The first issue of the literary and cultural monthly Pakin (altar) was published in January 1962, in Beirut, Lebanon, under the helm of Garo Sassouni, the executive editor, and Yedvart Boyajian and Boghos Snabian as editors-in-chief. The editorial board was comprised of well-known writers Haroutioun Keghart, Dikran Vosgouni, Papken Papazian, and Vahe Oshagan. In 1963, the 18th World Assembly of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) hailed Pakin as a publication destined to fulfill the literary and artistic needs of the Armenian diaspora.
Pakin’s creed was outlined in its initial issue in an article entitled “At the Altar.” The new magazine aspired to become a platform where it would assemble writers of the Armenian diaspora, and it would extend to novice writers the same encouragement and promotion it would confer upon established names in the Armenian literary landscape.
Since the very beginning, Pakin adhered to the notion of continuity between nations and cultures, and it rejected the predominance of materialistic values over spiritual ideals. Therefore, Pakin would not limit itself to conventional literary genres; in order to keep abreast of new literary directions, Pakin would also strive to feature international writers and avant-garde literary movements.
In 1966, following the death of Yetvart Boyadjian, the editorial responsibility for Pakin was handed to Boghos Snabian. Over the next 35 years, Snabian ensured the uninterrupted publication of Pakin as a monthly, and from 1996 as a quarterly. During his tenure, the 20 special issues dedicated to prominent Armenian writers became important contributions in the field of studies in Armenian literature. His legacy also includes the gravitation of both senior and novice writers to Pakin, the publication of unpublished manuscripts, and the translation of non-Armenian literary output into Armenian. Above all, Pakin vehemently pursued the survival of Western Armenian, opposed literary distortions, particularly the censorial politics of Soviet Armenia, and played a notable role in developing literary and cultural tastes.
In 2003, due to Snabian’s declining health, Hagop Balian was appointed editor of Pakin, and Sonia Kiledjian as assistant editor. Pakin now assumed a new image. After Kiledjian left the position in 2007, the Pakin staff successively included Arpi Hamparian as editorial secretary, Seda Grigorian as assistant editor, and Nazo Kevorkian as editorial secretary until June 2014. Nora Parseghian was appointed assistant editor in November 2014 and continues to serve in that position since then.
In 2015, Balian retired from the magazine, and Sonia Kiledjian-Adjemian was called upon to assume the post of editor-in-chief. Once again, Pakin was renewed to reflect contemporary directions in Armenian literature and arts.
It should be noted that Pakin was published due to the financial support of successive ARF Bureaus and the Hamazkayin Central Executive Boards. Its literary credo, its persistence to feature authors from both the diaspora and the Republic of Armenia, and its mission of preserving Western Armenian culture, have carved for Pakin a unique niche in the Armenian diaspora press.