Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages


We can safely say, if there were no Lazaryans and Nerses Ashtaraketsi, the Russian Armenians would still be buried in the Asian darkness for a very long time. Their schools were inviting us to life. Thanks to these schools a spring morning opened up on the darkness of the Armenian horizon. They were twins, they thought and acted alike. Their religion was the same, both followed the same path.” These are the words of the Armenian historian, publicist, professor Leo about the rich Lazarians in Moscow.

In the late Middle Ages there were many Armenian Aristocratic families in Russia. They received aristocratic titles. Rich Lazarians were one of these dynasties, engaged in silk mining and mining. At their expense, one of the largest Armenian and Oriental research and educational centers was founded in 1815. Armenian, Russians, Georgians and representatives of other nations studied here without discrimination on the basis of nationality and religion. In the first period of its foundation, the seminary was a private primary school and was called the Armenian Lazaryan (Ghazaryan) School. In parallel with the general educational subjects, students studied Armenian, Latin, Russian, French, German, Arabic, Turkish, Persian. The seminary had a super-goal - to train teachers for Armenian schools. Therefore, Armenian studies was the main focus and the main subjects were taught in Armenian. Not only did the Armenian classes excel here, but the teacher stuff, management, and students were mostly Armenian. Seminary graduates took two types of exams- professional and general. The latter was public, so that others could listen. 

Since 1841, the seminary has received an Oriental direction, training teachers, orientalists, diplomats. There was also a preparatory department. In 1841, a spiritual department was opened at the seminary, where the servants of the Armenian church were trained. 

Since 1858, students of the Lazarev Seminary initiated the opening of an amateur Theater, and Konstantin Stanislavsky, who was also a student of the seminary, personally participated in the performances. The Lazaryans made a great contribution to the development of the Russian theater. In 1872, the seminary opened the Department of Oriental Languages as a high university education. Although the seminary already had the status of a university, it was still called Lazarev Seminary.

Well-known Armenians- Mkrtich Emin, Grigor Khalatyan, Karapet and Hovsep Lusikyan, Karo Melik-Ohanjanyan, Tsolak Khanzadyan, Poghos Makintsyan, Raphael Patkanyan, Vahan Teryan, Smbat Shahaziz,Vardges Surenyants, Yeghishe Tadevosyan, from Russians- Ivan Turgenev, Lev Tolstoy, Yuri Veselovsky, Konstantin Stanislavsky, Mikhail Glinka, Ruben Simonov studied here. Mikael Nalbandyan, Smbat Shahaziz, Harutyun Alamdaryan and others taught at the seminary. 

The seminary had its printing house, where hundreds of textbooks, books, and studies were published in 13 languages,and the library had more than 40.000 books. Later it moved to Yerevan and is now located in the National Library. 

In 1921, the Lazarev Seminary was reorganised into the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, and in the building, which had surrendered its property to Armenia, began to operate the House of Cultureof Armenia. 

Currently, the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in the Russian Federation is located in the seminary building.