A lawsuit filed by the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America against the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles over a medieval manuscript has revived long-standing concerns within Armenia about the need to preserve the country’s cultural heritage.
The Church’s Western Prelacy, which oversees Armenian Apostolic communities in California and the western United States, filed the lawsuit on June 1 to demand that the Museum hand over seven illustrated pages from a 13th century Armenian manuscript of the Gospel. The two sides have until October 21 to discuss the case, according to a lawyer for the Western Prelacy.
The Prelacy claims that the pages, known as the Canon Tables, were taken from the manuscript, kept in an Armenian church in Zeytun, in eastern Turkey, some time during Ottoman Turkey’s 1915 massacre of ethnic Armenians in the area. Hundreds of ethnic Armenian historical monuments in Turkey became ruins or simply disappeared in the decades that followed, according to UNESCO.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan.