Sargis Shirinyan: “I raised money to come to Armenia “by giving blood””

I met Rostov-Armenian writer, sport doctor Sargis Shirinyan after the presentation of his book of short stories entitled “Chaltr Doni the Capital of Armenians: Stories of the Residents of Chaltr” at Avetik Isahakyan Central Library.

Before the interview with Hayern Aysor, he apologized for not speaking Armenian well and informed that he had not communicated in the native language for forty years. He cited the words of his grandmother who would always joke and tell him: “You forgot the Armenian language, but you didn’t even learn how to speak Russian either.”

Sargis Shirinyan was born in the Armenian Chaldir village of Rostov-na-Don. His forefathers lived in Ani, the capital of a thousand and one churches during the reign of the Kingdom of the Zakaryans.

Sargis Shirinyan’s short stories show the life that his forefathers had lived and the interesting episodes of the lives of the members of his large family that he had seen and kept in his mind. He never had the desire to become a writer and doesn’t consider himself one.

He loves to write not only about the history of his family, but also other remarkable people and events. He is author of three books and started writing after moving to Armenia.

He has published the books entitled “600 Armenians in World History” (2012), “Armenians as a Nation are Considered the Creative Part of Foreign Civilization: 1,000 Famous Armenians in World History” (2014) and “Chaltr: Capital of the Armenians of Don” (2016).

In fact, Sargis Shirinyan recently sent 50 copies of the book “Armenians as a Nation are Considered the Creative Part of Foreign Civilization: 1,000 Famous Armenians in World History” to soldiers serving in the bordering regions of Nagorno-Karabakh through the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia.

Since childhood, Shirinyan has loved Armenian history a lot and has always had the hope of returning to the Homeland deep down inside. The first time the writer visited Armenia was at the age of 19, and there is an influential story behind that visit.

After graduating from school, Shirinyan’s teacher, Magda Hajyan told him that Yerevan State University was inviting two people to study and start teaching at the Armenian school of Chaltr after graduation. Since Sargis was fluent in Armenian, his teacher suggested sending him to study at the university, but his father disagreed and claimed that the family had no relatives in Armenia.

“I didn’t submit to my father’s wish and decided that I had to do everything I could to go to Armenia. I was a blood donor for two consecutive years so that I could raise money and buy my ticket to Armenia. When my parents found out about that, my mother cried, and I got into a dispute with my father for the first time ever. Nothing could stop me because I had already bought my ticket. I remember how hard it was for me to hold back my emotions when I saw Mount Ararat as I was getting off the train,” Sargis Shirinyan said, with a brilliant smile on his face.

The writer stayed with his friend, renowned painter Seyran Khatlamajyan, who helped him discover the native land. Seyran Khatlamajyan also took him to meet Martiros Saryan. Knowing that the boy had come to Armenia “at the price of blood”, he hugged him and cried.

However, he was compelled to leave everything behind and return to Rostov-na-Don to serve in the army. During the years of military service, with the great desire to return to Armenia, he took a courageous step, escaped from the army and went to Armenia to get accepted to the Medical University, but he failed the chemistry exam since he didn’t know one of the chemical formulas (HCIO2), which made the professor discontent.

After that, Sargis returned to continue his military service. After being demobilized, he got accepted to the Medical University of Rostov, graduated, moved to Moscow and became a sport doctor.

During his career, he has been lucky to meet several famous athletes such as Tatiana Tarasova, Miki Rurkin and others.

In 2012, with the dream of returning to Armenia, Sargis Shirinyan decided to settle in Armenia. He sold his apartment in Chaltr and purchased a new apartment in Yerevan, but he maintained ties with his hometown.

The writer has always thought of helping Armenia and tries to do his best to contribute to the Homeland’s development.

He has “Armenified” many of his Russian male and female friends. He has always told them about the horrors and tortures that the Armenian people experienced and their heroic struggle. During the years of the Artsakh war, he and those friends helped the Armenians, sending clothes and packages of groceries to Nagorno-Karabakh.

At the end, Sargis Shirinyan also touched upon the Armenian community of Chaltr. “Despite the current difficulties, the Armenians of Chaltr continue to preserve the national spirit and identity. At schools, Armenian teachers dedicate themselves to teaching Armenian and carry out different programs for preservation of the Armenian identity. The Armenians have established the Armenian State Theater and the Ani Song and Dance Ensemble,” Shirinyan said.

Gevorg Chichyan

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