Kolkata community hosts Armenia vessel, remembers Makar Ekmalian

Published: Wednesday August 17, 2011

Armenia crew at Kolkata academy.

Service at the Church of Nazareth.

Kolkata, India - Armenia's Ambassador in India Ara Hakobyan and the eight-member crew of the Armenia sailing vessel led by author Zori Balayan were in Kolkata between July 21 and 24, visiting the Armenian Churches of India and to Holy Etchmiadzin's Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy and the representatives of the Armenian Community.

Very Rev. Father Khoren Hovhannisyan, Pastor of Armenians in India and Manager of Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy, gracefully accompanied Zori Balayan and the crew to St. John the Baptist Church, Chinsurah below the belfry of which lies the tomb of Prince Fridon Beglarov, the last heir of Artsakh's Gulistan melikdom (known as Shaumyan district today). Father Khoren conducted ‘repose of souls' service.

On the itinerary of the guests was a visit to the Armenian Old Age Home of Kolkata - where they met with its residents followed by a visit to the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth. Later, the crew paid a visit to Mother Teresa's Home where her tomb lies.

The Ambassador, Father Khoren and Zori Balayan met with Mr. Sunil Sobti and Mrs. Susan Reuben, Wardens of the Church Committee of Holy Nazareth at the Armenian College.

The meeting of the crew with students of Armenian College at the school auditorium featured remarks by the Ambassador and Zori Balayan who made Father Khoren an ‘Honarary Member' of his crew and emphasized the meaning of their voyage.

The Armenia vessel sailed from southern Europe in spring 2009, proceeding through the Atlantic and the Caribbean to Los Angeles and from there on to South America, Australia and South-East Asia with stops at various Armenian community centers; the ship concluded its voyage in Cyprus on August 11.

Makar Ekmalian anniversary

The Armenian Church of India celebrated the 155th birth anniversary of Armenian composer Makar Ekmalian (1856-1905) at the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth in Kolkata on July 31.

The evening begun with ‘Ov Hayoc Astvats' song by the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy choir which was followed by a number of other compositions from the invaluable repertory of the great musician.

At the end of the concert, Very Rev. Father Khoren Hovhannisyan, Pastor of Armenians in India and Manager of Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy delineated Makar Ekmalian's biography and the beauty of the ingenious works to the audience and the important role that the great composer played in spiritual and lay art of singing.

Father Khoren concluded his speech by quoting Komitas Vardapet's note of appreciation for Ekmalian.

"Dear Musician Mr. Makar Ekmalian sowed the first harmony in the desolate musical phase of our nation. We are indeed happy that we, Armenians can now proudly say that we have not been left behind from the advancement and growth of universal professional and artistic music."

The occasion was celebrated in the presence of the Church Committee, Armenians of Kolkata, students and teachers of Armenian College and distinguished guests.

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Charles Aznavour. Via Wikimedia

Calendar of Events

90-year-old music legend Charles Aznavour will perform in LA on September 13 and New York on September 20; for details about these and other upcoming Armenian happenings in America consult the Calendar of Events.