Father Nerses AKINIAN (8 Sept. 1883, Artvin – 28 Oct. 1963, Vienna, Austria)
Հ. Ներսէս ԱԿԻՆԵԱՆ (8 սեպտ. 1883, Արդուին – 20 հոկտ. 1963, Վիեննա)

Père Nersès Aguinian

One of the titans of Armenian philology, Fr. Nerses (baptismal name, Gabriel) Akinian was sent to Vienna, the Mkhitarist seminary, at an early age in 1895, and in 1901 was anointed a celibate priest. In accordance with the Order’s orientation, from the very beginning he pursued historical studies ardently and thoroughly researched the entire Armenian history and literature, with a German-like rigorousness. The monastery’s rich athenaeum, where he was the director for long years, served him greatly.

Numerous travels, such as to his birthplace and Armenia in 1912, and from 1924 to 1929 to several centers in the Soviet Union, Moscow (the Lazarian Academy), Nakhijevan, Batumi, Tbilisi, as well as Lvov-Lemberg, gave him the opportunity to visit ancient monuments and collections of ancient Armenian manuscripts, as inexhaustible sources for his unbiased studies. In 1939 he went to the Middle East, where he remains stranded due to WWII, and passed his time be teaching and studying available Armenian manuscripts.

The greater part of his life, especially the last years, he spent in Vienna, as the editor of the official organ «Հանդէս ամսօրեայ», which had become the personification of Armenian philology with its international contributors.

Fr. Akinian produced a large quantity of studies, mostly published in the pages of «Հանդէս ամսօրեայ», but also approximately 50 works, published as separate volumes. Some of his works have been translated into German and English.

See more extensively about him by Fr. Vahan Inglizian, a student of his, a biography, in «Հանդէս ամսօրեայ», September 1954, p. 355, etc.

Translated by Y.K.

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