08 January 2016, 16:32
12821 |

Eternal Alphabet: E (ē) - Է (է)

Sanctity of Է is intensified by the fact that its numerical value is seven. This sacral number, considered as divine, is repeatedlyused in the Bible: seven sacraments, seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, seven angels standing in the presence of God, seven thrones, seven seals. Է was correlated with the seventh day, blessed and sanctified by the God. In the alphabetic acrostic written by Mashtots, letter Է stands for the word Էութիւն ([eutyun] – essence), which reveals the eternal and everlasting existence of the God, “who is and who was and who is to come” (Revelation 1:4).

Letter Է, depicted in Armenian churches, stands for “God”, “Divine”, “in the name of God”, and has a double meaning. Firstly, it is the Armenian equivalent of the tetragramm Yahweh; secondly, it’s the first letter of the word “Emmanuel” – one of the names of Jesus Christ, translated as “God is with us”.


It is supposed that in the Old Armenian language letter Է was pronounced as [ey]. With the lapse of time, articulation of Է became similar to the vowel Ե [ye], but retained its shapeuntil 1992, when it was removed from the alphabet in the result of orthographic reforms.

And though in 1940 letter Է was “exonerated”, the new rules significantly reduced the frequency of usage of the “disgraced” letter: since then, Է is written only at the beginning of words, while in the middle and at the end it was replaced by Ե. The origin of the graphic form of letter Է is generally associated with the Greek Ηη (eta) or the Armenian Ե [е].

See more at Aram Khachaturians "Armenian Alphabet" book 

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