August 22, 2013
Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar of the Prelacy, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon this Sunday, August 25, at St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley in North Andover, Massachusetts, as parishioners welcome their new pastor, Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, Yn. Alice, and their sons Nishan and Hovhaness. His Grace will officially introduce Der Stephan to the parish, and preside over a luncheon following the Liturgy to welcome Der Stephan and family to North Andover.


Archbishop Oshagan presided over the Divine Liturgy and the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, New York City last Sunday. The Antastan and Blessing of the Grapes ceremonies took place immediately after the Divine Liturgy, and the blessed grapes were distributed.
During the luncheon that followed the services, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor, announced that Dn. James Haddad is moving upstate New York to pursue a graduate degree. He extended best wishes for success and thanked Dn. James for his service to St. Illuminator’s and presented him with a small token of appreciation. The Cathedral’s Sunday school directors also thanked Dn. James for his dedicated support and presented him with a gift.
Archbishop Oshagan conducts the traditional Blessing of Grapes ceremony at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral.
The celebration of the Assumption and the Blessing of the Grapes took place at All Saints Church, Glenview, Illinois. The Antastan and Blessing of Grapes ceremonies took place outside on the church grounds.
Participating in the Blessing of the Grapes service are, from left, Deacon Thomas Ohanian, Rev. Fr. Nareg Keutelian, visiting pastor of St. John  the Baptist Church, Bishop Shahe Panossian, Catholicosal Vicar to Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf Countries, and Archpriest Fr. Zareh Sahakian, pastor of All Saints Church, Glenview.
The deacons and altar servers during the Blessing of Grapes.
Bishop Anoushavan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon last Sunday at St. Asdvadtzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts. His Grace delivered an inspiring message on the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God. Following the Liturgy, he presided over the Antastan and Blessing of Grapes service at the parish’s annual picnic on the church grounds. Joining Bishop Anoushavan and Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, pastor of the church and chairman of the Prelacy’s Religious Council, were area clergy Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, pastor of St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, and Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence.
The clergy and deacons during the Antastan (Blessing of the four corners of the world) and grape blessing ceremonies. The clergy, from left, Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, Archpriest Aram Stepanian, Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian.
The picnic brought together many parishioners and friends in the beautiful outdoors as well as an area covered by a tent.
The “Siroon” and “Siroonig” dance groups (senior and junior), directed by Kristi Markarian, were a big hit and an inspiration for everyone to dance in the great outdoors.
Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian celebrated the Assumption and Blessing of Grapes as his last service as pastor of St. Gregory Church, Granite City, Illinois.
Der Hayr will officially begin his service as pastor of St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Massachusetts, this Sunday.
Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian with deacons and choir members at St. Gregory Church, Granite City, Illinois, on the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption and the Blessing of the Grapes.
V. Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon on the occasion of the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, at Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey last Sunday. Following the Divine Liturgy the Antastan service and Blessing of the Grapes took place in the presence of parishioners and friends who filled the church to capacity. Later in the afternoon the Blessing of the Grapes was performed again during the parish’s annual picnic at Saddle River County Park where a huge crowd gathered for the popular event. Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz,  introduced Hayr Sahag to attendees who wished him success and good health in his service as an outreach priest. Young and old enjoyed the outdoor setting and the delicious Armenian food and music.
V. Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishyan and Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian with the deacons during the Blessing of the Grapes at Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield.
Hayr Sahag and Der Hovnan Blessing the Grapes and food at Sts. Vartanantz’s annual picnic.
The Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) is sponsoring a seminar for teachers on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at the Prelacy headquarters in Manhattan. All schools and teachers are invited to participate. Several lectures and an open discussion are scheduled. For more information click here.

St. Illuminator Cathedral and the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) is sponsoring a series of seminars, “A Brief Introduction to Modern Armenian Literature,” to be presented by Dr. Vartan Matiossian, ANEC Executive Director, beginning Thursday, September 5 and continuing every Thursday through to October 3, at the Cathedral’s  Pashalian Hall.  The seminars will comprise an introduction, and independent overviews of Western Armenian, Eastern Armenian, Diasporan, and Soviet and post-Soviet Armenian literature. For more information click here.

Bible readings for Sunday, August 25, First Sunday after the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, are, Proverbs 11:30-12:4; Zechariah 2:10-13; 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1; Luke 1:39-56.
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. (Luke 1:39-56)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.

On Tuesday, August 27, the Armenian Church commemorates Saints Joachim and Anna, parents of Mary, the mother of Christ. Joachim, son of Barpathir, was a descendant of David, to whom God had revealed that the Savior of the world would be born through his descendants. Anna was a descendant of the tribe of Levi through her father, and the tribe of Judah through her mother. Joachim and Anna were childless through years of marriage and were reproached for their barrenness. Joachim fasted for forty days in the desert and both of them prayed for a child, ultimately placing their trust in God’s will, whatever it may be. An angel appeared to each of them telling them they would be the parents of a daughter, in spite of their advanced age. That child was Mary, the blessed mother of Christ.
On the same day the Church remembers the oil-bearing women (Myrophores). These are the eight women who are identified as the oil- or myrrh-bearers in the four Gospels who had different roles during Christ’s ministry, at the Cross, and the tomb on Easter morning. The eight women are: Mary Magdalene, Mary (Theotokos), Joanna, Salome, Mary (wife of Cleopas), Susanna, Mary of Bethany, and Martha of Bethany.

On Thursday, August 29, the Armenian Church remembers Jeremiah, one of the prophets of the Old Testament. His writings are collected in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations is attributed to him. God appointed Jeremiah to confront Judah and Jerusalem for the worship of idols and other violations of the covenant (described in the Book of Deuteronomy). Jeremiah had the task of explaining the reason for the impending disaster—the destruction by the Babylonian army and captivity: “And when your people say, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.’”
Prepared by the Armenian National education Committee (ANEC)
Adolf Hitler’s Armenian Phrase:
“Who, After All, Speaks Today . . .” (August 22, 1939)
Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had an early awareness of the Armenian Genocide. One of his closest friends and advisors had been Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter (1884-1923), who was German consul in Erzerum in 1915 and had documented the annihilation in several diplomatic reports. He would be killed literally at Hitler’s side during the Beer Hall putsch in Munich (October 1923).
Hitler’s first documented reference to Armenians as a people that had “degenerated” came a year before the ill-fated coup, in November 1922, in a secret meeting with Eduard Scharrer, a former consul-general from Stuttgart and publisher of the newspaper Münchner Neuest Nachrichten. According to Scharrer’s notes, Hitler said:
“A solution for the Jewish question must come.  If it is solved reasonably, it will be best for both sides.  But if it is not solved reasonably, there are only two possibilities:  either the German Volk will degenerate to the level of the Armenians or the Levantines, or a bloody struggle will break out.”
Nine years later, Hitler gave two confidential interviews to Richard Breiting, editor of the Leipziger Neuester Nachrichten, a conservative newspaper, in May and June 1931. (Breiting, who was allowed to take short-hand notes, died in unclear circumstances, probably by the hand of the Gestapo, in 1937.) In the second interview, Hitler announced:
“We intend to introduce a great resettlement policy; we do not wish to go on treading on each other’s toes in Germany. In 1923 little Greece could resettle a million men. Think of the Biblical deportations and the massacres of the Middle Ages (Rosenberg refers to them) and remember the extermination of the Armenians. One eventually reaches the conclusion that masses of men are mere biological plasticine."
The third and most famous reference came on August 22, 1939, one week before the invasion in Poland and the beginning of World War II. Hitler gave two speeches to the supreme commanders and commanding generals at Obersalzberg, which lasted several hours. Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, chief of the German Abwehr (military intelligence), surreptitiously took notes. The paragraph, included in the second speech, said (Lochner’s translation):
“Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter—with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command—and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad—that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness—for the present only in the East—with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space [Lebensraum] which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
A copy of the speech was transmitted to American journalist Louis P. Lochner, who published the English version in his book What About Germany? (1942), while the German original was published for the first time in an émigré German newspaper in Santiago de Chile, Deutsche Blätter, in 1944.
Doubts about the authenticity of this copy (two other sets of notes surfaced, which were introduced by the prosecution at the Nuremberg Trials, but did not contain the Armenian reference) have been frequently raised. The consistency of Hitler’s thinking between 1931 and 1939 and the logical deduction that there was no particular reason to manufacture the Armenian reference (Hitler’s thought and intent were clear, even if he had not used it) are enough evidence that the phrase was authentic. It remains a testament to the impunity of the Armenian Genocide in World War I that led to the Jewish Genocide in World War II.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” can be read on the Prelacy’s web site (
A new mass appeal for funds has been mailed out and should be received soon. The first appeal sent out last year provided much needed assistance of food, housing, and medical care for our Armenian community of Syria. We need your continued assistance so there will be no interruption of humanitarian aid. Please respond as generously as possible.
You may also make your donation to the Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief right now. Donations can be made on-line (see below) or can be mailed to the Armenian Prelacy, 138 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016.
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.
“How blessed is he who considers the helpless;
The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble.”

Psalm 41:1
Armenian Holiday Traditions
An Illustrated Guide for Children
By Annie Seropian
Illustrated by Elize Bogossian
Beautifully written and illustrated, this fifty page book provides information about the major feasts of the Armenian Church from New Year (Gaghant) to the Holy Translators (Serports Tarkmanchats). In her opening message to parents the author writes: “The aim of this book is to revitalize Armenian holiday traditions and encourage families to actively participate in their celebrations. I believe that history and traditions can come alive for the child who is encouraged to share in the stories of our past.”
The informative text is enhanced with the colorful illustrations. Appropriate for children of all ages, especially with adult participation.
Armenian Holiday Traditions, $15.00 plus shipping and handling.
To order this book or for information about any other book or gift item contact the Prelacy Bookstore by email (books@armenianprelacy.or) or telephone (212-689-7810).
Next Wednesday, August 28, is the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march on Washington and the electrifying “I Have a Dream…” speech delivered by Martin Luther King to the more than a quarter of a million people who gathered at the Lincoln Memorial. It was the largest demonstration to date in American History. As it does this year, August 28 in 1963 fell on a Wednesday. There was great apprehension. Many federal employees did not go to work fearing violence. In the end it was remarkably peaceful and orderly, and as photographs attest, a remarkably integrated crowd of well-dressed people, even under the hot Washington sun of August.
Dr. King spoke late afternoon with a prepared speech, but at one point he set aside his prepared remarks and began to speak extemporaneously when he heard someone shout, “Martin, tell them about the dream…”  And thus began the oratory that made him, in the words of historian Taylor Branch, “a new founding father.”
“I say to you today, my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream…” With imagery and rhythm that reflected on the Bible, (he was, after all, an ordained minister), as well as the patriotic song “America,” the Constitution, and Declaration of Independence, King spoke eloquently of his hopes and dreams and “to let freedom ring.” He concluded with: “And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’”
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.
September 7—Teachers’ Seminar sponsored by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) at the Prelacy offices, 138 E. 39th Street, New York City, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Details will follow.
September 8—Picnic Festival, St. Gregory Church, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts, 12:30 to 5:30 pm, featuring Armenian music by Leon Janikian, Jason Naroian, Joe Kouyoumjian, John Arzigian, along with Siroun Dance Group. Armenian food and pastries. For details
September 13—Opera Encore sponsored by the Armenian Relief Society Ani Chapter, Providence, Rhode Island, at the Wannamoisett Country Club, 96 Hoyt Avenue, Rumford, at 6 pm. Featured performers of Opera Providence are Yeghishe Manucharyan, tenor, and Victoria Avetisyan, mezzo-soprano, singing traditional and folk Armenian music, as well as traditional and Armenian opera selections. Full course dinner will be served. Proceeds will benefit relief efforts for the Syrian Armenian community. Tickets: $50 per person. For information/reservations contact Esther Kalajian, (401)595-7991 ( or Joyce Yeremian, (401) 354-8770 (
September 15—Book Presentation at Pashalian Hall, St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, New York, of “One Church One Nation” by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian.
September 20—St. Hagop Church, Racine, Wisconsin presents “Flavors of the Mediterranean” wine tasting fundraiser at Uncorkt in downtown Racine, 6 – 8 pm. Featured wines from France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Traditional mezza plates will be served. In addition to supporting the church, 10% of the proceeds will benefit the Mother and Child center in Armenia. For tickets/information contact: Denise Lansing, 262-639-8204; Mary M. Olson, 262-681-1535. Tickets are $20 per person or $35 per couple.
September 21—St. Illuminator’s Cathedral’s “Huyser” Music Ensemble presents “The Sound of Freedom,” a celebration of independence, at the Frank Sinatra School of Arts, Tony Bennett Concert Hall, 35-12 35th Avenue, Astoria, New York, at 7:30 pm. Tickets $25—$35. For information: 212-689-5880.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
February 24-26, 2013—Annual Clergy Ghevontiantz Gathering hosted by Holy Cross Church, 255 Spring Avenue, Troy, New York.
March 28, 2013—Musical Armenia Concert presented by Eastern Prelacy and Prelacy Ladies Guild, at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, 8 pm.
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