Vardanants Day Lecture at US Library of Congress Marks 25th Anniversary of Armenian Republic


libraryofcongress2WASHINGTON — Christina Maranci will deliver the 20th Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 21 in the Northeast Pavilion of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, located at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Titled “A World Monument: Zvart’nots’, Armenia, and the Wars of the Seventh Century,” Maranci’s lecture will focus on the iconic church of Zvartnots. Though it lies in ruins, the church has long been of interest to those who study the Armenian and Byzantine architecture of the era.

Maranci is the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara T. Oztemel Associate Professor of Armenian Art at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. In her recently published book, “Vigilant Powers: Three Churches of Early Medieval Armenia,” Maranci set the construction of Zvartnots and the churches of Mren and Ptghni within the context of the first Arab invasions into Armenia and the resulting cultural and political changes of the time.

This year’s Vardanants Day Lecture — the 20th in the series — will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union on September 21, 1991, and the birth of the Republic of Armenia. The lecture is also dedicated to Marjorie Dadian, who made a generous gift to the Library of Congress in 1991 in her husband Arthur’s name for the conservation and expansion of the Library’s Armenian collections. This led to the growth of that collection, the appointment of the Library’s first Armenian specialist and programs such as the Vardanants Lecture series.

The Vardanants Day lecture series is sponsored by the Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division. It is named after the Armenian holiday that commemorates the battle of Avarayr (451 A.D.), which was waged by the Armenian General Vardan Mamikonian and his compatriots against invading Persian troops who were attempting to reimpose Zoroastrianism on the Christian state. As a religious holiday, it celebrates the Armenians’ triumph over forces of assimilation.