Stories from the Armenian Heart
Compiled and Edited by Barbara Ghazarian
Descendants of Noah
is the Armenian version of the best-selling American series,
Chicken Soup for the Soul. Each of the 125 true stories
highlights an aspect of the spiritual journey during which faith
or heritage uplifts the soul.
Christians of any nationality exploring questions of faith, identity,
and the role of the church in their lives can turn to these stories
and be reminded that no matter what hardship they might be facing,
they are not alone and everything will turn out all right.
- How to lead by example.
- How personal tragedies like the death of
a loved one, divorce, or illness test one's faith and how these
tests are part of the spiritual journey.
- How powerful and lasting an experience witnessing
someone else's faith can be.
- How to bring practices of faith and make
faith-based decisions in your daily life.
- How family, language, food, and the church
are common denominators of identity.
- How individuals can leave the confines of
their community and return again enriched.
by Ardashes Kassakhian
For nearly two millennia, the Armenian people
have turned to the Bible for inspiration and spiritual guidance.
Their resilience and dedication to God has survived countless
invasions, continuous persecution, massacres, and genocide.
According to scripture, after the great flood, Noah's Ark came
to rest atop Mt. Ararat, the highest point in historic Armenia.
Nestled in the Caucasus Mountains and the Anatolian Peninsula
(in what is at times referred to as the "cradle of civilization"),
Armenians have long prided themselves as being descendants of
In 301 A.D., Armenians took an unprecedented leap of faith by
adopting Christianity as their state religion, and Armenia became
a testing ground for that faith. It was destined to be conquered
by more powerful and hostile neighbors as well as invaders from
Romans, Parthians, Byzantines, Mongols, Arabs, and Turks all
attempted to impose their will upon the Armenian people. Yet
the Armenians never renounced their beliefs or their faith. Instead,
these invasions and massacres strengthened the Armenian resolve.
In 1915, with most of historic Armenia under the rule of the
crumbling Ottoman Turkish Empire, Armenians, along with other
Christian minorities, were persecuted. Turkic nationalism and
the religious fanaticism that took hold of their overlords resulted
in the first genocide of the 20th century. More than 1.5 million
Armenian men, women, and children were martyred. Genocide tested
the faith of the Armenian people again. Despite a national dispersion
into a global Diaspora, the Armenian nation survived.
What little remained of the historic Armenian lands were absorbed
into the Soviet Empire soon after, and, for nearly seventy years,
Armenian Christianity was attacked by the atheist ideals of the
Communist regimes. But once again, the church and the people's
In September 2001, as the eyes of the world focused on the terrorist
attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., Armenia quietly
and fittingly celebrated its tenth anniversary of independence
from Soviet rule and its 1700th anniversary as a Christian nation.
Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Armenia to stand witness
to this tiny nation's dedication to Christ through centuries
of oppression. For the whole world and for all the children of
God who were coping with the shock and loss of September 11,
the Pope drew inspiration from the Armenian example of faith
Armenians know the pain of loss and injustice, yet through it
all they have continued to find salvation in the Bible, known
in Armenian as Asdvadzashoonch (the Breath of God). Highlighted
by prayer and practice, the history of Armenian Christianity-and
even Armenia-has been a story of endurance, sacrifice, salvation,
Each Armenian carries a story that embodies these beliefs and
this history in some way. Descendants of Noah: Stories of
Armenian Apostolic Faith and Heritage is a collection of
true stories about, and recollections by, Armenian Americans
connected to the Armenian Apostolic Church in the United States.
Each story highlights a moment or an event or an aspect of the
spiritual journey when Armenian faith or heritage helped lift
the person above the malaise and chaos of a world that is at
times overwhelming and always shifting.
In these trying times, Armenian Americans continue to pray and
worship, knowing that the spiritual journey and the testing of
one's faith is a continuous process. The power of their collective
story bears witness not only to Armenians' tenacity to survive
but also to the resiliency of their Christian beliefs. Let this
book serve as a beacon of hope and a source of inspiration for
all Armenians, for us as Americans, and to the world as well.
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