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Archived Lectures


We invite you to watch the following recorded public lectures on YouTube. You may view a single lecture or the entire series. Simply click on the box to open up the video selection.

Spring 2024 Lecture Series: Armenians and the Psalms

Based on the writings of the Armenian Church’s vartabeds, the course will answer such questions as – why do the Psalms play such a large part in public and private Armenian worship over the centuries? What can their liturgical settings tell us about how Armenian understood the Psalms? How are the Psalms in Armenian different from the Psalms in other traditions? How did Jesus use the Psalms? How can the Psalms contribute to our experience today?

The course is team-taught by Prof. Roberta Ervine, Dn. Yervant Kutchukian and Arpi Nakashian. February 1 through May 16 (with the exception of February 8 and March 28).

Fall 2023: Creating Space: The Theology of Armenian Church Architecture

Join Dr. Roberta Ervine and Dr. Ani Shahinian as they explore the philosophy and theology behind Armenian Church structures. Over the duration of this more in-depth learning experience, students will explore the ways in which spiritual principles and purposes have been incarnated across time, within the ever-changing matrix of Armenia’s physical environment and faith expression.

September 7 – November 16, 2023

The Liturgical Books by Rev. Fr. Arshen Aivazian

St. Nersess Seminary is pleased to invite the public to join our students from October 30 through November 2, for a four-day hybrid, intensive course on The Liturgical Books, taught by Rev. Fr. Arshen Aivazian, a long-time pastor, a former dean of the seminary and a specialist in the history, structure and use of the Armenian Church’s rich repertoire of liturgical texts. 

Guest Lecturer Dr. Ruth Gornandt Two-Part Lecture

St. Nersess Armenian Seminary hosted Dr. Ruth Gornandt, postdoc researcher at the University of Oxford in historical and systematic theology. Her current research investigates the Great Armenian theologian Gregory of Tatev whose work offers intriguing perspectives on this question.

October 20th: “On Knowing and Unknowing God: Gregory of Tatev’s rational and mystical doctrine of God.” In this second lecture, she explores how Tatevatsi integrates the best theological, philosophical, and scientific insights into an impressive synthesis of Christian knowledge.

October 18th: “‘Implanted in us by nature’? The Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR) and its importance for theology.” In this lecture, she explores ideas of how religious belief arises in a person engaging with the most recent research in the fields of CSR and theology.

A Medieval Armenian Manuscript: The Transmission of Sacred Texts Across Space, Time, & Communities by Dr. Ani Shahinian

by Dr. Ani Shahinian Assistant Professor of the Grace & Paul Shahinian Lectureship in Armenian Christian Art & Culture

Spring 2023: Armenian Martyrdoms 

Presenter Dr. Ani Shahinian examines the historical, social, and theological contexts of Armenian Martyrdoms to address the following questions: how has martyrdom shaped Christian identity in general, and Armenian Christian identity in particular? What is the continuing legacy of martyrdom in contemporary society? And what does Armenian Christian witness look like today?

March – May 2023

Spring 2023: An Introduction to Medieval Armenian Poetry Part II

Dr. Jesse Arlen continues his series from the Fall 2022 by surveying lyrical love and wisdom poetry and other texts such as riddles written in Middle Armenian, a form of the language closer to the spoken vernacular of the time.

February – March 2023

Fall 2022: An Introduction to Medieval Armenian Poetry Part I

October 20 – December 8, 2022

with Dr. Jesse Siragan Arlen

After the invention of the Armenian alphabet in the fifth century, the early centuries of Armenian literature are dominated by prose: theological and philosophical treatises, histories, hagiographies, commentaries, and the like. Nevertheless, the premodern Armenian literary tradition also boasts a vast and dazzling array of poetic texts, which are generally less well known to scholars and novices alike. This two-semester public lecture series will introduce the medieval Armenian poetic tradition, including sharagans, odes, lyrics, laments, poetic prayers, as well as love and wisdom poetry. This vast array of material spanning over ten centuries was composed both in the classical literary idiom as well as a form of the language closer to the vernacular, known as middle Armenian. Attention will also be paid to interchange and contact with neighboring literary and poetic traditions, such as Greek, Persian, and Arabic.

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Fall 2022: A Short Introduction to the Gospel of Matthew Part I

September 1 – October 6, 2022

with Bishop Vahan Hovhanessian, PhD

The course explores the first Gospel in the books of the New Testament attributed to the apostle Matthew. We initially discuss issues related to the authorship, dating and intended recipients of the Gospel. We shed light on the use of the Gospel of Matthew in the Armenian Church. Exploring the structure of the Gospel as well as its relationship with the other Gospels if any, is next. Next, we examine the stories unique to the Gospel of Matthew which will help us understand the focus of the author and the way he interpreted certain events. The rest of the course is committed to examining key theological issues developed in the Gospel.

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Introduction to Psychology, History, Faith and Impact of Armenian Martyrdom

Pop-up Lecture on October 24, 2022

with Ani Shahinian

Ani is one of the world’s rare specialists in Armenian martyr texts, using them as a lens to look at broader issues such as the phenomenon of choice and the Armenian understanding of virtue.

There has recently been renewed interested in Armenian martyrs within the wider church. In 2015-2016 Pope Francis spoke of “the eloquent and holy sign of martyrdom, which has constantly accompanied the history of your [Armenian] people.”  A future course on the psychology, history, faith, and impact of Armenian Martyrdom is in the planning stages.

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Spring 2022: An Overview of the Armenian Historical Tradition: 11th to 18th Centuries

This two-part lecture series introduces the audience to the Armenian historical tradition, a rich and fascinating corpus of literature with texts produced continuously from the first century after the invention of the alphabet up until the modern period.

Dr. Jesse Arlen looks at histories beginning in the eleventh century, which respond to the Seljuk invasions and the many changes brought to Armenian life, and proceeds up until the early modern period, when travel accounts covered the various diasporic and merchant colonies that were now spread across the globe. 

January 20, 2022

Lecture 1: Responding to Calamity:

Aristakes of Lastivert and Matthew of Edessa

January 27, 2022

Lecture 2: The Medieval Chronicle:

The Rise of a New (Old) Genre (Matthew of Edessa, Hetum & Smbat)

February 3, 2022

Lecture 3: Encounters and Engagements with Mongols:

Vardan Areweltsi & Kirakos of Ganjak

February 10, 2022

Lecture 4: Spiritual Consolation in a Time of Torment:

Grigor Akants, Stephen Orbelean, Tovma Metsop

February 17, 2022

Lecture 5: Historiography in the Early Modern World and Beyon: Arakel of Tabriz & Simeon of Poland

Fall 2021 Part 1: A Slow Transition to Cilicia: The Armenian Church from the 11th to 13th Centuries

Part I is a 4-lecture series presented by Prof. Roberta Ervine 

September 16, 2021

Lecture 1

September 23, 2021

Lecture 2

September 30, 2021

Lecture 3

October 7, 2021

Lecture 4

Fall 2021 Part 2: An Introduction to the Classical and Medieval Armenian Histories

Part II is a 6-lecture series presented by Dr. Jesse Arlen 

October 14, 2021

Lecture 1: Movses of Khoren and an Overview of the Armenian Historical Tradition

The opening lecture of this series will provide an overview of the Armenian historical tradition and the different ways it has been approached in the modern period. The History of Armenia by Movses Khorenatsi will serve as a test case of various approaches to the Armenian histories and some of the difficulties involved in interpreting them, given our modern assumptions about the nature of history writing. Participants will also be provided with bibliography and resources to aid them in their study of the Armenian historical tradition.

October 21, 2021

Lecture 2: The Conversion and Early History of Christian Armenia

This lecture will consider the History of Armenia by Agathangelos, which tells of the conversion of the Armenian realm to Christianity, and the Epic Histories of Pawstos Buzand, which treats the tumultuous events of the fourth century, from the accession of Trdat the Great’s son and successor, Khosrov Kotak, up to the partition of Armenia between Byzantium and Sasanian Iran in 387 AD.

October 28, 2021

Lecture 3: Narrating the Religious Struggles with Zoroastrian Iran

This lecture considers the two histories that treat the struggle of the Armenian Christian noble lords Sasanian Iran in its attempt to impose Zoroastrianism in Armenia, including the Battle of Avarayr and its aftermath. Special attention will be paid to the different emphases of the two authors.

November 4, 2021

Lecture 4: Early Engagements with Islam

This lecture will introduce students to the histories of Sebeos and Ghewond. Sebeos covers the end of Sasanian rule over Armenia and the extended wars between the Byzantine and Sasanian empires, before covering the early Arab/Muslim expansions and the treaty arranged between this new Middle Eastern power and Armenia. Ghewond’s history begins with the death of Muhammad and continues into the late eighth century, covering the series of revolts of the Armenian lords against caliphal rule, and the attempts of the caliphate to increasingly integrate Armenia into its structure.

November 11, 2021

Lecture 5: Regional Histories

The late ninth to eleventh centuries was a fecund period for the writing of histories. This lecture considers two histories from the period that are concerned largely with narrating the history of specific regions of the greater Armenian commonwealth. The first, Tovma Artsruni’s History of the House of the Artsrunik, is a universal history from prehistoric beginnings up until the tenth century, with a focus on southern Armenia (Vaspurakan) and the Artsruni house that came to dominate the region in the ninth and tenth centuries. The second, Movses of Daskhuran’s History of Caucasian Albania, likewise stretches from creation and the beginning of the world to the tenth century, focusing on the history of the Caucasian Albanians, a Christian people whose history was intertwined with Armenia, especially after the Christianization of the two realms in the fourth century.

November 18, 2021

Lecture 6: Looking back at the End of the First Millenium

This lecture considers three further histories of the tenth to early eleventh centuries, each of which is concerned as much with the ancient and medieval past as with the time in which they were written, and whose narratives stretch from the creation of the world up to the time in which the authors lived and wrote: the History of Armenia of Catholicos Yovhannes of Draskhanakert, the History of Armenia of Ukhtanes of Sebasteia, and the Universal History of Stepanos of Taron. 

Spring 2021: Uncertain States: The Armenian Church from the 8th to 11th Centuries

This 8-week course is presented by Pror. Roberta Ervine. 

February 4, 2021

Lecture 1: The 8th Century Background

February 18, 2021

Lecture 2: The End of the Beginning

February 25, 2021

Lecture 3: Monotheisms and the Arts

March 4, 2021

Lecture 4: Reshaping Armenian Christian Identity

March 11, 2021

Lecture 5: Armenians as Emperors and Kings

March 18, 2021

Lecture 6: New Paradigms of Holiness

March 25, 2021

Lecture 7: The Devolution of Armenian Self-rule

April 8, 2021

Lecture 8: The Moving On and Moving Out

Fall 2020: No Other Foundation: The Armenian Church’s Early Centuries

This 8-week course was team-taught by Dr. Roberta Ervine and Sdn. Andrew Kayaian. Participants explored issues that faced Armenia’s nascent Christianity, the situations and people that drove those issues, and the solutions attempted by the Church’s first hierarchs.

October 1, 2020

Lecture 1

October 8, 2020

Lecture 2

October 15, 2020

Lecture 3

October 22, 2020

Lecture 4

October 29, 2020

Lecture 5

November 5, 2020

Lecture 6

November 12, 2020

Lecture 7

November 19, 2020

Lecture 8

June 2020: Mini-Semester Lecture Series: Bishops on Worship

St. Nersess offered a “mini-semester” with a series of course offerings for the general public and clergy .

Lecture 1

The Holy Bible in the Armenian Church

Bp Vahan Hovhanessian

Lecture 2

Biblical Teachings & Practices in Today’s Badarak

Bp Vahan Hovhanessian

Lecture 3

The Psalms in Worship

Bp Daniel Findikyan

Lecture 4

Communion in Quarantine

Bp Daniel Findikyan