Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa, 1875-2022: A Photographic and Archaeological Journey

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The UCLA Promise Armenian Institute and the Armenian Film Foundation are pleased to present “Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa, 1875-2022: A Photographic and Archaeological Journey,” a webinar that will take place on Wednesday, June 29 at 10:00 AM (Pacific Time) via the Zoom platform.

Launching a new exhibit from the Armenian Image Archive, the webinar will explore the 14 “Stations of the Cross” along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, highlighting photographs from the Bonfils Studio in 1875 and new images from photographer Jack Persekian, taken specifically for this exhibit. The event will also include a survey of the archaeological evidence regarding the presumed burial site of Jesus of Nazareth by archaeologist and professor Shimon Gibson, Ph.D. of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Registration for this webinar is required and free.

With the development of (then) more advanced photographic processes, such as the collodion process, European photographers identified the importance of documenting images of the Near East. Many converged in Palestine to capture its archeological sites, biblical scenes and cultural artifacts. Around 1875, Félix Bonfils and his associates embarked on a photographic mission to document the processional path Jesus of Nazareth took to his crucifixion on the Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Sorrowful Way”).

George Saboungi. The Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, Palestine, ca. 1880.

This webinar will feature the exhibit curator Joseph Malikian, Ph.D., who will explore the innovative contribution to photography by the Bonfils Studio. Persekian, who embarked on a project in 2022 to retrace and visually record the cobblestone-lined route on the Via Dolorosa and the symbolic tomb of Christ within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, will examine this project and his challenges photographing the Via Dolorosa. Dr. Gibson will discuss what the archaeological analysis can tell us about the supposed site of Jesus’ burial in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

This webinar is co-sponsored by the UCLA Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History, the UCLA Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Studies, the UCLA Library, the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) and the Ararat-Eskijian Museum.

The Armenian Image Archive (AIA) is the first of the new collaborations between PAI and AFF, which signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in October of 2021 to partner on a range of projects that will support Armenian film and photography at UCLA.

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