San Lazzaro degli Armeni Monastery 


A photo essay

Outside

The monastery is absolutely beautiful. Its small size makes it very approachable, and it was cool that I was able to visit working areas of the complex, not just a tourist-only museum. One interesting fact I learned is that in 1816, Lord Byron studied Armenian at the monastery for six months.

Byron helped the monks prepare an Armenian-English grammar, which he attempted to get published in England. Byron wrote of his experience

  • "These men are the priesthood of an oppressed and noble nation...It would be difficult, perhaps, to find the annals of a nation less stained with crimes than the Armenians, whose virtues have been those of peace, and their vices those of compulsion. But whatever may have been their destiny ... their country must ever be one of the most interesting on the globe; and perhaps their language only requires to be more studied to become more attractive."

A memorial plaque. Byron's quote: "The visitor will be convinced that there are other and better things even in this life."

Byron in the library.

Father Mekhitar, the founder of the Mekhitarist Order