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Bibliographical Information
From Carmarthen to Karabagh - A Welsh Discovery of Armenia
Patrick Thomas
ISBN: 9781845273668 (1845273664)Publication Date: March 2012
Publisher: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch
Format: Paperback, 215x138 mm, 200 pages Language: English Available Our Price: £7.50 
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After Canon Patrick Thomas' first visit to Armenia in 2005, he was surprised to find that this little-known nation had captured his heart. He immediately began immersing himself in Armenian history, culture and religion, and came to admire the nation's 'unique strand of Christianity, with its powerful symbolism and mystical poetry'.

Yn dilyn ymweliad Patrick Thomas ag Armenia yn 2005, cafodd ei gyfareddu gan y wlad ac aeth ati'n syth i drwytho ei hun yn hanes Armenia. Daeth i edmygu Cristnogaeth unigryw'r wlad a fynegwyd trwy eu barddoniaeth gyfriniol.
From Carmarthen to Karabagh, written by the Canon Patrick Thomas, is an exploration in the importance of identity for both the Welsh and Armenian communities, and the parallels that can be drawn between the two countries, though thousands of miles apart.

For a fan of fiction, and a rare reader of factual books, Patrick Thomas was a breath of fresh air. His anecdotal approach to the subject both engages and enlightens the reader. The book is very readable, and is laid out in such a way that you can pick it up and read one particular section rather than progressing in a linear manner through the book.

It is also beautifully written, and Thomas fondly recounts his travels and stories gathered whilst in Armenia. His love for the country is clearly shown in this book's pages, along with his passion for his home country and the people there. The portrait he paints of every moment and every person he meets along his travels feels like a literary version of an artist's loving brush strokes on his masterpiece.

Those worried that the book may be overtly religious in nature, have no fear; Thomas does not solely concentrate on the Christianity prevalent in both countries. He focuses on the history of the nations, the day-to-day anecdotes of his travels, of the countries' patron saints, and the overwhelming sense of community that has lasted - and indeed been strengthened - though tragedies and wars. All Welsh and Armenian words and phrases are translated for the reader, often along with the pronunciation of the Armenian word.

I urge those interested in Eastern European history and how it closely correlates to our own experience of our history, to read this book. You will not only finish it feeling that you have learnt a significant amount about Armenia and Wales, but also knowing that Thomas' words will remain with you. He writes from the heart, and by the time you finish the book, a piece of your heart will have been captured by his words, and his love for Armenia will have ignited your own.

Sarah Lianne Lewis

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Author Biography:
Canon Patrick Thomas, Vicar of Christ Church in Carmarthen and Chancellor of St David’s Cathedral, is a well-known writer and broadcaster. He has a regular column in Cambria magazine, and is familiar to listeners to Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, and BBC Radio 4.
Further Information:
Patrick Thomas also became aware of the pain of its history, including the terrible genocide during the First World War when over a million Armenians were killed. In 2007 a memorial to the victims was unveiled in the Temple of Peace in Cardiff – the first such memorial in these islands.

Because of his love and understanding of Armenia, Canon Patrick has become accepted as ‘a voice of the voiceless’. But there is another strand to his exploration of Armenia and its struggles, and the injustices committed against it: that is, the parallel background of Welsh history. He quotes the head waiter in a restaurant in Armenia saying, ‘Wales is an ancient country, like Armenia – we have both had to struggle a long time for our freedom’. Patrick Thomas loves both nations, and this is his love-letter to them.

Even if you do not consider yourself ‘religious’, this delightful book will captivate, educate and intrigue you.

With Forewords by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Armenian Primate of Britain and Ireland.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says that this book
‘gives us a warm and vivid portrait of the richness of Armenian Christianity’.

Bishop Vahan Hovhanessian, Armenian Primate of Britain and Ireland, says that Canon Patrick Thomas has ‘earned the right to be an honorary ambassador of the Armenian people to the rest of the world’.
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