This Week in Armenian History

Death of Levon Mirijanian (November 16, 2004)

Poet Levon Mirijanian had a wide literary and public activity in Armenia from the 1960s to the 2000s.  

Mirijanian was born on January 22, 1933, in Yerevan. He finished the Khachatur Abovian high school in 1950 and the School of Armenian Language and Literature of Yerevan State University in 1955. In 1962 he passed the courses and exams for the Ph.D. program of the Institute of Literature Manuk Abeghian of the Academy of Sciences, but he did not finish his doctorate.  

Throughout his studies, he served in editorial roles at newspapers Pioner Kanch (1949-1954), Grakan Tert (1953-1957), and Yerevan (1957-1959). From 1962 to 1967 he was scientific secretary of the Institute of Literature, and from 1967 to 1975, head of the department of literature of the Hayastan Publishing House. He became first vice president of the Society of Bibliophiles of Armenia (1975-1989) and president of the Compatriotic Society of Vaspurakan (1991-1996). He founded a society of genocide survivors in 1996. He was president of the Society Armenia-Ukraine and worked actively for the development of Armeno-Ukrainian literary relations. 

Mirijanian published more than a dozen of poetry volumes, of which a few were dedicated to Van, his ancestors’ hometown, such as Nostalgia of the Sea (1965) and Toward the Sea (1971). His more well-known work was the poem The Shepherd of Songs, which won the first prize in the Tekeyan Cultural Association literary competition on the 100th anniversary of Gomidas Vartabed’s birth (1969) and was published in the same year. It was translated to Arabic (1974) and English (1983, translated by Mischa Kudian).  

He authored several philological works, such as The Sources of Armenian Poetry (vol. 1, 1977), The Boundaries of History and Legend (1986), and others. He was a strong proponent of the return to the classical spelling of the Armenian language instead of the reformed orthography imposed in Soviet Armenia in 1922, and published the booklet One Nation, One Spelling (2002) and Our Admirable Language (2003). Several of his unpublished works appeared posthumously. 

Levon Mirijanian passed away on November 16, 2004, in Yerevan. A middle school in the capital of Armenia is named after him.