Hrachia Adjarian

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Hrachia Adjarian
Hrachia Adjarian.jpg
Hrachia Acharian in circa 1925
Born (1876-03-08)March 8, 1876
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Died April 16, 1953(1953-04-16) (aged 77)
Yerevan, Armenian SSR, USSR
Nationality Armenian
Fields Linguistics, Etymology and Philology
Alma mater University of Paris
University of Strasbourg
Hr. Atcharian

Hrachia Adjarian (Armenian: Հրաչեայ Աճառեան (classical) Hračʿeay Ačaṙean; Հրաչյա Աճառյան (reformed) Hračʿya Ačaṙyan; March 8, 1876 - April 16, 1953) was an Armenian linguist, etymologist, philologist, professor, Academic of Armenian Academy of Sciences, member of French Linguistic Association, and Czechoslovakian Institute of Oriental studies.

He studied at Sorbonne with Antoine Meillet and Strasbourg Universities. Acharian worked as a teacher in Ejmiatsin Gevorkian seminary, Shusha and Tehran. A survivor of the Armenian Genocide, he came to Yerevan in 1923, where he taught foreign languages, comparative grammar, and the history of the Armenian language at the Yerevan State University, where he headed a chair. He is the author of more than 200 scientific publications on Armenology, Armenian language and Oriental Languages.

The Armenian State Institute of Linguistics is named after him.


Acharian was born on March 8, 1896 in the Samatya neighborhood of Constantinople, Ottoman Empire. His father was a shoemaker.

When Acharian was not yet one year old, he had an accident. In a bright sunny day, his mother took him and went with him to the park. The boy stared at the sun, and then suddenly burst into tears. His mother immediately took him home, panicked, the baby cried all night, and the next morning he could not open his eyes. Doctors made great efforts, but his left eye remained blind for the rest of his life.

However, this did not prevent him from becoming a renowned scholar and the author of dozens of multi-volume studies.

Little Hrachia was not yet seven years old when his father took him to the Armenian School, where he revealed his linguistic ability: the boy studied Armenian, French and Turkish, and for two years studied the entire school course. Then at 9, Hrachia Acharian attended the Sahakian School and for four years he graduated with honors. After the Sahakian School Acharian attended the Getronagan School, followed by years of study at the Sorbonne and the University of Strasbourg, where he studied modern languages and also became known for his exceptional research in the field of Armenology.

Career and love[edit]

After many years of education, Hrachia Acharian worked as a teacher in Ejmiatsin, and later in Shusha, where he met his future love – the beautiful Arusyak. They loved each other sincerely. Neither the First World War, nor the Armenian Genocide, nor the years of wandering, were able to separate Hrachia and Arusyak. Together with 600 Armenians, they miraculously survived the Massacre of Shemakha, with Arusyak moving to Tabriz. Also in 1923 have already outstanding educator and scientist, received an invitation from the authorities Soviet Armenia and his wife reside in Yerevan, where he was to teach at the Yerevan State University. In the next 30 years Yerevan State University was for a great scientist, as his home.

Survived one of his letters, written in 1924 from one of the Persian relatives of his wife, in which Acharian wrote that happy with his life. And in 1925, in a letter to the same person, Hrachia Acharian reports the death of his wife, his Arusyak. After the death of his wife Acharian changed dramatically, and this worried his friends. They advised him to marry, but the 60-year-old Acharian at first did not want to even hear about it. However, after some time he married one of his students – Sophiko which played an important role in his fate. The Acharians together endured the blows of fate.


In 1937, during the Great Purge, many prominent intellectuals across the country who were declared as "nationalists", "enemies of the nation", "spies" were arrested, shot and exiled. Hrachia Acharian also was not missed. The decision to arrest Hrachia Acharian was made by a junior lieutenant of KGB in 18 September 1937 as well. In 29 September 1937 he was arrested. The professor was accused of being an English resident in Soviet Azerbaijan and a spy operating at the University of counter-revolutionary group of professors. Academic three times were taken for interrogation and beaten, while assuring him that if he admitted his "guilt" and sign a trumped-up case, then a few days has been released. Driven to despair, broken by torture, a scientist under the dictation of the investigator wrote a statement addressed to the head of NKVD, which recognizes all of what he was accused. His typewriter and manuscripts were confiscated, and the doors of rooms in the apartment sealed. Hrachia Acharian, Sophiko and housekeeper Palina was allowed to remain in the kitchen. Subject to seizure Acharian manuscript remained in the living room. Mrs. Sophiko and Pauline thought about how to save these priceless works of Acharian. They decided to take a tiny window of the kitchen to the living room. Wife Acharian, Sophiko somehow squeezed into it and made a part of the materials. However, they had to be safely hidden, and this helped her brother, her mother - he folded his precious manuscripts in an iron box and buried under a tree in the garden Nor Butaniya. For two years (1937–1939) is not watered this tree - to suddenly spoiled papers

About how the investigator Kirakosov managed to "snatch" from Acharian this testimony, later told cellmates Rooks. When one of the interrogator said, Acharian that he is German, French, English, Japanese and Turkish spy, then he replied: "If there are such stupid people who believe that a scientist, the Armenian linguist, could be a spy, and if such a lie can help your career, you write - I'll sign it. But what I, an Armenian scholar Acharian - Turkish spy - this is complete nonsense, unprecedented outrageous insult, and even if I izrezhut to pieces, I still do not recognize that libel and I am sure that any have not lost their dignity Armenian will tell you something same!"

For these words struck an investigator of the weak and the helpless old man in the face. Acharian back him in the face and disdainfully added: "Yes, this is great heroism for a young, strong guy to hit the sick old man! .."

During the subsequent interrogation, the investigator, having failed to wrest from Acharian confession, put out a burning cigarette on his forehead professor as well. Then, brutally beat an old man so that he could not walk up to the camera, and had to pull guards. It was after this totally exhausted and had lost hope scientist incriminated himself, "confessing" that in August and September, 1915 served as a revolutionary power Baku as an agent of the Intelligence Service, as well as the fact that during the interviews at the university allowed himself nationalist and Anglophile expression. However, despite the promises,even after the "voluntary recognition"case Acharyan has not been looked after a few days and a half years. The court sentenced him to six years imprisonment. Deceived by Acharyan and could only say: "This is your justice?".

Because of some combination of circumstances, Hrachya Acharyan held in prison for the whole 2 year, and 19 December 1939 and he was released "for lack of corpus delicti". He regained the position and rights. He returned to the university.

According to the stories daughter Acharyan, Knarik, her father was a deeply religious man. It is known that he prayed four times a day, and not to forget that this is a prayer in a row, after each knot is one of the corners of a handkerchief.


Adjarian's bust in Yerevan

In 1950s was the most calm surviving suffering scientist. Until his death (16 April 1953) Acharyan taught at the university. 16 April, as usual, Acharyan came to the lecture, held a training session for the Persian language, went home, shaved, ate dinner with gusto and satisfaction, told his wife: "Sophiko, I'm happy. Thank God, my wife is healthy, his daughter well, today I also was able to go to university, and classes were a success. The main thing I have completed my, lived 77 years - two magic numbers in a row, has had all seen the days we dream about. And now for me it's all over."

These were the last moments of life of the great scientist. That day he bought his wife and daughter tickets to the opera Almast. Seeing them in the theater, kissed them and pressed to his chest. Returning home, they found him sprawled in his chair: his eyes were closed, his left hand under his head, and the right - a handkerchief tied with three knots. He finished reading the last prayer ...[1][2]



  • Concise Armenian Encyclopedia, Ed. by acad. K. Khudaverdyan, Yerevan, 1990, Vol. 1, p. 145-146.

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