Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More on Armenians in Ireland . . .

On the subject of Armenians in Ireland (see below, yesterday's post), Guest Blogger Father Krikor Maksoudian writes the following.

"A part of the 'myth' you refer to may be historically true.  The presence of Armenian missionaries in Ireland, Iceland and northern (the Netherlands) and central (Germany) Europe as well as the Russian state around Kiev may not be projected back to the times of St. Patrick (end of the fourth century and beginning of the fifth), but it certainly can be verified on the basis of Western (including Slavonic) sources for the period of the 900-s and 1000-s.  Modern scholarship and archaeology have shown that some Armenian churchmen did missionary work in the above-mentioned regions  Whether they came from Armenia proper or other places is not known.  Back in the 1930-s and 1940-s an Irish woman by the name of F. Henry, an art historian, did research on Armenian and Irish relations.  She wrote articles in French and English and produced a book in English, which I have not seen as it has been out of print ever since I can remember.  It might be worth searching the Widener Library catalogues.  She found similarities between the Armenian khachkars and the Irishcrosses.

"I cannot say anything about the remnants of an ancient Armenian church in Dublin.  As for the “Black” Irish and their origins, it seems to be a myth, since there is no record about any Armenian settlements or colonies in Ireland at any time.  Furthermore, the small number of missionaries that frequented northwestern Europe were monks and bishops with no families and lay fellow travelers.  One must also remember that not all Armenians have dark skin.  Over the millennia our people, located at the crossroads of the ancient and the medieval worlds, have absorbed within their ranks many racial types and are not homogeneous at all in color of skin, in stature and even in racial characteristics."

Hayr Krikor


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