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Press Releases 2011

Village Dream Realized

Sourp Astvatzatzin Church Before Renovation

Yeghvard, Armenia - After four years of summer campaigns, over eighty volunteers, thousands of hours of professional and volunteer work, the opening of Yeghvard village's Sourp Astvatzatzin Church took place on Saturday, August 20, 2011.

This small village, on the extreme eastern border of Armenia, in the Syunik region, had been blessed and honored with the grave of Toros Ishkhan, comrade-in-arms of David Beg.  The 17th century church had been in dire condition, the interior destroyed, the roof pitted and the outlaying gravestones overturned and untended, during the 70 years of Soviet rule. After the collapse of that regime, the village needed to concentrate on rebuilding itself and not their beloved church.

Land And Culture Organization Historical Renovation Projects 2011

Clearing around Church grounds
Clearing around Church grounds

Yerevan, Armenia –This summer, Land and Culture Organization/Organisation Terre et Culture (LCO/OTC) volunteers headed off to two different campaign sites.  One group of volunteers went to north to the Shirakamut village, near the epicenter of the 1988 earthquake, to work on the renovation of the historic 7th Century Tchitchkhanavank Monastery, and another group of volunteers went south to Yeghvard, on the border of the liberated territories of Artsakh, to finalize work on the 17th Century Sourp Astvatzatzin Church project.  Throughout July and August, over 60 volunteers were in Shirakamut, Yeghvard, as well as in Goris.

LCO restoring two historical Armenian sites

Pasadena, CA – In its 34th year, the Land and Culture Organization (LCO) is returning to Armenia again this summer to continue restoration work on two historical Armenian sites.

Last year, 37 dedicated volunteers from Armenia, Canada, England, France, Syria and the United States spent their summer restoring their Armenian legacy.  This summer's campaign is gearing up, and volunteers from several countries have already begun to join.

LCO Renovating 17th Century Sourp Astvatzatzin Church

Land and Culture Organization presents its mission and projects

Pasadena, CA – The Land and Culture Organization (LCO) is presenting briefings on the west and east coasts of the United States.

Event Hosts Bedikians and Pogarians with LCO Board Members

On January 30, friends and supporters attended an event graciously hosted by Asbed and Aida Pogarian and Varoujan and Jacqueline Bedikian in their La Crescenta, California home in support of LCO projects.   Both Bedikian’s and Pogarian’s daughters participated in the 2010 campaign in Yeghvard, Armenia renovating the 17th century Sourp Astvatzatzin Church.  The parents saw the impact the LCO experience had on their college-aged children.  “Lori discovered her roots and this experience made more of an effect on her than all the years of telling her about her Armenian culture,” commented Aida Pogarian.  “We were very excited to see the smile on Alique’s face, and the sweat on her brow was priceless as she was connecting with her homeland,” Varoujan Bedikian remarked.

Land and Culture Organization Partners With Vienne, France

Goris Youth Welcome French Volunteers

Goris, Armenia – This summer, one of Organization Terre et Culture (OTC-Land and Culture Organization’s French chapter), campaigns was in partnership with the sister cities of Vienne, France and Goris, Armenia.  On July 25th, 20 young French and French-Armenian volunteers from Vienne arrived in Goris to continue renovation on the 1771 Sourp Astvatzatzin Church near the pagan era caves in Old Goris.  Local Goris youth and city officials welcomed the group with French and Armenian flags.  In Goris City Hall, Mayor Nelson Voskanyan warmly greeted the volunteers from France.

  • "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