No lack of students at newly opened “Hayartun” Cultural Center

After the declaration of independence, the greatest gift for Armenians living in Georgia, especially Tbilisi is the newly built “Hayartun” Cultural Center, which was dedicated to the Armenian community in Georgia in order to preserve the Armenian identity and provide Armenian education. The Center was provided to the community under the initiative of the Georgian-Armenian Diocese of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church, its Primate, Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan, under the patronage of the Russia-based Saakov family, as well as with support from a number of benevolent foundations and individual benefactors.

The Center was opened only a month ago, but it already has its clubs. The Center has three halls  and receives visitors of all ages and all walks of life. They come to preserve the Armenian identity, learn the Armenian language, get acquainted with Armenian history, get closer to the faith, as well as Armenian song and music. They come to make up for what their parents didn’t do, to study the history of the nation, get in touch with the faith, preserve the traditions and make sure that what they know is right. To this day, the flow of people continues. People are content with what they see and feel, the number of those wishing to visit the center is increasing, the “Pre-School” group can no longer accomodate all children, the youth that have not learned the Armenian language want to learn and read our rich literature and history in the native language, as well as hear our church sermons and pray in the language of their ancestors.

Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan’s proposal to expand and replenish the “Hayartun” network was appropriate and is the guarantee for bringing the others more closer to their roots. The energy of Armenians to learn and teach and the warm atmosphere inspires young and old alike, as well as students and teachers. It was that enthusiasm that led to the decision on opening another group of the “Pre-School” that will run in the afternoon and will teach 4-6-year old children song, music, the Armenian alphabet, art, help them make hand-made works and show them cartoons. The pre-school also gives a certificate for teaching a pre-school lesson.

Stepan Zoryan once said: “A person who doesn’t know his native language is like a leaf that has fallen from the tree in the autumn and comes and goes from even light wind.” “Hayartun” Cultural Center also provides Armenians who lack Armenian language proficiency to learn the language. The Center has a Grigor Narekatsi Saturday School (for youth up-to 15 years of age) and the Prophet Yeghia Adult Sunday School. The students of these schools learn Armenian language and literature, Armenian history and gain knowledge of the Armenian Church. True, it is a one-year course, but it is ongoing in order to help the students deepen their knowledge in the years to come. Let us mention that the graduates receive certificates upon completion of the course.

For more than two years now, films devoted to Armenian history and the Armenian Holy Apostolic Orthodox Church are shown after the Sunday Divine Liturgies at the Center’s Calouste Gulbenkian Hall.

The Center will soon open a virtual university classroom where everyone can receive an Armenian education, and even a person without any knowledge of the Armenian language can learn the Armenian language, literature, history, find out information about the latest news regarding Armenians’ lives in different parts of the world, get acquainted with and make new friends with Armenians in the Diaspora.

Let us add that the “Hayartun” Cultural Center also has Armenian classical song classes for those wishing to sing in the Nerses Shnorhali Church Choir, while the Jeyran and Nairi Dance Ensembles teach professional and recreational performances of Armenian folk dances. Those interested can also attend photography courses, and mothers can participate in debates on the church and other topies.

The doors of the “Hayartun” Cultural Center adjunct to the Georgian-Armenian Diocese of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church are open for everyone. This multifaceted hearth of Armenian education awaits everyone.

Susanna Khachatryan

Tbilisi

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