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Armenian Language Classes at Eastern Diocese

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PRESS OFFICE Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) 630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016 Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558 E-mail: Website:

January 16, 2006 ___________________


Last September, John Williams, who wanted to know what his in-laws were saying, decided it was time to learn Armenian. So he called up the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) and joined a special weekly course offered for adult learners.

"I took the class because my wife's family is Armenian and I wanted to participate more fully in cultural and family activities," he said. "It was helpful for me to attempt to learn the language, as well as increase my vocabulary. It was an enjoyable experience and I hope other people who are also beginners consider it, as well those who are fluent but wish to practice their skills."

Courses at the Diocese's Mesrob Mashdots Institute are generally offered in the fall and winter session. This year, due to of increased demand, the Diocese will be offering courses in the spring, starting March 8. The classes cost $200 and will run every Wednesday, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The courses will be designed for various age groups, from beginners to intermediate to those who just want to practice their conversation.

"I took the class because I wanted to improve my Armenian -- though I spoke it at home, I never went to Armenian school," said student Anahid Ugurlayan. "My reading and writing were also poor, so this class was very helpful because it combined grammar and conversation. And both are necessary to learn Armenian properly."

Many of the students, while raised in Armenian-speaking homes, need to learn the alphabet, become more familiar with the grammar, or just practice conversation.

"I remember precisely the moment I realized I had to learn to read Armenian. As a child, I loved the song, 'Mardigi Yerk' which my mother used to sing. Years later, when I found the lyrics in an old book, I was frustrated because I couldn't read them. I felt I had found a lost mansion but could not open its door," said student Thelma Loshkajian. "After one semester at the Mesrob Mashdots Institute, I got the keys to a home I dearly missed. It was like recovering a sense of and reuniting with loved ones and centuries of culture."

For more information on this spring's courses, contact Gilda Buchakjian-Kupelian, coordinator of Armenian studies at the Diocese, via e-mail at or by calling (212) 686-0710 ext. 48.

If you are not in the New York City area, contact your local parish to see if they offer Armenian language courses for adults. If they don't, talk with your local priest and contact Gilda Buchakjian-Kupelian to establish courses.

-- 1/16/06

E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable in the News and Events section of the Eastern Diocese's website,

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Students in the fall 2005/2006 Mesrob Mashdots Institute Armenian language courses for adults at the Diocesan Center in New York City join in an Armenian Christmas celebration before the end of the first session of courses. A new session will begin March 8, 2006.