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Born in 1876, Grigoris Balakian was one of the leading Armenian intellectuals of his generation. Educated in Germany and in the Ottoman Empire, he was ordained as a celibate priest in 1901 and served the Armenian Apostolic Church as an emissary to Europe, Russia in particular. He wrote several books, some of which were confiscated by the Turkish government in 1915 or subsequently lost. He later became bishop of the Armenian Apostolic Church in southern France. He died in Marseilles in 1934.
Peter Balakian is the author of The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, winner of the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize, a New York Times best seller, and a New York Times Notable Book; and of Black Dog of Fate, winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of Memoir, also a New York Times Notable Book. Grigoris Balakian was his great-uncle.