Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Armenian Institute... Illustrated Lecture...


** FATHER FRANK’S RANTS - SAVING ALIENS & HUMANS - Rant Number 695 27 September 16


‘Imagine if a Martian showed up, all big ears and big nose like a child’s drawing, and asked to be baptised. How would you react?’ asked Pope Francis once. How indeed…

Not so loopy a question. Thanks to a Kepler space telescope, NASA discovered a planet in the Cygnus constellation, potentially harbouring life. OK, it is 490 light years away – a mere bagatelle – but the nearest star to us, Proxima Centauri, also reveals a similar life-friendly planet. And when the next scientific paradigm shift makes space travel possible, the Pope’s humorous query may become serious. Even urgent. Because baptism is the necessary (though not sufficient) means to salvation, to entry into paradise. Salvation, geddit? Eternal bliss. No baptism, no salvation. Should then aliens be saved, i.e. baptised?

Well, why not? Physical appearance is irrelevant. If some children had antennae sprouting out of their head, would that disqualify from being christened? Surely not. The essential thing is not their looks but their reason. They must be rational beings. Not just sentient beings, mind you. Cats and dogs are sentient, pace Descartes, who callously considered them as mere automata. Animals do have the power of perception through the senses. But they are irrational. They lack the faculty of reason and the ethical sense. They cannot apprehend moral right and wrong, good and evil. That is why – Biblical teaching apart – the Church bars them from Heaven. Conversely, if the aliens have reason, they can, nay, must be baptised, i.e. saved.

But would they have to? Consider C.S. Lewis’ theological sci-fi novel, ‘Perelandra’. It describes a planet, Venus, of which a man and a woman are the sole inhabitants. They are, you soon suss out, analogues of Adam and Eve, prior to temptation and the expulsion from Paradise. There has been no Fall of Man on Venus. Man and woman live contently and joyfully, on a floating Eden, obeying their Creator. So, on a planet like Perelandra there would be no need of the Incarnation. Superfluous to baptise such happy and good people. Of course, whether such a world actually existed could only be established empirically, by going there. And that discovery will have to wait a bit. (Captain Kirk’s Starship Enterprise won’t quite do, I am afraid.)

The Franciscan philosopher Duns Scotus, however, boldly suggested that Christ would have become man even if the Adam and Eve had not eaten the forbidden fruit and transgressed God’s command. Why? Many reasons. To show God’s love and grace, to teach men humility, to encourage people, to show solidarity with human sufferers and to remind humanity of key moral truths. Hhmmm…the problem the priest has got with these pious ideas is that, if Adam and Eve had not sinned, like the lucky couple of Perelandra, why would they have had to suffer? No death, no lust, no sickness, no crimes, no greed, so…what’s the point, the necessity of that divine ‘solidarity’. Nor indeed would there have been any need of the Cross and the Resurrection, because…no divine sentence of death in the first place.

Interesting how in his novel Lewis shows the bad guy, Lucifer-like Weston, hell-bent on tempting the woman into disobeying her Creator. That shows that, no matter how blessed people may feel, the possibility of evil always lurks. So perhaps even un-fallen aliens might need to be baptised, just in case, so to speak…

What if aliens were older, created before us, prior to Christ’s Incarnation, that is? Would Christ have become flesh, become one of them, an alien, on each of their planets? Note that St John’s Gospel makes it clear that the Logos, the Word, predates creation. Christ was with the Father ‘in the beginning…and all things were made through him’. So the cosmos, the universe, all reality, not just the humble earth, were created by God via Christ the Logos, in the first place. The denizens of other worlds therefore owe their existence to the Logos, regardless of chronology. Still, the puzzle stands: how to relate the embodiment of the Son in the man Jesus over 2000 years ago in Palestine to aliens in galaxies faraway? A multiplication of Incarnations, Crosses and Resurrections on remote planets sounds a tad problematical.

I wonder what the Muslim ulama’, the scholars, might opine. Allah’s message must be proclaimed by a prophet and, to be saved, people have to heed it. The final, perfect message naturally is that of Muhammad. Could there have been prophets in other worlds, before Muhammad preached? The Qur’an names a certain number but a certain hadith asserts that there have been 124.000 prophets before Muhammad. Is it conceivable, possible that some might have been sent to spread the message outside the Earth? Discuss!

Pope Francis is a great one to goad and provoke. I bet he realises the real challenge for Christians today has nothing to do with little green men off flying saucers. The fearful problem is how to reach out to fallen human beings here and now, on the third planet, our home. Francis knows his own flock but I know the feeble and contemptible Church of England. A tragedy. Because festering with spiritual complacency, cowardice and compromise. Unable or unwilling to condemn the un-Christian degeneracy of English society. The only baptism that could ever save my Church is a baptism of fire. Or of blood.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


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Armenian News... A Topalian... Congregation of St. Lazarus in Venice

The Congregation of St. Lazarus, Venice
marks the 300th anniversary of its establishment
Public TV Company of Armenia
Report in Eastern and Western Armenian with an 
interesting tour around the monastery and its library. 


Works by Armenian-Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh 

on display in London
27 Sep 2016 

An exhibition Armenian-Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh has opened in London and will run through 22 October, The Guardian reports.

Photographer Yousuf Karsh captured portraits of everyone from Albert Einstein to Martin Luther King during his career – as well as some of the century’s greatest artists, musicians and actors.

Armenian-Canadian Karsh escaped genocide to move to Quebec and become one of the most celebrated portrait photographers of the 20th century.

According to the source, in 1921, Karsh’s family escaped the Armenian genocide into Syria, with a single donkey their only real possession. Karsh’s uncle, who lived in Quebec, wrote to the family to ask for help in his photography studio – the 16-year-old Yousuf embarked on a 29-day trip to get there.

His apprenticeship led to Karsh training in portrait photography in Boston, studying old masters painters and their approach to light and perspective. He moved to Ottawa, and began photographing visiting dignitaries. His breakthrough came with a portrait of Winston Churchill that ended up on the cover of Time magazine. Another photograph from the same session with Churchill graces the UK’s new £5 banknote.

Karsh would go on to photograph the most famous people in the world, and among other accolades, has a crater on Mercury named after him.

Click for details: 

Raffi Krikorian is the head of Uber's research centre in Pittsburgh developing driverless cars. (source: The Economist)

1/3 of children in Armenia both poor and deprived: UNICEF
26th September, 2016

Almost one in three children are both poor and socially deprived in
Armenia, the United Nations' children agency said in a report Monday,
September 26.

For children, besides its monetary character, poverty can also mean
being deprived in crucial aspects of their lives, such as nutrition,
education, leisure or housing, the UNICEF said.

In Armenia, 64% of children are deprived in 2 or more dimensions. The
headcount is as high as 82% in rural areas, while it is 53% in urban
settings. Nationwide 12% of children are not deprived in any
dimension. However this is true for only 3% of children in rural
areas, while 18 per cent of children in urban areas do not suffer any
deprivation. Children who are deprived, are deprived on average in
three dimensions at the same time.

Most children are deprived in Utilities, Housing and Leisure.

Utilities is defined here as a combination of poor water supply and
heating, while housing is defined by crowded living space and reported
housing problems. Leisure is measured as a combination of recreation
items and space to play.

There is a sharp rural/urban divide in the utilities dimension: 87 %
of children in rural areas are deprived in utilities, a combination of
poor access to water and heating. The second relevant divide is found
in information: 57% of rural children are deprived of access to
information, while this is true for only one third of children in
urban settings. However, there are no differences in leisure
deprivation rates by area of residence. At the same time, there are no
significant gender differences either in deprivation distribution or
particular dimensions.

28% of children are deprived (in 2 or more dimensions) and live in
monetary-poor households. These children are the most vulnerable, and
should be prioritized by social policies.

At the same time, 36% of children are deprived, but do not live in
poor households. These children need direct intervention to tackle
deprivation, and are at risk of being missed by policies that only
address monetary poverty.

Younger children are mostly deprived in Nutrition. About one third of
children aged 0-5 are deprived in nutrition, and 23% of children aged
3-5 are deprived in early childhood education. The highest deprivation
rates for this age groups are found in information (49%), utilities
(48%) and housing (51%).

Older children are mostly deprived in Leisure and Social Relations.
Both children age 6-14 and aged 15-17 have their highest deprivation
in leisure, defined as not having a space to play outside or not
having books or toys. Almost one half of children age 6-14 are also
deprived in social relations. 37% of children aged 6-14 are deprived
in education (defined as education resources), while 12% of children
aged 15-17 are not in education or training. 

Russia has started delivery of weapons to Armenia under 
$200 mln loan agreement
27 Sep 2016 

Russia has started the delivery of weapons to Armenia under 
the $200 mln agreement, Russia’s Ambassador to Armenia 
Ivan Volynkin said in an interview with Radio Liberty .

The Ambassador also commented on the sale of Iskander 
ballistic missile system, noting that the fact is a testament to 
the allied nature of the Armenian-Russian relations. 

According to Amb. Volynkin, the sale of the Iskander means 
that “the relations between Armenia and Russia are allied and 

As for the $200 mln loan agreement, the Ambassador said it’s in 
the process of implementation. “It is being implemented according 
to the plan, the delivery has already started,” Ivan Volynkin said. 

RFE/RL Report
Diaspora Celebrities Urge `Democratic Change' In Armenia
September 26, 2016
Aza Babayan

Rock musician Serj Tankian and other prominent Diaspora Armenian
artists have called on Armenia's government to end widespread
corruption, respect laws and hold democratic elections, in a joint
appeal which they hope will speed up democratic change in the country.

"We say NO to systematic corruption, monopolies, judicial inequality,
police brutality, partisan politics, unequal rights, national
depopulation, and elections tainted by fraud, all of which have
contributed to the ongoing unrest," reads their petition released last
week on the 25th anniversary of Armenia's independence.

"We say YES to the equality of all people, the fundamental
preservation and protection of human rights, direct engagement in fair
and transparent elections, respect for the rule of law, fair wages,
separation of powers, a free press and advocacy for the
disenfranchised," it says. "We say yes to tangible, democratic change
through civic engagement with the citizenry of Armenia."

"Armenia can and should become a country of opportunity, creativity,
democracy and hope in a region rife with turmoil. The alternative is
unthinkable," concludes the statement.

The petition was initially signed by about three dozen well-known
individuals, virtually all of them ethnic Armenians living in Europe
and North America. They include Tankian, filmmakers Atom Egoyan of
Canada and Robert Guediguian of France, Canadian actress Arsinee
Khanjian, American writer Chris Bohjalian and Alexis Ohanian,
co-founder of the Reddit social media.

The signatories described themselves as a Justice Within Armenia
coalition that will seek to promote profound reforms in their
ancestral homeland.

Tankian urged other Armenians to sign the petition after it was posted
on Change.org on September 21. "Independence means little when a large
segment of the public are discontent," the outspoken American rock
star wrote on Facebook.

About 2,300 people have signed the petition since then.

"We are not proposing anything radical," Egoyan told RFE/RL's Armenian
service (Azatutyun.am) on Monday. "We are proposing what's in our

"People in Armenia are the voter, not the Diaspora," he said. 
"All we can do in the Diaspora is to make sure that the process 
of election is done properly."

In that regard, Egoyan stressed the importance of Armenia's next
parliamentary elections slated for April 2017. "Arsinee [Khanjian]
will be there for the elections," said the filmmaker. "I'll try to be
there as well."

Khanjian, who is married to Egoyan, most recently visited Yerevan in
July, addressing one of the rallies held there in support for radical
opposition gunmen that seized a police compound to demand President
Serzh Sarkisian's resignation. The Canadian-Armenian actress was
briefly detained by riot police when she attempted to attend another
protest near the besieged compound. 

Sevan Nişanyan sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment for 
building house in his garden
September 27,2016

Linguist and cultural figure Sevan Nişanyan was awarded with a 
 “William Saroyan” medal during an event that was held at the 
Cezayir Meeting Halls in Istanbul on September 23.

Armenian lawmaker Aragats Akhoyan, two Turkish MPs, Sevan 
Nshanyan’s mother were among the guests.

“The decision to award Sevan Nshanyan was taken still in 2014. 
We only knew that he [Nişanyan] was in prison for his political views, 
and there was no opportunity for the organizers to give him the 
medal,” Aragats Akhoyan said on Tuesday during a meeting with 

International Committee for Freedom & Justice for Sevan Nişanyan 
did not miss the opportunity to start a new wave of discussions after 
the medal awarding ceremony and demand Nişanyan’s release.

“Being a bold cultural activist, Sevan Nişanyan openly criticised 
the country’s authorities, but he was arrested allegedly for constructing 
an illegal house in his own garden. And can you imagine he was 
sentenced to 17 years in prison. In fact, the charges are fabricated, 
and I think he was sent to prison for standing in somebody’s way,” 
Mr. Akhoyan said. 

New Tumo center to be build for Koghb village
September 26. 

On September 24, a presentation event organized by “Koghb” Foundation for Development of Education, Culture and Sport took place in the Special Events Auditorium of Gafesjian Center for the Arts, announcing the launch of “KoghbTumo” project, Ucom said. 
During this event a memorandum of understanding was signed between “Koghb” Foundation, Tavush regional administration, Ucom and charitable organization “Mission Childhood”. During the event, Artur Abovyan, the Director of “Koghb” Foundation, and Marie Lou Papazian, the Director of Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, presented the details of “Tumo-Koghb” project. 

According to the speakers, a new “Tumo” center for at least 600 students will be opened in Koghb community of Tavush region, which will also serve the teenagers and young people from Noyemberyan, Berdavan and other border communities. The construction of the center will start in November, and the educational activity of the center will commence in 2018. 

The educational program will be the same as those implemented in Tumo centers of Yerevan, Dilijan, Gyumri and Stepanakert, and the teaching staff and international experts will continue to share their knowledge and experience in the new center as well. 

“In recent years Ucom has been consistently implementing comprehensive educational projects for school-age children. Being very well aware that not all settlements have equal access to educational opportunities, we especially focus on settlements with limited access to high technologies. As an Armenian operator, today Ucom directs all its efforts towards the development of our motherland, the Armenian people and, in particular, the young generation”, Hayk Yesayan, the CEO at Ucom, said. 

Arman Barseghyan, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of “Koghb” Foundation summed up: “A few days ago we celebrated the 25th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Armenia. This initiative is one more step forward in strengthening the independence of our state”.

Armenian News... A Topalian... Will the UK recognise the Armenian Genocide, yet?

RFE/RL Report
Putin Upbeat On `Strategic' Ties With Armenia
September 21, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed confidence on Wednesday
Russia and Armenia will further deepen their already close relations
"deeply rooted in history."

In a letter that congratulated President Serzh Sarkisian on Armenia's
Independence Day, Putin said Russian-Armenian ties are being "enriched
with promising projects in different sectors." They are also cemented
by the two countries' membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Economic
Union (EEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), he

"I am convinced that with joint efforts we will ensure further
development of the whole complex of strategic relations and
constructive cooperation on addressing pressing issues of regional and
international relevance. This undoubtedly is in the best interests of
the fraternal peoples of our two countries," added the Russian leader.

Putin congratulated Sarkisian as Russian soldiers marched in an
Armenian military parade held in Yerevan on the 25th anniversary of a
1991 referendum in which the vast majority of Armenians voted for
independence from the disintegrating Soviet Union. Russia has kept a
military base in Armenia ever since the Soviet collapse.

Putin and Sarkisian most recently met in Moscow in early August for
talks that reportedly focused on the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict. Moscow took the lead in international efforts to bolster the
ceasefire regime in the conflict zone and revive Armenian-Azerbaijani
peace talks following heavy fighting around Karabakh that broke out in
early April.

Putin hosted a meeting of Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham
Aliyev in Saint Petersburg in June. Aliyev and Sarkisian hinted
afterwards at progress towards the conflict's resolution, fueling
media speculation that they are under pressure to accept a Russian
peace plan. Neither side has reported further progress in recent
weeks, however.

Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande reaffirmed his
"commitment to finding a fair and lasting settlement of the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict" in a congratulatory message sent to
Sarkisian on the occasion.

"As I had the opportunity to tell you during our Warsaw meeting on
July 9, I am ready to host a meeting in Paris with a view to
consolidate the ongoing peace process and discuss measures to resolve
this extremely lengthy conflict," Hollande wrote, according to
Sarkisian's office.

The French president appeared to refer to his offer to organize
another meeting of Aliyev and Sarkisian this year. No agreements on
the proposed summit have been reached yet. 

RFE/RL Report 
Karapetian Orders Action Against Government `Theft'
September 22, 2016
Sargis Harutyunyan

Prime Minister Karen Karapetian ordered the Armenian government on
Thursday to root out what he called the embezzlement of budgetary
funds set aside for government officials' travel expenses.

Karapetian alleged and decried the illegal practice after his chief of
staff, Davit Harutiunian, unveiled a new electronic system for the
purchase of air tickets for officials travelling abroad on business.

"It's a quite complex system and you all understand what it is aimed
at," he told a cabinet meeting in Yerevan. "That is why I am issuing a
directive. We are going to put in place quite complex mechanisms for
eliminating the primitive theft. Sort that out in your agencies."

"When they tell me about what [fraud] schemes are devised for tickets
# it takes a lot of fantasy to do that," added Karapetian. "If those
people used their intelligence in another area, the effects would have
definitely been much better."

The premier did not specify the scale of the alleged fraud or name
officials who he thinks engage in it.

Armenia's newly appointed Finance Minister Vartan Aramian was
reluctant to comment on Karapetian's blunt remarks after the cabinet
meeting. "The prime minister's appeal is also an order to the Finance
Ministry," he told reporters. "Let me just get down to work."

Aramian insisted that he was not aware of any cases of ticket fraud
when he served as deputy finance minister in the past.

Karapetian pledged to speed up economic reforms and strengthen the
rule of law in the country after he was appointed prime minister by
President Serzh Sarkisian on September 14. So far he has named only
six members of his new government. Four of them, including Aramian,
did not work in the previous cabinet.

Karapetian on Thursday also moved to abolish one of Armenia's 19
government ministries: the Ministry for Urban Development. A relevant
government bill presented by Harutiunian would also change the name of
the Economy Ministry to the Ministry for Investments and Business

Knesset Deputy Speaker:
 “We cannot recognize the Armenian Genocide”
September 22, 2016 17:27

Israeli Knesset Deputy Speaker Tali Ploskov said in an interview with Mediamax that "Today Israel does not have the opportunity to recognize Armenian Genocide on state level”.

“President of Israel and President of Knesset said that they accept the fact of the tragedy. But the political relations between Israel and other states do not allow Israel to recognize Armenian Genocide on state level. Although all of us deep inside accept that horrible tragedy and offer our support to the Armenian side,” Knesset Deputy Speaker said to Mediamax correspondent during her visit to Yerevan.

Nevertheless, Tali Ploskov emphasized that progress was registered in the process of recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Israel, when Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee officially recognized it in June, 2016.

“The next step is supposed to be the recognition by President of Israel or Minister of Foreign Affairs, but I am not quite sure it will happen. This issue is not going to change yet. Such issues are not solved quickly,” he said.

Knesset representative noted that it is very important for Israel that “Everyone in Yerevan understands that we do not have anything against Armenia”.

“Yes, we cannot declare what our Armenian counterparts would like us to say. We have reasons that everyone understands. But this does not mean we cannot cooperate,” the MP said

Tali Ploskov informed that he is in Armenia to participate in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Independence of Armenia.

“Besides the main purpose of my visit, my counterpart Artak Zakaryan and I decided to hold a conference for entrepreneurs, which will host representatives of different spheres from both countries. We plan to hold the first such meeting on September 24,” Tali Ploskov said.

Israeli Knesset Deputy Speaker informed that he will have meetings with the Speaker and MPs of Armenian National Assembly to discuss inter-partliamentary cooperation related issues.

“Last year cooperation was intensified in different spheres between our two countries, which should be continuous. We should work hard to achieve it. I am convinced that there will be no obstacle on our way,” Israeli Knesset Deputy Speaker Tali Ploskov said in an interview to Mediamax .

Ha'aretz, Israel
Sept 23 2016
Jewish Right-wing Extremists Riot During Performance 
by Christian Choir in Jerusalem
By Nir Hasson
Two members of anti-assimilationist group Lehava arrested, including
leader Bentzi Gopstein, after trouble flares during song by Armenian
Church Choir
Right-wing extremists rioted during a performance by a Christian choir
at a contemporary arts event in Jerusalem on Thursday. The police
arrested two members of the anti-assimilationist Lehava organization,
including its leader, Bentzi Gopstein.

Dozens of extremists infiltrated the Manofim contemporary arts
festival event, being held in the Clal Center mall, and clashed with
attendees. The event was the finale of Manofim’s ninth annual
festival. Organizers had wanted to take advantage of the circular
shape of the Clal Center interior, one of the oldest commercial
centers in Jerusalem.

Various choirs performed on the ground floor during the evening while
hundreds of people stood on the floors above to watch.

The right-wing demonstration erupted during the performance by the
city’s Armenian Church Choir. An eyewitness said the disruption
started when the choir began singing, and that it took a long time for
the police to arrive.

Meanwhile, Gopstein and other activists allegedly shouted at the
choir, “Christians!”, “Go to Syria!”, “Jew murderers!” and more. The
choir was forced to stop performing after one song.

Following the event, security guards and police blocked the entrance,
and several Lehava members gathered in front of the building and
protested that they were not allowed to go inside.

“Two right-wing activists were arrested after they refused to obey
police orders, and continued to interfere with the event and disrupted
the public order with shouts and confrontations with police,” the
police said in a statement.

Right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir claimed that officers hit Gopstein
in the head during the clash, adding that Gopstein needed medical
treatment for his injuries.

Rinat Edelstein and Lee He Shulov, the directors-curators of the
Manofim festival, said in a statement: “We are still shocked and
pained about the violent and vulgar behavior of Lehava, headed by
Bentzi Gopstein. We wish to express our solidarity with the Armenian
choir that was forced to leave the event because of Lehava’s violence
against them.

“We were shocked to find that in Israel in 2016, such a violent
organization is not outlawed and its members are not sitting in jail,”
they added.

Rabbi Noa Sattath, executive director of the Israel Religious Action
Center, which organized a counterdemonstration against Lehava on
Thursday evening, said, “The fact that Lehava thugs do not rest for a
moment, and that while hundreds of citizens — Jews and Arabs —
demonstrate against them, they choose to violently interrupt religious
Christian activities, is clear proof that the head of this criminal
organization, Bentzi Gopstein, should be prosecuted as quickly as
possible, before more blood is spilled in the capital.”

10,000 square meters of mined areas demined in Armenia’s 
Syunik Province

Over the course of the current year, the peacekeeping mining engineering battalion of the Armed Forces of Armenia has demined about 10-thousand square meters of mined areas in Syunik Province.

In parallel, the Humanitarian Demining and Expertise Center has started the marking of respective hazardous areas in Armenia.

The objective of this marking is to prevent people from entering hazardous areas, and to raise awareness of the danger caused by landmines.

Mark Moogalian honored for helping thwart 2015 train attack
23 Sep 2016 

A French-American man who helped stop a heavily armed gunman on a train in France in 2015 has received the country’s highest honour, the BBC reports.

Mark Moogalian and five other passengers overpowered the suspect, Moroccan national Ayoub El-Khazzani.

Mr Moogalian was shot in the neck during the struggle on the high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris.

The Legion d’honneur was given by President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace.

When a French passenger tried to enter a toilet on the train, he encountered the gunman and tried to overpower him.

Seeing the struggle, Mr Moogalian tried to intervene but was hit by a bullet.

Three other Americans – off-duty military servicemen Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler – then overpowered the attacker.

They also had the help of UK businessman Chris Norman.

The Americans and the Briton received the honour in August 2015.

Sorbonne professor Mark Moogalian, has lived in France for more than two decades, but is originally from Midlothian and is of Armenian descent.

Cheese Tops Dairy Exports from Armenia: Most Goes to Russia
Seda Hergnyan
September 22, 2016

During the first seven months of 2016 Armenia produced 13,000 tons of
cheese, 3,600 tons of yoghurt, 3,500 tons of sour cream, 550 tons of
cottage cheese, 317 million liters of milk, and 7 million liters of
ice cream.

These figures are provided by the country’s National Statistical Service (NSS).

When compared to the same period last year, cheese production
increased by 19.1%, milk by 2.7%, and sour cream by 3.2%.

Yoghurt production decreased by 3.8%, cottage cheese by 5.3%, and ice
cream by 10.6%.

When it comes to Armenian diary exports, cheese and cottage cheese top the list.

The NSS reports that Armenia exported 3,300 tons of cheese and cottage
during the first half of 2016 at a customs value of US$8.4 million.
(The NSS, for some unknown reason, lumps the two products together)

Nevertheless, given the smaller production amounts of cottage cheese,
most of the exports in this category consists of cheese.

The primary market for Armenian cheese is Russia, with smaller
quantities this year to the USA and Georgia.

Surprisingly, cheese and cottage cheese exports skyrocketed in 2015,
despite complaints from cheesemakers regarding less than conducive
market conditions.

[the US Armenians do not seem to have heard of Lord Darzi]

Getreated Medical Travel.com
Sept 20 2016
5 Medical Innovations You Didn’t Know were Armenian
History of Medicine - Hopkins University
Raffi Elliott

Armenia is making its mark as a global medical tourism hub, yet to the keen observer, this should come as no surprise. Despite its tiny size, this caucasian nation has contributed disproportionately to the medical profession, through advances in medical research over the course of many centuries. Armenians have been found in every aspect of medical innovation, from the publication of Mkhitar Heratsi’s ‘Relief of Fevers’ in 1184 to the pioneering work of Drs. Simeon Minasian, Garabed Galstian, and Baronig Matevosian during the American Civil War , though their contribution goes much deeper.

Armenian doctors, medical researchers and inventors are responsible for some of the most important life-saving innovations of the last century. 

 1- Varaztad Kazanjian: Father of Modern Plastic Surgery 

The Invention:

As a young man, Varaztad Kazanjian fled the Ottoman Empire, where he worked in a local post-office due to the anti-Armenian pogroms known as the Hamidian Massacre. Settling in Boston to start a new life, Varaztad started working at a local wiring factory, where his extraordinary dexterity with tools led him to study dentistry at Harvard. During the Great War, Kazanjian was sent on a medical mission to the battlefields of France. Despite being trained as a dentist, his compassion for the sheer number of soldiers with horrific facial wounds he met lead him to experiment with various treatments. The innovative procedures he worked with were often accomplished in primitive conditions, in field hospitals near the front lines.

Why it’s important: 

Dr. Kazanjian’s pioneering procedures directly lead to establishing the medical field of plastic surgery, earning him the prestigious position of first ever Professor of Plastic Surgery at Harvard . His efforts didn’t go unrecognised by others either. He was awarded the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George by HM King George V of Great Britain, as well as the Honorary Award of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons.

His work helped propel battlefield medicine into the 20th century, allowing many wounded soldiers to recover from some of the most horrific wounds brought by modern warfare. These techniques eventually became commonplace in the civilian world as well. Victims of crashes, burns, and other accidents now had access to some of the most cutting-edge facial reconstruction technology in human history.

The importance of Dr.Kazanjian’s efforts may go unnoticed for today’s casual consumers of cosmetic plastic surgery, but it’s worth remembering that the history of perfect noses and perfect breasts starts with an Armenian dentist’s struggle to stitch up wounded soldiers of World War One. 

2- Michel Ter-Pogossian: PET scan 

The Invention:

The Positron Emissions Tomography scanner, better known to the layperson as the PET scan, is one of the most recognisable pieces of medical technology today, but had it not been for the efforts of the German-Armenian nuclear physicist Michel Ter-Pogossian, this may not have been the case.

A son of Armenian Genocide survivors, Michel Ter-Pogossian was born in Berlin , Germany in 1925. Having witnessed the rise of the Nazis, his family quickly eed to France when he was still a child. Michel was not ready to let his adopted country fall to the same fate as his birth place. He promptly took up the fight against the Nazis as part of the French Resistance Movement during WWII while earning his degree at the University of Paris’s Institute of Radium. He continued his studies after immigrating to Missouri in 1946, where he attended classes at the Washington University of St. Louis, eventually securing a faculty seat in its School of Medicine.

Why it’s important: 

His most notable contribution to Science, the PET scanner is known as one of the most promising methods of detecting early stages of cancer, as well as for monitoring heart disease, allowing millions of people to identify these life-threatening diseases in time to treat them. 

3- Raymond Vahan Damadian: Inventor of the MRI 
The Invention:

If mo damadianst of us ever confuse the PET scanner with anything else, it’s almost always the MRI Machine, but that’s OK, because the MRI was also an Armenian invention ; This time, by the Armenian-American physician, Raymond Vahan Damadian.

Born to an Armenian family in New Mexico, Raymond had an early interest in the physical sciences. With a bachelor’s degree in mathematics already under his belt, he decided to pursue his interest in medicine, graduating as an M.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1960.

As a doctor, Raymond researched the effects of sodium and potassium in living cells, eventually leading him to his first experiments using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Raymond conducted the first-ever diagnosis of cancer with a full-body scan in 1977 when he used his newly-invented Magnetic Resonance Imagine (MRI) machine on a patient. Despite controversy revolving around his being denied a Nobel Prize for the invention that many believed entitled him to, Damadian never stopped improving on his important research.

Why it’s important: 

By inventing the MRI machine, Dr Damadian discovered a new way for medical professionals to diagnose cancer and conduct follow-ups without exposing the patient’s body to ionising radiation. This revolutionised the field of cancer researched, and allowed for easier and safer cancer diagnosis.

The MRI machine is also a very versatile as an imaging technique . Today, it is also widely used in biomedical research, as well as in the imaging of non-living objects. There are currently over 25 000 MRI machines used in hospitals and research labs across the world, used in diverse fields of research and medicine, including, but not limited to neurology, cardiovascular research, oncology, and much more. The MRI machine is even preferred to CT scanners when either technique could be used for the same effect. 

 4- Hrayr Shahinian: Pioneer in Microsurgical Techniques 
The Invention: 

dr-shahinianHrayr Shahinian, M.D., F.A.C.S. is recognised as a pioneer of endoscopic surgical techniques, commonly used in order to treat all sorts of skull-based disorders. After graduating from the American University of Beirut in 1981, he continued on at the University of Chicago’s Medical School. Having completed fellowships at the Department of Head and Neck Surgery in the swiss city of Zurich, and in craniofacial surgery at New York University, Dr Shahinian was certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1992.

Why it’s important: 

Dr Shahinian’s new techniques provide a less invasive alternative to older neurosurgical technology . His pioneering endoscopic approach has since widely replaced traditional techniques across the United States and is being used around the world from Canada to South Korea. He has published over 80 academic papers on endoscopic techniques.

Dr Shahinian has since received numerous awards for his work and has secured various patents. he was also honoured by NASA for his work in the field of advanced medical technology. 

 5- Dr John Najarian: Father of modern Organ Transplantation 
The Invention:

Though organ transplant procedures have been attempted for decades, a high rate of rejection by the patient’s immune system made the operation extremely dangerous and incurred a high probability of failure. This all changed thanks to the pioneering work of Dr John Najarian.

Why it’s important: 

The medical field that Dr Najarian entered back in the early 1950s was quite different from what it is today. Modern organ transplant techniques were in their infancy when a young John Najarian was considering cardiology as a career option. The first successful kidney transplant in 1954 lead him to reconsider his path, leading him to proclaim : “That’s the field, that’s something. If you can put in an organ in an individual and save his life, that is remarkable and that’s the direction I want to go.” From that point on, Dr Najarian concentrated his efforts in immunology in order to facilitate kidney transplants, which until then had been complicated by a high rejection rate by the body.

As the first surgeon in the world to conduct successful pancreas and kidney transplants, his invention garnered him both praise and controversy over the years. Despite overseeing the development and manufacture of AntiLymphocyte Globulin (better known through the acronym “ALG”), which helped patients bodies’ recognise and accept foreign organs, for over 25 years at the University of Minnesota, his programme was eventually shut down by the FDA because it had never received its approval. Despite Dr Najarian eventually being cleared of all charges, the damage to his institution had already been done. His research facility had lost a lot of funding, and a lot of skilled researchers.

Despite this major setback, his groundbreaking research and contribution to his field was recognised by many. Dr Najarian even recalls: “To this day I can’t walk down the street and people don’t come up and shake my hand. It’s the most amazing thing in the world”. After all, he managed to save the lives of countless millions with his breakthroughs in organ transplants.


Though the field of medicine is the result of the collective effort that has been propelled by the work of thousands upon thousands of doctors, scientists, and inventors across millennia, one should not discount the unique contribution of the inhabitants of a tiny nation, nestled between the high mountains of the Caucasus. Their endeavours have made now-mundane treatments such as Cancer prevention, plastic surgery, organ transplants, and microsurgery unmistakable parts of modern medicine, saving countless lives.