Saturday, April 03, 2004

LRC pick
The abolition of grandparents
by Gary North
Because there was so little housing space under Communism, it was common for grandparents to live in the same small apartment. So, when the children came home from school, grandma was there to tell them stories and thereby transfer part of the pre-revolution culture to them.

That might be true of the World War II refugee Russians in the US - learning the old ways from their elders - and perhaps why some of them look down on the post-Soviet new immigrants (such as the gangsters in big cities) for being completely sovietized and ignorant of that culture.

My father-in-law was alert to this factor because he was an Armenian. He was the seventh in a line of sons in his family who served the community as their minister. There was never any other occupation that his father had wanted for him. Until the Turkish genocide of a million Armenians in 1915–16, his family had stayed in the same town: Van. He told me that it was possible to trace his family back to the 13th century in the church graveyard. In the church Bible that had been left behind in the exodus in 1915, his father had told him that there was a notation in the margin: "Today, the Mongols came through." That is what I would call cultural continuity.

I know there are Armenian Protestants but I wonder if Mr North's father-in-law belonged to the Church of Armenia, the Armenian Apostolic Church, which just like the Eastern Orthodox has married priests.

Incidentally, Armenia (Hayastan in their language) is the world's oldest Christian country, adopting the church as its official religion before the Roman Empire did.

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