TYPE: Folio/Portfolio
NOTES: This small volume is valuable. According to Vosganyan et al., this was the 130th Armenian book to be published. For more details, see Kévorkian, Raymond. Catalogue des ‘incunables’ arméniens (1511–1695) ou chronique de l’imprimerie arménienne. Geneva: Patrick Cramer, 1986, pp. 106-107.
ITEM ID: 5324
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Missal for the Holy Mass for Armenian Churches

DATE
Year: 1686
Decade: 1680s
Century: 17th (1601-1700)

According to scholar Sebouh Aslanian, “This is the first of two important and lavish publications issued from a privately operated and Armenian-owned press in Venice in 1686. Published by the press of Gaspar Shahrimanean or Gasparo di Sceriman (as he was known to Italians, or Cheriman in French), this Missal for the Holy Mass was specifically published for use in Armenian churches but both the publisher (Gasparo di Sceriman) and his assistant (Tadeos Hamazaspean) were staunch Armenian Catholics both with roots in New Julfa, Isfahan, and found a way to cleverly avoid the strict censorship imposed by the Catholic Church authorities regarding tenets of confessionalism.

One branch (led by Gasparo) of the Sceriman/Shahrimanean/Shehrimanean family permanently settled down in Venice and Livorno in 1698 after they were forced out of their township of New Julfa following a wave of anti-catholic persecutions by the Armenian church authorities in Julfa (On the family, see my book From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), 149-158).

The press Gasparo established was one of a few owned and operated by Armenian merchants at the time. It produced a very handsome and rather priceless edition of a Lectionary (Ճաշոց) in the same year also in Venice and mysteriously shut down.”