This Week in Armenian History

Birth of Kevork Mesrob (May 1, 1881)

Kevork Mesrob was a longtime teacher as well as prolific author and public servant both in the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria.

His real name was Kevork Der-Mesrobian and he was born on May 1, 1881, in Bardizag. He studied at the local Nerses-Shushanian and then at the local American high school. Then he was admitted at the Seminary of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which he finished in three years instead of the usual six (1899-1902). After teaching for a year at Jaffa, he returned to his birthplace and entered the Seminar of Armash, whose three-year courses he finished in one year (1905-1906).  Afterwards, he was ordained deacon.

In 1908, Kevork Mesrob left the seminary and returned to the educational field. He became principal and teacher of schools in Rodosto, Adapazar, and Constantinople. After World War I, he was in charge of the confidential office at the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople and participated in the compilation of many statistical and historical documents.

He was in the infamous lists of Armenian intellectuals prepared by the Ottoman government before the genocide, but he was not among those arrested in April 1915, because he was confused with his father-in-law Pilibbos Kazanjian.

In 1922, during the Kemalist movement, Kevork Mesrob left Constantinople and settled in Bulgaria. The following year, he opened the Mesrobian Lyceum and boarding school in Plovdiv, which he moved to Sofia in 1925.

In 1937, he published the short-lived monthly Hayeli Ashkharhi. The same year, due to financial reasons mainly, he was forced to close the lyceum and then accepted the position of principal of the Armenian school of Haskovo.

Kevork Mesrob was a prolific contributor to the Armenian press from the age of sixteen. He wrote several historical works about Christianism in Armenia before St. Gregory the Illuminator (1910), Urartu (1911), the history of the Armenian Church (two volumes, 1913-1914) and a book called Armenia in Armenian and French (1919). He was the author of textbooks of Armenian history (1914) and geography (1924).

He passed away on September 30, 1948, in Sofia.