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