along with his wife and Director of the State Youth Orchestra of Armenia Sergey Smbatyan.

John Malkovich also visited the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute where he wrote a “Painful Lesson” in the register after a tour of the Museum-Institute.

What is the current state of the St. Kirakos Church of Diyarbakir? (photos)

Recently, there were press releases stating that a group of believers had managed to enter the St. Kirakos Church of Diyarbakir, light candles and say a prayer.’s special correspondent in Diyarbakir Karot Sasunyan reported that the church is still officially closed and that those people managed to enter the church via personal contacts. Nevertheless, this served as an occasion for Karot Sasunyan to take secret paths and put his life on the line to enter the largest Armenian church in the Near East and take photos so that all Armenians know about the current state of this church. The following is Karot Sasunyan’s article translated from Turkish into Armenian and English and his photos taken in the St. Kirakos Church.

It was in this church where I smelled the scent of incense for the first time…I liked it so much that one of the members of the family living in the nearby facility (the family is living in that facility to protect the dilapidated church) wrapped a couple of pieces of incense in paper and gave it to me…That dilapidated church was Saint Kirakos Church. I was living in one of the villages of Sasun. Due to my job, I would sometimes visit Diyarbakir. As soon as I would get there, I would visit that church, the roof of which had not collapsed yet. During each visit, I would notice that two or three more stones had fallen from the roof, and every time I would ask myself if there was any solution to this issue. There was no solution!

They had left it like that intentionally so that it would collapse. They were ‘punishing’ it intentionally. The church was collapsing, in pain and causing pain. In books I had read that the Saint Kirakos Church was once the largest Armenian church in the Near East and that whenever the bell would ring, the sound would reach Sasun. I learned from books that the belfry of this church was higher than the minaret of a mosque and that that is the reason why there was an order to destroy it. Even bombs didn’t destroy the belfry. This is why they instructed an Armenian architect “exiled” to Syria to do the job.

I was washing the glasses of sister Lusye, who was living in the yard of the church and I don’t know how old, taking out water with the wheel of a water basin that was made from small black basalt and looked like a chamomile. Every time she kissed my eyes, she would give her blessing. The long-anticipated day came…May God light your soul, sister Lusye (written in Armenian-Akunq). There is no longer a wheel for us to wash your glasses. They stole it…Do you know that they weren’t able to steal the water? If they could, they would steal the water as well, just like they stole our homeland…They were able to steal our homeland, but not the land…

One day, it was raining cats and dogs, and I had gone to Diyarbakir once again. I thought to myself that the remainder of the church’s roof wouldn’t stand the rain, and that is exactly what happened. It had stopped raining, and the roof of the church had collapsed. The end was near, and it was inevitable. The walls and altars would also collapse, meaning the church would be destroyed. The yard was full of the dust and stones of the roof. “What would become of the church?” This is what I would ask myself. Old man Ando, who was from Diyarbakir, made furnaces and was also known as Andranik Zor, would cry and answer my question.

He also hadn’t left Saint Kirakos. He got sick, had to leave Saint Kirakos and underwent treatment at the Holy Savior Hospital in Istanbul. He passed away and was never able to inhale the scent of incense at Saint Kirakos again…May God shed light on his soul (written in Armenian-Akunq)

In the army, Daniel Koyunju of Sasun had greeted me like a king. He kept and protected me for three consecutive months. He was born and raised in Diyarbakir. He had also inhaled the scent of incense at St. Kirakos. He assumed the task of saving the church from ultimate destruction. His classmates held high positions. They also helped Daniel lead the efforts for the establishment of the fund of the St. Kirakos Church. The church was restored, and this was the happy ending. They built the same one in place of the destroyed belfry, and it had the same altitude. Even though they had special permission, the first Holy Mass was served in 40 years. There were Armenians from all parts of the world. The interior of that large church was so crowded that most of the people were standing in the churchyard. There was not even anywhere to stand in the yard. Daniel was very happy. After all these years, he smelled the scent of incense and had others smell it too at Saint Kirakos. We received bad news…Daniel’s heart had stopped functioning…He would no longer celebrate Easter and eat the chyoreks (pastry made for Easter, kulich-Akunq) made on Easter and the colorful eggs…May God shed light on his soul (written in Armenian-Akunq).

Suddenly, there was a storm. We heard the sounds of a tank and the strikes of a canon. The surrounding turned into a battlefield, and it was in the place where we Armenians had gathered 100 years later…when the coal underneath the soil had started burning again, it was buried under the soil again. Everything disappeared immediately. Entrance has been prohibited for almost three years. The entrance to and exit from the “district of gyavurs” are closed. Police stations have been opened. The “district of gyavurs” has been destroyed. Currently, there is no other structure besides a mosque and a church. Destruction of the remaining buildings continues.

During this period, meaning three consecutive years, I have tried to go to the “district of gyavurs” every Sunday with the hope of inhaling the scent of incense again. It is prohibited!

This Sunday, I couldn’t take it anymore. When I went to the back of the place where the church was located, I managed to enter through a hole dug into the wall of the small structure located in the yard of St. Kirakos. The altars restored with care were destroyed, and the chairs had been turned into a trench. The church was full of garbage that had been piled up by the people who had been staying there for months. There were nuts, pastries and boxes of conserves, dried fruits, a blanket and other items scattered across the floor…

However, the most horrible thing was that all the lead arches linking the columns of the church to each other had been stolen. The Patriarchal See had been taken to a small church. The walls had not been too damaged, but all the glasses of the windows were cracked.

The part of St. Kirakos that was designed for offerings had been robbed and burnt. It seems as though the bad luck of Gyulizar who “placed his father’s religion above his life” (referring to the Armenian Gyulizar of Mush, whose father was a clergyman. Gyulizar was kidnapped by a Kurdish man, but she refused to get married to a Muslim. They made great efforts to Islamize Gyulizar, but she would tell the Muslims the following: “I will never give up my father’s religion”. This story is also presented in a Kurdish song-Akunq) had returned and was being maintained. It was the unlucky Gyulizar standing in those ruins…

Three years later, a candle was lit in the church for the first time…Perhaps the light will disperse the darkness…I said a short prayer (“Free Future!”). Based at the foot of Mount Karaja, Tigranakert was built with black stones, just like its luck, the unlucky Saint Kirakos…!

Even the black cat sitting on the black, stone trough near the church evidenced that the bad luck would bring bad days…

Translated by Meline Anumyan from Turkish into Armenian

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