interview Minas Lourian: A guru-like cross-cultural expert from Venice who makes it all happen! “To have great art, we must commission it! In order to commission it, we must have great commissioners!” If there is one person in the Armenian world who could be credited with turning Frank O'Hara’s famous words into action, it’s Minas Lourian, who serves as director of the Center for Studies and Documentation of Armenian Culture in Venice, Italy. Lourian was the catalyst behind Riccardo Muti’s recent “Roads of Friendship” concert in Armenia for the premiere of “Purgatory,” a commissioned piece by Tigran Mansurian. The maestro and his wife Cristina received the presidential Medal of Friendship, while Lourian was awarded with the Medal of Gratitude for their “significant role in the strengthening and promoting of cultural relationships between Armenia and Italy.” H-pem sat down for an exclusive Skype interview to get valuable insights from the unconventional cross-cultural executive who has a deep knowledge of the Armenian-Italian community and a whole raft of stunning achievements under his belt.
analysis Syunik churches and monasteries: Armenia’s majestic frontier in a nutshell Once again Armenia’s borderlands are in distress. Syunik, the fortified realm of Armenian kingdoms, princedoms and dioceses with two millennia of turbulent history, is braced for its next reckoning as a pillar of defense against foreign powers—one of the toughest since the announcement of the independence of the Republic of Mountainous Armenia in 1921. Incorporated into fortresses, covered with forests, or towering over massive gorges, Syunik’s breathtaking churches and monasteries have become a symbol of continuous presence in Armenia’s southernmost province; their evocative power bringing us closer to our own reality and identity as bearers of our rich heritage. At h-pem we take a bird’s eye view of the region's age-old monastic and cultural legacy that thrived through wars, invasions, and occupations, to become a cornerstone of enlightenment and spiritual renewal in the Armenian world.
inPicture Ghazanchetsots in peril: Shushi’s ‘white bride’ revisited On May 8, 1992, the liberation of Shushi was celebrated with “Hayr mer” («Հայր մեր» | “The Lord’s Prayer”) at the church altar of Ghazanchetsots. Bombed during the 2020 Artsakh War, vandalized, and recently dismantled under the pretext of “renovation,” Ghazanchetsots has now become a bleeding wound too painful to look at. Check out the facts you might not know about the monument's glorious and tumultuous history below.