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July Group Departs As New August Volunteers Arrive

After the July group departed Yeghvard on July 28th, they enjoyed their final excursion and last days in Armenia.

Over the Cliffs of Saghmosavank

On their way back to Yerevan, they stopped to visit the Saghmosavank and Hovanavank monasteries. LCO had conducted a four-year campaign renovating Saghmosavank in time for the 1700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia.  Saghmosavank’s location by the cliffs was very inspiring for the volunteers. Located on the monastery’s grounds, is a special khatchkar (stone cross) dedicated to the memory of Patrick Tateossian who volunteered with OTC (LCO’s French chapter) in the Kessab and Armenia campaigns.  A few years after his OTC/LCO experience, Patrick moved from his native Argentina to Armenia to live and work.  Unfortunately, he passed away suddenly in 2002.

After the moving experience at Saghmosavank, they went to Hovanavank where they admired the details of the numerous 12th-14th Century khatckars.  Hovananvank was the last countryside adventure before heading back to Yerevan, where they stayed for a few days until their departure.  Coming from the simple village life, Yerevan was a bit of a culture shock for them. The group enjoyed the sites and sounds of the “really big city”, especially café life.  On July 31st, the July volunteers gathered for their last hurrah as a group in Armenia. These new and old friends will forever share their special memories and bond of their time together in a small remote Armenian village living amongst the locals preserving the Armenian heritage.


Volunteers Sharing Their Last Moments Together

As the July group bid a fond farewell to Hayastan, new diasporan volunteers from France, England, and Syria arrived to continue the campaign during the month of August.  Joining the August team is Leah McCloskey and Zareh Petrossian from California, as well as volunteers from Armenia.  On August 3rd, 19 volunteers departed south towards Yeghvard, and nine from the French and British contingency headed north to Shirakamut.   All the volunteers at the Shirakamut site have previous LCO campaign experience.


Shirakamut is located in the Lori Province near Spitak, the epicenter of the devastating 1988 earthquake.  LCO decided to restore the Tchitchkhanavank Church of the village of Shirakamut.   Tchitchkhanavank was built on the plan of a Christian cross, typical to the sixth and seventh centuries.  This Church was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1926, neglected during the Soviet era, and again suffering destruction by the 1988 earthquake. In 2008 and 2009, LCO began the archaeological excavations, which revealed the Church’s foundation along with ancient tombstones and objects of archaeological interest. This summer volunteers will begin the renovation and construction of the foundation walls of the Church.  An archeologist and history professor from Yerevan will be overseeing the excavation at the site.

Tchitchkhanavank Ruins







We appreciate and commend the 2010 July Campaign Volunteers for their hard work and tireless dedication to this project and giving a part of themselves back to the land and culture.

July Campaign Volunteers

Ruzanna Apresyan-Yerevan, Armenia

Alique Bedikian – Glendale, California

Nare Davoodi-Montrose, California

Arshile Egoyan-Toronto, California

Talin Khechoomian-Glendale, California

Julie Loosigian-Pelham, New Hampshire

Stephane Nichanian-le Raincy, France

Diana Oganesyan-Tarzana, California

Mark Pilguian-Toronto, Canada

Lori Pogarian-La Crescenta, California

Nicholas Tavoukian-Covina, California

Urfa Vartanian-Walnut, California

Marie Zargaryan-Yerevan, Armenia

  • "There are experiences you shape and then there are experiences that shape you. The LCO Campaign of 2007 in the village of Azat offered me invaluable perceptions into the realities of my fellow Armenian brothers and sisters in a way only a true immersion program can. I urge everyone and anyone who might feel an inkling of belonging to this fascinating country, people, and history to sign up with the campaign immediately. I smile just thinking about what you have yet to experience."
    Noushig K, Azat 2007, CA, USA

  • "Coming back from a 4-day trip to Kharabagh really felt like coming back home, with our family waiting to greet us outside our house. That's when I realised just how attached we'd grown to the place, to our family, to the other volunteers"
    Anoosh Gasparian, Azat 2009, London UK

  • "I went to this trip with no expectations, and came back with a great appreciation for our country.  Life in the village is surreal, the food is beyond delicious and the people are incredibly nice. It was a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget!"  Sam Tahmasian, 2009, CA, USA
  • "LCO is an amazing concept. It introduced the deprived Diasporan to their land and their people. It is a wonderful introduction to Armenia and something every young man or woman should experience."
    Madlene Minassian Ispirian, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, Yerevan, Armenia

  • "My most memprable experience was being so warmly taken care by an old village couple, receiving gifts from them, giving them gifts and establishing bonds."
    Naira Der-Kiureghian, Ayroum 2003, CA, USA

  • "...I know that when I reflect back on this experience I will feel ecstatic about the work we accomplished, the things we saw, and the bonds we forged."
    Hovig Saghdejian, Ayroum 2003, California, USA

  • "Dolma is made with mum's careful instructions, grandmothers eyes found on the faces of children, songs of Ararat are as familiar as the Khachkars dotting the landscape. If it smells like home, looks like home then it must be home."
    Datevig Simonian, Shadvan 2004, California, USA

  • "LCO experience was a revelation for me. It gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons both personally and professionally. One of the most important experiences of my life and an important factor in determining my future goals."
    Lara Aharonian, August 1999, August 2001, Montreal, Canada.

  • "I formed strong bonds with my volunteers, and the difference in backgrounds was refreshing. It was interesting to hear the points of view of different Armenians from other areas of the Diaspora."
    Aramazt Kalaydjian, Shoushi 2003, NY, USA

  • "I loved the simplicity of life in the village, the fresh homemade food is wonderful; that people are the friendliest and most hospitable... the children have the most beautiful faces..."
    Sophia Balakian, Shadvan 2004, New York, USA