By Alin K. Gregorian

Mirror-Spectator Staff
May 31, 2012 11:27 am

WATERTOWN - A new film by history buff Arsen Hakobyan of Armenia
intends to put into perspective Armenia's influence on Europe, both
in terms of export- ing Christianity, as well as exporting its church
architecture and numerous saints.

The film, shot on location in Armenia as well as in Georgia and
several European countries, gives as examples churches in Europe
that were built heavily influenced by the Armenian church structure -
most perfectly and earliest executed in Echmiazdin and Bagaran. Among
those churches is San Satiro in Milan, the origi- nal structure of
which was based on the seventh-century Bagaran church.

The DVD can be watched in Armenian, English, Russian or French.

The film also spends time on the report- ed travels by Renaissance
genius Leonardo DaVinci in Cilicia, specifically around the Taurus
Mountains. According to his Codex Atlanticus, housed in the Ambrosian
Library in Milan, he spent some time in Cilicia in the 1480s, where
he witnessed an earthquake in Erzinga. He had reportedly gone there
at the behest of the Sacred Sultan of Egypt. He sketched many faces,
as well as the topog- raphy of the region.

The filmmaker, Hakobyan, said that the film would be "for all the
people who don't know Armenia and Armenian history." In particular,
he said, Armenians sent many proselytizers to Europe to preach
Christianity, some even long before the formal adoption of Christianity
as the state religion in 301 AD.

For example, St. Minas or San Miniato in Italian, preached the new
religion in Tuscany and was beheaded in Florence on October 25, 250
AD. As a result, a church was named for him, honoring him as the first
Christian martyr of the city. The late saint is depicted in the fresco
in the dome of the church, and referred to as "the king of Armenians."

St. Minas was not alone; about 20 Armenians are counted among the
saints in Italy.

The Ararat Mountains are referred to the home of Noah, and as such,
its pres- ence on Armenian soil gave the country a certain religious
cache, "an altar of Christianity," according to the film.

The traditional structure of the Armenian Church, four equidistant
wings with a square on top and a dome on top of the square, is visible
in several European churches.

Another Armenian-style church is Germigny-des-Pres, built by Oton
Matsaetsi, an Armenian architect in 806- 811, in Orleans, France.

There are plenty of Armenian saints venerated by Catholics in the
rest of Europe. For example, St. Servatius, or San Servato, who
according to two books from the Middle Ages was born in Armenia,
is recognized in the Netherlands and Belgium. There is a church in
his name in Brussels and in fact he is considered the patron saint
of the city of Maastricht.

The film also refers to a couple of European peoples, including the
Basques and Bavarians, as having Armenian roots. Currently, Hakobyan
is working on a sequel, focusing further on the Armenian roots of
some European nationalities.

"From Ararat to Europe" will be shown on Sunday, June 3, at 4 p.m. at
the Ararat-Eskijian Museum in Mission Hills, Calif.

To purchase a copy of the film, write to Hakobyan at
[email protected]

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress