Save Armenian Monuments undertakes fact-finding mission to Armenia

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Save the participants in the fact-finding mission to Armenian monuments with His Holiness Karekin II (center)

YREVAN – Save Armenian Monuments (SAM), a recently launched initiative to protect historical and cultural sites in Artsakh and the wider region, undertook its first fact-finding mission to Armenia last week. SAM representatives met with religious, political, civic and academic stakeholders to assess ways of preserving vulnerable sacred sites after the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) war of 2020.

“During our visit, the SAM delegation laid the foundations for future pilgrimages to the historic sites of Artsakh. Such pilgrimages are designed to educate stakeholder groups as well as the general public, both in Armenia and outside, to seek recognition and enforcement of the right of every Armenian to visit and pray at sites. sacred, regardless of political circumstances, ”said Dr. Virginia Davies, founding president of New York-based SAM. “Pilgrimages are not only important for the spiritual and cultural needs of individuals, but also for the preservation of churches as living places of worship. “

The SAM delegation was led by Davies and included Advisory Board members Raffi Tanielian (London) and Dr Antranig Kasbarian (New York). Eminent scholars, including Heghnar Watenpaugh, professor of art history at the University of California Davis, as well as His Eminence Archbishop Hovakim Manukyan (London), who facilitated the delegation’s discussions with ecclesiastical authorities in headquarters of St. Etchmiadzine, joined the group.

The SAM delegation took the opportunity to present the project to His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, who welcomed the initiative and offered critical advice and ideas. The group also met with representatives of the church overseeing the protection of cultural heritage, as well as directors of Armenian Architecture Research (RAA), a major promoter of research, protection and data collection. relating to cultural heritage sites. Previously, SAM had ad its support for the modernization of RAA’s visual archiving practices. Senior SAM leaders also met with Armenian President Armen Sarkissian, who stressed the importance of diaspora engagement in the preservation of cultural heritage.

Founded in 2020, Save Armenian Monuments LLC, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization and subsidiary of the Eastern Prelature, pursues the lasting safeguard of in situ Endangered Armenian Christian heritage, in particular the protection and awareness of churches, monasteries, tombs, stone crosses and other endangered sacred sites and structures located in Artsakh and the wider region, through activities including pilgrimages and education. Based in New York, Save Armenian Monuments operates in collaboration with relevant institutional and individual stakeholders.

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