April 28, 2007


A unique exhibit of religious Armenian art is now taking place in the Louvre museum located in Paris, France.

Entitled "Armenian Sacra", the exhibition, the first of its kind, is devoted to Armenian Christian art, dating from Saint Gregory the Illuminator’s conversion of the country in the early 4th century to the dawn of the 19th century.

Running through till the end of May, the exhibition would not have been possible without the exceptional loans from the Museum and Treasury of the Holy See in Etchmiadzin and from the National History Museum and the Matenadaran (Institute of Ancient Manuscripts) in Yerevan, Armenia.

While Armenian illuminated manuscripts are a prime focus of the exhibition, there are also some 30 "khatchkars" - massive stone slabs carved with lace-fine crosses - that dotted that Armenian plateau as early as the 4th century.

One, the Djulfa Khatckar, is one of the few surviving stone crosses from the extensive Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, Nakhichevan, that has been systematically vandalized by Azeri soldiers. Recently, Azeri troops were videotaped destroying what "khatchkars" were left in the cemetery.

The exhibit is part of the so-called year of Armenia in France. French President Chirac and his counterpart Armenian President Robert Kocharian, opened the exhibit which Chirac called "sublime".


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