In 1834, in accordance with the testament of two very rich Armenian merchants Rafael and his son-in-law Murad, the Mekhitarist Order established the Muradian Gymnasium in the Italian city of Padua in the region of Veneto.
In 1836, the Rafaelian Gymnasium was established in the Venetian palace Bezaro. In 1850, the gymnasium was moved to the Zenobio palace.
Later, in order to avoid the pressure of the Austro-Hungarian Empire ruling in Italy, the Muradian Gymnasium moved to Paris where it would remain until 1870.
As a result of the Franco-Prussian War, the gymnasium was brought back to Venice and was merged with the Rafaelian Gymnasium. It was renamed the Murad-Rafaelian Gymnasium and continued its activities in the magnificent Zenobio palace.
The Murad-Rafaelian Gymnasium consistently followed the traditions of the Mekhitarist Order. Namely, the gymnasium preserved the Armenian language and culture in a foreign land, pushed the development of Armenian studies, and passed on knowledge from generation to generation.
The students at the gymnasium studied the Armenian language and culture, Armenian literature, history, geography, biology, and foreign languages such as Italian, French, and English.
In the gymnasium operated theatrical, musical, and sports groups. Among the graduates of the Murad-Rafaelian Gymnasium were Armenian poet Daniel Varuzhan, actor Vahram Papazian, artist Edgar Shahin, and many others.Ruben Shukhyan