The immeasurable heritage of the Mekhitarist Congregation as the golden key leading to the sources of many sciences and opening the doors to those sources

It is obvious that the two-day international conference dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the Mekhitarist Congregation on Saint Lazarus Island and held in the sessions hall of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia could not help give a full evaluation of the tremendous heritage of the 300-year-old congregation. The speeches given during the conference were simply an academic approach to showing gratitude to the Mekhitarists on the occasion of the 300th anniversary, and one of those speeches was by famous Armenologist, philosopher, member of the Mekhitarist Congregation, Professor of the University of Istanbul, Papal Delegate to the Mekhitarist Congregation, leader of the Armenian Catholic Community of Turkey, author of several books, monographs and scientific works and real member of the Academy of Venice, Archbishop Levon Zekiyan, who gave a short interview to Hayern Aysor.

Karine Avagyan: Your Holiness, are the activities of the Mekhitarists fully studied? Which branch is the least studied?

Levon Zekiyan: I usually don’t give interviews, but I must say that even a couple of lifetimes wouldn’t be enough to conduct a complete study of the activities of the Mekhitarists. As far as the least studied branch is concerned, I must say that philosophy, the study of churches and perhaps music are the least studied branches.

Karine Avagyan: I would like to ask you about the Haigazian Dictionary. Is it available for youth today?

Levon Zekiyan: Of course, not everyone can use the Haigazian Dictionary. This also refers to interests, desire and understanding. This dictionary is a tremendous and invaluable treasury of words.

Karine Avagyan: What do you have to say about the verses created by the Mekhitarists?

Levon Zekikyan: Let us simply take the works of Ghevond Alishan and the translations done by the Mekhitarists, that is, the ��?pearls’ and masterpieces of classic world poetry. Those translations are often better and more valuable than the originals.

Karine Avagyan: Your Holiness, how would you assess the conference?

Levon Zekiyan: This conference is truly a great help to present the activities of the Mekhitarist Fathers comprehensively. I don’t think it is worth waiting for anniversaries to organize such conferences. Besides being scholars and art critics, Mekhitar Sebastatsi and his loyal disciples were first and foremost clergymen, and it is a great joy to see that this was not overlooked during this conference. The activities of the Mekhitarist Congregation are unquestionably one of the most interesting phenomena in the history of the Armenian people over the past 300 years, and I am very glad that the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the Mekhitarist Congregation on Saint Lazarus Island is being properly celebrated in the Mother Homeland.

Karine Avagyan: Your Holiness, let’s hope the great heritage created by the Mekhitarist Congregation will always stay in the focus of the old and new generations. Let’s also hope that there will always be many people who will study and learn from that heritage and that this heritage will be the golden key that will lead to the sources of many sciences and will open all the doors leading to those sources.

Karine Avagyan

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