GLENDALE — At the 2-week “Lark Vocal Camp” organized this summer for advanced singers, participants to the camp expressed interest in learning classical Armenian language (grabar). The participants were eager to learn the old Armenian literary language in order to gain a better understanding of the rites of the Armenian Church, its liturgical hymns, writings of its scribes, as well as the basics of the language and its grammar.

Classical Armenian is our ancient written language, which was in use until early 19th century, when it gradually fell out of use. It is a language rich in vocabulary, with admirable flexibility and idiomatic suppleness. It is also the basis for our modern vernaculars.

We believe it is important to gain a working knowledge of our grabar. By gaining proficiency in our ancient language, we can better validate our own ethnic identity and heritage, we can have a greater awareness of our ancestors’ unique expressive gestures, their way of thinking, their world view.

Following another well-received “Summer Armenian Studies” lecture series, a number of the attendees also indicated their interest in studying Classical Armenian.

Since the demand exists, Lark administrators developed a Classical Armenian Study curriculum, which will begin on 6 September 2014.

The classes will take place every Saturday morning, from 8 to 10 a.m. Two semester-long sessions will be offered, the first until December 2014, and the second from January to May 2015. Directing and coordinating the curriculum will be Very Reverend Father Dajad Yardemian.

Father Yardemian was born in Lebanon. In 1959, he left for Venice, where he received his secondary education. For eight years he pursued his academic studies in philosophy and theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 1972, he was ordained to the celibate priesthood, earning the title of abegha, or monk, of the Mekhitarian Congregation. Upon successful completion of his research and writing of his thesis, he was the recipient of two scholarly degrees by ordination: the first being the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet), equal to a Master’s Degree in Divinity; the second, that of Senior Archimandrite (Dzaraguyn Vardapet), equal to a Doctorate in Divinity, in 1993. For four years he served in the San Lazzaro Mekhitarian Monastery, and in 1997 he was sent to Los Angeles.

Father Yardemian is the author of more than forty individual volumes; his subject specialization is Armenian monastic culture, monastic and Christian spirituality. He has been engaged in numerous missions and assignments, which have involved a broad scope of activities. Since 2005 he has held a position in the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America and says, “I have strived to make use of my abilities and strengths for service to the Armenian Church, and for all of that I am grateful.”

For enrollment in, or further information about the Classical Armenian Language Studies program, please call the Lark office, at 818-500-9997.

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