The beginning of the Fourth Century is prominent in Armenia history, as
in 301 AD, the state of Armenia accepted Christianity as its official
religion. Thus, Armenians became the first Christian people in the world.
Christianity provided spiritual, moral and intellectual strength and new
ardor to confront the forthcoming centuries.
A Khachkar is a monument reflecting Armenian medieval culture and has
been traditionally erected in holy and public places for national and
personal divine reasons and purposes. The word Khachkar translates literally
to "Cross Rock" or "The Rock of the Cross". The art
of sculpting the ornamental relief style of Khachkar reached the peak
of its progress in the 13th century Armenia. This unique work of religious
art gained international recognition and respect.
The first ever Khachkar to be built and unveiled in America is the Zakarian
Khachkar, sponsored by Arthur Zakarian. The unveiling ceremony took place
at the courtyard of the St. Mary's Armenian church in Glendale, CA. on
Sunday, May 31st, 1998. The creation of this work of art is by the artistry
and skill of Gaspar Gharibyan. The adobe-like "Touf" stone was
imported over from Armenia , also symbolizing the Armenian in Diaspora.
From the bosom a door is left open as an emblem of hope and light. Above
the door is Noah's pigeon which survived cataclysm and destruction. On
the top of the Zakarian Khachkar arises Mount Ararat with its grandeur.
Below the Mount Ararat are clouds and Pegasus dashing forth, representing
good fortune and victory.
The symbolic structural composition of the Khachkar has the Cross as its
foundation denoting the source of light and life. The Cross is an object
of worship and is related to the Tree of Life. It is centered on the circular
decorated shield which represents the earth. The adorned edges of the
stone form the frame of the Khachkar.
Unveiled on Sunday, July 23, 2000, following the Sunday Services at the
St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church in Glendale, CA is the second Khachkar
in the history of America. This Khachkar was sponsored by the Zakarian
Family, dedicating it to the memory of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.
It is again the work of master sculptor Gaspar Gharibyan.
The Armenian Genocide, perpetrated by the Young Turks government of the
Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 became the first holocaust of the 20th
century. As a result of this genocide, a majority of centuries-old Armenian
historical and religious artifacts were lost forever. From the depths
of the 85 years since the genocide, the memory of the victims of the Armenian
Genocide is resurrected here as a tolling of commemoration.
This monument is constructed from "Touf" stone, which was also
brought in from Armenia. The three large pieces assembled together to
represent a cross have unique carvings, symbolizing the will and the determination
of the Armenian people to survive. This Khachkar emerges from a granite
base, shattering the grief and becoming a crucifix of hope. The base is
also divided into five sections, characterizing the five continents of
the world, on which rests the monument memorializing the victims of the
From the center of the cross hangs the universal heart of love and charity
which has cracked and is bleeding onto the strained and saddened Cross
due to the tragedy of the holocaust. The 12 empty altars on one of the
Cross represent the 12 regions depleted of their indigenous Armenian people.
The date marking the beginning of the Armenian Genocide is pierced through
the eye of the being, as a sign of survival and perseverance. The fireball
of eternity represents the strong future of the Armenian people. The edges
of the cross are etched with the storms of time. Angles stand vigil at
the altars and in one of the altars, the universal eye keeps a hopeful
From the arch at the top of the cross hangs the eternal bell, which continuously
tolls in the name of reparation. The Genocide does not transcend time.
The protective eagle on its side - the symbol of the USA - characterize