This Week in Armenian History

Death of Hermann Goltz (December 9, 2010)

Gottfried Hermann Goltz was a German Protestant theologian and Eastern Church historian who made important contributions to the study of the Armenian Church and the work of Johannes Lepsius, one of the important witnesses to the Armenian Question and the Armenian Genocide.

Hermann Goltz was born on April 1, 1946, in Gera, east-central Germany. He studied theology between 1964 and 1969 at Martin Luther University (Halle Wittenberg). He received his doctorate in 1972 with a thesis on the hierarchical society in the works of Dionysus Areopagites. In 1975 he was ordained a Protestant pastor in Halle after passing his theological exams. After a manuscript research stay in Russia in 1978, he completed his habilitation (a post-doctoral qualification in Germany) in 1979 with a study of Slavic patristic literature. In 1982 he founded and established the Johannes Lepsius archives.

Goltz was appointed professor at the Theological Faculty of Heidelberg University in 1987 and full professor of denominational studies of the Orthodox Churches at the Theological Faculty of Halle University in 1992. From 1988 to 1993 he was also head of the studies department of the Conference of European Churches in Geneva. In 1998, together with other German and Armenian scientists, he founded the Mesrop Center for Armenian Studies, which was resettled at the University of Halle in 2006. He published and coedited the documents and journals of the Lepsius archive in three volumes (1998-2004).

The German scholar researched, taught, and published on theology, art, and culture of the Orthodox Churches, in particular on the Greek-Slavic orthodoxy and the Armenian Church. Together with Armenian scholar Armenuhi Drost-Abgarjan, he translated the Armenian hymnarium (Sharaknots) into German. He received various awards from the government of Armenia for his work on Armenian Studies and Armenian culture. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Yerevan in 2007.

Among other exhibitions related to Russia, Goltz was also the curator and the author of the catalog for the exhibition “The Saved Treasure of the Armenians from Cilicia,” exhibited in Halle (2000) and Athens (2000) and now in permanent exhibition at the Armenian Catholicosate in Antelias. He was awarded the St. Mesrob order of the Catholicosate, as well as the Sahak and Mesrob medal of the Catholicosate of All Armenians.

Hermann Goltz passed away in Halle on December 9, 2010. A memorial plaque was unveiled on his longtime house in November 2012.