A scene from the dance performance at the Bible Museum event

Armenian Culture Celebrated at the US Museum of the Bible


WASHINGTON — Among the vast number of American establishments in the nation’s capital the Museum of the Bible is perhaps the one most actively cooperating with the Armenian community and the Armenian Church at this time. The relationship was launched several years when replicas of Armenian medieval khachkars were delivered from Armenia for a permanent display at the museum. The establishment also has an Armenian Bible and a Gospel book.

A khachkar replica at the Bible Museum

On Saturday, January 29, the Bible Museum hosted what it called an Armenian Culture Celebration. The students of the Shnorhali Sunday School of Washington’s St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church staged a play, sang, and danced. The music of Gomidas, Aram Khachaturian and Ara Gevorkian accompanied the artistic performances. Also, Armenian religious and folk songs were performed by the Hye Choral Group.

The Hye Choral Group at the Bible Museum

The Bible Museum’s Chief Curatorial Officer Jeff Kloha referred to the Saturday event as “just the latest of the Armenian events that the museum has done with the Armenian community and the Embassy of Armenia.” Another exhibition is planned for the March of 2023. For that reason, Kloha occasionally visits Armenia: his most recent trip was in last December.

A sign for the Armenian Cultural Celebration at the Bible Museum

Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan, the pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Washington, D.C., added that many other events, including academic lectures are coming. “For about three years now our cooperation with the Museum has become constant,” the priest observed.

On Saturday, one of the halls screened videos of the endangered Christian Armenian heritage of Artsakh’s occupied areas. In a virtual lecture, Dr. Christina Maranci of Tufts University spoke of Christmas traditions in Armenia and focused on images of the infancy of Christ as shown in medieval Armenian manuscripts from the seventh to seventeenth centuries.  The lecture of Dr. Jesse Arlen, director of the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America was about the history of the Armenian Bible.

An image of the Armenian cathedral of Shushi (Artsakh) prior to the 2020 war at the Bible Museum event

The following video link provides snapshots of the artistic performances of and interviews with the officials of the Museum and members of the Armenian American community.

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