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
Partial structural reconstruction begins
Chronicle 1
An Armenian chalice in Wales
The return of the native
Jerusalem Panoramas
               Jerusalem   owes   an   immense   debt   of   gratitude   to   the   Armenians,   that   sturdy   clan   of   indestructible survivors who refuse to be consigned to the rubbish bin of history, in more ways than one, it seems.                It   is   common   knowledge   that   Armenians   not   only   gave   the   city   its   first   printing   press   but   also   its   first photographic studio, under the patronage of the visionary Patriarch Yessayi Garabedian.          But   it   is   less   known   that Armenians   also   contributed   the   first   known   Christian   pilgrims   to   the   Holy   Land,   as leading   armenologist   Michael   Stone   pointed   out   during   a   lecture   stopover   in   Sydney, Australia.Speaking   to   an audience representing the city's diverse Armenian communities, Stone even gave the date the first Armenian     
               The   assembly   of   Christian   churches   in   Jerusalem   have   voiced   "grave concern"   over   new   moves   by   the   Israeli   government   to   tax   vacant   church properties.                   While   previous   such   moves   have   ended   in   failure,      the   Israelis   have   not tried   hard   to   mask   their   intention   to   persist   in   their   efforts   to   impose   an "arnona"   (property   tax)   on   properties   owned   by   the   various   churches   which have been unoccupied for some time.                   The   assembly,   the   Heads   of   Churches   of   the   Holy   City   of   Jerusalem,   a loose   conglomeration   of   the   13   Christian   churches   officially   recognized   by the Israeli State, warned of dire consequences should Israel  not desist.     
  pilgrim    from    Satala    (new    Melitene/Maghatia),    set    foot    in    Jerusalem: around   AD   360,   half   a   century   only   after   Armenia   became   the   first   nation in history to accept Christianity as its state religion.  
Jerusalem’s great debt to the Armenians
Churches protest tax plan
Jerusalem, 2007
        The   777 Thai Airways   took   off   from   Sydney more   than   a   quarter   of   an   hour   late,   but   the crew   made   up   for   it   with   an   abundance   of solicitous courtesy and exemplary service.          It   would   be   a   9-hour   flight   to   Bangkok   and then another gruelling 11 hours aboard an El    Al 767 bound for Telaviv.             For    the    first    time    in    15    years,    I    was returning   to   Jerusalem,   city   of   my   birth,   on an   odyssey   fraught   with   expectation   and   a modicum of trepidation.          It   would   be   a   journey   of   rediscovery   and reacquaintance.          I   hate   flying   but   the   offer   I   had   been   made by   North   American   film   company   to   go   to Jerusalem    and    act    as    advisor,    guide    and consultant   to   the   producer,   was   one   I   could not refuse.             "I'll    take    a    knockout    pill,    and    sleep throughout the flight." With   this   thought   to   buttress   me,   and   some Zen    training    to    boost    my    courage,    I    got aboard.     
        Haygan    Mardikjan    has    published    a    new book,   called   “The   Call   of   the   Crane,”   as   a testimony   to   the   valiant   spirit   of   courage   and endurance   under   inhuman   suffering   displayed by   her   Armenian   grandparents   who   survived the   Turkish   genocide.   The   book   was   originally written   in   Dutch   and   translated   into   English by   Sarah   Owen   who   has   dedicated   her   work to   the   memory   of   Raffi   Hagopian   who   passed away in the US nine years ago.          Mardikjan   notes   that   her   grandparents   did not   receive   any   recognition   for   their   suffering but    revealed    that    there    had    been    some among    the    Turks    who    actuallly    helped    her family.          “Without   them   my   family   probably   would not have survived the genocide,” she admits.             “This   book   is   the   fulfilment   of   my   promise to    my    grandparents    to    keep    their    memory alive,” she adds.                The     book     has     copious     notes     and       photographs.    The book makes for thougthful reading.
  New book on Armenian genocide
Miraculous wine jar
      The   Armenian   Patriarchate   ofr   Jerusalem has   begun   a   “partial   structural   restoration” of   the   magnificent   Cathedral   of   St   James, with   plans   for   a   fullscale   renovation   at   a future date.             In    a    statement    issued    announcing    the move,    the    Patriarchate    noted    that    “from the    earliest    day    of    Christian    history    in Jerusalem,      the     Armenians      have      built magnificent    churches    and    monasteries    in the   Holy   Land   to   the   glory   of   God   and   the sustenance of his faith.    The statement continues:
        In    a    remote    corner    of    Wales,    in    a picturesque   and   historic   parish   church   in the   Welsh   village   of   Hawarden,      a   humble silver   chalice   stands   as   a   silent   testimony to   the   undying   gratitude   of   a   persecuted people.                For   over   100   years,   the   chalice   has graced   the   altar   of   the   village   church,   St. Deiniol,   lost   in   the   maze   of   history   and remembered   only   vaguely   in   one   or   other church   document,   a   source   of   wonder   for the   Welsh   worshippers   who   prayed   at   the church.                Few   people   knew   how   it   got   there. Fewer    still    had    any    inkling    what    the strange    inscription    it    bore    stood    for,    or what foreign tongue it was inscribed in.
   “These   wonderful   churches   and   monasteries   were   built   by   the   generous   donations   of   the lords and princes of the Armenian Kingdom and provinces and people.                “St.   James   Armenian   Cathedral   in   Jerusalem   fulfills   every   aspect   of   our   historic architectural   tradition,   and   it   has   remained   the   symbol   of   pride   and   prayer   for   so   many centuries to the faithful of every pilgrim who visited the Holy Land.          “The   presence   of   St.   James   containing   the   tombs   of   two   Saint   Jameses   solemnize   and demonstrates   the   determination   of   our   brotherhood   and   nation   not   only   to   survive   but   to prevail in the holy land.          “Having   said   these   we   appeal   to   your   continued   support   to   your   Christian   faith   and   the Armenian   heritage   to   help   us   restore   the   sacred   Jewel   of   the   Armenian   Patriarchate   of Jerusalem,   which   has   become   also   the   powerful   and   effective   force   in   the   preservation   and growth of our community, our heritage and culture in the Holy Land.             “Fired    with    enthusiasm,    the   Armenian    Patriarch    his    Beatitude   Archbishop    Nourhan Manougian   and   the   brotherhood   embarked   their   dream   plan,   although   a   “partial   structural restoration”   as   testimony   of   their   determination   to   expand   with   full   confidence   into   the future to complete the restoration of St. James Armenian Cathedral in Jerusalem.          “Grace   and   peace   be   multiplied   to   you   in   the   knowledge   of   God   and   of   Jesus   our   lord”   (II Peter 1:2).    
Project receives strong support
         The   Armenian   Patriarchate   of   Jerusalem   and   the   Calouste   Gulbenkian philanthropic   foundation   have   pledged   to   support   of   efforts   to   preserve the history and culture of the  Armenian community of the Old City.          The   kaghakatsis,   an   appellation   that   denotes   the   centuries-long   tenure of   their   sojourn   in   Jerusalem   (unlike   their   "Vanketsi"   cousins   who   sought refuge   in   the   city   during   the   massacres   and   settled   in   the   Convent   of   St James),   have   amassed   a   vast   treasure   trove   of   history   as   they   enriched the city's unique fabric with their manifold contributions.   
         The   kaghakatsi   family   tree   project   has   received   a   tremendous   boost   with   a   batch   of   new contributions    from    community    leader    Hagop    Hagopian,    an    LA    resident    currently    visiting Australia.        Hagop   has   not   only   traced   his   clan's   family   history   back   to   one   of   the   community's   most memorable   recent   ancestors,   but   also   compiled   a   list   of   the   forgotten   colorful   clan   nicknames that characterized the residents of the Armenian Quarter.        Unfortunately,   his   records   go   back   only   over   a   century   and   a   half,   but   they   fill   in   a   lot   of the blanks in the main database.        Hagop's   paternal   grandfather   was   Hagop   Hovsepian   (he   later   changed   his   surname   to Hagopian),   a   Sefer   Berlik   (First   World   War)   survivor   whose   several   brothers   were   born   to different   mothers.   Apparently,   his   father,   the   patriarchal   clan   head   Yousef   El-Banna,   married more than four times.        There   is   a   mystery   surrounding   one   of   his   grandsons,   Sahag   (Levon's   son).   He   was   born   in 1907 but apparently disappeared later in Saudi Arabia.        Hagop   has   also   handed   us   the   family   history   of   the   Elian   clan,   prepared   by   Michael   Elian who   is   currently   living   in   Beverly   Hills.   Michael   has   taken   the   trouble   to   write   up   some   9   pages for the project.        "This   is   the   best   that   I   can   do   -   considering   that   I   have   been   out   of   Jerusalem   since   1949," he   notes.   "We   still   have   the   nucleus   of   the   JABU   (the   Kaghakatsi   social   and   cultural   club)   here and are trying to continue the tradition."        In   compiling   his   list   of   clan   nicknames,   Hagop   had   the   assistance   of   a   worthy   matriarch, Serpouhi   Shahinian,   mother   of   Ardashes   Shahinian.   In   her   90's,   Serpouhi   sat   down   to   jot painstakingly jot 7 pages of reminiscences, ending with this declaration: "I   wrote   all   these   at   the   age   of   92,   while   in   pain   .   .   .   sometimes   the   pen   would   slip from   my   fingers,   and   I   would   push   back   my   ailments,   determined   to   jot   down   what   I   know   .   .   . Thank God that I have succeeded."     
    The   Kankachian   kaghakatsi Armenians   of   Jerusalem   can now   trace   the   ancestry   of   their   clan   back   to   the   1620's, to the days of King Hetoum!        According   to   Aida   Kankachian,   who   is   currently   living in   Canada,   her   ancestors   are   descended   from   the   famous king's bloodline.        "They   were   warriors,"   she   says,   "and   fought   side   by side   with   King   Richard   and   the   king   of   France   against Saladin (Salah El Din el Ayyoubi) in a battle, but lost it."        In   the   wake   of   the   defeat,   they   decided   to   journey   to Jerusalem.         Aida    is    the    daughter    of    the    Armenian    Quarter's leading   carpenter,   Kevork,   who   also   was   entrusted   with the   task   of   ringing   the   church   bells   at   the   Holy   Sepulcher on Easter and at Christmas.        She   is   now   working   on   a   website   that   will   outline   the history of her family and the house they lived in.        "My   ancestors   were   called   the   'Honorables,'   hence their surname, Badivian (those with honor)," she says.        Because   the   men   and   women   were   pretty,   with   blue eyes   and   blonde   curly   hair,   they   were   constantly   teased and called 'kunkoush' (beautiful).        Apparently,   at   one   stage,   one   of   the   sons   became upset   with   his   uncle,   and   decided   to   change   the   family surname to "Kankachian," Aida reports
Hetoum’s bloodline live!
Colorful clans of the kaghakatsi
Turn page
               Relations   between   the   Israeli   government   and   the   Christian   churches   are governed   by   an   protocol   promulgated   in   the   19th   Century   during   the   Ottoman administration of the Holy Land.
               This   hallowed   site   has   secured   its   place   on   the   map   of Christendom   as   the   house   of   Mary,   mother   of   John,   called Mark,    the    Evangelist.    The    little    church    it    shelters    even boasts   a   portrait   of   the   Virgin   Mary   reputedly   painted   by   St Luke the evangelist.                Only   years   after   its   erection,   the   church   was   destroyed by   the   Roman   emperor,   Titus   when   he   conquered   the   city, only   to   rise   phoenix   like   from   its   ashes,   and   to   be   rebuilt, over and over again, the last time a century and a half ago.                For   the   Orthodox   Syriac   community,   a   tiny   but   vibrant element   that   has   played   a   key   role   in   the   unravelling   history of   Jerusalem,   this   is   the   last   remaining   enclave   left   to   their church which has lost everything else it owned in the city.                     Although    the    convent    has    been    renovated    and refurbished,     it     now     houses     only     a     mere     handful     of clergymen,   their   sharp   decline   paralleled   by   the   attrition   in the numbers of members of the Syriac community.                There   used   to   be   a   school,   and   a   scout   club,   but   the school   is   now   a   Jewish   housing   development   and   the   club   has been boarded up.                But   the   survival   instinct   of   the   die-hard   remnants   of these   proud   descendants   of   the      Babylonians   and   their   grim determination   to   endure   and   to   maintain   their   home   and their    standing    in    the    Old    City,    has        become    markedly evident.