A VALUABLE DONATION TO THE MATENADARAN


  “Magnanimous benefactors are the pillars of the world”: we are convinced in the wisdom of these words of Mesrop Mashtots until today. It is also thanks to magnanimous benefactors that the fund of the Matenadaran after Mesrop Mashtots has been enriched by yet another valuable donation. The donators are the sisters Beatrice and Maria Ghrdyans, Armenians from Boston, who fulfilled the cherished wish of their prematurely deceased brother, Ruben Ghrdyan.  A physician by profession, Ruben Ghrdyan expanded and completed his personal collection throughout decades, intending to donate it one day to the Matenadaran. In 2014, his cherished desire came true by his sisters, who donated 5 manuscripts and 140 volumes of old printed books to the Matenadaran. Only one of the manuscripts is in Armenian: the Bible’s book “Wisdom of Sirach” copied in the 17th century. The other 4 manuscripts are in Arabic script (three of them in Arabic and one in Persian). One of these is an illustrated and beautiful Quran copied in 1858 by a scribe named Mohammed Rasmi.  The other 2 manuscripts are Arabic prayer books with distinctive illustrations and excerpts from the Quran. Both have miniatures, fine frontispieces and marginal ornaments.
  The last manuscript is a sample of Persian poetry by the Sufi thinker and poet   Attar of Nishapur (12th-13th centuries). The manuscript was copied at the beginning of the 19th century. Matenadaran’s collection of old printed books has been enriched with more than 140 volumes, 10-15 of which are rare examples and also Armenian books published in the 17th-18th centuries in different cultural centres of Europe, such as
Ruben Bellarmine’s “Christian Doctrine” published by Voskan Yerevantsi in Livorno in 1670 and Yeremia Meghretsi’s “Armenian Dictionary” published in the printing house of Sargis Evdokiatsi in 1698. There are also old printed books in foreign languages, valuable volumes published in the 1600s and 1700s.
  The Ghrdyans family also donated to the Matenadaran historical cultural two old carpets of Artsakh and Shatakh, photos and maps of Varagavanq made in 1800.
Due to the donations, in the last 5 years the manuscript fund of the Matenadaran has been enriched with around 1500 manuscripts. When offering their patrimonial or family treasures to the Matenadaran, the donators are filled with great emotion; they understand very well the importance and meaning of their grand gesture.
 “This act has both personal and impersonal significance: thanks to it, one seems to merge with the mysterious dialogue of generations, the echoes of which fill our sacred urns, our manuscripts, whose spiritual shelter is Mashtots Matenadaran,” noted in his speech Hrachya Tamrazyan, the Director of the Matenadaran. He attached importance to those individuals who perform this patriotic deed and, as a sign of gratitude, rewarded the Ghrdyans sisters with “St. Mesrop Mashtots” Memory Medal.


“Matenadaran”
The Scientific Research Institute of Ancient Manuscripts after Mesrop Mashtots



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