In Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide 1915

In Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide 1915
New York, 1981

Cathedral of Ani, 1980

Cathedral of Ani, 1980

Loss of architectural development

Architecture can be considered the most important artform among Armenian creations since so much wealth, energy and talent was poured into this endeavor. Armenian architects were counted with the best among their contemporary colleagues in the area. They were inventive, creative, innovative and masterful, and thus their fame had spread to neighboring lands. Often they would be called upon to perform most difficult architectural feats in foreign cities. For example, architect Dirtad was invited to rebuild the fallen dome of Constantionple’s Saint Sophia Cathedral in the tenth century. The new dome still stands to this day.

Horomos Monastery

Horomos Monastery

They built untiringly and they built as if to last forever. Master architects and skilled workers were abundant in every period of history. Among the best known architects are Daniel, Dertad, Manuel, Israel, Sarkis, Samehan, Hagop, Siranes, Shahig, Shirin, Nekamad, Mekhitar Hyoosn, Frer Garnet-si, the Balian Family, and Sarkis the Builder. The well known builder, Sinan, is also thought to be Armenian. King Gagik was a land surveyor. A curious feature of the structures they erected is their resistance to seismic disturbances. Armenian structures have shown an amazing durability against earthquakes. Not much is known about ancient techniques in this area but a short story may give us a clue.

In turn-of-the-century Dikranagerd lived David the Builder, a locally famous but otherwise obscure architect. Upon request, he erects an ornate bell tower for the local St. Giragos church, without being aware that his tower turns out to be higher than the surrounding minarets. During the Genocide Turks attack the church and proceed to demolish the bell tower. The stone structure resists their every effort, not one block of stone can they remove. In desperation they summon David and offer to spare his life if he would demolish the tower himself. David agrees and levels the tower without incident. It is then that the Turks discover “the secret of the belltower.” David had a hole drilled trough and, as the blocks were being laid in place, passed a heavy steel rope through them from the ground to the pinnacle. This turned the tower into a monolithic mass, which gave it good wind resistance as well as making it earthquakeproof.

Armenian architecture has undergone significant changes in form and style in successive periods, but much less than the transformations in progressive western architecture. Armenian architects have always implemented their evolution long before the start of various architectural styles in Europe. For example, Romanesque architecture, which bridged the Roman and Gothic styles in Italy and Western Europe, had as its model and prototype the Armenian Cathedral of St. Ripsime built in the fourth century. Another example is the Cathedral of Ani which served as the model and prototype of the Gothic style, centuries after it was built. A visual comparison between St. Ripsime and the Cathedral of Pisa in Italy shows surprising similarities of plan and features. Likewise, a comparison of Cathedral of Ani with the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris discloses amazing similarities, especially when — in an imaginary way— we visually eliminate the two immense belltowers over the main entrance. We can thus conclude that Armenian architecture has made two fundamental contributions to the West: evolution from the flat roof to the conical dome which later evolved into the spherical dome; and the introduction of the compound column and the pointed arch which later characterized the Gothic style.
Today, these and a thousand other jewels of architecture lie in ruin under Turkish rule, forsaken and unkept. Some of them are beyond repair but a few still stand as if defying the neglect. Natural causes and simply time will topple them too. It will be great loss, to say the least, if the present indifference toward their preservation continues. The Genocide wiped out the Armenian presence from the land, their edifices continue or remain unattended and doomed to destruction. Some day Armenians will build new ones, but soon these silent witnesses to Western architectural evolution of some fifteen centuries will be lost forever.
The Armenian is helpless to save them, how about you?

Loss of monasteries

The existence of Armenian, abbeys, monasteries, monastic complexes and nunneries dates back to very early Christian times. They were so numerous and widespread especially in the fourth century (AD) that King Bab found it necessary to decree the limiting of their number. Through the centuries, however, an involuntary process of elimination and consolidation took place, mostly due to foreign invasions and attacks. Nunneres were closed and monasteries discontinued in regions overrun by hostile tribes or races. In 1914 slightly less than 200 such centers were still standing or functioning across the Armenian countryside.

These institutions served as book repositories, teachers colleges, seminaries, printing/publishing houses, workshops for manuscript artists and musicologists, and generally as centers of religious and cultural activity with all its variations. Most contained extremely rich and invaluable religious and secular antiquities, such as manuscripts, holy relics of saints, gold and silver chalices, crosses, crowns, staffs, holy oil flasks, robes and vestments. They also owned and preserved valuable antique rugs, ancient vestments, altar curtains, paintings, icons, engravings, carvings, statuary, as well as sundry perishable works of Armenian art. Their yards were filled with ornate tombs of royalty and nobility.

All of them were endowed with extensive popular donations of farming fields, land and real estate, and animals. For example, Suniats Kudah Vank, founded in the fourth century AD, had — in modern times 1,000 head of cattle, 12,000 sheep, 700 camels, 600 horses and 400 load donkeys. Their fields were cultivated by 170 hired farmers. Similar extensive holdings were accumulated by other major monastic complexes such as the Suniats Seminary, Aghtamar, Varak, Sanahin, Haghpad, Nareg, Gamirtchatsor, Syav Leran, Sis, Hromgla, Amrdol, Armash and Garmir Vank monasteries.

An expansive region in southeastern Armenia had become a theater of war during the two-century conflict between the Persian and the Ottoman Empires in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In this period a great number of monastic complexes were looted, burned and demolished by advancing or retreating armies. Later, between 1880 and 1908, more than 200 of these complexes were also destroyed. The total number of the monasteries lost in the last four centuries can be estimated at 1,000 complexes. At the beginning of World War I, out of some 200 remaining monasteries, about 70 were vacant and in half ruin, 50 were reduced to modest abbeys being divested of their ancient glory. The remaining 100 (est.) monasteries and complexes presented an active, affluent and healthy picture. Most had multiple buildings, churches and chapels within their enclaves and were enclosed by strong and secure protective walls against marauders or invaders.

Today not a single one within Turkish borders stands intact. They are desolate and in ruins, abandoned to the forces of nature and to the mercy of the hostile population surrounding them.

Ani - The Convent of Kusanatz Vank

Ani – The Convent of Kusanatz Vank

Loss of ancient manuscripts

Their manuscripts, too, have shared the sad fate of the Armenians. Much like human beings, they, too, have been placed in bondage, sold, buried, burned or taken into exile. In spite of these odds, a large number of them was still in the possession of Armenian institutions in Turkey until the end of the century. Their destruction started in 1896 and was completed in less than three decades. Turkish barbarism during this period not only destroyed valuable Armenian creations, it also destroyed irreplaceable remnants of classical Greek and Assyrian literature.

Information is spotty about the extent of this loss. Mostly partial listings of these works have survived. The Red Monastery near Ankara listed 323 manuscripts, Armash 223, Ardznian School of Erzurum 62. All of these cannot be accounted for. In addition, of the 284 pieces kept at St. Nishan Monastery in Sebastia, only 117 have survived. Seven hundred manuscripts known to exist in the region of Gesaria can not be accounted for. Several thousand were lost in the regions of Van, Cilicia, Western Armenia and elsewhere. It is known that King Hetoum’s royal Bible, handwritten and illustrated on deer skin, was kept at the Church of the Holy Virgin in Hadjin.

Finally, what was the fate of this rich, country-wide collection? We can be certain that some are still in their hiding places unbeknown to the Turks. Most were left to decay or willfully destroyed. The remnants —wherever found— still provide monetary gain, to this day, to third-generation looters.

Loss of musical development

Music has been an important part of Armenian life through the ages. Secular music is known to date back about 2500 years, solely vocal and non-instrumental in its beginnings. Very little is known about pagan ceremonial music, though it is thought to have existed as far back as the secular. It is thought, that in both varieties, tunes and verses were created by the people and the clergy, as there are no records of pre-Christian known composers. Beginning with the sixth century oriental variations were intoduced into Armenian music, mostly through the influence of the neighboring peoples. Generally, they consisted of lengthening the verse-syllables through moderate use of quarter-tones. This new form gave Armenian music — sacred and secular— its present national character. At some undetermined period in the past, Armenians devised their own unique way of writing music with symbols called khaz. Some samples of these musical notations have reached our times but musicologists have not yet been able to decipher them.

In parallel with folk-created song and music, Armenian ashooghs and koosans were another source of musical creativity until very recently. These artists could be called the counterpart of Greek minstrels or French troubadors. They were considered chroniclers as well as musicians, keeping alive the legends and traditions of the people. Their song, mostly accompanied with an instrument, was transmitted by rote, narrating love and gallantry. These men were held in high esteem throughout Armenia and its neighboring countries. Their popularity flourished in the fifteenth century and continued for four hundred years. The greatest and most famous Armenian ashoogh was Sayat Nova (1712-1795) whose music is still popular today.

At the turn of{ the century Armenian music experienced an extensive revival, resulting from the labors of men like Kara-Mourza, Ekmalian and Gomidas, to cite a few. They not only created and composed, but arranged existing folk tunes into four-part choral works with impressive results. In the latter field, Gomidas, a young Armenian monk, deserves the most credit. He arranged simple folk songs into harmony, raising them to the level of concert music; he organized choral groups in many cities and trained them to concertize his unique arrangements of the folk tunes he had gathered from the common peasantry while touring the Armenian countryside. Music spread throughout Armenia, concert halls were filled to capacity, popular interest toward Armenian music in its characteristic form was aroused everywhere.
This was the musical panorama in 1915 with Gomidas in his most productive years, when deportations and massacres were inflicted upon the Armenians. Gomidas, together with some two hundred of the best minds of Armenia, was arrested and deported without a formal charge. Although he was not put to death, — as the rest were— when he was finally released it was obvious his fragile and artistic mind had buckled under the atrocities he had witnessed. He died in a French sanatorium 20 years later, totally unproductive and utterly insane.

Thus, the short-lived musical revival expired with the Genocide. With Gomidas mentally crippled, new creations ceased. The uprooted survivors had lost their desire to sing and their inspiration to create. In the following decades a handful of Gomidas’ students did their best to perpetuate his music in the Diaspora but could not induce the same popular enthusiasm.

Loss of history inscribed on stone, ancient articles and objects

The greatest loss to Armenian historical records has occurred in this area. Churches, monastic complexes, fountains, and myriads of other structures were adorned with decorative carved blocks of stone inscribed in Armenian with events and occurrences past and contemporary. These tablets, khatchkars, panels, ornaments contained irreplaceable information on the history of the people and its art. These inscriptions have been closed to the Armenians for study and publication for the past sixty-seven years. During the courses of the 1915 Genocide most of the structures bearing these inscriptions were deliberately demolished and their tablets destroyed. For example, in Moush, two monastic complexes —St. James and Apostolic— (Sourb Garabed and Arakelotz) were physically levelled to the ground by Turkish mobs, who then carried off their slabs for use elsewhere. Thousands of others were abandoned to the ravages of nature and to the mercy of primitive inhabitants in the immediate area. Even less than ten years ago, Khtsgonk — a monastic complex south of the ruined city of Ani — was blown up with explosives, according to reports. There are still a considerable number of them available for study, but the Turkish government does not permit their investigation, let alone their preservation.

The destruction of record-bearing articles and objects also constitutes a great loss to the history of Armenian art. In the possession of thousands of churches, monasteries and well-to-do-families across Armenia were countless objects, vestments, religious and lay articles —old and new— that bore valuable records and history of people, events, disasters, invasions, achievements and occurrences. These were vital records for Armenians depicting their history and their culture.

During the Genocide these articles were confiscated by the Turkish government and later auctioned-off to their populace. The buyers were totally oblivious to their historic value and only interested in their gold and silver. Some of these have found their way into foreign museums and similar collections. But most of them were melted down or disassembled, being destroyed their inscriptions in the process. According to reports, to this day Turkish mobs occasionally excavate the sites of ancient Armenian ruins with the hope of finding secret underground treasure vaults. For example, St. James (Sourp Garabed) in Moush had three such vaults, two of which have been discovered and emptied out of their contents.

Loss of civil and archival records

A great number of Armenian documents — kept everywhere — were also the victims of the Genocide. They consisted of administrative records, archival material, listings of families and their members, records of events, administrative correspondence, deeds, decrees, records of baptisms, weddings, funerals and burials, as well as general information about the populace.

However insignificant these records may seem, they were a vital register for the study of Armenian history and culture, reflecting the national, religious, cultural, public and political activities of the masses. Their total destruction is another phase of the premeditated intent of wiping out all traces of Armenian presence in Turkey. By chance, a few morsels of these documents have survived. For example, a collection of documents, encyclicals and records of popular information covering the period between the mid-fifteenth and eighteenth centuries was preserved in the cathedral of Goudina (Kutahya) until their destruction in 1922. Luckily, Bishop Mangouni, the primate, had made copies and had sent them abroad. These copies have survived.

Armenians had over 1800 churches and more than 200 monasteries on their land, most of which kept records and documents, ancient and contemporary. We can add to these the records of countless cultural, social, educational, charitable, political and other institutions, and only then can we comprehend the enormity of the loss.

Loss of printing and publishing institutions

The principal means of disseminating knowledge throughout Armenia has been the Armenian press. It is an ancient art and the first work published in printed Armenian dates back to 1512. The restrictive attitude of Ottoman Turkey encouraged this activity to flourish first in Europe, Russia, Holland, etc. As a result, the 1915 Genocide did not reduce this endeavor to total extinction. Its loss within Turkey, however, was enormous and irreparable. Prior to World War I a great number of printing facilities were alive and active in Turkish Armenia, printing and publishing not only books and textbooks, but newspapers, periodicals and magazines as well. Istanbul had 15 large printing and publishing houses. Smyrna, whose first printing press had been established in 1676, was publishing scores of translations from European classics as well as significant literary periodicals at the turn of the century. Adana had five printing houses, Mersin had one, Aintab had two, Tarsus and Dortyol published their own newspapers. Yeprad College published textbooks and a bimonthly paper on its small press. Van had founded a publishing facility in 1857 and subsequently several others joined its ranks turning it into and extensive industry.

There were printing presses in Erzurum, Sebastia, Edirne, Adabazar, Girason, Samson, Amasia, Marzovan and countless other cities, towns and hamlets.
The 1915 Genocide totally ended this widespread activity.

Inscribed Khatchkar

Inscribed Khatchkar

Loss of libraries and books

Across the width and breadth of Armenia there were countless centers of learning which also served as repositories for the written word. These madenatarans had been in existence since the Middle Ages and had often been the target of vandalistic foreign invaders during the stormy history of Armenia. Some of them, however, miraculously survived until 1915 when the destructive hand of the perpetrator wiped them all out. Among those destroyed were the madenatarans within the monasteries of Varak, Aghtamar, Sis, Lim, Gedouts, Ar-mash, Paghesh, St. James and Holy Apostles in Moush, St. Nishan in Sebastia, and the Museum of Ourfah. These repositories contained not only ancient manuscripts, they also preserved vast collections of rare and old books, most of which are lost today.

During the last two centuries many institutions of higher learning across Armenia had amassed rich collections of books in their own libraries. Yeprad College Library with its 8000 books was burned to the ground. Anatolia College Library owned 10,000 volumes, Aintab College Library boasted 7000 books, Sanasarian School Library in Erzurum had 6000 volumes and 94 illuminated manuscripts. We can add to these the countless other libraries of lesser capacity, whereby the overall loss can be estimated as one quarter million volumes. During and after the Genocide a great majority of these books were put to the torch and the remainder, old and rare, were plundered and sold to antique, seeking Europeans and Americans, museums and collectors. Even today, one may come across an ancient Armenian volume in a Paris, London or New York book shop, be it a prayer book or an inscribed Bible.

Loss of schools

Schools and centers of learning are very old institutions in Armenian life. In the early days teaching and learning was mostly incorporated with monastic activities and education was confined to a privileged class and the clergy. In the mid-nineteenth century a strong movement started toward popular education, resulting in the establishment of one-room country schools in almost every hamlet in the Armenian hinterland. Multi-story middle and high schools were also founded in most major cities. American and French missions as well had established high-quality learning centers in the heartland of Armenia. A thirst for knowledge had been aroused everywhere and children were attending these schools in great numbers. Literacy increased manyfold among the common people and education assumed an important place in the minds of the younger generations.

Among the institutions of higher learning were Yeprad College in Kharpert, Aintab College, Marzovan College, St. Paul College in Tarsus, Bardizag High School, Jena-nian School in Konia, and Sanasarian School in Garin.

The 1915 Genocide put an end to all educational activity in Armenia. Students were killed and exiled; teachers were subjected to the same treatment, School buildings were burned or destroyed. Yeprad College was burned to the ground, Sanasarian and Jena-nian schools were destroyed, while some of the others were turned into barracks or hospitals. One-room schools were demolished everywhere, their furniture was looted, and their libraries put to fire.
Today, not even the semblance of an Armenian school exists in historic Turkish Armenia.

Armenian Church of Bitlis, now a lumberyard

Armenian Church of Bitlis, now a lumberyard

Loss of the art of jewelry

Armenians have been goldsmiths and silversmiths ever since their early history. In different periods, cities like Dikranagerd, Sebastia, Gesaria, Adana, etc. have been known for their significant activity in this industry. In recent times the city of Van was considered the center of jewelry-making. The skill was passed on from generation to generation and a great number of families could boast more than a few generations of jewelry artists.

In the Ottoman capital of Constantinople an Armenian was often chosen as the official court jeweller. For example, several generations of the Doozian (Dooz) clan had been in jewelry making for two hundred years without interruption. Must of them were appointed as court jewellers. The best known member of this family, Mikael Dooz, is said to have been the most skillful court jeweller in the history of the Ottoman Empire. His creations for Sultan Mustafa III are a part of the Ottoman Treasury now preserved in the Topkapi Museum.

Some of the articles commonly manufactured by these artisans were: belt buckles, necklaces, earrings, belts, bracelets, handbags, candlesticks, crosses, chalices, sacred book covers, crowns for the clergy, etc. All of these were made of molded, drawn or hammered gold and silver or carved ivory. The deportation and dispersion of the artisans during the Genocide dealt a severe blow to the Armenian art of jewelry.

Silver belt buckle

Silver belt buckle

Akhtamar - Eastern Facade, detail of Adam

Akhtamar – Eastern Facade, detail of Adam

Loss of the art of sculpture

Sculpture is a prominent art form among Armenians. Its beginnings go back to the depths of the pre-Christian era. Pagan temples dotted the landscape for at least two millennia, and in each one was placed one or more impressive statues of the deities they worshipped. It is sad that both the temples and their contents were deliberately and utterly destoryed by our first over zealous Christian forefathers. Samples and remains are scarce.

Christianity somewhat preserved this art form but not with the same enthusiasm. Pagan sculpture was replaced with ecclesiastic statuary, ornate tombstones, reliefs, etc. Statues of kings and royalty were prevalent in the 11th – 13th centuries. Due to the destruction caused by hostile armies very few samples of this art form have survived. During the last 500 years, Armenian sculptors have produced life size statues and busts of prominent personalities as well religious figures and the clergy. After the Genocide this art form almost ceased to exist. The artists were either killed or so impoverished they could not practice their craft. Only in the last few decades do we observe a faint vitality in sculpting, certainly in Soviet Armenia and here and there in the Diaspora.

Loss of the art of ceramics

The manufacture of ceramic tiles and pottery is an ancient art practiced by Armenians long before the Middle Ages. It is believed that accomplished Armenian potters and artisans were forced to emigrate from Persia sometime during the 13th century, to live and work in the Ottoman Empire. Tile and pottery making in Isnik and Kutahya is attributed to them. They produced the most splendid tiles still covering the inner surfaces of well known Turkish palaces, mosques, tombs, baths, etc.
Armenian ceramic factories in Kutahya date back to the early 1400′s, Isnik 1500′s and the Turkish factory at Tekfur Saray (Istanbul was founded in 1724. Of these three varieties, Kutahya tiles are the most colorful and long-lasting. The earliest tiles are found in the town itself covering the tomb of Yakub II who died in 1428 AD. Tiles and pottery with Armenian inscriptions begin to appear in the 15th century, establishing the art as definitely Armenian.

The average Kutahya tile is about four inches square, molded and baked of white clay, painted and glazed with borax. All ingredients, including timber for firing, were abundant in the region. The dyes used for the color cobolt blue, turquoise, red, green and black were used on the same piece. Tiles were used to decorate not only the most significant Moslem edifices but also adorned the interiors of Armenian churches and monasteries. A partial listing of these are the monastery in Efkere and St. Nishan in Sapasdia, church of the Holy Virgin in Kutahya, St. Gregory in Gesaria, At. Garabed monastery in Muncusun, churches St. Theodore and St. Stephen in Talas. St. Mary’s Church in Tomarza, St. Gregory the Illuminator church in Istanbul, Armenian church in Tekirdagh.

Armenian potters in Kutahya and Isnik produced a great variety of earthenware for centuries. Most of their products are in Western museums and private collections, today. They made innumerable bottles, bowls, flasks, ewers, jugs, cups, saucers, plates, dishes, lemon-squeezers, vases, incense-burners, altar lanterns, egg-shaped memorial ornaments, etc.

The Genocide of 1915 totally terminated this Armenian industry although the Kutahya Armenians were not deported through the generosity of their liberal minded governor Ali Haik Bey. The last ceramics plant owner Haji Minassian was replaced by Mahnet Bey after Armenians departed.

The loss of cemeteries

Throughout Armenia there was an age-old cemetery everywhere and Armenian presence of any size existed. Thus, the entire countryside was dotted with cemeteries bearing witness to the Armenian presence and its long history on the land. Until recent times the graves were marked with intricately carved and inscribed tombstones known as khatchkar’s. Later these gave way to simpler headstones engraved with the names and dates of the deceased. People piously revered their dead visiting them at least seven times a year and caring for the cemeteries with deep dedication. The day after each major Holy Day was dedicated to “merolotz”, a memorial day for visiting departed dear ones, and people would flock to the cemeteries in droves to pray and have the graves blessed by priests.

The Genocide and Deportations of 1915 abruptly separated the people from their cemeteries. The survivors no longer had access to their ancestry of so many generations. They were cut-off from their roots. It would soon be realized that the successors to the Ottoman Empire would implement a program of eradicating all signs of Armenian presence from historic Armenia. As part of that program the destruction and disappearance of cemeteries too, was carefully carried out. No tell-tale graves were left anywhere and no inscribed headstones were spared to tell the story of Armenia.

A recent example of this destruction is the experience of an Armenian-American who visited her Mother’s birthplace, a remote village near Amasya, with the hope of finding their ancestral home. Her inquiries about the family name and the household proved fruitless and in desparation she asked to be shown the Armenian cemetery where she could possibly find their inscribed family grave. She was told that the cemetery was at the village railroad station. She went there, puzzled, only to find that the station was paved with headstones brought from the Armenian cemetery and placed upside down.

Kutahya ceramic plate

Kutahya ceramic plate

Loss of the art of embroidery and lacemaking

A widespread household industry as well as commercial production, of embroidering, lacemaking and silk and gold threading had flourished throughout Armenia for long centuries. At home, young girls and women were trained to create such works with elaborate design using dyed wool cotton, silk and gold thread. They would produce intricate garments and apparel for personal use as well as vestments for the clergy. Formal dresses and jackets were always generously garnished and edged with hand made lacework. Sloppers were embroidered with silk or cotton. Female underware in every hope chest would be laced or embroidered. Utility cloths for the household, such as sheets, pillowcases, table, bureau, chest covers, table and tray covers, would be hand embroidered and edged with lace.

Every church and chapel usually possessed several sets of vestments for its clergy. Priests’ robes, collars, mantles, aprons, crowns were richly decorated with gold and silk thread woven into velvet cloth. Choristers’ gowns were garnished with silver thread. Every altar was covered with embroidered cloth made and donated by skilled ladies. Kerchiefs for holding bibles, crosses, chalices, etc. were also laced and embroidered. Religious designs and tassle work were woven with silk, silver or gold thread into alter curtains, tie-ropes and valences. The extent of these products indicates a widespread industry throughout Armenia. The Genocide of 1915 all but terminated this industry as well.

… of 1915 at the height of Armenian literary activity.

The great Armenian epic,
that’s what I was working on.
And when I would read segments
to my students, their eyes would fill
with the deep secrets of their past.
It was like owning a huge gem
We alone knew about. I polished it
in a secret room. When the Turks
hauled me out in April, to my death,
they found the stone, still rough,
and tossed it into the great fire.

Varoujan

My greatest rhythms rolled out
when I spoke, resurrecting my people’s
hopes. I told them to build muscle
and break ropes. And when I wrote
I heard Narek’s breath in my poems.
Narek set the pace. For centuiries
no one else, yet so many children
do not claim their inheritance,
forbidden to learn their letters,
Some wear poems like talismans, waiting
to learn. I praise the words
that link us stronger than chains.

Siamanto

Older than one, the same age as the other,
I outlived both only because I was in Jerusalem when the great crime
came.
Brothers, I write every day now Honing, honing,
I rewrite and reshape. Poems have become my wife and
children.
Editorials are my letters home but to no address that I own,
I write out the burden of having lived the terrible burden of having survived.

Tekeyan

Transl. Diana Der Hovanessian

St. Bartoghimeos, Bashkale

St. Bartoghimeos, Bashkale

Orphanage, 1922

Orphanage, 1922

Khdsgonk Monastery, 1905

Khdsgonk Monastery, 1905

Khdsgonk Monastery, 1980

Khdsgonk Monastery, 1980

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