BURBANK – Dr. Rouben Adalian, Director of Armenian National Institute (ANI), will present the exhibit “The First Refuge and the Last Defense: The Armenian Church, Etchmiadzin, and the Armenian Genocide” on February 18 and 19 at 8:00 PM at the Zorayan Museum at the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, 3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, California 91504.

The exhibit was created by the Armenian National Institute, the Armenian Genocide Museum of America (AGMA), and the Armenian Assembly of America jointly, in cooperation with the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute in Yerevan, and the Republic of Armenia National Archives. The exhibit consists of 20 panels with over 150 historic photographs documenting the role of the Armenian Church during the Armenian Genocide.

His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, reports that this lecture and presentation by Dr. Rouben Adalian, is a part of a series of Diocesan events dedicated to the 100th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

The Primate noted that the exhibit explains the importance of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin during the Armenian Genocide. The exhibit also examines the vital leadership role played by the clergy during the Armenian Genocide especially the all-important intervention of His Holiness Catholicos Gevorg V Sureniants in alerting world leaders about the massacres, effectively issuing the first “early warning” of an impending genocide. “The documents effectively demonstrates the sacrifices of the Armenian clergy,” stated the Primate, “thousands, among them several primates in Western Armenia and other parts of the Ottoman Empire, paid the price of martyrdom for their faith during the Armenian Genocide.”

The exhibit provides ample evidence of the aid extended by fellow Armenians to the refugees fleeing Ottoman Turkey as the Young Turk regime pursued its path toward the destruction of the Armenians. At the epicenter of this outpouring of aid was Etchmiadzin, the primary destination of the Armenians fleeing the massacres along the border regions of the Ottoman Empire. With testimony from survivors and witnesses, the exhibit reconstructs this particular chapter of the Armenian Genocide, a chapter often overlooked in the context of the mass deportation of the Armenians from all across Ottoman Turkey to the interior of the Syrian Desert where hundreds of thousands perished from hunger, thirst, and slaughter.

Dr. Rouben Adalian has had a distinguished career and is noted as a specialist on the Caucasus and the Middle East. Dr. Adalian holds a PhD in History from the University of California, Los Angeles. Among other places, he has taught at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University; School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; and School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University.

“The First Refuge and the Last Defense: The Armenian Church, Etchmiadzin, and the Armenian Genocide” is the second digital exhibit released by ANI, AGMA, and the Assembly. The first exhibit, “Witness to the Armenian Genocide: Photographs by the Perpertrators’ German and Austro-Hungarian Allies” was released in 2014, and a third exhibit, ” The First Deportation: The German Railway, the American Hospital, and the Armenian Genocide ,” was issued this January.

The exhibit is open to the public and admission is free. For further information contact the Zorayan Museum at the Western Diocese office (818) 558-7474.

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