Jailed Gülenist police chief now charged for the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink
Saturday, 30 May 2015
Friday, 29 May 2015
Posted by Seta at 03:37
ARMENIA MARKS SARDARAPAT BATTLE VICTORY DAY
On May 26 Armenia marks the Sardarapat Battle Victory Day.
The Battle of Sardarapat took place during World War I (1914-1918)
from May 21-29, 1918 between regular Armenian troops and rebels on
one side, and Turkish occupants, who invaded Western Armenia, on the
other. The battle took place in the area of Sardarapat railway station,
near Hoktemberyan city.
Following Russia's victory in the October Revolution in 1917, the
Russian troops left the territories of Western Armenia occupied during
the World War I. Capitalizing on this, Turkey decided to not only
reoccupy Western Armenia, but also Eastern Armenia and Transcaucasia.
Violating the armistice concluded in December 1917, the Turkish army
assumed the offensive and occupied the cities of Erzincan, Erzurum,
Sarikamish, Kars and Alexandrapol (Gyumri). Armenians began to lose
ground to the adversary's forces which outnumbered them for many
times. The Turks were moving toward Yerevan, when Armenian troops,
commanded by Coronel Daniel Bek-Pirumian Pirumian, met them behind
Etchmizadzin city. Armenians defeated and drew them back by a number
of successful attacks.
Sardarapat Battle had a huge significance for Armenia: Armenian
population of the northern area of Ararat valley escaped another
genocide by Turks. Besides, conditions were created for the
re-establishment of the Armenian statehood.
On May 28, 1918 the independence of the Armenian Republic was
declared. Commemorative date was fixed in honor of Sardarapat
Battle and overthrow of the Turkish army on May 26, 1918. On the
50th anniversary of the battle in May 1968, Sardarapat Memorial was
opened (not far from Yerevan). The memorial was designed by architect
A HEROIC EPISODE OF ARMENIAN HISTORY
28 May 2015, 13:01
28 May 1918 is one of the glorious days of the Armenian history. On
that day the Republic of Armenia was proclaimed after a pause of
The first two years of the First Republic were years of struggle
against external and internal enemies, hunger and pandemics. The
proclamation of the Republic was preceded by the May battles when
the Armenian troops defeated the Turkish army.
In December 1918 the Armenian-Georgian war took place when the
In the fall of 1919 clashes with Azerbaijani forces started. In
September 1920 the next Armenian-Turkish war started. Then Russia made
a decision on the establishment of the bolshevist rule in Armenia. On
November 29 the Russian army and the Armenian bolshevists invaded
Ijevan, Armenia and proclaimed soviet rule in the country. As a
result, the exhausted Republic of Armenia fell on December 2. In
the same month, the Russians arrested hundreds of officers of the
Armenian army. Among them were Daniel Bek-Pirumyan, Movses Silikyan,
Tovmas Nazarbekyan. Most officers were shot dead.
After the sovietization of Armenia Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan
signed agreements dividing the Armenian territories.
The Armenian independent state survived 2 years with heroic efforts.
jolts were also felt in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Citing data obtained from the State Seismic Protection Service's
seismological network, Armenia's Ministry of Territorial Administration
and Emergencies reports that the quake, whose hypocenter depth was
10 km, measured six points at the epicenter.
On the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, jolts measuring three points
were registered in the regions of Martakert and Askeran.
ARMENIAN CHURCH AND GRAVES DESTROYED BY TREASURE
Half-ruined church of the Armenian monastery Arakelots in Mush,
Turkey, continues to be attacked treasure hunters.
They have damaged the walls of the church and dig the graves of
Armenians near the church, Milliyet newspaper reported.
Police conducted investigation after chairman of the Armenians of Sasun
Aziz Dagci addressed the local government. An investigation revealed
that graves had been damaged and the plates of the church stolen.
Aziz Dagci said they had petitioned to the prosecutor's office based
on the report provided by police.
Highlighting the rapid growth of Armenia's information technology (IT)
sector, D-Link Corporation, one of the world's largest manufacturers
of computer networking equipment, inaugurated its newly constructed
research and development center in Gyumri on Monday.
The center is one of the three facilities of its kind operated by the
Taiwanese IT group around the world. Its creation was made possible by
an agreement which D-Link signed with the Armenian government in
January 2013. The government provided the company with a plot of land
in Gyumri for that purpose.
D-Link had opened software development branches in both Gyumri and
Yerevan even before that agreement. It reportedly employed some 200
people in Armenia as of last year.
With annual worldwide sales exceeding $1 billion, D-Link is
principally engaged in the research, development, manufacture and
distribution of computer network systems, devices, wireless
communication products and components.
"This center will play a significant role in the development of Gyumri
and Armenia's strong scientific potential as well as the country's
integration into global information technology processes," Economy
Minister Karen Chshmaritian said at the inauguration ceremony that was
also attended by President Serzh Sarkisian.
Chshmaritian added the Armenian government has a strong interest in
having "multinational corporations" expand their presence in the
domestic IT industry, the fastest-growing sector of Armenia's economy.
The export-oriented sector had expanded by an average of 22 percent
annually since 2008. The government expects this growth to continue
unabated in the years to come. Some officials have forecast that the
sector's annual turnover will pass the $1 billion mark by 2019.
According to government estimates, the combined output of the nearly
400 IT firms operating in the country reached almost $475 million last
year. The figure is equivalent to about 5 percent of its Gross
Much of this growth has been driven by U.S. hi-tech giants like as
Synopsys, National Instruments, Mentor Graphics and VMware. Synopsys,
a global microchip design leader, employs about 700 engineers in
Armenia, making its local branch the country's largest IT enterprise.
OVER 100 CAMERAS AND 160 SPEED SENSORS INSTALLED
YEREVAN, May 26. More than 100 cameras and 160 speed sensors
are installed on Armenia's roads, deputy head of Armenia's police
Vardan Yeghiazaryan said at 2014 budget execution hearings in the
parliament on Monday.
Introduction of automated control systems was completed in 2014,
and there are currently 104 video cameras ad 166 speed sensors on
the roads, he said.
A car license plate detection system was also introduced in 2014,
and a total of 261 cars having problems with their license plates
were detected during the year, Yeghiazaryan said.
During 2014 the police procured various devices worth a total of 418
million drams and vehicles worth 667.4 million drams, he said.
Some 57.1 billion drams was appropriated for the police under the
2014 budget. (1$ - 478.32 drams). -0-
ARMENIA OFFERS REFUGE FOR EUROPE'S LAST LEOPARDS
The Irish Times
May 25, 2015
Caucasus conservtion project aims to help rare wildlife and local
High on an Armenian hillside, Gor Hovhannisyan eases a camouflage-green
box from its hiding place in the trees and opens the back to see what
he has caught.
This time, only a bird and a rabbit triggered the camera trap's motion
sensors. But far bigger beasts also roam the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge:
lynx, bears, wolves and at least one of Europe's last remaining
Across a deep gorge speckled with thyme and wildflowers, Hovhannisyan
points to the snowy ridge where a Caucasian leopard was last captured
here on camera; behind him, far below, a lush plain of farmland and
fruit trees stretches away to Mount Ararat, an ice-clad 5,000m volcano
just over the border in Turkey.
The refuge is breaking new ground in Armenia and the region, by leasing
a large area of outstanding beauty and biodiversity and ensuring that
local people contribute to and benefit from its protection.
The challenge is considerable in a country where environmental
awareness is low, large predators are seen as a threat to life
and livestock, and the rule of law is too weak to control either
small-scale trappers or wealthy hunters.
Geopolitics doesn't help, either. Barely 25km south of the refuge
is Azerbaijan, which officially is still at war with Armenia after
an early-1990s conflict. Some 10km further lies Iran. The leopard's
territory spans all three countries, further complicating conservation
Hovhannisyan is one of several local men who work as wardens in the
refuge, patrolling its 4,000 hectares in a battered green 4x4 and
Hunting ban "All hunting is banned in the refuge," he shouts, as the
groaning 4x4 bounces beneath a troop of iridescent bee-eaters preening
on a telephone line.
"We make sure no one's in the refuge without permission, and we talk to
the villagers. We tell them that if they hunt bezoar goats or boar or
even rabbits, then there will be less food for the wolf and bear and
lynx. And then they are more likely to come to our yards and fields
and take a sheep or cow."
People's lives are intertwined with nature here, to a degree that is
not always comfortable. In winter, hungry wolves sometimes come down
from the mountains to snatch a sheep, chicken or dog from a yard;
in spring and summer the shepherds take their flocks to the high
meadows, into the domain of the big carnivores; and autumn is the
bears' favourite time to raid the valley's orchards - though they
also amble down in warmer months to feast on fruit.
"Last year a bear family ate lots of apples and damaged the trees,
and they like to come for apricots," says Ashot Manatsakanyan, who
lives in Urtsadzor, a village on the edge of the refuge.
"And I've seen a bear sitting and eating watermelons like a man -
splitting them open in his lap, eating the best bits, throwing away
the rest and grabbing another," he recalls.
"Sometimes a wolf comes into the village, but it's the shepherds in the
hills who have the most problems. Even with six or seven guard dogs,
a pack of wolves can take a sheep or even a horse. They complain that
the wolf is taking money from their pockets, but I'm glad the wolves
are here - and they need to eat too."
The refuge aims to boost and diversify the local economy through
eco-tourism, and it helps villagers access clean and cost-saving
technology such as solar panels, and runs classes for adults and
children on nature and sustainability.
Conservation model "We want this type of conservation model to be
spread more widely through the Caucasus," says Ruben Khachatryan,
the founder of the refuge and director of Yerevan's zoo.
Though it is barely an hour's drive from Yerevan, there are few
visitors to the refuge, which is supported by the UK-based World
Most that do make the trip dream of glimpsing a Caucasus - also know
as Persian - leopard, but the chance is minuscule: only a handful
survive in Armenia, and the entire population may be less than 1,000.
"In Armenia, people and leopards have co-existed since the early
prehistoric times. Depictions of leopards can be found in many ancient
petroglyphs . . . recounting origin myths and tribal traditions of
ancient Armenia," says Khachatryan.
"The inhabitants of Caucasus region should be proud of not killing
the last of the species, and to have this amazing feline thrive in
No one in Armenia has a better hope of seeing a leopard than refuge
"Sometimes, when I'm alone on my horse in the hills, I wonder if it
might attack me," he says. "But I'd still love to see a leopard up
close. It's great to know that it's out there."
IRISH WOMAN GETS MESSAGE FROM ARMENIAN WHO
27 May 2015
16 years ago, Claire sent a shoe box with a letter and some other items
to children in Armenia, and had hoped to get a letter in response.
She did eventually get word back from the person who received her
donation, but it wasn't until just this week that she heard from them,
according to breakingnews.ie.
Arsen Khachatryan, the boy who got the box, managed to track her down
and sent her a text message saying that he still remembers getting the
clothing and gifts that she sent and that he "always wanted to express
my gratitude for that gift-box". For her part, Claire was completely
taken aback, but shared her story with the Galway Advertiser, who
posted screengrabs of the messages up on their Facebook.
Writing on Facebook, she explains what happened:
"When I was 8 years old I wrote this note and put it inside a shoebox
filled with crayons, gloves, a toothbrush and loads of other bits
and it got sent off to children in disadvantaged countries.
"This morning, 16 years later, I got a message from a man in Armenia
to say he's been searching for me for years to thank me for his gift
box. He took a picture of the note and sent it with his message. This
12 PLAYERS FROM FOREIGN CLUBS CALLED UP TO ARMENIAN
26 May 2015
12 players from foreign clubs have been called up to the Armenian
national team, Press Service of the Football Federation of Armenia
Armenia will play a Euro-2016 qualifying round match against Portugal
on June 13.
Acting coach of the Armenian national team Sargis Hovsepyan has called
up 12 players from foreign clubs to take part in training campaign:
Roman Berezovsky, Dinamo Moscow (Russia)
Robert Arzumanyan, Amkar (Russia)
Hrayr Mkoyan, Esteghlal (Iran)
Gael Andonyan, Olimpyque (Marseille, France)
Gevorg Ghaazaryan, Kerkyra (Greece)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
Marcos Pizzelli, Aktobe (Kazakhstan)
Aras Ozbiliz, Spartak (Moscow, Russia)
Rumyan Hovsepyan, Metallurg (Donetsk,Ukraine)
Norayr Aslanyan, Almere City (Netherlands)
Artur Sarkisov, Volga (Russia)
Ruslan Koryan, Lokomotiv Tashkent (Uzbekistan)
The full list of the players from abroad as well as Armenian Premier
league will be announced later.
25 May, 2015
YEREVAN, MAY 25. Bullets whistled overhead, a black ISIS
flag flapping in the distance, but all Friar Najeeb Michaeel could
think of as he fled the jihadis was how to save hundreds of ancient
manuscripts, including Armenian scrolls, in his possession.
"Armenpress" reports about this citing The Daily Star.
"You are going to get us killed with your archives," Michaeel's
assistant Watheq Qassab grumbled as he struggled to carry six boxes
of the documents dated between the 13th and 19th century across the
border from Iraq into Kurdistan in August last year.
The Roman Catholic Dominican Order arrived in Iraq in the 13th century,
and set up a permanent church in the second city of Mosulin 1750.
Michaeel first smuggled his precious library out of Mosul to Qaraqosh -
Iraq's largest Christian town - during an Islamist insurgency in 2008
which saw thousands of Christians flee the city.
Last year, the friar again felt the tide turning as ISIS seized town
after town, destroying priceless artifacts and documents in museums
and libraries in their rampage across Iraq and Syria.
As ISIS Thursday seized the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, raising
fears of further destruction, Michaeel told AFP in Paris how he
became obsessed with saving the remnants of Iraq's 2,000-year-old
"It was imperative that these manuscripts, conserved in the Dominican
library in Mosul and then in Qaraqosh, escape the systematic
destruction of the non-Muslim cultural heritage," Michaeel told AFP.
So, when ISIS seized Iraq's second city of Mosul in June, a short
distance from Qaraqosh, Michaeel again took action.
"We loaded a large part of the manuscripts in a truck and drove them
to Irbil, in Kurdistan, which is 70 kms away," he told AFP.
And when the jihadis descended on Qaraqosh on Aug. 7, forcing the
last Dominican friars to flee, he stashed the remaining manuscripts
in boxes in his car.
"We were engulfed in the massive exodus of Christians and Yazidis who
were fleeing to Irbil," the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Michaeel said.
"We could see the black flag of ISIS from a distance. We were protected
by armed peshmerga but they wouldn't let our car cross the border.
"So I started to take the boxes of manuscripts out of the car and
hand them to passers-by," he said.
Watheq Qassab, an Iraqi working for the Dominican order, helped
Michaeel save the manuscripts.
"Bullets were whistling above our heads and I thought we were going
to die," he told AFP.
"Children were crying, women too. I was carrying six boxes, it was
heavy, I couldn't run."
Luckily, a car was waiting for them on the Kurdish side of the border,
and all the boxes arrived safe and sound and are now hidden in Irbil.
Michaeel's collection includes historical and philosophical texts,
documents on both Christian and Muslim spirituality, music and
literature written in Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic and Armenian.
They bear testament to the long Christian tradition in former
Mesopotamia - seen as the cradle of Western civilization - which
survived even as most of the region between the Tigris and Euphrates
rivers converted to Islam in the seventh century.
Tens of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee what
PopeFrancis called the "intolerable brutality" being inflicted on
them and other minorities in Iraq and Syria by ISIS militants.
Historian Francoise Briquel-Chatonnet, a researcher at the French
National Center for Scientific Research, said there were about 50
manuscripts written in the ancient Christian language of Syriac,
dated "before the arrival of Islam in the same region."
"Most are conserved in the British Library in London. The oldest
dates back to 411."
Michaeel's collection is not that old, but "they are a sort of bridge
between civilizations, they bear witness to the past and say a lot
about the present," the friar said, adding that he sees them as his
In Qaraqosh, Michaeel and his staff have been working for years to
collect and digitize the ancient manuscripts, photographing them and
storing them on a hard drive.
"Since 1990 we have digitized 8,000 manuscripts from the region. Half
of the originals no longer exist as they have been destroyed by
[ISIS]," he said.
Copies of seven of these documents are currently being displayed at
the National Archives in Paris at an exhibition entitled: "Mesopotamia,
a crossroads of cultures."
Posted by Seta at 03:33
Thursday, 28 May 2015
Posted by Seta at 10:57
WHAT WOULD JESUS' DNA SHOW? DIVINITY OR HUMANITY? OR BOTH? AND WHAT DIFFERENCE WOULD IT MAKE?
A DNA test has confirmed that Jesus is the Son of God! How could the priest not delight in it? Still…does it make sense? And, if true, what would follow from it?
It seems Jesus’ purported DNA comes from the Shroud of Turin. A long linen cloth that bears the image of a crucified man. Believed by many to be Jesus. Most unlikely but…assume it is authentic. You check its DNA traces and…what? Does the molecule display ‘God’s material’, as someone exults online? Alas, God is not made of any ‘material’. God is not made of anything. If he were, he would not be God but something else. An idol, perhaps. Or some finite entity or energy or freak. Once again, God is not that.
St Athanasius’ Creed affirms that Jesus Christ is both God and Man, ‘yet he is not two but one Christ’. The human and the divine essences coexist harmoniously in Jesus’ person. Two natures, united but not confused. The divine does not absorb the human and vice versa. Heretics like Paul of Samosat (a courtier of Queen Zenobia of Palmira, city now unhappily occupied by ISIS) held that Jesus was a special human person whom God only used as a minister. Such Jesus’ DNA would have shown no trace of divinity, therefore.
Another heretic, Apollinaris of Laodicea, reacted to Paul of Samosat by teaching the contrary. In Jesus, Apollinaris has it, you would find a human body but no soul – that was replaced by the Logos, the Spirit or Operation of God. The Logos however, being divine, does not consist of matter or molecules so again, how could divinity ever be detected?
Famously, the DNA molecule resembles a spiral staircase, or a double helix. The helix is ‘right-handed’, i.e. it coils in a clockwise direction. What, say, if Jesus’ DNA showed a helix coiling the other way? Remarkable but…what would it prove? Left-handed helices have been produced experimentally but…so what?
Possibly the problem is caused by translating Hebrew concrete ideas and language into technical Greek metaphysical categories. Christians sought evidence for Jesus’ divinity first not from philosophy but from Old Testament prophecies. Isaiah refers to the Messiah as Immanuel, ‘God with us’. The Prophet Micah even suggests a Messiah pre-existing creation, hence divine. Psalm 110 has Christ majestically seated ‘at the right hand of God’.
Other evidence emanate from Jesus’ critique of the Jewish Law. When Christ said, referring to himself, that ‘The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath’, he asserted his supremacy over the Old Law given to Moses on Sinai. He had the right, as God’s son, to modify what his Father had established before him. That shocked many pious Jews because to alter the Law implied that Jesus of Nazareth had revealed himself as Son of God. And so he did.
Examples could be multiplied. Jesus’ tough pronouncements about the Jerusalem Temple, his miracles, his power to forgive sins, his transfiguration, his resurrection and ascension – these are dynamic, Scripture-attested data, not logical lucubrations. Obviously, they will not persuade those determined not to be persuaded – they never did. Even some hard-hearted eye-witnesses of Jesus’ wonderful healings ascribed them to the action of devils!
Radical Christians like the scholars of the Jesus Seminars reject a supernatural Jesus. They prefer to see him as a sort of wandering Zen Master, a spiritual rebel or iconoclast. That is not new. German idealist thinkers like Hegel understood Christ as a rational, ethical figure, bringing a message of inward moral authenticity, a challenge to Hebrew rabbinical legalism. Later, theologian Rudolf Bultmann conceived Jesus’ person as embodying a call to crucial existential choice, risk, authenticity…you get my drift. Present-day sceptics have ditched even that thin pubulum. Regardless, they all postulate a Jesus with a purely human DNA. Divinity these unbelievers and scoffers they have long given up, like belief in Father Christmas or King Arthur.
Another trendy but reductionist school of thought falls back on Wittgenstein. On a device he describes in the Philosophical Investigations. It is about ‘seeing an aspect’. You can see an illustration now as one object, now as another. You see it as you interpret it. Wittgenstein draws the seemingly simple, childish figure of something he calls ‘a duck-rabbit’. You can see it as a rabbit’s head or as a duck’s head but not simultaneously as both. (Actually I think I can!) Then an aspect ‘dawns’ on you. A revelation, an epiphany or, to call it less grandly, ‘the penny drops’ effect. Upshot, you can see Jesus Christ as both and divine, at the same time.
Of course, this is not about anything physical or supernatural. It is only an analogy. A seductive one, though. So, forget about cells, chromosomes, DNA sequences, all that. What matters is total commitment to the dual aspect, the illumination dawning on you. You give up all you have, give it to the poor and follow Jesus. Kierkegaard, Heidegger or Bultmann? Or Pope Francis, maybe?
In conclusion, what if, for real, Jesus’ DNA was uncovered somewhere? Examined by a scientist, what would it show? The simple answer: nobody knows. A philosophical voice inside me whispers: ‘It is a category mistake. Christ’s divinity could never come through in a lab.’ But there is also another voice: ‘Look, don’t be dogmatic. Isn’t God the God of surprises? What if the results surprised us?’
Revd Frank Julian Gelli
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Posted by Seta at 10:36