Khrimian Hayrik (1820-1907)
He is a figure which steps straight out from the Old Testament with all the fire and all the poetry. H. F. B. Lynch (Travels and Studies in Armenia)
In 1820 two prominent Armenians were born who devoted their lives to Armenia and the Armenian people and were venerated by their contemporaries. Khrimian Hayrik (1820-1907) was an Armenian Apostolic Church leader, educator, and publisher who became the Patriarch of Constantinople and later Catholicos of All Armenians. Ghevond Alishan (1820-1901) was a philologist, historian, geographer, translator, a member of the Mkhitarist Congregation in Venice.
Since it is not possible to do full justice to either of these giants in this format, much less jointly in one presentation, we will highlight Khrimian Hayrik first and Alishan in a subsequent feature, focusing on some of their publications and publications related to them as represented in NAASR’s Mardigian Library while also providing background on their lives and works. (These features were originally planned for fall of 2020 to mark the 200th anniversary of their births, but were put aside due to the Artsakh war.)
Each man was a product of—and, in turn, helped shape—their times, but also continues to speak to us across time.
To write about Khrimian Hairik, one must dip the pen in the sacred pool of the Armenian people, because every Armenian has two fathers, himself and the Father of All Armenians.
—Vazgen I, Catholicos of All Armenians (1908-1994)