NEW DELHI–The small Armenian community in Calcutta celebrated–on April 2–the 180th anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy in Calcutta. Over the years–the remarkable Armenian educational institution served as a focal point for the Diaspora community in India that always considered education a great value and a mean to preserve a distinct national identity.
Well known for its past achievemen’s–the school faced a lot of challenges during the last decades. Under the aegis of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin the Philanthropic Academy in the recent period was able to come out of the crisis–and currently–can be considered completely revived. The Embassy of Armenia in India–established at the end of 1999–provides proper assistance to the Philanthropic Academy.
Especially for the occasion–His Holiness Karekin II–the Catholicos of all Armenia’s sent his pontifical blessings to the Armenian Philanthropic Academy. He mentioned in his letter that throughout 180 years this important educational establishment has made significant contributions in providing quality education to many generations and enriching their lives with spiritual and human values. It is extremely important that the Philanthropic Academy opens its gates for children from Armenia as well.
The pastor of Armenia’s in India and the administrator of the college–Very Rev. Fr. Ghevond Ghevondyan–and a representative of His Holiness Michael Ajapahyan–conducted the ceremony of the opening of the chapel at the school.
In his speech at the commencement of the program–the Ambassador of Armenia in India Armen Baibourtian commended the efforts to revive the school. He also pointed out that it is inspirational that the aspirations of the founding fathers of the Armenian Philanthropic Academy did not die out with time. Baibourtian mentioned that the unique Armenian language and the Mashtots’ alphabet–the National school and the Armenian Apostolic Church–ultimately proved to be those imperishable pillars of sustenance–upon which the strength and endurance of our nation rest. He pointed out that the administration and the teachers of the Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy should always keep in mind that such prominent intellectuals as Mesrop Taghiadian–Hovhannes Avdalian and the others were teaching and establishing the tradition at the school.
The Philanthropic Academy’ students performed a program which included the National anthems of Armenia and India–an operetta–Armenian folk dance and various songs in Armenian–English–Hindi and Russian.
The heads of several diplomatic missions in Calcutta were present at this festive event.