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Reflections on Armenia and the Christian Orient. Studies in Honour of Vrej Nersessian


Librarian among scholars Scholar among Librarians.

This volume is dedicated to the Reverend Dr Nerses Vrej Nersessian, international authority on the Christian Middle East and former curator of the Christian Middle East section at the British Library for more than thirty years. He is Archpriest of the Armenian Church in London as well as a colleague, mentor and close friend of so many. His career and upbringing as an academic, churchman and family man spans India, the Middle East and England.

During his long years as a curator, by vigorous, relentless effort not only did he succeed in putting a strong new focus onto the study of the cultures of the Christian Orient, but also made his department a focal point for international scholars. He curated exhibitions of huge popular success at the British Library, including the unique ‘The Christian Orient’ (1978) and ‘Treasures from the Ark’ (2001). From the beginning, when he joined the British Library in 1975, rst as a curator of the Armenian manuscripts and brie y afterwards, as the curator of the Christian Middle East section, his focus was ‘to see the treasures of the collections represented in international exhibitions’:

‘I made sure that every exhibition would take note of the library’s collection and make sure that it was represented. I facilitated, selected, wrote the captions, couriered the loans to the exhibitions and returned them. There was no longer any room for institutions to plead ignorance or lack of expert support. My greatest contribution was to open the collections of the Christian Orient to the wider world.’ (Vrej Nersessian).

This volume is by way of a Festschrift for his seventieth birthday and a celebration of his unique career. During the preparation of this work, it quickly became obvious that an interview would be a useful tool for helping us to become acquainted with the thinking and personal history of Vrej Nersessian and to hear his views on crucial problems concerning the academic world’s stance towards Christian Orient Studies, as well as on some of the problems Armenia is facing today. His voice shines through the interview pages. 

Among contributors are famous specialists on the area: Ewa Balicka-Witakowska, Robert Phenix, Sebastian P. Brock , Robert W. Thomson, Azat Bozoyan, Raymond H. Kévorkian  and others, who present their new scientific findings specially in honor of Vrej Nersessian. One can see full list of contributors and their articles here:

The book is available from our website at the link









Why You Should Study Music Theory


Music theory basically refers to the basic elements that make up music, which include melody, harmony, pitch, rhythm, texture, and structure. This is usually taught by first introducing the basics such as naming rhythmic values and how to write them. More complex concepts such as modes, chords, key signatures, and scales are taught in next levels. Identifying formal structures such as fugue, binary, and ternary forms are also part of a more advanced theory curriculum.

You may think that you don't really need to study all these things if you already know how to play an instrument, but an understanding of how music is put together can help you a lot as a musician. As a matter of fact, knowledge about the building blocks of music-the notes, scales, and chords-is what separates a true musician from someone who merely knows how to play an instrument or sing a song.

Benefits of Learning Theory

Composing your own songs will require you to read and write musical notes, which are all part of music theory. How else are you supposed to put on paper all those amazing ideas if you can't write them down by using the right symbols such as notes, flats, and sharps? Plus, a basic knowledge on melody and harmony is also important if you want to create your own music. After all, composing a song or piece means arranging notes and chords that will sound good together. So if you want to pursue a career in music, you must realize that basic understanding of theory is essential.

Knowing the basics will also help you appreciate music better. If you have a favorite song or piece, wouldn't you be a bit curious as to how the music was arranged? Whether your favorite musician is a classic legend or a contemporary artist, analyzing the structure of their musical creations will require a bit of theory.

Studying theory will also expose you to the different music genres and styles such as Classical, Romantic, and Baroque. This is very important since the foundation of Western music is greatly influenced by the works of geniuses such as Mozart (Classical), Johann Sebastian Bach (Baroque), and Ludwig Van Beethoven (Romantic).

Tips When Studying Theory Behind Music

Now studying how music is put together doesn't have to be a boring or difficult task. You just need to find yourself a good teacher and some reliable references that can help you understand the basic concepts. The kind of theory education that's best for you will ultimately depend on your goals. If you just want to learn how to play an instrument, sticking to the basics is enough. But if you want to become a professional musician, you need to have a more rigorous study plan.

Joining a class or having private lessons on music theory gives you a chance to work with a mentor who can easily answer your questions about difficult concepts. He or she can also incorporate activities, practice pieces, exercises, and games that can make the learning process fun and exciting. So, if you want to fully appreciate how music is created, start looking for programs with music theory in their curriculum today.

Joel Owen


Understanding The Power Of Reading Christian Books For A Successful Christian Life

How often do you read Christian books? The power of reading cannot be overemphasized and when you exercise that power in reading Christian stuff, your life gets better many times over than when you don't read them. Christian books are a life-support system for a victorious Christian life. This article helps you to understanding why reading Christian literature is vital for a successful Christian life.

Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come-and the books, especially the parchments - 2 Timothy 4:13 (NKJV)

and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation-as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you - 2 Peter 3:15 (NKJV).

When I was younger still in my parents' house, I noticed that my mum did the buying of the Christian books most of the time and my father did the reading of these books most of the time. My father handled anxiety far better than my mother; in fact she felt it was her duty to worry. When I became more matured in the Lord, having been reading Christian books, I concluded that if my mother read the books she was buying more, anxiety wouldn't have been a problem for her.

Christian literature from proven authors are like explanatory manuals for the bible. God is no more writing scriptures to be added to the existing bible, but He is writing books now. Just like the scriptures never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21), so also these Christian books are written by holy men and women that were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Paul, the apostle both read and wrote books. His books were so important to him that the ones he forgot at Troas, he had to ask Timothy to bring for him - 2 Timothy 4:13. And Peter obviously read books written by Paul too as 2 Peter 3:15-16 implies.

The books of the New Testament after the four gospels are books that give deeper understanding of the gospel of Christ. The authors wrote according to the revelations they got from the Holy Spirit. Even so now, Christian believers write according to the revelations they get from the Holy Spirit and they give deeper understanding of the gospel of Christ too.

Many times, while reading the scriptures, there are some scriptures that won't be very clear to you but when you hear a teacher teach on it, comparing scriptures with scriptures (rightly dividing the word of truth - 2 Timothy 2:15) and comparing spiritual things with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:13), as revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, your eyes of understanding become enlightened - Ephesians 1:17-18

There is power in reading Christian literature. I have always believed that it is wisdom to watch what you eat and drink as you get older even when you believe that God will satisfy you with long life (Psalm 91:1, 16). But I didn't have the strong will to work on it faithfully until I read in a book, "fulfilling your days" by David O Oyedepo, that long life is a product of wisdom and understanding. He used Proverbs 3:13-16 and Proverbs 4:7-10 to buttress this truth. The willingness to control what I drink and eat came on me after reading that.

These books given by inspiration of God, are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, so that a Christian may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work - 2 timothy 3:16-17.

Furthermore, God uses these inspired books to communicate revelations to millions. The author puts it down in a book, you read it and share with A and A shares it with B, B shares with C and chain continues down generations. This revelation remains long after the author is gone. This is in line with 2 Timothy 2:2, where Paul told Timothy, "The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

These Christian books carry answers to your questions, solutions to your problems and are guides to how to turn your tests to testimonies and your trials to triumph. So, if you have any challenge, get Christian books on that topic by proven authors, read them till your eye of understanding is enlightened. God, with the help of Holy Spirit will give you a solution through the books.

I heard a testimony of a woman in a wheel chair, who got her healing by reading a book on healing. While reading it, without taking note of what she was doing, she got up from the chair to do something, only to realize that she actually walked from her chair to the place where she needed to do something. Obviously, the book jacked her faith so high that she already saw herself walking with her two legs. Her spirit had soaked in this truth so much that her flesh had no choice but to obey it. That was the power of reading at work.

Also, in these Christian books you read the testimonies of people with issues related to your issue, you read of how God took care of their issues and your faith in God that He would do the same for you comes alive, and before long you are sharing your testimony too. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelations 19:10) which when you receive is fulfilled in your life too.

Again, like iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17), these Christian literature sharpen your spiritual life. You read of people on fire for God and you want to be on fire for God too. You read of how people are enjoying victory over the enemy and you are fired up to walk in the same victory. No inspired Christian stuff ever leaves you the same if you will open your heart and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you.

I have discovered from my own experience that a successful Christian life will be a struggle without these inspired books. Any time I go on break from reading them, my spiritual fire goes down. I may be reading the scriptures, getting revelations, walking right before God, but it is never the same compared to when I combine these with reading Christian books. So, I have resolved to read at least two or three pages a day, no matter how busy I may be, and often I succeed in reading many more pages at the end.

Now, you may wonder how to know the proven authors if you are a baby Christian or new to reading books. I will suggest how I started. I started off with my pastor and his mentors. At least, I have listened to my pastor, he teaches nothing but the word of God and his life style is exactly what he teaches; so, I was safe reading his and his mentors' books. Then when people I know who love God and are walking in obedience to Him talk about other authors who have imparted their lives, I also check those books too. In all, I behave like the Berean Christians (Acts 17:11), I check up what I read with scriptures and I open up to the Holy Spirit for His guidance too. Now, I can go to any book shop and with the help of the Holy Spirit buy books to read.

Truly, there is power in reading Christian books. A successful and victorious Christian life may end up being only a dream without them. God is not writing any new book of the bible but He is writing books today through inspired men and women. One book in relation to your challenge may be the key you need to come out of that predicament. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to the right book today and you will be the next to share your testimony.

Ngozi Nwoke

Inspired to Read


Reading is not an activity that many children are fond of. They prefer to participate in sports or find entertainment in the world of technology rather than to sit down and read. While many will argue that a measure of reading is done while they chat online or play various games, it doesn't help them to improve their reading skills.

Why is reading important? Reading helps the mind to develop. It stimulates the muscles of the eyes and sparks the imagination. It improves vocabulary and word power, and broadens horizons. It increases the IQ. Reading also stimulates emotional development, and cultivates sensitivity and empathy. It builds confidence and improves conversation. Moreover, it teaches moral values, entertains and relaxes.

Yes! Reading is fundamental. Teachers and parents need to realize how important their role is in motivating a love for reading. The custom of reading and the love of books must be established in childhood. If teachers and parents want children to succeed at school and in life, they should read to them aloud daily. They should also encourage the children to read aloud. If at first they are hesitant, the adult should read the articles to them. A child is never too young to listen. Even babies respond to the way the voice is used during reading. Parents who read to their children from a very young age will soon discover that the time spent together creates a special bond.

For some children and teenagers, reading is work because it is done mostly for school. Another reason why they may hate the idea is that they are struggling with reading. They become defensive and think the activity is stupid.

It is never too late to start reading. Children and teenagers can be encouraged to start reading short stories and magazine or newspaper articles of interest. Convincing them to read books may be more difficult, but help them to choose a good book. Give them an idea about the plot of the story. Make them excited to read the story.

Patience and a lot of encouragement are the keys to a teacher or parent's success, but if all else fails, encourage them to work towards a prize. Very little motivates and inspires the youth more than money and gifts. This can be done by initiating a reading group. While adults belong to reading groups, there are very few opportunities for children. Reading clubs or reading groups should encourage children to read and show an interest in books. These groups or clubs will allow them to listen to literature being read aloud. The children will have the opportunity to also give their opinion about the work as well as the author.

Teachers and parents can also help children to participate in World Book Day, also known as International Day of the Book, which is held annually on the 23rd of April. It is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading. Make April the month for reading. International Children's Book Day is also an annual event held in April. This event was founded in 1967 and observed on or around the 2nd of April, which is Hans Christian Andersen's birth date. On this day activities include reading, writing competitions and the announcement of book awards. Why not think of a way to give awards to the children in the reading club or group that you have started?

The important thing to remember in life is that you are not just developing a love for reading. You are developing a child. John Ruskin said, "The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it."

As children grow up, they become less keen to read. Reading is essential because it develops the mind and stimulates emotional development. Teachers and parents play an important role in motivating and encouraging children to read.

Karin Steyn

Nerses Lambronatsi "Commentary on twelve prophets" (facsimile edition)

People who love old books, specialists in Armenian language, Theology have an excellent chance to have the facsimile edition of a book written in 12th century, published in 1826 in Constantinople. The author, Nerses Lambronatsi (1153-1198) is the famous clergyman of the Armenian Church, who lived in the territory of Cilicean Armenia and played a notable role in the ecclesiastical life. He was one of the pioneers of unity of the Latin and Armenian and Greek Orthodox and Armenian Churches. Besides his treatment of Biblical text authentic for the Armenian Church, his standpoint is interesting also in this aspect of ecclesiastical unity. He relates the idea of unity of Churches to the idea of peace, as the commandment of Christ.

This edition is equipped with a foreword about Lambronatsi, his time and his heritage.

This edition of Lambronatsi's  important book is initiated by the Bible Society of Armenia with the aim to support the research of Biblical texts, to benefit from the understanding of the Bible by medieval fathers. Another important incentive to publish the facsimile edition of the book is to make this rare book of 19th century edition available for contemporary book lovers, specialists and libraries. 

The book is covered with crimson gilded cover with nice crimson flyleafs and the cream paper. The print run is very small.

The book can be acquired by visiting



Nerses Lambronatsi (facsimile edition)

Survivors (Photo Album) 2005-2015

Nazik Armenakyan’s documentary photography project.

Ten years in the making, 'Survivors' is an ambitious photographic narrative about surviving victims of the Armenian genocide, which includes portraits, interior scenes, witness testimonies and archival photographs. The project shows the significance of photography in forging an understanding of 1915 and its impact on individual identities.

The eponymous photo book published in 2015, encompassing over forty duotone and color photographs and thirty-five firsthand testimonials published here for the first time, summarizes the project. Noted French-Armenian philosopher and literary critic Marc Nichanian, has authored an extensive introduction, which expounds upon the issues of representing and perceiving the experiences of the survivors. The editor of the book, art-historian and photography curator Vigen Galstyan, looks at Armenakyan’s photographs as a dialectical platform between the aftermath of the Catastrophe and the present. With its design and conceptual framework, ‘Survivors’ is not merely a collation of images and witness accounts, but a form of narration and an art object in its own right. It transcends the edges of the photograph’s visual field, becoming a means for analyzing, unearthing and relating the past.


The book is available here


Kristapor Kushnaryan "Armenian Mododic Music: The History and Theory" (in English)

This book has been the main textbook of monody in Soviet musical educational institutions for a long period and still has not lost its value. Kushnaryan analyses the musical features of over 300 folk and religious songs. The texts of the folk songs in the musical examples are quoted in Armenian. The interesting feature of the work is its classical approach. The development of music is placed firmly in the context of the progress of the other branches of art, such as literature, architecture and the minor arts. The book breaks new ground, with an eye both for the large issues and for the detail in the music discussed.

There are a very large number of recordings of religious monodies: merely one collection of hymns (Sharaknots) is a weighty tome consisting of a thousand folio pages. The recordings are in the Armenian notation.

There are a very large number of recordings of religious monodies: merely one collection of hymns (Sharaknots) is a weighty tome consisting of a thousand folio pages. The recordings are in the Armenian notation.

In the first part monodic music is considered as one of the phenomena of the history of Armenian culture. This part reviews the main stages of
development of monody. Here of course arise all the basic problems concerning its compositional side. The author’s intention is that the first part should serve as an introduction to the study of Armenian monodic music as a whole.

The second part is devoted to a special theoretical subject and deals with one of the basic problems of the theory of Armenian music, that of its modes.

The main riches of Armenian peasant song are concentrated in the ethnographic studies of Komitas and Spiridon Melik‘yan, those two indefatigable musical folklore researchers. These contain collections of songs of all the many  genres of the old peasant music: epic and ceremonial songs, working songs (mainly of the peasants in the fields), everyday and lyric songs, dancing songs, jocular and children’s songs.

The book may be acquired from BooksFromArmenia;

or from Amazon:

Khosrovik Targmanich, "Dogmatic Works" (in Russian)

Khosrovik Targmanich, "Dogmatic Works" (in Russian), Ankyunacar Publishing, 2016 April

The beginning of 8-th century was decisive for the Armenian Church and its theological system. Byzantine Empire, which, 200 years after the Council of Chalcedon was fluctuating between rejection and acception of Chalcedon Council, at the end of 7-th century took a decision to favor Chalcedon Council. And this move was grounded by the works and commentaries of Maximus the Confessor, Leontius Byzantine etc. The policy of the Byzantine Empire did not stop on Christological disputs but took a form of forceful conversion of non-Chalcedonian Churches into Chalcedonian theology. 

Though with the strenghtening of Arab influence the political situation did not allow to go far in forceful measures, the theological dispute was imposed on Armenian and Syriac non-Chalcedonian Churches, and in some dioceses of the Armenian Church, which appeared under Byzantine political rule, conversion to Chalcedonian theology took place. In these circumstances Catholicos St. Hovhan Odznetsi has to react properly, and substantiate clearly the reasons why Chalcedonian Christology was not acceptable for the Armenian and Syriac Chruches, a task that he solved brilliantly.

That is why the Manazkert Council (726) was summoned where Armenian and Syriac bishops together formulated 10 clauses, which clearly stated the Chistological position of the two Churches. One of the leading thelogians, after the Catholicos was Khosrovik Targmanich (the Interpreter). His five epistles, composing the contents of this book, were written most probably after the Manazkert Council and are addressed to different people. The first is addressed to a Chalcedonian bishop, probably in a territory under Byzantine influence. Here Khosrovik shows different understandings of basic theologicial terms wherefore differences in Christological understanding follows. This is the main work in this collection and the author reminds the basic definitions of such terms as "hypostasis", "persona", "nature" etc., taken both from pre-Chalcedonian fathers of the Church and philosophers. To understand the importance of these definitions it is enough to say that debates about the exact definitions of these terms are still going on among theologians of different denominations, and most of them are unaware about the views of the Armenian Church expressed by St. Hovan Odznetsi, Khosrovik and others.

The other epistles are addressed to Syriac and Armenian bishops, explaining the attitude of Manazkert Council towards sufferableness vs insufferableness of Christ's body, or mortality vs immortality of Christ's body, which was the ground for division in Syriac Church between followers of Julian and Severius.

The book has extensive foreword, footnote annotations and detailed index.

This is the first Russian translation of this work from Grabar. Translated by Khachik Grigoryan, edited by Svetlana Samuelyan.

Publised by Ankyunacar Publishing, in April 2016.  Interested readers can acquire from

Ani: The millennial capial of Armenia

The album-catalogue entitled "Ani: the Millenial Capital of Armenia" includes reproductions made from the 120-year-old glass-plates representing the architecture of Ani and examples from the are archeological collection of Ani with their passport data, historical essays and analytical texts referring to the material in Armenian and English.

In 885, Armenia's independent statehood was restored, and Ashot I Bagratid was proclaimed king of the Armenians. Ani became the capital of Armenia in 961. Bagratid kings Ashot III and Smbat II carried out extensive work to fortify the defensive system of the city and to build new walls aroud Ani.

Ani was built within the principles of city architecture. The principal street extended from the Main Gate to the Citadel, and the secondary streets intersecting with it, connected the centre with the living quarters.

In the 11th century Ani was a city of about 100,000 inhabitants that had commercial-economic and cultural links with numerous countries in the East and in the West.

In 1236 the Mongols captured and destroyed Ani. The greater part of the inhabitants had to flee in large masses to foreign countries: the Crimea, Galicia, Poland, Southern Russia and elsewhere. Ani as a city survived until the 14th century.

This interesting book is available at


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