On Sunday, January 20, 2019, the Educational Committee of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Crescenta Valley will host a lecture on the “The Armenian Community of Ethiopia – Past and Present” presented by Asbed Pogarian. The lecture will begin at 1:00 p.m., after the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, at the Prelacy “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall (6250 Honolulu Ave, La Crescenta, CA 91214).
Despite their distant geographic homelands, Armenians and Ethiopians have been in contact for many centuries, mainly through their common branch of Christianity. Armenian clergy have visited Ethiopia and vice versa. Individual Armenians have settled in Ethiopia as traders and advisors, but it was only in the late 1800s and early 1900 that a community was formed.
In 1924, the future Emperor Haile Selassie “adopted” 40 orphans from the Armenian orphanage in Jerusalem and brought them to Ethiopia, making them his official Imperial Marching Band. Their leader, Kevork Nalbandian, composed the national anthem of Ethiopia in 1930, which played until the Communist Revolution of 1974, when it was discontinued. After the Revolution, most Armenians left the country.
Asbed Pogarian is a third generation Ethiopian-Armenian. His paternal grandfather arrived in Ethiopia in 1899 after surviving the Hamidian massacres of 1895-96. Both his parents were born in Addis Ababa. He left Ethiopia in 1975 and attended the Melkonian Educational Institute in Cyprus. In 1985, he spent a year in Yerevan researching the relationship between Ethiopians and Armenians throughout history. Last January, after an absence of 43 years, he returned to Ethiopia for the first time and documented his travel in the film, Dear Ethiopia: A Love Letter.
We invite our parishioners and the greater community to attend Divine Liturgy and the presentation to follow. There will be a reception with Sample of Ethiopian Food. The event is free of charge to the public.