Ancient Christian treasures in UK for first time

 A landmark exhibition of ancient treasures from Armenia is being mounted by the British Museum this year, to mark the country's 1700 anniversary of becoming Christian. Armenia was the first country to officially recognise Christianity as the national religion, in 301 AD. Entitled: Treasures from the Ark:1700 Years of Armenian Christian Art, the exhibition will feature priceless illuminated manuscripts, sculptures, gilt and silver bindings, stone crosses, reliquaries, carvings, textiles and ceramics. Many of the exhibits have never been seen outside Armenia before. The British Library's curator of Armenian manuscripts, who is also in charge of the exhibition, Rev Vrej Nersessian said: "The genesis of Christianity in Armenia is a focal point of modern religious history. This exhibition will illustrate the singular religious vision of this nation throughout the last 1700 years, and reveal a previously neglected vein of fascinating artifacts and manuscripts." Armenia is geographically situated between the Orient and the Mediterranean, but its culture and religion relates more closely to the latter, making it the easternmost kingdom of mediaeval Christianity. Its cultural and spiritual links to the Bible are manifest; the four rivers of the Garden of Eden are said to run through the land and it was the home of Mount Ararat, presumed landing site of Noah's Ark. Treasures from the Ark: 1700 Years of Christian Art opens at the British Library on 2 March 2001. For further information visit:

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