Assistant Professor Gives Inaugural Lecture

Assistant Professor Gives Inaugural Lecture

On Friday evening, October 27, the seminary community including faculty members from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, gathered for the inaugural lecture and reception for Dr. Ani Shahinian, the assistant professor of the Grace and Paul Shahinian Lectureship in Armenian Christian Art and Culture.

Held in the St. Nersess Library, Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean, welcomed everyone and then introduced Dean Shahinian, Esq, who has fully funded the new position at St. Nersess. Mr. Shahinian spoke about his tremendous trust and confidence in the seminary and the reason he feels Armenian Christian Art is important – it is beautiful to view and a way to extend our faith and culture to both Armenians and non-Armenians.  

Next, Dr. Roberta Ervine, professor of Armenian Christian Studies and Director of Studies, spoke of how Ani Shahinian’s experience with ideas, images, and real life can bring people together to embrace the depth of the divine image in Armenian Christian Art.

Dr. Ani Shahinian then took the podium and shared her gratitude for everyone’s support. “My mission is to create a bridge between the human mind and human heart. Art is a central concept in gaining perspective as human beings,” stated Dr. Shahinian. “Why should we care about Armenian Christian Art? It’s not just colors and images. Christian Art is inspirational and allows us to see how it captured the medieval mind.”

In her quest to plant small seeds for the position, Dr. Shahinian explored three particular approaches: the experiential, historical, and theological, and integrated with the importance of Christian art in an technological age, stated, “I would propose that art is not optional; it is really central to the vast development of becoming perceptive human beings.” She explored the example of the Island of Aghtamar and the Holy Cross Church located on the island, emphasizing the timeless historical example where finite forms have been combined to give us access to something invisible, infinite, and eternal from many generations ago.

At the conclusion, everyone enjoyed a light reception in the lobby of the Theological Center, prepared by Wilma Petrossian, seminary manager of food services.

In September, Dr. Shahinian presented at the Library of Congress, African and Middle East Division, in Washington, DC. Sponsored by the Lilly Foundation, the lecture was entitled, “The Life of a Medieval Armenian Manuscript: The Transmission of Sacred Texts Across Space, Time, and Communities. Click here to view the Library of Congress lecture.


First photo: Dr. Roberta Ervine, Dean Shahinian, Fr. Mardiros Chevian, and Dr. Ani Shahinian.

Second photo: Dr. Ani Shahinian presenting her lecture.

Third photo: St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary faculty members Rev. Dn. Dr. Vitaly Permiakov, Assistant Professor of Liturgical Theology, Rev. Dn. Dr. Harrison Russin, Assistant Professor of Liturgical Music, Fr. Mardiros Chevian, Dr. Alex Tudorie, St. Vladimir’s Academic Dean, Dr. Ani Shahinian, and Andrew Kayaian, St. Nersess graduate and St. Vladimir’s Librarian.