Armenian Jerusalem
Proident sunt ullamco culpa dolor nostrud veniam elit sed.

Priceless treasures of Armenian Jerusalem, housed in

the former theological seminary of the Armenian


               The   Edward   and   Helen   Mardigian   Museum   of   Armenian   Art   and Culture   is   located   inside   the Armenian   Convent   walls   in   the   Old   City of    Jerusalem.    The    Museum    offers    a    comprehensive    overview    of 3,000   years   of   Armenian   art,   culture   and   history.   The   building   is actually   situated   in   the   former   “Chamtagh”   which   once   served   as the Patriarchate’s Theological Seminary (1843).                Like   its   twin,   Paghchatagh,   this   building   too   had   to   be   converted into   residential   quarters   for   displaced   Armenian   refugees.   After   all the    refuges    had    emigrated    and    found    new    homes    in    America, Canada    and    a    host    of    other    countries,    the    Chamtagh    fell    into disrepair.   Some   20   years   ago,   the   Armenian   philanthropist   couple, Edward   and   Helen   Mardigian,   came   to   the   rescue.   Thanks   to   their generosity,   the      Chamtagh   was   soon   transformed   into   a   museum   and has   become   one   of   the   Armenian   Diaspora’s   most   important   and valuable cultural outposts.                Following   its   inauguration,   the   building   had   undergone   extensive refurbishing   at   the   hands   of   an   expert   seconded   to   the   Patriarchate by   UNESCO   (the   United   Nations   Educational,   Scientific   and   Cultural Organization).                The   200   year   old   building   houses   incomparable   historical   and religious   artifacts   some   of   which   were   brought   to   Jerusalem   by   a regular   stream   of   pilgrims.   Included   among   the   museums’   unique displays   are   precious   hand   woven   rugs,   a   collection   of   Armenian coins    and    even    some    banknotes    issued    by    the    short-lived    pre- Bolshevik   Armenian   Republic,   scraps   of   evidence   of   the   presence here   of   the   Xth   Legion,   huge   copper   cauldrons   crafted   by   Armenian smiths   more   then   half   a   century   ago,   colorful   tiles   from   the   world- famous   Kutayha   district,   an   ancient   map   of   the   world   printed   in Armenian,   and   a   replica   of   Gutenberg’s   original   printing   press.   This press is believed to be the first ever used in Jerusalem.             There   is   extensive   coverage   of   the   Armenian   Genocide   of   1915 and   its   aftermath.   A   whole   section   is   devoted   to   a   survey   of   the 1600 year history of the Armenians in the Holy Land.

The real treasures

Not   all   treasures   of   the   Armenian Patriarchate     of     Jerusalem     are housed      here.      These      include illustrated   manuscripts   by   two   of our    greatest    artists,    Toros    Roslin and    Sarkis    Pitzak.        Among    the other    treasures    are    the    golden “aacher,”   moulds   of   the   forearms of   Armenian   saints.   Most   of   these treasures    rarely    see    the    light    of day,   others   are   placed   on   display during            special            religious ceremonies.   The   different   keys   to the   main   treasure   house   are   held by       different       three       priests, members    of    the    Brotherhood    of Saint   James.   They   must   turn   the keys    together    to    open    the    vault door,   and   only   after   authorization by the Brotherhood.

Edward & Helen Mardigian Museum

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