Vardanants Day Lecture at U.S. Library of Congress to Mark 25th Anniversary of the Armenian Republic

Christina Maranci will deliver the 20th Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 21 in the Northeast Pavilion of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, located at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Titled “A World Monument: Zvart’nots’, Armenia, and the Wars of the Seventh Century,” Maranci’s lecture will focus on the iconic church of Zvartnots. Though it lies in ruins, the church has long been of interest to those who study the Armenian and Byzantine architecture of the era.

Maranci is the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara T. Oztemel Associate Professor of Armenian Art at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. In her recently published book, “Vigilant Powers: Three Churches of Early Medieval Armenia,” Maranci set the construction of Zvartnots and the churches of Mren and Ptghni within the context of the first Arab invasions into Armenia and the resulting cultural and political changes of the time.

This year’s Vardanants Day Lecture—the 20th in the series— will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union on Sept. 21, 1991, and the birth of the Republic of Armenia. The lecture is also dedicated to Mrs. Marjorie Dadian, who made a generous gift to the Library of Congress in 1991 in her husband Arthur’s name for the conservation and expansion of the Library’s Armenian collections. This led to the growth of that collection, the appointment of the Library’s first Armenian specialist and programs such as the Vardanants Lecture series.

The Vardanants Day lecture series is sponsored by the Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division. It is named after the Armenian holiday that commemorates the battle of Avarayr (451 A.D.), which was waged by the Armenian General Vardan Mamikonian and his compatriots against invading Persian troops who were attempting to reimpose Zoroastrianism on the Christian state. As a religious holiday, it celebrates the Armenians’ triumph over forces of assimilation.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both onsite and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

Dr. Levon Avdoyan Presents New E-Book on 500 Years of Armenian Literary Tradition at the 2015 National Book Festival

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On Saturday,
September 5, Dr. Levon Avdoyan, Armenian & Georgian Area Specialist of the
Library of Congress, presented a new e-book as part of the 2015 Library of
Congress National Book Festival
. The e-book, entitled “To Know Wisdom and
Instruction,” contains 75 color images highlighting the varieties of the
Armenian literary tradition from the era of manuscripts through the early
periods of print and on to contemporary publishing.

“Dr. Avdoyan
continues to expand public access to the many riches of the Library of Congress
Armenian collection, which is a veritable treasure house of historic artifacts
including manuscripts, rare maps, recordings, and a wide range of Armenian
publications from around the world both old and new,” stated Dr. Rouben
Adalian, director of the Armenian National Institute who attended the
presentation. “I applaud him for sharing again with new audiences all this
information at the Library of Congress Pavilion during the National Book
Festival which has become a major cultural event in Washington, D.C.” Adalian
said.

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Featured
manuscripts range from 14th- and 15th-century gospel books hand-copied by monks
to 19th-century works on palmistry (Constantinople, 1894), firefighting
(Venice, 1832), cotton production (Paris, 1859) and the first modern Armenian
novel, “Armenia’s Wounds,” by K. Abovyan (1848). The first complete Armenian
language printed Bible from Amsterdam in 1666 is also included, with a richly
illuminated missal copied in 1722 for the use of the celebrant of the Armenian
liturgy. With these comes a rare 19th-century musical manuscript by Pietro
Bianchini, who was the first to transcribe the Armenian liturgy using European
musical notation. A 20th-century Soviet edition of the Armenian national epic,
“David of Sasun,” (1962) is one of the more contemporary items included in the
collection.

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In 2012, the
Library of Congress marked the quincentenary of this milestone with an
exhibition titled “To Know Wisdom and Instruction: The Armenian Literary Tradition
at the Library of Congress” with a companion volume compiled by Dr. Avdoyan.
This volume is now available as an interactive e-book (through the Armenian
eBook Initiative from the iBookstore).

The
Library’s exhibition, “To Know Wisdom and Instruction,” can be viewed online at
www.loc.gov/exhibits/armenian-literary-tradition/.

The
Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division (www.loc.gov/rr/amed/) is the center for
the study of 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and
from the Middle East and the Caucasus to Central Asia. The division’s Near East
Section is a major repository for Armenian language materials on a wide variety
of subjects in varied formats.

Founded in
1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s first-established federal
cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and
to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge
through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions.
Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.

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