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October 3, 2013
With a deep sense of loss we announce the passing of Dr. John Manuelian of Winchester, Massachusetts.
Dr. Manuelian was a faithful and dedicated supporter of the Armenian Church and community for more than half a century. He served as a delegate to the World General Assembly of the Holy See of Cilicia, and as a member and secretary of the Prelacy’s Executive Council during years from 1969 to 1976. He was a Prince of Cilicia, a Pillar of the Prelacy, and served on the board of trustees of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown, Massachusetts. He also served as physician to His Holiness Catholicos Khoren I and His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II during numerous pontifical visits to the United States.
Funeral arrangements are not yet complete. Archbishop Oshagan will officiate over a National (Azkayin) Funeral that will take place at St. Stephen’s Church on Tuesday, October 8. The homecoming wake service will take place Monday evening, October 7. Full details of the funeral arrangements and biography will be sent tomorrow.
May our Lord embrace the soul of His faithful servant and tender the grace of His comfort on his family.
The conference of Armenian Bishops concluded last Friday, September 27. From September 24 through 27, in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, presided over the Bishops Synod of the Armenian Church, the first in six hundred years. Participating were 62 Archbishops and Bishops of the Armenian Church from around the world.
During the opening session, the chancellery of the Synod was established as follows: Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan were appointed to serve as co-chairmen; Archbishop Narek Alemezian and Archbishop Arshak Kachatryan were appointed to serve as secretaries.
The Synod discussed the re-establishment of the tradition of canonization in the Armenian Church, and specifically focused on the issue of canonization of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The canonization of the victims of the Genocide was adopted in principle. The committee was assigned the task of reviewing the canon and ritual of canonization, for presentation and approval at the next meeting.
The Bishops discussed the work of the Liturgical Committee on the sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation. The Synod accepted a uniform text for both services.
The challenges facing the Armenian Church were also discussed at length, especially concerning the liturgical and religious instruction, the Church’s educational and social mission, and the preservation of the Armenian identity. These concerns will also be given priority at the next meeting of Bishops that will take place in the autumn of 2014.
The Bishops established a foundation to help those in need, especially children, in Armenia, Artsakh, and Syria. Two million US dollars were allocated for this foundation.
Catholicoi Karekin II and Aram I closed the Synod with their blessings and prayers.

Bishop Anoushavan, who just returned to New York from Etchmiadzin where he participated in the Synod of Bishops, will travel to Bethesda, Maryland this weekend, where he will preside over the Divine Liturgy on Sunday October 6, at Soorp Khatch Church. Following the Liturgy, His Grace will give a special presentation commemorating the 50th anniversary of the passing of Catholicos Zareh I and the 30th anniversary of the passing of Catholicos Khoren I.

Recognizing the importance of discovering and promoting the careers of exceptionally talented, but not well known, young Armenian musicians from all over the world, the Eastern Prelacy launched the Musical Armenia annual concert series in 1982. For more than thirty years the program has remained true to its objective by encouraging young Armenian artists and presenting them in recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
All young soloists and ensembles with at least one member of Armenian descent are invited to apply. Priority will be given to applicants currently living or studying in the United States. The deadline for applications has been extended to October 30, 2013.
For more information and application for the 2014 Musical Armenia concert click here.

The Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) is sponsoring a symposium, “Armenian Women as Artists and Mothers,” in celebration of the Year of the Mother of the Armenian Family. It will take place this Saturday, October 5, 2013, from 2-6 pm, at Pashalian Hall, St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. The lecturers will be Jennifer Manoukian (Columbia University), Dr. Vartan Matiossian (ANEC), and Dr. Melissa Bilal (Columbia University). For more information about the event, click here.

An eight-week Bible study program on St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, will begin on Thursday, October 24, and continue on subsequent Thursdays up to December 19, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. The Bible studies will be presented by Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Executive Director of the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), and is sponsored by AREC and the Cathedral. Registration, which is required, can be done on line ( or by contacting the Prelacy at 212-689-7810,, or the Cathedral at 212-689-5880, Or click here.

On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of St. Stephen’s Ladies Guild and in observance of “The Year of the Mother of the Armenian Family” as proclaimed by H.H. Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, St. Stephen’s Board of Trustees hosted a Ladies’ Guild  appreciation banquet on Saturday evening September 28, 2013.
Dr. Raffi Manjikian, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, served as the Master of Ceremonies. The church’s pastor, Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, greeted the faithful and hard-working members of the Ladies Guild, recognizing them as the mothers of their own families as well as – collectively – the mother of our church family.
Der Hayr related the story of Tabitha (also called Dorcas) as related in Acts 9:36-42, and described her as the very first Ladies’ Guild member who used her God-given talents to benefit the church’s mission. Astor Guzelian, whose mother was the first chairlady of the Guild when it was established in 1953 (three years before the church was built), highlighted various milestones in the history of the Guild. Board of Trustees member Tamar Kanarian developed a moving tribute to the guild members in the form of a slide presentation showing images of their various activities throughout the past decades. Special mention was made of two of the original members of the very first Ladies’ Guild Executive, Mrs. Anahid Changelian and Mrs. Margaret Merlesena.
The food for the evening was prepared and served by members of the Board of Trustees and their families. Co-chairs for the event were Michael Guzelian and Heather Krafian. At the end of the program, current Guild Chairlady Isabel Avedikian thanked the Board of Trustees members for their thoughtfulness in hosting such a wonderful event.
Members of St. Stephen’s Ladies Guild with Trustee members’ daughters who helped serve the dinner and who represent the next generation of Ladies’ Guild members.
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral attended a book presentation held at the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in New York City, of a new book, A Place Far Away, by Vahan Zanoyan. The event was sponsored by the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center in collaboration with the Diocesan Armenian Studies program, and the Fund for Armenian Relief. A Place Far Away is a novel based on the true facts of human trafficking in Armenia and the other independent states of the former USSR.
Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Vicar of the Eastern Diocese, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, and the author Vahan Zanoyan during the traditional book blessing (Kinedzon).
Noted journalist Tom Vartabedian has written a feature article describing the mission work of Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian that has taken him and his family to Armenia numerous times. Tom writes:
“The affable pastor of Soorp Asdvadzadzin Church [Whitinsville] has made the country his second home and embraces the population he serves so religiously and profoundly in the name of salvation. He visits there 3-4 times a year, often with his wife Yn. Margaret and family by his side. If it isn’t operating a summer camp for orphans in July, it’s taking feeble tin shacks and turning them into respectable dwellings for the indigent. Over the past 15 years, 175 homes have either been constructed or refurbished.”
Der Aram helps raise funds for his projects in Armenia, including a weekly lunch served to seniors. To read the full story entitled “One priest’s inexhaustible mission in Armenia,” click here.
Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian with the fifty children he directed this year at the summer camp in
Armenia. The children are selected from children enrolled in the Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship Program.
Sixteen members of the Zartarian family of Boxboro, Massachusetts with Der Aram and Yeretzgin Margaret and other volunteers who helped build a home in Armenia in memory of a loved one.
A tribute for the late writer and educator Bedros Hadjian on the occasion of the first anniversary of his passing in Buenos Aires, took place last Sunday under the sponsorship of the New York Chapter of  the Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural and Educational Society. The event took place in Pashalian Hall at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City.
Following a memorial service and luncheon, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian opened the event with a prayer. Rouben Barsoumian, a fellow teacher in Aleppo’s Armenian schools and a lifelong friend, served as the Master of Ceremonies and invited Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) to speak about Hadjian’s literary legacy.
The program included a reading by Liza Yessaian and a video of a 2011 interview with Hadjian. Closing remarks were offered by Hagop Balian, editor of Pakin Literary Review, who was visiting from Paris. He discussed the contributions of Hadjian and his fellow intellectuals and writers, the first post-Genocide generation who revived Armenian letters and culture.
Members of the New York Hamazkayin with Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Hagop Balian, Professor Seta Dadoyan, and Vehanoush Tekian.
Bible readings for Sunday, October 6, Fourth Sunday of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross are, Isaiah 17:7-14; 2 Corinthians 13:5-13; Mark 11:27-33.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed. But we pray to God that you may not do anything wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. This is what we pray for, that you may become perfect. So I write these things while I am away from you, so that when I come, I may not have to be severe in using the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. (2 Corinthians 13:5-13
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
Today, Thursday, October 3, the Armenian Church commemorates the lives of the brothers Sts. Sahag and Hamazasp Ardzroonik, who together with other Armenian nobles revolted against Arab rule of Armenia. When captured they were given the choice of renouncing the Christian religion or death. They refused and were tortured and put to death.

This Saturday, October 5, the Armenian Church commemorates the 72 Holy Disciples of Christ. The reference comes from the Gospel of Luke (Chapter 10, Verse 1): “After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.” (Note: Some sources say 72 disciples; others say 70). These disciples remained true to the Lord and their calling, and spread the Gospel. They were not random choices, but rather true disciples whose labors carried the message of the Lord throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. All of the saints are remembered individually in the liturgical calendar of the church, but this day is set aside to remember them collectively.
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee ANEC 
Portrait of Catholicos Vazken I, painted by Martiros Saryan
Birth of Vazken I, Catholicos of All Armenians (October 3, 1908)
The 130th Catholicos of All Armenians, Vazken I, had one of the longest tenures in the history of the Armenian Church, almost forty years. During his reign, he presided over the rebirth of the Armenian Church in the former Soviet Union, after its near destruction in the Stalin period.
He was born in Bucharest (Romania) on October 3, 1908. His father was a shoemaker and his mother a schoolteacher. His family moved to Odessa during World War I, where young Levon Baljian received his elementary education. After returning to Romania, he studied in the Misakian-Kesimian Armenian school of Bucharest and, from 1924-1926, in the higher school of trade in Bucharest. He taught in the Armenian schools of Bucharest from 1929-1943. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Bucharest in 1936 and from the section of applied pedagogy in 1937. He also published a monthly in Armenian, Herg, in 1937-1938.
His shift from philosophy to theology led him to study theology and divinity of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Athens. The Diocesan Council of the Armenian diocese of Romania decided to send him to Athens, where he was ordained a celibate priest (vartabed) in September 1943. Elected locum tenens of the diocese in November, he later became primate (1947-1955). He was ordained bishop in 1951 and became simultaneously primate of the Armenian diocese of Bulgaria in 1954.
After the death of Catholicos Kevork VI in 1954, he was elected Catholicos of All Armenians in 1955. He managed to assert some degree of independence for the Armenian Church, especially after the 1960s, and developed a wide activity of construction. Many churches were rebuilt during his tenure, such as the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin, the surrounding churches of St. Hripsime, St. Gayane, St. Shoghagat, the monasteries of Khor Virap and Geghard, etcetera. He also built several important buildings in the monastery of Holy Etchmiadzin: the monument to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, the fountain-memorial dedicated to Khrimian Hayrig, the Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum, and others.
He published several works, such as “The Armenian of Musa Dagh in the Work of Franz Werfel” and “Khrimian Hayrig as an Educator.” Thanks to his efforts, various important Armenian manuscripts were saved and offered to the Matenadaran, the library of Armenian manuscripts of Yerevan. Among them were the Vehamayr Gospel (on behalf of his mother), which was used after the independence of Armenia by the presidents of the country to give their oath.
During 1988, Vazken I voiced his concerns and his support for the cause of the Armenians of Karabagh. He restored the diocese of Artsakh (Karabagh) of the Armenian Church in 1989 and started the renovation and reopening of various churches and monasteries of the region.
He was elected an honorary member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia in 1991 and was the first to receive the title of National Hero in Armenia (1994). The Catholicos passed away on August 18, 1994.
The seminary of Sevan bears his name, the same as a school in Vanadzor. Two statues remember him in the Vazkenian seminary of Sevan (2008) and in Holy Etchmiadzin (2010).
Note: Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (
A History of the Land of Artsakh
By Archbishop Sergius Hasan-Jalaliants
Translated by Ka’ren V. Ketendjian
Edited with an Introduction by Robert H. Hewsen
The text of this volume was discovered by Professor Robert Hewson in a manuscript in the library of the University of Tubingen, Germany in 1984. Its first translation from Classical Armenian is this English version. The volume by Archbishop Sergius (Sargis) Hasan-Jalaliants, is an important primary source for the history of the period and region. It confirms the long history of the Armenian presence in Artsakh. Professor Hewson’s informative introduction sets the stage for the narrative that follows.
256 pages with photographs, maps, appendices, notes, glossary and bibliography
$40.00 plus shipping & handling

The Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief is a joint effort of: Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern Prelacy); Armenian Catholic Eparchy; Armenian Evangelical Union of North America; Armenian Relief Society (Eastern USA, Inc.); Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

Thank you for your help.
September 5 to October 3—“A Brief Introduction to Modern Armenian Literature,” a series of five seminars presented on Thursdays, 7 pm to 8:30 pm, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. Sponsored by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) and the Cathedral. Presented by Vartan Matiossian, Ph.D.
October 5—Symposium “Armenian Women as Artists and Mothers,” 2-6 pm, sponsored by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) at St. Illuminator Cathedral Pashalian Hall, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, in celebration of the Year of the Mother of the Armenian Family. Lecturers: Jennifer Manoukian (Columbia University), “Zabel Yessayan: Mother and Activist,”; Vartan Matiossian (ANEC), “Armen Ohanian: An Armenian Woman of the World,” and Melissa Bilal (Columbia University), “Lullabies and Tears: On Armenian Grandmothers and Granddaughters in Istanbul.”
October 5—St. Paul Monthly Movie Night featuring a documentary about Our Motherland—Armenia—with introduction by Rev. Fr. Daron Stepanian, 7 pm, at St. Paul Churchy, 645 S. Lewis Avenue, Waukegan, Illinois. Light refreshments. This is a free event. For information: Arda Haroian-Bowles, 847-445-7934.
October 6—Special program following the Divine Liturgy presented by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian commemorating the passing of Catholicos Zareh I (50th) and Catholicos Khoren I (30th) will take place at Soorp Khatch Church, 4906 Flint Drive, Bethesda, Maryland.
October 13—Special program following the Divine Liturgy presented by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian commemorating the passing of Catholicos Zareh I (50th) and Catholicos Khoren I (30th) will take place at St. Sarkis Church, 38-65 234th Street, Douglaston, New York, under auspices of Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan.
October 19—Armenian Friends of America presents “Hye Kef 5” featuring musicians Leon Janikian, Joe Kouyoumjian, Greg Takvorian, Ken Kalajian, Ron Raphaelian, and Jay Baronian, 7:30-12:30, Michael’s Function Hall, 12 Alpha Street, Haverhill, Massachusetts. Proceeds to benefit all Armenian churches in Merrimack Valley and New Hampshire. Tickets: $40 adults; $30 students; includes individually-served mezza platters. For information/reservations: John Arzigian 603-560-3826; Sandy Boroyan 978-251-8687; Scott Sahagian 617-699-3581; Peter Gulezian 978-375-1616.
October 19—Annual Bazaar of St. Gregory Church, 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, 10 am to 7 pm in church hall. Favorite Armenian dinners including shish, losh, and chicken kebabs with rice pilaf. Traditional Armenian and American baked goods including paklava and spinach-cheese pie. Take-out available by calling 413-543-4763. Raffle drawing with valuable prizes. Admission and parking are free. For information: 413-543-4763.
October 20—St. Hagop Church, Racine, Wisconsin, 75th Anniversary Celebration to begin with Badarak at 10 am at the church, followed by a gala “tasting banquet” and program at the Racine Marriott. For information: Mary M. Olson, 262-681-1535.
October 24 to December 19—St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, an 8-week Bible study program beginning Thursday, October 24, and continuing on Thursdays up to December 19 (no session on Thanksgiving, November 28). Sessions will be presented by Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Executive Director of the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). Sessions will take place at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, 7:15-8:00 pm, Presentation; 8:00-8:45 pm, Q/A & Discussion. Registration is required. Register at or contact the Prelacy 212-689-7810, or the Cathedral at 212-689-5880.
October 27—90th anniversary celebration of St. Gregory Church, Philadelphia, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, Prelate. Immediately after the Divine Liturgy at the church’s Founders Hall, 8701 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19128.
November 1 & 2—St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, 57th Armenian Bazaar, 10 am to 9:30 pm, at Armenian Cultural & Educational Center, 47 Nichols Avenue, Watertown. Delicious meals (take-out available), Armenian pastries, Arts and Crafts, Books, Raffles, Attic Treasures, Auctions, and more. For information: 617-924-7562.
November 2—Mid-West Regional Conference for Clergy, Boards of Trustees, and NRA Delegates, hosted by All Saints Church, Glenview, Illinois, beginning at 10 am and ending at 4 pm. Members of Prelacy’s Religious and Executive members will be present.
November 2 & 3—Armenian Fest 2013, Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, presents its Armenian Food Festival at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, Broad Street, Cranston. Featuring chicken, losh, and shish kebabs, and kufta dinners, Armenian delicacies, dancing to live music, arts and crafts, flea market, gift baskets, children’s corner, country store, jewelry, silent auction, hourly raffles, and grand prize, $2,000. Children’s dance group will perform on Saturday and Sunday at 5 pm. Armenian food and pastry are available all day. Saturday, noon to 9 pm; Sunday, noon to 8 pm. Free admission and parking. For information: 401-831-6399.
November 10—Ladies Guild of St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, presents The Way We Were Ensemble of New York/New Jersey in their performance of “The Gamavors,” at 2 pm in the church hall. Coffee and reception with cast will follow performance. Tickets: $20 adults; $10 children under 12. For tickets: Mary Derderian, or 781-762-4253.
November 15-16-17—Annual Bazaar, Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey.
November 16—Public Relations seminar for New England parishes, directed by Tom Vartabedian, at St. Stephen Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, beginning at 10 am. Speakers include: Stephen Kurkjian, three-time Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from the Boston Globe, and Khatchig Mouradian, editor of The Armenian Weekly.
November 16 & 17—Annual ART IN FALL Exhibition featuring national and international Armenian artists, Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. Fine art including oils, mixed media, photography, and sculpture in classic, modern, and contemporary styles by 27 artists. Opening Reception, Saturday, 7 to 10 pm. Cocktails and Hors D’oeuvres, $30 donation.  Sunday, 1 to 4 pm, Refreshments, $15 donation.
November 17—Banquet and Program celebrating the “Year of the Armenian Mother,” organized by the Eastern Prelacy, at Terrace in the Park, Flushing Meadows Park, New York. Watch for details.
November 24—Special program following the Divine Liturgy presented by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian commemorating the passing of Catholicos Zareh I (50th) and Catholicos Khoren I (30th) will take place at St. Stephen’s Church, 38 Elton Avenue, Watertown, Massachusetts.
December 7—Annual Church Bazaar of St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, will take place at Christian Reform Church, 25 Cross Street, Whitinsville. For information: 508-234-3677.
December 7—Annual Holiday Bake Sale, St. Paul Church, 645 S. Lewis Avenue, Waukegan, Illinois, 9 am to 3 pm. Enjoy authentic Armenian & American pastries and plan to stay for lunch at St. Paul Café. For information or pre-orders, 847-244-4573.
February 24-26, 2014—Annual Clergy Ghevontiantz Gathering hosted by Holy Cross Church, 255 Spring Avenue, Troy, New York.
March 28, 2014—Musical Armenia Concert presented by Eastern Prelacy and Prelacy Ladies Guild, at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, 8 pm.
Web pages of the parishes can be accessed through the Prelacy’s web site.
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