The reader will remember, if I draw his attention thereto, that the magnetic attraction exerted by the Hrandt and Rose Avakian home on me during my teenage years originated in the Eastern art statuettes particularly present on the cants, albeit not only there, but rather everywhere, and, if not necessarily Indian, then exemplifying Buddhism. Should I say that their potential proceeding of yore through remote rituals, collective or individual, had impregnated them with rhythms – sonorous or born from the interplay of light and shadow, subjected to movements and gestures repeated centuries without any derogation, to the inhalation of vapors and incense smoke, released at a timely hour, without any trace of haste, vesting them fully in an unseen aura which now they emanate – does not seem to be doing justice to the truth. Contrarily, I am certain that they carried, as they changed hands amongst Europeans, owners, collectors of the beautiful, something of the mysteries they had partaken in as cult objects, symbols, recipients of the metaphysical Mysterion, imparting them unto every human they came into contact with, albeit not losing anything from their magical power, even if those individuals did not all, not always, sense the shaping power hidden in the metal, the wood, the stone.[…] Myself, the one who had crossed their path at Maria Rosetti Street, they had claimed from my family and affairs; nobody realized I had vanished, engulfed in their world, they had captured me when my body had lagged behind which, until its duly demise, mimicked its existence, claimed to be continuing its existence as if nothing had happened, like a puppet acting out its role as expected from onlookers, as tradition had ruled. This meant nothing, still. My transportation into a parallel world, their world of cult (I employ this term as no other is at hand for designating their remote life superimposed on our own), would project me into an infinite spiritual place, as the expansion of the spirit is unfathomable. My soul was impregnated with visions of architecture non-existent in common life, but erected according to aleatory idiosyncratic plans and not less concrete to my scrutinizing and pious mind, paths leading nowhere, cities and small parishes within myself, un-nurturing fields of past harvests, un-nurturing forests with trees and shrubs, streams, un-carrying of water downstream, churchyards depleted of bodies and, all of that, quivering with life, steps, waste, ears, bark, and roots, water curls, sweet-smelling carcasses, ready to transmute into the a-temporal dimension of holy relics. Still, what is more, quivering with the fresh heavens… In this space, although so intimately mine, I was cohabiting, without ever crossing the paths with, myriads of other admirers who had contributed to its inner edifice. It was a virtual even over-peopled space, where we, the Far-Eastern art amateurs, were abiding in superposition in the heard-of boundlessness of our time bearing nothing in common with terrestrial time. It was not any longer a matter of magnetic attraction for the home of the Avakians: the entry door to their apartment had become to me the access gate unto the kingdom unseen by others, a gate I could open on mere thought and wistfulness, if daily occupations prevented me from calling upon those – in the flesh, as it were – whom I would later chose to be my godparents. In exiting the apartment thousands and myriads of times, I arrived to the point of never leaving behind what I revered or, if you will, I would never truly exit it, I would leave and linger, thus continuing even in my absence to nurture on the statuary universe on display and particularly on its significance. This led my steps to such an effect that, when I was deprived of the painter's company, I would learn all what was necessary in order to fully realize the significance of the place and moment of his presence. In the absence of a school of his caliber, I would not have come to read the signs in the miniature of monk Gregor, of 1232, i.e. from God's Epiphany painted in the Gospel Book of Targmantchatz, an attempt of interpretation by employ of the comparatist method. Hrandt Avakian would salute this with contended aloofness (such were all of his moments of mirth): my progress into the stages of uncovering meanings. It was probably only after I had explained to him what I saw in the miniature in the manuscript that he was convinced I fully deserved to be adopted by His Holiness1 and did his bit in my being invited to Etchmiadzin.
Excerpted from Hrandt, Ararat Publishing House, Bucharest, 2002
1 Catholicos Vasken I reigned on the Seat of St. Gregory from 1955 to 1994, one of the longest in Catholicosal history. During these utmost critical years Vasken I managed to prevent the collapse of the Holy Apostolic Church of Armenia in the face of disputes and strives among the dioceses of the Holy See of St. Etchmiadzin. (see Gevork Nazaryan, The HyeEtch Armenian page, )

by Mihai Rădulescu