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The Campaign to Save the Cathedral of Mren

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  • The Campaign to Save the Cathedral of Mren

    Full article (includes an interview with Dr. Maranci) at Hetq.

    A Cathedral on the Verge of Collapse: The Campaign to Save Mren

    Medford, Mass. — Dr. Christina Maranci, Arthur H. Dadian and Ara T. Oztemel Associate Professor of Armenian Art and Architecture at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., has issued a call to save the 7th century Mren Cathedral of Western Armenia, located in the Kars region of present-day Turkey. Prof. Maranci’s areas of expertise include Byzantine art and architecture, and the art and architecture of the Transcaucasus—principally Armenia. She is considered one of the world’s authorities on the Mren Cathedral.

    According to Dr. Maranci, “the cathedral of Mren is now in danger of collapse. Constructed circa 638 AD, Mren is a masterpiece of world art and a product of the ‘Golden Age’ of Armenian architecture. Bearing an inscription naming the Roman emperor Heraclius, and a unique sculpted relief image of Heraclius returning Christendom’s greatest relic-the True Cross—to Jerusalem, Mren preserves precious material evidence for one of the most dramatic and yet poorly documented moments in history.
    It is also the largest domed basilica surviving from the region, and a key example of the architectural achievements of the seventh century.”

    Dr. Maranci stresses that Mren may not be standing much longer. “Photographs from the 1990s to the first decade of the 21st century show the progressive collapse of the south façade. Now the entire south aisle lies in rubble on the ground, severely compromising the domed superstructure of the monument and opening the interior and its wall paintings to the elements,” she says. “The prospect of stabilizing what is left is at present doubtful, however, because of Mren’s position within a military zone in Eastern Turkey (Kars province) next to the closed Armenian-Turkish border. Visiting the site is forbidden.”

    Dr. Maranci is campaigning to raise awareness about Mren’s precarious condition. “Mren has stood for over a millennium, bearing world history on its walls,” she says. Its collapse would represent a tragic loss to human knowledge.”

  • #2
    Re: The Campaign to Save the Cathedral of Mren

    damn politics...
    I was taught how to think.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The Campaign to Save the Cathedral of Mren

      Originally posted by jgk3 View Post
      damn politics...
      what do you expect when dealing with the nomadic dogs
      It's a surprise they've been waiting for it to collapse on its own, and haven't flat out brought it down
      <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The Campaign to Save the Cathedral of Mren

        Originally posted by Mher View Post
        what do you expect when dealing with the nomadic dogs
        It's a surprise they've been waiting for it to collapse on its own, and haven't flat out brought it down
        I told the news about the collapse of the south side of the church to various people in Armenia in 2008, a few months after the collapse - and I was met with complete disinterest from everyone.

        If all Armenians want to do is use the plight of this extremely important monument (it is the oldest surviving domed Armenian church) to make stupid and alienating "nomadic dogs" propaganda then they should leave this campaign alone.
        Last edited by bell-the-cat; 02-27-2013, 06:39 PM.
        Plenipotentiary meow!

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        • #5
          Re: The Campaign to Save the Cathedral of Mren

          Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
          I told the news about the collapse of the south side of the church to various people in Armenia in 2008, a few months after the collapse - and I was met with complete disinterest from everyone.

          If all Armenians want to do is use the plight of this extremely important monument (it is the oldest surviving domed Armenian church) to make stupid and alienating "nomadic dogs" propaganda then they should leave this campaign alone.
          Well if you talk about Armenians in Armenia about a plethora of secondary issues, they show less interest than the Diaspora. It's a lot harder to spent time romanticizing about your history or national pride when you have more urgent matters like keeping you're family fed and clothed.
          I have the luxury to worry about such matters because I have a well paying job, and don't have the same urgent concerns as someone in Armenia. If you asked me in 2008 before/after/during I would have had the same reaction.

          You're telling me I don't have a right to be disgusted by watching the enemy of my people waiting for a historic monument of my country to go to waste on land that was stolen from us that is just meters beyond our reach.
          <<եթե զենք էլ չլինի' ես քարերով կկրվեմ>>

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The Campaign to Save the Cathedral of Mren

            Originally posted by Mher View Post
            Well if you talk about Armenians in Armenia about a plethora of secondary issues, they show less interest than the Diaspora. It's a lot harder to spent time romanticizing about your history or national pride when you have more urgent matters like keeping you're family fed and clothed.
            I have the luxury to worry about such matters because I have a well paying job, and don't have the same urgent concerns as someone in Armenia. If you asked me in 2008 before/after/during I would have had the same reaction.
            That would be true for ordinary people, but the people I told also included architects and architectural historians.

            Originally posted by Mher View Post
            You're telling me I don't have a right to be disgusted by watching the enemy of my people waiting for a historic monument of my country to go to waste on land that was stolen from us that is just meters beyond our reach.
            YES I AM. You have a right to be angry if it is sincere and thought-out anger, but Armenians have no right to use the existence of these monuments only as an excuse to make crude propaganda against Turkey, and Armenians have no right to express disgust about their condition as long as they refuse to produce a single credible suggestion towards their preservation. The main reason for the absence of credible suggestions is, I think, because if the problem is solved then the problem can no longer be used as a stick to beat Turkey with.

            I expect that hundreds of "what do you expect when dealing with the nomadic dogs"-type comments are filling WMF's email box, and they will be used as an excuse by the WMF to reject Mren's nomination. So it will be win win win all round - WMF can get back to business as usual, Turkey gets to continue to do nothing, and Armenians can continue to use the plight of the monuments as a propaganda tool. But I wonder, what will they use for propaganda when the last building collapses into rubble or is destroyed after a Turkish/Armenian-style "restoration"?

            Christina Maranci, to her credit, has produced a series of academic works about Mren outside of the context of the Armenian diaspora and firmly inside the context of the field of Western Art History. Yes, she could be criticised for understating the political and historical background that has led to Mren's lamentable current condition - but maybe that is the only way to do it without making the preservation issue too much of a hot potato for other (often cowardly) academics to touch. And if it IS the only way, then this campaign will be a bad thing if it allows dogs of whatever sort to start barking too loudly.
            Last edited by bell-the-cat; 02-28-2013, 08:17 AM.
            Plenipotentiary meow!

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            • #7
              Re: The Campaign to Save the Cathedral of Mren

              About Mren and the cathedral.

              http://www.virtualani.org/mren/index.htm
              Plenipotentiary meow!

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              • #8
                Re: The Campaign to Save the Cathedral of Mren

                An update!

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