Ashot N. Hayruni
The family and school occupied an important place in Raffi’s ideological worldview in reaching societal enlightenment and national unity. According to him, these two important social structures were important vehicles for transforming any given individual, which through enlightenment would lead to the desired success. According to Raffi, both of these institutions were not prepared and unable to serve the nation’s progress and enlightenment, since fundamentally their practices had remained in the past with inhumane beatings, punishments, with highly illiterate teachers who showed despotic behavior and lack of pedagogical skills.
While analyzing the many flaws in the upbringing and education of Armenian children within the family and schools, Raffi pointed out that these in turn greatly stifled the individual from fully understanding his or her national identity, thus effectively also hindering a proper development of the Armenian society at large. According to Raffi, the main culprit for this was the Church, which yielded greatest influence upon the society and was the main unifying factor of its members, thus, the latter could become the torchbearer for enlightenment and progress, if only it would be able to fulfill this role. After conducting a comprehensive study of the historic path of the Armenian Church, Raffi concluded that the Church had lost its moral compass and had strayed from the path of leadership. Raffi pointed out that Armenian priesthood had to undergo a reform, only after which, it could once again take up the mantle of educating and enlightening the Armenian society at large.
The writer, thus, emphasized the importance of reforming family and school education, which in turn, would transform the society by instilling within the individual ideals of enlightenment. For this task Raffi especially emphasized the important role of the Church.
According to Raffi, the school had to have a stable school curricula and methodological guidebooks, its teachers should have received specialized training, national values should have been underlined and highly emphasized in subjects like Armenian History. Raffi also placed importance in teaching Theology, in particular, teaching the children those parts of the Bible, which developed a sense of morality. Raffi also criticized the view that the religious denomination and national origin were one and the same. He pointed out that national origin and religious affiliation could not be equated, since the two had different historic origins. He pointed out that a religion of a given people would throughout history often change, thus no matter what an important role the given religion had played for a people, it could not fully constitute the totality of their national identity and existence. The core, which according to Raffi could unify all of the members of an enlightened nation and society, was national self-consciousness, which could be gained after proper understanding and self-realization of national identity, which according to him was first and foremost based upon the use of a common language.