Thursday, October 27, 2005


Seventeen posts since I began this blog, and I still feel like I'm just getting my feet wet! Today is the 15th anniversary of enthronement of His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem. The staff of the Patriarchate honored him at a staff brunch, which was very pleasant and informal. I feel most fortunate to be have been a part of this appreciation for a personage of his stature. Laudatory words are hard to find in any language for his years of service to the Armenian Church and nation.

On my research activities, all I can say is that the more I do, the more I uncover, and the more difficult is reining in my curiosity and enthusiasm. But this is good. Now, if I could only add some pictures to this post, I would be satisfied.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


According to my daily journal, it has been 20 days since I left home. My days at the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem continue to be full to capacity. Each morning, after breakfast, I come to my office to continue research, fulfill assignments, and interact with the staff as a participant-observer. My phone and e-mail communication to home keeps me abreast of what is going on States-and-Armenia-side. Currently, I am working on shelving configurations for the Calouste Gulbenkian Library and the inventory of artifacts for the Mardigian Museum, all in the name of archival documentation.

The heading on this entry refers to a film which was shown here last Thursday evening. Eleven years ago, a group of hearty Armenians decided to construct a masted sailing ship, a replica of the kind that would have been used during the period of the Cilician kingdom (10th to 13th centuries). This ship would then be taken overland from Armenia to the port city of Poti, in Georgia, to begin its watery sojourn to the cities of the ancient Armenian kingdom. Fourteen adventurers, among them the writer Zori Balayan, faced all kinds of obstacles to live this legendary adventure. Two of the fourteen sailors are here in Jerusalem, and they shared this film, already in five parts, and the sixth to be produced. The program was held in the Seminary auditorium, which was packed. The audience was totally enthralled by the raw footage of this voyage on the high seas and became part of the adventure. You can always tell when an Armenian audience is impressed. They remain very quiet :-) and they were. His Beatitude spoke after the program and it was obvious he was very moved also. I would very much like for this program to be repeated in Los Angeles.

One thing I really like about being here is that it is very natural to maintain a disciplined life- and work-style. And so, on with my work on this sunny Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


It is now two weeks that I have arrived here, in the Holy City of Jerusalem. My days begin at the crack of dawn (credit is due to my biological clock), a breakfast in the refectory, followed by an early day at the office. We are preparing to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the enthronement of His Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the 96th Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, and to commemorate the 1600th anniversary of the creation of the Armenian alphabet. Religious leaders from the Christian communities of Jerusalem and the consul generals of the countries whose consulates are in Jerusalem have been invited. Of course, the members of the Armenian community will participate in these festivities.

Beside all of this, I am working hard trying to develop a problem statement for my dissertation. It is a challenge, but my advisor, Clara Chu is as close as my e-mail and continues to send me very sound advice. His Beatitude, with whom I meet every day, is my mentor and an excellent sounding board, who answers my questions with more questions. I feel that my days of learning from the best will never end.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I left Los Angeles on October 2 and arrived to my destination, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, on the morning of October 4. Here I am, for the 22nd time, at the St. James Monastery, within the walled Old City of Jerusalem, where I will spend the next two months, continuing my doctoral research and overseeing the on-going renovation/reorganization of the Calouste Gulbenkian Library. There is something indescribable about this place--the aura of a millennial presence that goes back to the days of the Apostles. And when it comes to the Armenian presence in the Holy City and the Holy Land, there is so much to say, it is not possible to write it all in one breath. For now I recommend that you visit the Armenian Patriarchate website: to learn more about this venerable institution and its history, as well as to become acquainted with the rich cultural patrimony housed within these walls.