Unity and Variety. The Armenian Bible and Religious Tradition – exhibition

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2019/03/25 - 2019/05/11

Armenians are considered to be the world's first Christian people, who had preserved their faith in the Christian-Muslim contact zone (on the territories of the Persian, Ottoman and Russian Empires) for centuries, often in the total absence of statehood. The exhibition entitled Unity and Variety. The Armenian Bible and Religious Tradition, opening on March 25, 2019, will present the first three complete Armenian Bible editions (Amsterdam 1666, Istanbul 1705, Venice 1733) and many family relics, as well as objects related to the religious practices of Transylvanian Armenians. The more than 100-year old treasures display the micro history of certain Ottoman-Armenian families. The objects, that had wandered together with the families surviving Armenian genocide from one town to another, highlight the cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of Ottoman-Armenian society.

The Armenians are also closely linked to the Carpathian Basin. In the 17th century, there was a major Armenian influx into Transylvania, where they formed a union with the Catholic Church, and they integrated into Hungarian society relatively quickly. In the Age of Dualism, they gave numerous MPs, ministers and even a prime minister to Hungary. Out of the Thirteen Martyrs of Arad, Ernős Kiss and Vilmos Lázár were also of Transylvanian Armenian origin.

The first complete Armenian Bible was printed in 1666, in Amsterdam, funded by Armenian merchants, and richly illustrated with engravings imitating the art of Albrecht Durer. Publishing a Bible displays unity, while religious practices on the different territories are various. In addition to the traditional Armenian Apostolic religion, Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism also had an impact on denomination organization.

The exhibition has been set up with the cooperation of National Széchényi Library, the Institute for Armenian Studies at Pázmány Péter Catholic University and Leibniz-Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des östlichen Europa. 

The exhibition will be opened by

László Tüske, Director-General (NSZL),
Szabolcs Anzelm Szuromi O. Praem, Rector (Pázmány Péter Catholic University), and
Christian Lübke, Director (GWZO Leipzig).

Academic introduction of the exhibition will be given by Meline Pehlivanian (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin)

Date: Monday March 25, 2019, 5 p.m.
Venue: National Széchényi Library, Wing “F” of Buda Royal Palace
(The Library can be approached from Dózsa György Square by the Express Elevator, or by buses No. 16 or 16/A from Dísz Square, via Lion Court.)
The exhibition will be open from March 25 until May 11, 2019, Tuesday to Saturday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Poster of the exhibition (in Hungarian)

Facebook event of the opening ceremony

The exhibition in pictures