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The “Hayartun” Cultural Educational and Youth Center at the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia

In 2011 at the initiative of the Head of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia, His Grace Bishop Vazgen Mirzakhanyan and the residence of the Head of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia, under the patronage of living in Russia businessman Boris Saakov and Armenian businessmen of Georgia Rafik Agajanyan, Samvel Agekyan, Aram Simonyan, Nelson Petrosyan, Kim Safarov, Aram Manosyan, Vitaly Manasyan, Samvel Manukyan and Arkady Manukyan, nearby SurbEtchmiadzin Church in Tbilisi the Armenian culture house was built, the solemn opening of which took place on June 12, 2011 during the visit to Georgia of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. The Catholicos of All Armenians gave his blessing and congratulated the Armenian community on the opening of the center; His Holiness wished it would become one more cultural, national, spiritual hearth imbued with the Armenian spirit, preserving the traditions of Tumanyan’s “Hayartun”.

Formed at the Cathedral of SurbGevorg at the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia in 2010, the “Hayartun” Cultural Center from the first day of creation initiated patriotic activities and productive work, promoting mother tongue preservation, celebration of historic holidays and the feasts of the church, revival of folk customs and traditions, strengthening of Armenian-Georgian cultural ties.

The “Hayartun” Center is a serious structure, where the staff headed by the Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia faithfully serves to the implementation of high national ideas.

Armenian Culture House brings together under its auspices various Armenian unions. According to predefined plan of the unions, united under the patronage of the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia, exhibitions, book presentations, discussions, meetings, anniversary events, as well as festivals, receptions and celebrations are organized. During this events every Saturday and Sunday the CalousteGulbenkian Hall is crowded, inviting Armenians and as well as representatives of other nationalities.

The Director of the “Hayartun” Center is Levon Chidilyan, the Head of the Cultural Department at the Armenian Diocese in Georgia.

The “Hayartun” Center cooperates with Armenian creative unions in Georgia and patronizes them. Such as:

“Vernatun” Union of Armenian Writers of Georgia – Chairman Gevorg Snkhchyan,

"Kamurj" Public Organization for the Armenian-Georgian Literary Relations – Chairperson AnahitBostanjyan,

Union of Armenian Intellectuals of Georgia – Chairman Yenok Tadevosyan,

Union of Armenian Artists of Georgia – Chairman Meruzhan Shahumyan,

Gary Davtyan Puppet and Culture House – Headmistress Zhanna Davtyan,

Association of Armenian Women of Georgia “Shushanik” - Chairperson Susanna Khachaturyan

The Armenian Community of Georgia (NGO) – Chairman Samvel Mkrtchyan

The Union of Armenian NGOs in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli – Chairman Artak Gabrielyan

“SHEN” NGO – Chairman Mikael Avagyan

The Educational Cultural and Youth Center in Akhaltsikhe – Coordinator Eduard Ayvazyan

The Rafael Javakh Educational Cultural and Youth Center in Ninotsminda – Director Zhora Snkhchyan

The Alexander Mantashev Educational Cultural Youth Center in Batumi – Director Sona Hovhannisyan

The Georgian Writer’s Union – Chairman Makvala Gonashvili,

The Georgian Artist’s Union -

The Georgian Musician’s Union – Kakha Tsabadze

The Tolerance Centre at the Public Defender's Office - Beka Mindiashvili

Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) – Director Eka Chitanava

The “Hayartun” Cultural Educational and Youth Center at the Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Georgia conducts its activities through departments. Pavel Oganezov is the artistic director of the center. As a result of his strict supervision and consistent work the center unites young people, true art lovers, whose major goal is to learn and master Armenian performing arts. The selection committee headed by the artistic director conducts enrollment in these groups. After getting enrolled in specific group knowledge of Armenian language becomes obligatory. Those, who don’t know Armenian, attend two-year language courses at “Hayartun” Center.

Cultural groups

Song and dance groups created since the establishment of the center serve cultural purposes. Such as:

St. NersesShorhali Youth Vocal Ensemble – choirmaster, experienced teacher Maria Abulyan, and pianist Karen Mirzoyan.

Taron Youth Folk Dance Group – choreographer SurenAbramyan

Class of duduk – teacher Ivan Mkrtchyan

Class of dhol – teacher Robert Kashavanidze

Youth Vocal Instrumental Ensemble – under the guidance of Vladimir Asaturov

The class of duduk – teacher IvaneMkrtchyan

Children’s Art Studio – teacher Tamara Sulkhanishvili

St. NersesShorhali Youth Vocal Ensemble: Here boys and girls from ages 7 to 15 years enthusiastically study folk songs, pieces of classic, spiritual, and national art, skillfully present choral music on different stages. The choir participates in different contests and festivals organized in Armenia and Georgia, is afforded the honor to sing at gala concerts, and every time comes back home with awards and diplomas. Every year the choir is getting more mature, and its experienced performers join the Church Choir or the Youth Vocal Instrumental Ensemble, while the youth choir welcomes newcomers after audition.

St. NersesShorhali Youth Vocal Ensemble members acquire here basic music knowledge.

The class of duduk. Children ages 9 years and older learn to play our national instrument –duduk, get to know the names of famous Armenian duduk players, are informed about their life and work.

The class of dhol. There are plenty of people showing interest to learn how to play this musical instrument. The students in both classes of dhol and duduk learn how to play musical instruments correctly. They learn the history of folk music instruments, acquire knowledge about professional performers.RA Ministry of Diaspora helped in the organization of the classes and equipment with musical instruments.

There is Youth Vocal Instrumental Ensemble – under the guidance of Vladimir Asaturov,

12-17-year-old Armenians learn how to play modern musical instruments: guitar, bass guitar, drums and keyboards. They also prepare substitute for band members. The junior group prepares music players, so they could join the band in the future. The work with pop singers is also conducted. The aim of ensemble is to become a professional pop group.

Children’s Art Studio operates at “Hayartun” center (teacher Tamara Sulkhanishvili). Children from ages 3-6 learn to draw, model in clay and create different art works, which are presented at various children’s exhibitions in Georgia, Armenia and Artsakh. The students of the studio took the prizes at the children’s fine art exhibition organized in Yerevan and won the trip to Artsakh and were given a chance to participate in “Tatev’s wings” festival. The exhibition of hand-made paper clothing and accessories and the exhibition-contest of Christmas trees made from recycled materials have already become a tradition for the students of this art studio.

St. MovsesKhorenatsi Kindergarten (two groups, 60 students), St. Yeghia Saturday school (four groups, 105 students), St. Gregory of Narek Sunday school (four groups, 95 students) are operating at the “Hayartun” Center under the authority of the Department of Education.

Every Sunday the “Hayartun” Center hosts Armenian History lecture series, after which film screening about Armenia take place, later ethnographic song and dance classesare held. More than 600 students and Armenians of different age come into contact with everyday activities of the “Hayartun” Center throughout the week.

One of the major activities of the "Hayartun" Cultural Center is the promotion of the Armenian cultural life in the regions inhabited by Armenians. Many different events are being organized for that purpose, and serious work is conducted to establish educational, cultural and youth centers similar to “Hayartun”.

The History of the “Hayartun” Center

After the Soviet Union was established the Caucasian Society of Armenian Writers, founded by Hovhannes Tumanyan, was reorganized. They came up with idea to create in Tbilisi a cultural hearth which would unite art workers under its supervision. On March 29, 1921during the meeting the workers of theater, literature, music and art decided to name the building given to the Armenian art workers “Hayartun” in honor of Vahan Teryan. It was located in a house of a very rich Armenian, Avan Yuzbashyan. The board of “Hayartun” was elected, and included A. Surkhatyan, P. Makintsyan, A. Burjalyan, Al. Bazhbeuk-Melikyan and others, owing to them the foundation of the Armenian culture house was implemented. Great Armenian poet Hovhannes Tumanyan was also elected the member of the Board, who for some time supervised the work of the structure.

The “Hayartun” Armenian Culture House based in Tbilisi was Armenian public, literary and cultural organization outside the Armenian SSR, in the city with a large number of Armenians living in it. The objectives of the center were to establish a connection with the cultural life of Armenia, to foster creativity of living outside Soviet Armenia writers and artists, to popularize art, and artistic education of the broad masses of working people. The first “Hayartun” which was to a certain extent a center of literature, headed by Tumanyan, united Armenian writers and public figures, taking social and literary movement to a new level. Lectures, discussion, exhibitions, memorial evenings on different topics of literature and art were organized, performances and concerts were held.

Gradually groups and unions of literature and art workers joined the “Hayartun”, including the Union of Armenian Writers, the “Komitas” Union and others. Departments of music, art, theatre and literature were created. The best representatives of Armenian culture were united in the “Hayartun”.

The “Hayartun” becomes an authoritative organization. D.Demirchyan was the Head of Department of Literature, R.Melikian was the Head of Department of Music, G.Sharbabchyan headed the Department of Arts, a group of actors was led by Stepan Kapanakyan.

At the suggestion of Hovhannes Tumanyan, on February 1, 1922 the “Hayartun” was founded in Constantinople, in 1923 the “Hayartun” was organized in Batumi, the first event of which was consecrated to the memory of Hovhannes Tumanyan. In 1925, in Baku the Myasnikyan House of Armenian Culture was created.

By the example of the House of Armenian Culture, created by great Hovhannes Tumanyan, where unions of artists, musicians, and intellectuals were created, decades later it became necessary to create a similar structure in Georgia.