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Armenian Prelacy Eastern Region USA

May 16, 2013

Soorp Khatch Church, Bethesda, Maryland, where the 2013 National Representative Assembly is taking place.
       The Eastern Prelacy’s National Representative Assembly (NRA) convened this afternoon and will conclude at noon on Saturday. The Assembly is hosted by Soorp Khatch Church, Bethesda, Maryland. The clergy conference began yesterday. 
       Concurrent with the Assembly the National Association of Ladies Guilds (NALG) is once again convening their annual conference. 
       The Assembly opened officially at 1:30 pm with a prayer by His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan. The first session included the appointment of temporary co-chairs and secretaries, credentials report, election of a nominating committee, and welcoming remarks by Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian, pastor of the host parish, and Dr. Zareh Soghomonian, chairman of the Board of Trustees.  
       Prelacy parishes will offer prayers and bless the Armenian tricolor flag on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the first Armenian Republic, and the 22nd anniversary of the current Republic of Armenia, on Sunday, May 26. Requiem services will be offered for the souls of the fallen heroes of Sardarabad, Bashabaran, Gharakilise, and the martyrs in the freedom of Artsakh.

       “With holy heart and firm faith let us stand up together in prayer and glorify the Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us thank him for he gave a visit with his mercy to the Armenian nation and the holy Armenian Church, saving them from all the tribulations of our homeland by the re-establishment therein of the throne of our sovereignty. 
       Therefore, let us supplicate wholeheartedly that he may preserve the Republic of our nation, and shine forth his Holy Church; that he may increase the wisdom and ability of the leaders of our nation and all laborers for the edification of our homeland; that he may assist all our generals, armies and the soldiers who willingly offered their persons as sacrifice to the altar of the salvation of our nation, in the wars against the enemies; that he may strengthen us in our pursuit of love and good works; that the Almighty God may revive us and have mercy upon us.”
(From the “Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Republic of Armenia,” prepared in 1920 by Archbishop Torkom Koushagian.

       It was with a deep sense of loss that His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, Prelate, and the Religious and Executive Councils received the news of the passing of Bedros Givelekian, a beloved son of the Armenian Church and nation, a Knight of Cilicia, an Eagle of the Prelacy, a Pillar of the Prelacy, a former member and treasurer of the Executive Council, and a former and long-time chairman of the Board of Trustees of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York. Mr. Givelekian died at home on Monday, May 13. 
       The vigil took place on Tuesday evening at St. Sarkis Church attended by hundreds of mourners. Funeral services took place Wednesday morning at St. Sarkis Church, with the Vicar General, His Grace Anoushavan Tanielian, officiating. Interment followed at Cedar Grove Cemetery, Flushing, New York. The Memorial Luncheon (Hokejosh) took place at St. Sarkis Church. 
       Mr. Givelekian is survived by his wife, Sonia (nee Donikian), his children Mr. & Mrs. Arthur and Annette Givelekian, and Mr. & Mrs. Berdj and Lucy Kazanjian, and four grandchildren, Ariana, Thomas, Aris, and Lara. 
       May he rest in eternal peace in heavenly bliss.
       Bedros Givelekian was born in 1933, in Negu Voda, Romania, to Krikor and Dicranuhi Givelekian. He came to the United States in 1965 where he continued his studies in accounting that he had started in Bucharest. 
       He was actively involved in a number of important events in the Armenian American community, including Pontifical Visits by His Holiness Vasken I (Mother See of Etchmiadzin) in 1969; His Holiness Karekin II (Holy See of Cilicia) in 1990; and His Holiness Aram I (Holy See of Cilicia) in 1997. 
       Since 1980 he served St. Sarkis Church in a number of leadership roles including chairman of the Board of Trustees and treasurer of the Building Committee for the new Saint Sarkis Church. He was chairman of St. Sarkis during its most challenging years between the time the Bayside church was destroyed by fire and the new church in Douglaston was built and consecrated. In recognition of his outstanding service, Mr. Givelekian was awarded the Knight of Cilicia insignia by the Holy See of Cilicia, and the Eagle of the Prelacy by the Eastern Prelacy. He was an active participant in the Knights of Vartan, and the Romanian Armenian community.
Archbishop Oshagan decorates Bedros Givelekian with the “Eagle of the Prelacy,” the highest honor awarded by the Eastern Prelacy, during a testimonial dinner in his honor on November 1, 2003, alongside his wife Sonia.
       St. Gregory of Datev Institute will hold its 27th annual Summer Program for youth ages 13-18 at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from June 30 – July 7, 2013. The Program is sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). For registration and information, please contact the AREC office at 212-689-7810 or at or click here.
       Bible readings for Sunday, May 19, Pentecost (Eve of the Fast of Elijah), are: Acts 2:1-21; John 14:25-31. 
       When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 
       Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deed of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” 
       But, Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” (Acts 2:1-21)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
FEAST OF PENTECOST: The Descent of the Holy Spirit
       This Sunday, May 19, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost (Hokekaloust), the descent of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and the birth of the church. Jesus had commanded his apostles to “Go therefore to all nations and make them my disciples,” (Matthew 28:19). Recognizing the difficulty of this great responsibility, Christ had advised his disciples not to begin their teaching mission until after the “descent of the Holy Spirit.” 
       In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that on the day of Pentecost the apostles gathered in one place, and suddenly a strong wind seemed to fill the house in which they were assembled, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit (see reading above). It was the Jewish feast of Pentecost (Shabuoth) commemorating the giving of the law on Mount Sinai and many people from different lands had come to Jerusalem. They marveled that they could understand the Apostles’ words. This day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles marked the beginning of the mission of the Church to spread the Good News throughout the world. 
       In a sense Pentecost is the opposite of what occurred in the Old Testament story of the Tower of Babel when God disapproved of the building of a tower to reach the heavens and he created confusion by having the workers suddenly speak in different tongues, and unable to understand each other. At Pentecost he gave the disciples the ability to speak other tongues and thus be able to be understood by everyone everywhere.

       Life-creating God, Spirit and lover of mankind, with tongues of fire you enlightened those united with one accord in love; therefore we also celebrate today your holy descent. 
       Filled with joy by your coming the holy apostles began in different-sounding tongues to call into unity them that had been divided from each other; therefore we also celebrate today your holy descent. 
       By spiritual and holy baptism through them you have adorned the universe in a new and radiant garment; therefore we also celebrate your holy descent.
(From the Canon for the First Day of Pentecost according to the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)

       The Executive Committee of the Assembly of Christian Communities in the Middle East met with His Holiness Aram I on May 10 in Antelias. Headed by Maronite Bishop Samir Mazloum, the Assembly was created six years ago to coordinate the activities and the human and material resources of Christian communities in the region in order to contribute effectively to their societies. The Holy See of Cilicia is represented by Mr. Jean Salmanian and the Very Rev. Masis Choboyan. 
       During the meeting with His Holiness they discussed the situation in the region and assessed the impact of the “Arab Spring” on Christian communities, particularly in Syria. Bishop Samir invited His Holiness to attend the conference that will take place in October to which representatives of the diasporas of local Christian communities will be invited.

       His Holiness thanked the members of the committee for their visit, and he encouraged them to work towards strengthening the Christian presence in the region by advising people not to emigrate. The Catholicos urged them to promote Christian-Muslim dialogue, despite difficulties, and he also discussed the continuing efforts to obtain the release of two kidnapped Metropolitans of Aleppo. 
       The Saints Committee for the Armenian Genocide Victims, jointly appointed by His Holiness Karekin II, Holy See of Etchmiadzin, and His Holiness Aram I, Holy See of Cilicia, met for the fifth time on May 7 and 8 in Holy Etchmiadzin. The co-chairs, Archbishop Yesnik Bedrossian (Holy See of Etchmiadzin) and Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian (Holy See of Cilicia), presided over the meeting. In accordance with recommendations by the two Catholicoi, the members of the committee discussed the basis on which the victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 will be canonized. 
       Dr. Michel Jalkh met with His Holiness Aram I, in Antelias, on May 3. Dr. Jalkh was recently elected as the General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC). The General Secretary wanted to discuss the situation in the region and the issues challenging the MECC with His Holiness who is one of the Presidents of the MECC and a church leader with wide ecumenical experience. His Holiness stressed church unity and cooperation by the member churches as important concerns, as well as the urgent need of Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Birth of Hamo Bek-Nazarian (May 19, 1892)
       Hamo (Hambardzum) Bek-Nazarian was one of the pioneers of Armenian cinema. Born in Yerevan in 1892, he moved with his family to Tashkent (currently the capital of Uzbekistan). He first became a cyclist, and then a wrestler. He participated in competitions outside the Russian Empire and even wrestled in the circus with the pseudonym of Maroni.
        In 1914 he started his career in Russian cinema. His first role was a minor one in a film, significantly titled Enver-pasha – predatel’ Turtsii  (“Enver Pasha, Traitor of Turkey”), released in 1915. He appeared with the artistic name of Hamo Bek in more than 70 Russian silent movies, where he met his future wife, the actress Sofya Volkhovskaya (1888-1956).
       He graduated from the Commerce Institute of Moscow in 1918. In 1921 he headed the movies section of the film studios of Georgia and then became a film director of the State Film of Georgia. In 1923 he moved to Armenia following an invitation by the government and founded the Armenfilm (Haifilm)studios. This was a real challenge, as there were no grounds for cinema in Armenia and Bek-Nazarian had to start everything from scratch. Two years later, he directed the first Armenian feature film, Namus (The Honor), based on the homonymous play by Shirvanzade (1858-1935). He also directed other important films, such as Zare (the first movie on Kurdish life) and the first Armenian comedy, Shor and Shor Shor, in 1926. He wrote the scenario of Shor and Shor Shor in one night and filmed it in eleven days. He also filmed three Georgian movies in 1924-1925, and would later film two Azerbaijani movies (1927 and 1941).
        By 1935 Bek-Nazarian had written (alone or in collaboration) and directed sixteen films, both features and documentaries. He achieved another feat in that year: he directed the first Armenian sound film (“talkie”), Pepo, also based on a
classical play by Gabriel Sundukian (1825-1912). This was four years after the release of the first Soviet sound film, at a time when less than one out of a hundred film projectors in the Soviet Union were equipped for sound. Pepo became his masterpiece, as well as one of the masterworks of the Armenian movie industry. He earned the title of Popular Artist of Soviet Armenia in the same year.
        He produced two other important films among his works: Zangezur (1938), which received the Stalin Prize of second degree in 1941, and David Bek (1943). The latter was based on the Armenian rebellion against Persian domination in the eighteenth century. However, he suffered a very big disappointment with his film Yerrort karavan (Third Caravan), dedicated to the subject of the repatriation to Armenia in 1946-1948, which was probably set to become his masterpiece. The filming of the movie, which was halfway, was forbidden and the production was shut down in 1951, probably as part of the change of heart of the Soviet regime with regards to repatriation and repatriates. Bek-Nazarian, deeply upset and disillusioned, abandoned both Armenfilm and Armenia, and went to work in the Central Asian republics, such as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. He passed away on April 27, 1965, and was buried at the Armenian cemetery of Moscow beside his wife. His work was posthumously acknowledged and the movie studios of Armenfilm were named after him.
       If you have not listened to the interview of Peter Balakian by Vipp Jaswal of Fox News Radio, we urge you to do so now. In the interview, Professor Balakian discusses the Armenian Genocide, the United States response, the relevance of the word “Genocide,” and the current situation in Turkey vis-à-vis the human rights movement that is taking place.
        As we encouraged last week, forward it to your friends and family members, and ask them to do the same.
       The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale, retold by Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Maria Zaikina, has won the 2013 Nautilus Silver Award in the Children’s Picture Book category. The book was published by Marshall Cavendish (now Amazon Children’s Books).
       The Greedy Sparrow is an English-language retelling of a traditional Armenian folk tale about a bird that travels the countryside, encounters natives practicing traditional folkways, and gets a comeuppance for his trickery. Author Kasbarian and illustrator Zaikina convey ethnic authenticity in the adaption of this tale from the Armenian oral tradition. 
       The Nautilus Awards recognize books that promote positive social change, spiritual development and conscious living as they stimulate the imagination and inspire the reader to new possibilities for a better world. Formal announcements of the Nautilus Award winners will be made at BookExpo America that will take place in New York City from May 30 to June 1. The Greedy Sparrow was also named a 2012 Honor Book in the Storytelling World Awards.
       Copies of The Greedy Sparrow can be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore. For information contact the bookstore by email ( or telephone (212-689-7810).
       The opening of the “Ladies from Your Past” exhibit organized by the Anthropology Museum of the People of New York and the Armenian Cultural Educational Resource Center Gallery at Queens College will open tomorrow evening, May 17, at 7 pm. The exhibit is at the Rosenthal Library Rotunda at Queens College, 65-20 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, New York. The exhibit will be on display through September 30. 
       The exhibit brings to light contributions of women to world history and events that includes famous, and some infamous, women in science, politics, and the arts. More than 200 women from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas are represented with displays of photographs, biographies, and figurines. 
       A reception will follow the ribbon cutting. For information and reservations contact the Museum at 718-428-5650. 
Visible Pages of History
Text and Illustrations by Boris Baratov
       This richly illustrated volume offers a panoramic view of the ancient civilization of Armenia and into the 20th century. Beautiful color photography accompanies the informative text based on the work of scholars and historians utilizing the latest research. The oversize format accommodates the photographs perfectly. The Armeniad was printed in Italy, which is noted for its exceptional production of art books. This is a lovely addition to your own library or a very distinctive gift for a special person.
336 pages
$170, plus shipping & handling
To order this book, or for information about other books, contact the Prelacy Bookstore by email ( or by telephone (212-689-7810).

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.

May 2 to June 30—“History of Armenia: Past, Present, Future,” a series of eight 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 Cathedral and the UN Armenian Mission. Facilitator: Artur Martirosyan, Ph.D. 
May 16—Movie Screening, “Orphans of the Genocide” by Bared Maronian, 7 pm, at the AGBU offices, 55 E. 59th Street, 7th floor, (between Park and Madison Avenues), hosted by AGB&U-YPGNY and ANC-NY. Free admission. RSVP to 
May 17—Opening reception of “Ladies from Your Past” exhibit at the Rosenthal Library Rotunda at Queens College, 6-20 Kissena Boulevard. Flushing, New York sponsored by the Anthropology Museum of the People of New York and the Armenian Cultural Educational Resource Center Gallery. Exhibit will continue through September 30. For information/reservations contact the Museum at 718-428-5650. 
May 16, 17, 18—National Representative Assembly hosted by Soorp Khatch Church, Bethesda, Maryland. 
May 16 and 17—National Association of Ladies Guilds (NALG) Conference in  conjunction with the National Representative Assembly, hosted by Soorp Khatch Church, Bethesda, Maryland. This year’s raffle drawing will benefit the Mother and Child Clinic in the Akhorian region of Armenia and the Syrian-Armenian Relief Fund. To purchase ($10 each; three for $25) contact NALG Executive (Sharke Der Apkarian at or 978-685-7243. 
June 2— Strawberry Festival & Sunday Brunch hosted by the Ladies Guild of St. Sarkis Church at St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, 38-65 234Th St. Douglaston, NY. A delicious array of American and Armenian dishes. Donation: $15.00. For More Information contact the church office at 718-224-2275 or visit www. and 
June 7—Concert dedicated to the 300th Jubilee of Sayat Nova featuring Elie Berberian (Canada) and his band performing songs by Sayat Nova and other favorite minstrels, 8 pm, at the Armenian Center, 69-23 47th Avenue, Woodside, New York 11377. Donation: $25, includes post-concert reception. For tickets: or 212-689-5880. 
June 9— St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church and Douglaston School Of Music And Art present Aram Khachaturian: 110th Anniversary Concert by faculty members and students of Douglaston School of Music & Art on Sunday, June 9th 2013 1:30 pm at the Chaderjian Hall of St. Sarkis Church, 38-65 234th St. Douglaston, NY. Donation: $10. 
June 9—Father’s Day Dinner and Comedy, sponsored by Armenian Compatriotic Union of Ourfa, featuring renowned comedian Vahe Berberian with a new repertoire, with the participation of violinist Souren Kahvedjian, Ya Hala Restaurant, 45 Main Street, Wallington, New Jersey. Adults $60; children under ten $30. Proceeds to Syrian Armenian Relief Fund. For information: (732) 970-5207. 
June 13—St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Massachusetts, 4th annual Cigar Night & Dinner in Blessed Memory of Rev. Fr. Vartan Kassabian. Surf & Turf dinner, open bar, cigars, live & silent auction, raffles. Tickets must be purchased in advance by sending a check for $150 payable to St. Gregory’s Mens Club, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts 01845, or contact Greg Minasian at, or 978-470-3075. 
June 24—Holy Trinity Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, 10th Annual Golf Outing at Sterling National Country Club, Sterling, Massachusetts. Join us for a great day of golf including golf, cart, breakfast, prizes, gifts, and dinner for $140 per golfer. Tee off at 9 am. Shotgun start and scramble format. For information contact Rich Tashjian at or 978-422-7600. 
June 30-July 7—27th Annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute, at St. Mary of Providence Center, Elverson, Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Cou8ncil (AREC). For information contact the AREC office3 by email ( or phone (212-689-7810). 
July 4-11—4th Annual Summer Camp for Orphans will take place in Dzaghgztazor, Armenia, sponsored by the Eastern Prelacy. Orphans ages 13 to 16 who are enrolled in the Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program are eligible to attend to learn about the Armenian Church and history. The week long program includes Bible study and prayers and meditation combined with summer fun activities and fellowship with other campers. For more information contact Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian by email ( or by phone (508-865-2454). 
July 8-19—St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church 8th Annual Summer Camp Program. For More Information contact the church office at 718-224-2275 or visit www. and
July 14—“A Hye Summer Night VII” Dinner Dance sponsored by Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church and Armenian Relief Society “Ani” Chapter of Providence, Rhode Island, at the Providence Marriott Hotel, One Orms Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02904, 6 pm to 1 am. Featuring: Joe Kouyoumjian (oud), Brian Ansbigian (oud), David Ansbigian (oud), Leon Janikian (clarinet), Ken Kalajian (guitar), Jason Naroian (dumbeg), Armen Janigian (Daf). For tickets ($50 per person) and information: Joyce Bagdasarian (401-434-4467); Joyce Yeremian (401-354-8770). 
August 18—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Blessing of the Grapes and Homecoming Picnic, at Lakeshore Park, 601 South Lake Drive, Novi, Michigan. Food, music, dancing, magic show, volleyball, soccer, tavlou tournament, mountain biking, swimming. 

Web pages of the parishes can be accessed through the Prelacy’s web site.
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