The Gulbenkian Foundation, one of the world's leading philanthropic

organizations, has provided the "Armenian Jerusalem" heritage

preservation website project with a new grant, enabling organizers to

carry out necessary hardware upgrades and software updates.

     The   grant   reaffirms   the   Foundation's   keen   interest   in   the   project   and   cements   its support   for   what   is   hoped   will   help   preserve   the   history,   culture   and   traditions   of   the Armenians of Jerusalem, rescuing their saga from oblivion.      The   project,   launched   in   2007,   is   the   brainchild   of   Arthur   Hagopian,   former   Press Officer   of   the Armenian   Patriarchate   of   Jerusalem,   and   involves   the   creation   of   a   website that   will   host   a   compendium   of   archival   material   chronicling   the   story   of   a   community that has its roots in the city even before the advent of the Christian era.      The   website   was   originally   located   at   http://www.kaghakatzi.org,   but   has   now   moved to   a   permanent   address   at   http://armenian-jerusalem.org.   One   of   its   primary   objectives was   the   creation   of   an   all-in-one   family   tree   that   highlights   the   inter-relationship   and inter-connectivity   of   the   "kaghakatsi"   residents   of   the Armenian   Quarter   of   the   Old   City   of Jerusalem.      The   "kaghakatsi"   are   a   unique   genealogical   entity:   every   member   of   the   sprawling   clan is   related   either   closely   or   distantly,   to   another.   As   distinguished   from   the   "vanketsi" survivors   of   the   Armenian   genocide   who   found   refuge   in   the   Patriarchate's   convent   of   St James,   the   "kaghakatsi"   are   natives   who   first   settled   in   Jerusalem   about   2,000   years   ago, their   ancestors   arriving   in   the   region   in   the   wake   of   the   conquering   armies   of   emperor Tigranes II, "arkayitz arka," (king of kings).      The Armenian   Patriarchate   of   Jerusalem   has   given   its   blessing   to   the   project,   granting it   access   to   genealogical   archives   dating   back   over   a   century   and   a   half.   And   in   their turn,   expatriate   "kaghakatsi"   have   been   providing   the   project   with   detailed   genealogical information helping it create and populate the all-in-one family tree.      This   is   the   second   time   the   august   Gulbenkian   Foundation   has   bankrolled   the   project. Eight   years   ago,   the   Foundation,   which   is   based   in   Lisbon,   Portugal,   pitched   in   with   funds to    purchase    a    desktop    PC    package    and    various    web    design    and    graphics    software packages,   but   with   the   exponential   leap   in   IT,   upgrades   and   updates   have   become mandatory.   Necessarily,   the   staple   workhorse,   FrontPage   has   had   to   bow   out   making   way for   Expression   Web   and   Dreamweaver,   and   Windows   XP   has   graduated   into   Windows   8.1 (and, within days, Windows 10).      The   Foundation,   a   legacy   of   philanthropist   Calouste   Gulbenkian   (Mr   Five   Percent),   was established   in   1956   entrusted   with   a   mandate   for   "the   whole   of   humanity",   its   "original purpose    focused    on    fostering    knowledge    and    raising    the    quality    of    life    of    persons throughout the fields of the arts, charity, science and education."      Jerusalem   occupies   a   perpetually   beloved   niche   in   the   core   of   the   Foundation,   the factor   behind   its   interest   in   the   "Armenian   Jerusalem"   heritage   preservation   website project.   The   Foundation   is   a   principal   donor   of   the   Armenian   Patriarchate   whose   St James   convent   houses   two   edifices   whose   construction   it   funded   some   90   years   ago:   the Gulbenkian library and the Holy Translators' (Tarkmanchatz) high school.      In   announcing   the   new   grant,   Razmik   Panossian,   director   of   the   Foundation's Armenian Communities   Department,   noted   it   "supports   projects   that   can   have   a   positive   impact   on Armenian   communities   around   the   world,   taking   into   consideration   current   realities   and needs."      The   Department   works   to   create   a   viable   future   for   the   Armenian   people   in   which   its culture    and    language    are    preserved    and    valued,    and    "we    hope    that    by    supporting initiatives    like    the    'Armenian    Jerusalem'    website    project    we    can    contribute    to the preservation   of   the   rich Armenian   cultural   and   historical   heritage   in   the   Holy   City,"   he stated      Organizing    the    website    has    entailed    a    diverse    range    of    research    efforts,    some resulting    in    unknown    and    intriguing    tidbits    about    one    of    the    world's    most    vibrant communities,   whose   creativity   and   enterprising   spirit   has   helped   place   the   city   firmly   in the centre of the world map.      It    was    the    Armenians    who    gave    Jerusalem    its    first    printing    press    and    its    first photographic   studio   -   among   other   firsts.   Their   mellifluously   decorated   ceramic   tiles adorn   the   walls   of   some   of   the   world's   most   magnificent   edifices,   among   them,   the   Dome of the Rock.      And it is the Armenians who continue to give Jerusalem its hue and sheen of gold.
Armenian Jerusalem
This project has been supported by the Gulbenkian philanthropic Foundation, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and members of the worldwide Armenian community. Reproductions of the genealogical documents [domar’s] are courtesy Photo Garo, Jerusalem. Copyright © 2007 Arthur Hagopian
Mr Five Percent
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