Hamazkayin Film Screening: From Ararat to Zion

What is Jerusalem? The people living there? The clash of religions? The ancient religious buildings built on destroyed religious buildings? Jerusalem was at one point the centre of the world and despite it being the religious centre of peace it seems the reality is far from it.

On the night of Friday 22nd March Hamazkayin United Kingdom hosted an event not to answer the unanswerable questions but to give Armenians an insight into the richness of the Armenian Church and culture highlighted by the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem. This was done by first having a speech from Rev Dr Nerses Nersessian and then the screening of the film From Ararat to Zion.

Rev Dr Nerses Nersessian kindly answered a question for Yeritasard: What relevance does the Armenian presence in Jerusalem hold?

“Jerusalem is regarded as the centre of Christianity and for Armenians to have a foothold there from the 4th century is a privilege. It is the centre for three major religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The Armenian presence in Jerusalem is a vital part of the whole structure; thousands upon thousands of pilgrims every year visit the Armenian monasteries. The cultural heritage the Armenians have accumulated in Jerusalem is incomparable. It is also one of the oldest Christian brotherhoods along with the Latins and the Greeks, and Armenians have the privilege of having an equal share of the holy sites. One sixth of the old city belongs to the Armenians. It is a major historical centre and an honour as the first Christian state to have a foothold in Jerusalem.”

After an introductory speech from Hamazkayin UK, delivered by Alenoush Grigorian, and the eloquent speech from Rev Dr Nerses Nersessian the Navasartian Centre transformed into a cinema to screen the captivating Ararat to Zion. The unique cinematography of the film captured the beauty and cultural wealth of the Armenian Church not just in Jerusalem but across the Holy Land in places like Bethlehem and Jaffa. The film concluded with breath-taking scenes from Mount Ararat, connecting the Armenian Church in Jerusalem to the Armenian homeland.

The Armenian presence in Jerusalem has been uninterrupted since its beginning and it is truly a national treasure that we should learn about and share. The film took us on a journey through the gems of the Armenian Church and those who have not seen it should endeavour to make the discovery.

— Vahe Boghosian

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