Zakarian Khachkar

The beginning of the Fourth Century is prominent in Armenia history, as in 301 AD, the state of Armenia accepted Christianity as its official religion. Thus, Armenians became the first Christian people in the world. Christianity provided spiritual, moral and intellectual strength and new ardor to confront the forthcoming centuries.

A Khachkar is a monument reflecting Armenian medieval culture and has been traditionally erected in holy and public places for national and personal divine reasons and purposes. The word Khachkar translates literally to "Cross Rock" or "The Rock of the Cross". The art of sculpting the ornamental relief style of Khachkar reached the peak of its progress in the 13th century Armenia. This unique work of religious art gained international recognition and respect.

The first ever Khachkar to be built and unveiled in America is the Zakarian Khachkar, sponsored by Arthur Zakarian. The unveiling ceremony took place at the courtyard of the St. Mary's Armenian church in Glendale, CA. on Sunday, May 31st, 1998. The creation of this work of art is by the artistry and skill of Gaspar Gharibyan. The adobe-like "Touf" stone was imported over from Armenia , also symbolizing the Armenian in Diaspora. From the bosom a door is left open as an emblem of hope and light. Above the door is Noah's pigeon which survived cataclysm and destruction. On the top of the Zakarian Khachkar arises Mount Ararat with its grandeur. Below the Mount Ararat are clouds and Pegasus dashing forth, representing good fortune and victory.

The symbolic structural composition of the Khachkar has the Cross as its foundation denoting the source of light and life. The Cross is an object of worship and is related to the Tree of Life. It is centered on the circular decorated shield which represents the earth. The adorned edges of the stone form the frame of the Khachkar.

Photos of the Ceremony
Photos of the Sculptor, Gaspar Gharibyan making Zakarian Khachkar

Armenian Genocide Khachkar

Unveiled on Sunday, July 23, 2000, following the Sunday Services at the St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church in Glendale, CA is the second Khachkar in the history of America. This Khachkar was sponsored by the Zakarian Family, dedicating it to the memory of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. It is again the work of master sculptor Gaspar Gharibyan.

The Armenian Genocide, perpetrated by the Young Turks government of the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 became the first holocaust of the 20th century. As a result of this genocide, a majority of centuries-old Armenian historical and religious artifacts were lost forever. From the depths of the 85 years since the genocide, the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide is resurrected here as a tolling of commemoration.

This monument is constructed from "Touf" stone, which was also brought in from Armenia. The three large pieces assembled together to represent a cross have unique carvings, symbolizing the will and the determination of the Armenian people to survive. This Khachkar emerges from a granite base, shattering the grief and becoming a crucifix of hope. The base is also divided into five sections, characterizing the five continents of the world, on which rests the monument memorializing the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

From the center of the cross hangs the universal heart of love and charity which has cracked and is bleeding onto the strained and saddened Cross due to the tragedy of the holocaust. The 12 empty altars on one of the Cross represent the 12 regions depleted of their indigenous Armenian people.

The date marking the beginning of the Armenian Genocide is pierced through the eye of the being, as a sign of survival and perseverance. The fireball of eternity represents the strong future of the Armenian people. The edges of the cross are etched with the storms of time. Angles stand vigil at the altars and in one of the altars, the universal eye keeps a hopeful watch.

From the arch at the top of the cross hangs the eternal bell, which continuously tolls in the name of reparation. The Genocide does not transcend time. The protective eagle on its side - the symbol of the USA - characterize eternal justice.

Photos of the Sculptor, Gaspar Gharibyan
Photos of the Ceremony
Photos of the Armenian Genocide Khachkar

Khachkar 2