“Back to the Source(s)” is the Zohrab Information Center’s weekly contribution to VEMKAR. Its goal is to point interested readers to sources such as books, articles, art pieces, or collections that will allow them to go deeper into the Armenian spiritual and intellectual tradition. Every week, “Back to the Source(s)” will provide details about how and where to find those sources—especially those available at the Zohrab Information Center and that can be found on its online catalogue.

Each of the sources listed in the articles are active hyperlinks to somewhere you can find that source—usually the Zohrab Information Center’s Catalogue. You can find the catalogue and read about all our other programs at our website: zohrabcenter.org

The Zohrab Information Center is an Armenian Studies Center and Library in the heart of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. It is open during business hours Monday-Friday.

ZIC Director, Christopher Sheklian, PhD

Relics and Reliquaries of the Armenian Apostolic Church

On Saturday the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates one of the three feasts related to St. Gregory the Enlightener, who converted King Drtad and hence Armenia to Christianity and who was the first Catholicos of all Armenians. This particular feast commemorates …

Lessons in Social Justice from St. Nersess the Great

Catholicos Nersess I, known as St. Nersess the Great, lived in the fourth century and was Catholicos from 353-373. He clearly would not have used the language of “social justice,” today a phrase meant to invoke wide-ranging demands for a …

The Women at the Source of Armenian Christianity

St. Hripsime (Հռիփսիմէ), in her struggle with King Drtad (Տրդատ, also spelled Trdat) before his conversion to Christianity, was “strengthened by the Holy Spirit” and “struggled like a beast.” Drtad was known for his martial prowess and strength: the historian …

Feast and Fast: Further Information on the Armenian Liturgical Calendar

From the perspective of the liturgical calendar, this week could very well be one of the strangest of the year. As we have discussed before, the temporality of the Armenian Apostolic Church emerges from the quality of different “kinds” of …

The Armenian Church in the First Republic: Catholicos Kevork V

This Thursday, May 28, marks the 102nd anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia. After a series of military victories known as the Heroic Battles of May, the most famous of which is the Battle of Sardarabad which we discussed …

Catholicos Karekin Hovsepian and the Battle of Sardarabad

Զանգեր ղողանջեք,                                          Bells, Ring out! Սրբազան քաջերին կանչեք.                  Call the Pure and …

Michael Arlen and Armenian Diasporic Literature

Early in Michael J. Arlen’s revered memoir Passage to Ararat, the author makes a visit to the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York City. “Out of the blue,” he tells us, “I was asked by an Armenian group in …

Ghevont Alishan and Mkhitarist Scholarship

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, there was a significant Armenian Catholic population in the Ottoman Empire and beyond. While the Armenian Apostolic Church had intermittent contact with the Roman Catholic Church since at least the period of the …

Khrimian Hayrig and the Pre-Genocide Armenian Church

Few figures loom larger in the ecclesial history of the nineteenth century Armenian Church than the man known affectionately as Khrimian Hayrig. Hayrig, a diminutive form of the Armenian word for father, captures the love and respect nearly universally felt …

The Haysumavurk (Synaxarion) and Lives of the Martyrs

“On this day…” begins most entries in one of the most remarkable and yet under-utilized liturgical books of the Armenian Apostolic Church. So ubiquitous is this little phrase that the book itself is known in Armenian as the Յայսմաւուրք/Haysumavurk, which …

Catalogues of Armenian Manuscripts

Bishop Drtad Balian was the Bishop of Caesarea/Gesaria/Կեսարիա (modern-day Kayseri in Turkey) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Living during the time of famous hierarchs like Khrimian Hayrig and Malachia Ormanian (the author of the monumental ecclesial-national history …

Liturgical Books of the Armenian Church

Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter Sunday, is the fullest week of liturgy in the Armenian Apostolic Church. Services commemorate the events of the Gospel and the Life of Christ that are the culmination of His earthly ministry: …

Online (Re)Sources

This week, as the world continues to “shelter in place” to fight against the pandemic of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, we will take the opportunity to present some of the online resources where you can go “back to …

Enlightenment and Awakening

Զարթիք նոր ժողովուրդք նոր երգս առեալ նորոգողին ալէլուիա։ Zartik nor joghovurtk nor yerks aryal norokoghin, Alleluia! Arise, new people! And sing a new song to Him who makes all things new. Alleluia!             St. Nersess Shnorhali (Սուրբ Ներսէս Շնորհալի), one …

Sources of Armenian Law

Law and Christianity have a complicated relationship. This has been true beginning with Jesus Christ’s own statements in the Gospels. Perhaps most famously, Christ declares in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the …

“The Missing Pages” and Other Stories of Stewardship

Visiting the Getty Museum in Los Angeles or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York—or any of the world’s great and large museums—can be an overwhelming experience. Wandering through these vast and comprehensive collections, it isn’t clear where to …

The Holy Desert Fathers and Monasticism

Saint Clement and Armenian Connections to Rome

Apocrypha and Tradition

Our Sister Churches as Source and Strength

Angels and the Word of God

St. John Chrysostom

Christian Antioch and Edessa and the Sources of Armenian Christianity

Dionysius the Areopagite and Armenian Mystagogy 

Who is David the Invincible Philosopher?

Early Armenian Encounters with Islam

Varak and Vaspurakan

Khachkars, Coins, and Unusual Sources

Armenian Jerusalem

Khatchveratz and the Armenian Connection to Jerusalem