Malcolm Billings, formerly BBC World Service
PEF FREE LECTURE SERIES 2016
IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE BRITISH MUSEUM DEPARTMENT OF MIDDLE EAST
4pm, 14th January 2016, Stevenson Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, British Museum. To book, contact the British Museum Box Office: 020 7323 8181 or www.britishmuseum.org and go to the 'What's On' option at the top of the BM homepage. Then choose the 'Events Calendar' and scroll down the page to see events listed by date and time.
Photograph of Dr. P.K. Vartan, courtesy of John Vartan
When Dr Pacradooni Kaloost Vartan rode into the village of Nazareth along a stony bridle path, he was the only trained medical practitioner between Beirut and Jerusalem. The illustrations capture the spirit of the pilgrimage village, where the Orthodox and Catholic shrines vied for the authenticity of the Angel Gabriel’s revelation. Vartan, the missionary/ physician/ surgeon, established a four bed hospital and clinic in his own rented house in 1861. The new building is now a major teaching hospital, with 165 beds and over 650 staff treating and training Nazarenes of all faiths.
This lecture charts the progress of the young Armenian boy from a poor family in Constantinople where Protestant missionaries from Boston had established a school for Armenian boys. They learnt their lessons in English, and as the Crimean war broke out, local boys were recruited by English officers as interpreters. The illustrated lecture covers that period and Vartan’s training in Edinburgh as a missionary doctor. Malcolm Billings tells the story of the hospital established by Vartan: how it survived the trauma of the end of the Ottoman Empire; the British Mandate and the birth of Israel.
John Vartan, the great grandson of the founder is still associated with the funding of the hospital and plans to attend the lecture.
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