Armenian Women

in search of Herstory

Srpuhi Mayrabed Kalfayan – Սրբուհի Մայրապետ Գալֆաեան


Nun and philanthropist

Born in Kartal, Constantinople, Kalfayan was a famous Armenian nun and philanthropist. She was 12 when she lost her father and vowed to become a nun. She ultimately succeeded in becoming a one in 1840. She founded the Order of Kalfayan and a professional school teaching girls skill, handicrafts and needlework. The school opened in 1850 and still stands today. In 1865, she promised to gather all the girls orphaned following the cholera epidemic and on January 1st, 1866 she opened an orphanage for girls in Hasköy in Constantinople, relying solely on herself and her financial resources. At first the orphanage consisted of 17 young girls and eventually she worked hard in developing it further. She died on July 4th, 1889 in Constantinople.

For an Armenian article on her life and work, read here.

You can also visit the school she founded and still existing, in Istanbul, Turkish info here.


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