On Friday 22 October 2021 at 14.00 the Research Centre for Armenian Culture in Poland (RCACP) was pleased to receive a visit from Wojciech Aleksander Siwek of the Doctoral School of Humanities at Warsaw University. He gave a talk as part of our seminar series on his research project devoted to Armenians in the private towns of The Commonwealth of the Two Nations (with particular attention to processes of acculturation and assimilation). The seminar was held as a combined in-person and online session. Fr Marek Miławicki OP and Dr Andrzej Gliński from Wrocław joined our permanent host (and oldest and wisest colleague), Professor Andrzej Pisowicz, in person, while Monika Agopsowicz from the Foundation for the Culture and Heritage of Polish Armenians joined us online.
One of the employees of the Research Centre for Armenian Culture in Poland (RCACP), Dr Jakub Osiecki, conducted a series of conversations with representatives of Armenian academic and government institutions from 20–27 September 2021. They were intended to launch or to maintain cooperation with the National Archives of Armenia (Հայաստանի ազգային արխիվ), with the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts and the ‘Matenadaran’ Research Institute («Մատենադարան» Մեսրոպ Մաշտոցի անվան հին ձեռագրերի գիտահետազոտական Ինստիտուտ), with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport of the Republic of Armenia (Կրթության, գիտության, մշակույթի և սպորտի նախարարություն), with the National Library, and with the museum and library of the catholicate. Our initiatives received what proved to be significant support from the Republic of Poland’s ambassador to Yerevan, who helped organise meetings with these partners.
A conversation conducted a few years ago in Kraków with Professor George Bournoutian was broadcast as part of the My Armenia, My Armenians series on Monday 27 September 2021. It was intended to conclude the series, in which Poles and Armenians of various professions, beliefs, and experiences have spoken. Unfortunately, the professor’s death, of which readers were recently informed, now sounds a sad accompanying note to the conversation about his life and his connections with Armenia and Poland – the country of his mother’s birth. To hear what he wished to tell us – by way, it turned out, of farewell – is therefore all the more worthwhile.
An encyclopaedia project was the theme of the latest internal meeting of the Research Centre for Armenian Culture in Poland. Taking part, in addition to researchers from the Centre, were Professor Andrzej Pisowicz and Monika Agopsowicz. To produce an encyclopaedia dedicated to the cultural accomplishments of the Polish Armenians is the central task before scholars of Armenian studies in Poland. It is to be compiled by a representative group of humanists from various disciplines – principally historians and lingusts, but also researchers in the fields of art, literature, folklore, arts and crafts, politics, and sociology. We discussed possible structures and potential contributors for the encyclopaedia.
Dr Edward Ghazaryan, the former Armenian ambassador to Poland, was the guest of the Research Centre for Armenian Culture in Poland. The Centre was fortunate enough to be able to work with Dr Ghazaryan on a number of occasions during his diplomatic service in Poland, which was an especially active and fruitful phase in Polish-Armenian relations. The purpose of his first journey to Kraków, which he made at the very beginning of his mission, was to meet our still informal community of researchers and to fulfil official duties by meeting the president of Kraków and the Małopolska voivod. The lecture he gave in the library of Collegium Maius in 2015 began the commemoration in Kraków of the hundredth anniversary of the genocide committed against the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
The registers of the Armenian parishes that functioned in Old Poland represent a very important source for learning about both the history of the Polish Armenians and the culture of the towns they lived in. The registers serve a vital purpose in, among others, genealogical, statistical-demographic, and socio-cultural research. The oldest of them, which date from the Old Polish period, are of particular value. One of these is the register of marriages and baptisms in the Armenian Parish of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Zamość from 1694-1775, which is kept in the Vasyl Stefanyk National Scientific Library of Ukraine in Lviv (the former Ossolineum).
Edward Tryjarski, the grand old man of Polish orientalists, has died in Warsaw. In the wake of the demise of Professor George A. Bournoutian, his passing represents a further painful loss to Armenian studies in Poland and the world. For decades, Professor Tryjarski was a presence in the life of the Armenian diaspora in Warsaw. He worked closely with the Circle of Interest in Armenian Culture at the Polish Folklore Society, and his Armenian contacts and friendships contributed to the research that produced Ormianie w Warszawie: materiały do dziejów (2001) (Armenians in Warsaw: Materials towards a History). So substantial was his support for the development of Armenian studies in Kraków, that it contributed to the establishment of the Research Centre for Armenian Culture in Poland.