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November 21, 2013
Today the Armenian Church commemorates the Presentation of the Holy Mother to the Temple (Undzayoum Sourp Asdvadzadzini), one of the eight feast days devoted to Mary in the Armenian Liturgical Calendar. The doctrine of the Holy Mother as “Mother-of-God” (Asdvadzamayr) and Bearer-of-God,” (Asdvadzadzin) was established in the fifth century at the Holy Ecumenical Council of Ephesus.
Archbishop Oshagan sent a directive this week to all Prelacy parishes to support the goals of the 2013 Armenia Fund Thanksgiving Telethon with a special collection of donations this Sunday, November 24, the first Sunday of Advent.
In his message the Prelate emphasized the importance of this year’s campaign that will help build an alternate route between Armenia and Karabagh (Artsakh). The goal is to turn the roads that currently link a string of strategically important towns in northern Armenia and Karabakh into a modern highway system. The new route will promote trade, cooperation, and economic development among vulnerable border communities that are vital to national security. The sum collected will be donated to the Armenia Fund’s 2013 campaign on behalf of the Prelacy and Parishes of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America.
The 2013 “Year of the Mother of the Armenian Family” was celebrated with a gala banquet with tributes and presentations all related to mothers and their dedicated service to church and family. Guests from the Mid-Atlantic region enjoyed a congenial afternoon at the Terrace in the Park.
A comprehensive report with photo gallery will be in the December 5th issue of Crossroads. Next week, a special Thanksgiving issue will be sent on Wednesday, November 27.
Program booklet and gifts given to attendees.
A scene from the dinner.
Bishop Anoushavan will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Stephen’s Church in Watertown, Massachusetts, this Sunday, November 24. Following the Liturgy, His Grace will make 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.

Bishop Anoushavan represented the Prelate, Archbishop Oshagan, last night at an Organ and Choral Concert organized by the Carnegie Corporation of New York at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City. The Cathedral Choirs with the Oratorio Society of New York and the Manhattan School of Music Chamber Choir performed Tudor anthems and works by 20th century composers. Works by J.S. Bach and Felix Mendelssohn were also performed. This concert, as well as a concert in Scotland last month, is in celebration of Andrew Carnegie’s generous support of organ and choral music during his lifetime.
Tomorrow, November 22, Bishop Anoushavan and Chris Parnagian, Esq., a member of the Prelacy’s Executive Council, will attend a reception on the occasion of Lebanon’s Independence Day at the Lebanese consulate in New York.
On Saturday, November 23, the Vicar will visit Holy Trinity Church in Worcester where he will have the opportunity to visit with parishioners and the parish’s recently appointed pastor, V. Rev. Sahag Yemishyan at the parish’s annual bazaar.

More than 30 representatives from New England churches throughout the Eastern Prelacy turned out Saturday for a special seminar on public relations, hosted by St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown.
The idea originated at the National Representative Assembly last May in Washington, DC, introduced by long-time journalist and first-time St. Gregory Church (North Andover) NRA delegate Tom Vartabedian in an effort to foster greater exposure among our churches in outside media circles such as television and newspapers.
Emphasis was paid to social media circles in this computer age and the Internet. Joining Vartabedian at the speaker’s platform were Stephen Kurkjian, a 3-time Pulitzer Prize winner from The Boston Globe, and Nanore Barsoumian, assistant editor of The Armenian Weekly.
Much input was provided by three pastors in attendance: Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, and Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian
Story ideas for each parish were hashed out, along with recommendations on how to penetrate different media sources. More ideas emanated from cluster groups that were formed in the afternoon.
Kurkjian emphasized two important stories that have penetrated the Armenian community recently: efforts to display the Armenian Orphan Rug locked in storage inside the White House, and the Armenian Heritage Park Memorial in Boston. He also encouraged parishes to better expose the personal side of each church community, particularly with stories on the emergence of our youth population.
Special thanks to St. Stephen’s Church for hosting the event, along with the Ladies Guild for serving such a delectable lunch. Other seminars are being considered for the Mid-West and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Reported by Tom Vartabedian
Representatives from five of the six New England churches turned out for a Public Relations Seminar Saturday, hosted by St. Stephen’s Church in Watertown.
Speakers at New England Prelacy seminar on public relations are, from left, Nanore Barsoumian, assistant editor, The Armenian Weekly; Tom Vartabedian, St. Gregory Church NRA delegate and conference facilitator, and Stephen Kurkjian, 3-time Pulitzer Prize winner from The Boston Globe.

Photos by Violet Dagdigian
The Bible study program on St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans continues every Thursday up to December 19, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. Please note that next Thursday, November 28, is Thanksgiving and there will be no Bible Study session. The next session will be Thursday, December 5. The Bible studies are being presented by Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Executive Director of the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), and is sponsored by AREC and the Cathedral. New attendees are welcome to join the group. For information contact the Prelacy at 212-689-7810,, or the Cathedral at 212-689-5880,
Bible readings for Sunday, November 24, First Sunday of Advent, are: Isaiah 36:1-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Luke 12:13-31.
Someone in the crowd said to him: “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. (Luke 12:13-31)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
This Sunday, November 24, is the first Sunday of Advent (from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming”). Advent is a season of penitence, anticipation and preparation. Advent serves as a reminder of the original anticipation of the birth of Christ, as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ’s return. Ideally, it should be a time of quiet reflection and meditation. In modern times the period leading to Christmas is far from calm, and is more accurately described as frenetic. It is a good time to pause and reflect on the proper observance of the birth of our Lord and Savior.
In the true spirit of Christmas remember that this time of the year, although filled with joy for most, can be lonely and sad for many people. Reach out to an elderly person living alone, someone who is ill, or someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one.

Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, celebrated its Armenian Fest 2013 during the weekend of November 2 and 4 at the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston. The delicious food and pastries were prepared by the dedicated women and men of the parish. Members of the Ladies Guild prepared many craft items and the Mourad Armenian School students provided a wonderful performance of Armenian folk dances.
The annual Armenian Fest sponsored by Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, is one of the largest food festivals. The two-day event is a popular destination not just for Rhode Islanders but from various areas of New England.
Mourad Armenian School students perform Armenian folk dances.
The Annual Bazaar of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, took place last weekend for a three-day extravaganza of food and merchandise. Friday and Saturday evenings included many elements of entertainment, raffle drawings, along with the delicious food to eat in or take out.
Sunday afternoon, following the Divine Liturgy, the traditional lunch of Khavourma was enjoyed by many who wait all year for this treat.
Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian blesses the table at the Sts. Vartanantz Bazaar.
Entertainment on Friday evening included a performance by parishioner Robert Aslanian (aka Bobby Lane).
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Birth of Monte Melkonian
(November 25, 1957)
Rather than his uncommon life journey, the ending part of it, as one of the commanders of the self-defense force of Karabagh, turned the Armenian American modern-day freedom fighter Monte Melkonian into a legend.
Monte Melkonian was born in Visalia (California), an all-American child who in the spring of 1969 visited the ancestral town of his maternal grandparents, Marsovan (nowadays Merzifun), with his family and discovered the “Old Country” of which his parents had rarely spoken. This sparked his interest in his background.
After a study abroad program in East Asia, he returned to the United States and graduated from high school, and from the University of California at Berkeley, in three years, with a major in ancient Asian History and Archaeology.
Upon graduating in the spring of 1978, he was accepted into the archeology graduate program at Oxford University. Instead, he chose to begin his lifelong struggle for the Armenian Cause.
After a short sojourn in Iran, where he participated in the movement to overthrow the last Shah, Melkonian made his way to Beirut in the fall of the same year, and participated in the defense of the Armenian quarters against the attack of right-wing Phalangist forces for the next two years. By this time, he had learned the fourth language he would speak fluently, Armenian, the others being Spanish, French, and Japanese, and of course his native English.
Between 1980 and 1983, he was a militant of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), one of the organizations that carried armed struggle against the Turkish state from 1975 to 1985. After the split of the organization in 1983, he spent over two years over ground, until his arrest in Paris in November 1985. He was sentenced to six years in prison for possession of falsified papers and carrying an illegal handgun.
He was released in early 1989 and expelled from France. He reunited with his long-time confidante and future wife Seta Kebranian, whom he had met in early 1980s in Beirut. After living for a year and a half underground in Eastern Europe, they arrived in Soviet Armenia in October 1990, where they married the next year. He first worked at the Armenian Academy of Sciences to prepare an archaeological research monograph on Urartu, which was published after his death.
During the turmoil that led to the independence of Armenia and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Melkonian focused his attention on Mountainous Karabagh. "If we lose [Karabagh]," the bulletin of the Karabagh Defense Forces quoted him as saying, "we turn the final page of our people's history." He traveled to the region of Shahumian (today occupied by Azerbaijan), where he fought for three months in the fall of 1991. He arrived in Martuni as the regional commander in February 1992, without any army experience, and succeeded in pushing back Azeri troops.  He was one of the chief strategists who planned and led the capture of the region of Karvajar (formerly Kelbajar), between Armenia and the Autonomous Region of Mountainous Karabagh, in April 1993.
He was killed in the abandoned Azerbaijani village of Merzili on June 12, 1993, during the battle of Aghdam, in an unexpected skirmish that broke out with several Azerbaijani soldiers who had gotten lost. He was buried with full military honors a week later at Yerablur military cemetery in Yerevan and is revered by Armenians in Armenia and Karabagh as a national hero.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Sweet in Every Language
There are words that have an ultimate common source from another language, but have found their way through different itineraries. Such is the case of the word sugar.
The sugarcane was originally from India. The soldiers of Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great, after reaching India in the fourth century B.C., brought back to Europe “honey bearing reeds” that produced a product called sharkara (“ground sugar”) in Sanskrit, which they transcribed as ζάκχαρι (sacchari). The Indian product spread to different Asian regions and reached Iran, where it was called shakar. The word was borrowed straightforwardly from Persian into Armenian, where it first appeared in the seventh-century Atlas ascribed to Anania Shirakatsi as շաքար (shakar). Another Iranian language, Kurdish, borrowed it as sheker, which is the likely source for the Turkish word sheker.
However, the actual expansion of the sweet substance to the West occurred when Arabs began to cultivate it in Sicily and Spain, while the Crusaders did their part too. The Arabic word sukkar entered Europe and spread through various languages: Medieval Latin succarum, French sucre, Spanish azucar, Portuguese açúcar, Italian zucchero, and German Zucker. The ultimate source for English sugre > sugar was, most probably, the French language.
One of the many Voskeporik (Ոսկեփորիկ, “Miscellanea”), collections of useful and not-so- useful material of various origins compiled during the Middle Ages, included  the following phrase quoted by the most important dictionary of Classical Armenian, the New Haigazian Dictionary of 1836-1837 published by the Mekhitarist Fathers: «Յիմաստուն ձեռացս ի՛նչ առնուս՝ շաքար է». Whether said in Classical Armenian or in Modern Armenian («Ինչ որ առնես իմաստուն ձեռքերուդ մէջ՝ շաքար է»), the phrase has not lost its eternal meaning: “Whatever you take in your wise hands, is sugar.” Sweetness comes with wisdom, at all times. 
The Emergency and Reconstruction Committee of Syrian Armenians issued a report of its activities during its first year of operation. The report describes an atmosphere of fear, dangerous situations, and many hazards. The report emphasizes that they were able to strengthen their united front.
The committee, which is composed of representatives of the community, acted in an atmosphere of total solidarity and became witness to the spirit of unity and willingness among Armenians. The committee expressed its thanks to “Our fellow Armenians worldwide who tried to share our pain and suffering spiritually and materially.”
The activities of the committee are continuing amid an ongoing difficult and dangerous situation. As of July 2013, the committee has received 1.7 million dollars through the Catholicosates of All Armenians and the Holy See of Cilicia, as well as other bodies, organizations, and individuals. The committee estimates that $150,000 is needed monthly to provide for the safety, health, food, lodging, and education of the Armenian community in Syria.

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.
Unless you have been in a deep Rip Van Winkle type of slumber, you are aware that tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
We end with President Kennedy’s 1963 Thanksgiving Proclamation that he officially issued more than two weeks before his death. He died a week before Thanksgiving but his 1963 proclamation remains as the official Thanksgiving message of 1963.
Over three centuries ago, our forefathers in Virginia and in Massachusetts, far from home in a lonely wilderness, set aside a time of thanksgiving. On the appointed day, they gave reverent thanks for their safety, for the health of their children, for the fertility of their fields, for the love which bound them together and for the faith which united them with their God.
So too when the colonies achieved their independence, our first President in the first year of his first Administration proclaimed November 26, 1789, as "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God" and called upon the people of the new republic to "beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions... to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue . . . and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best."
And so too, in the midst of America's tragic civil war, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November 1863 as a day to renew our gratitude for America's "fruitful fields," for our "national strength and vigor," and for all our "singular deliverances and blessings."
Much time has passed since the first colonists came to rocky shores and dark forests of an unknown continent, much time since President Washington led a young people into the experience of nationhood, much time since President Lincoln saw the American nation through the ordeal of fraternal war--and in these years our population, our plenty and our power have all grown apace. Today we are a nation of nearly two hundred million souls, stretching from coast to coast, on into the Pacific and north toward the Arctic, a nation enjoying the fruits of an ever-expanding agriculture and industry and achieving standards of living unknown in previous history. We give our humble thanks for this.
Yet, as our power has grown, so has our peril. Today we give our thanks, most of all, for the ideals of honor and faith we inherit from our forefathers--for the decency of purpose, steadfastness of resolve and strength of will, for the courage and the humility, which they possessed and which we must seek every day to emulate. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.
Let us therefore proclaim our gratitude to Providence for manifold blessings--let us be humbly thankful for inherited ideals--and let us resolve to share those blessings and those ideals with our fellow human beings throughout the world.
Now, Therefore, I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of the Congress approved December 26, 1941, 55 Stat. 862 (5 U.S.C. 87b), designating the fourth Thursday of November in each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 28, 1963, as a day of national thanksgiving.
On that day let us gather in sanctuaries dedicated to worship and in homes blessed by family affection to express our gratitude for the glorious gifts of God; and let us earnestly and humbly pray that He will continue to guide and sustain us in the great unfinished tasks of achieving peace, justice, and understanding among all men and nations and of ending misery and suffering wherever they exist.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this fourth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-eighth.
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.
November 22 & 23—Fall Food Festival at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, 635 Grove Street, Worcester, Massachusetts. Join us on Friday from 5 pm to 8 pm and Saturday from noon to 4 pm for shish, losh, chicken kebob, or kheyma dinners. Country Store and Bake Table. Stock up on katah, choreg, manti, porov kufta, simit, and much more.
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.
November 24—Ladies Guild Annual Bazaar, St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.
November 24—Thanksgiving Luncheon and Cultural Program, organized by the Ladies Guild of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, New York City, in John Pashalian Hall immediately following church services. Poetry recitation by Seta Balmanoukian; musical performance by Maral Tutunjian (piano) and Meghry Tutunjian (flute).
December 6—Anniversary celebration by Lowell “Aharonian” Gomideh, 6:30 pm, St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Massachusetts; dinner and program honoring 50-year members Steve Dulgarian and Joe Dagdigian; remembering the 25th anniversary of the earthquake in Armenia; soloist Nina Hovsepian, accompanied by Mary Barooshian. Donation: $20 adults; $10 students.
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.
December 7—ARS New York Erebouni chapter presents dinner & dancing honoring the Mother of the Armenian Family, St. Sarkis Church, Main Hall, 38-65 234th Street, Douglaston, New York, 8 pm. Featuring Steve Karageozian and his Band. Full mezze and dinner. Donation $60 adults; $20 children age 5 to 12; under age 5 free. For tickets and reservations: Nayda, 516-739-0805 or Vicky 516-365-0971.
December 7—St. Hagop Church, 4100 Newman Road, Racine, Wisconsin, Annual Holiday Food Fair, 11 am to 4 pm. Come and enjoy Armenian food prepared by the parishioners including pilaf, hummus, cheese puffs, katah, choreg, sari bourma, khurabia, pulled beef sandwiches, plus many other delicious Armenian delicacies. For information contact Denise Lansing 261-672-9265.
December 8—Requiem Service marking the 10th anniversary of the passing of His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan will celebrate the Divine Liturgy, deliver the sermon, and preside over the Requiem Service.
December 8—Luncheon Fundraiser to benefit the Armenian community in Syria hosted by the ARS New York Mayr Chapter, 2 pm at Almayass Restaurant, 24 E. 21st Street, New York City. Donation: $75; children under 12, $25. Includes full lunch, wine, and soft drinks. All proceeds will benefit Syrian-Armenian relief efforts. Seating is limited. For reservations: Anais (718-392-6982) or Houri (917-690-3060).
December 12 to 22—“Lost and Found: The Pinajian Discovery,” a special exhibition from the extraordinary discovery of paintings by Arthur Pinajian that were rescued and preserved will take place at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. The limited run exhibition of 25 paintings will feature the artist’s lyrical landscapes and mid-century abstractions. An afternoon reception hosted by St. Illuminator’s Cathedral and Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan will take place on Sunday, December 15, from 1 to 4 pm. Art historian Peter Hastings Falk will discuss the discovery and the art.
December 15—Simply Christmas Concert, St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.
February 1, 2014—Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance, St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.
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.
June 1, 2014—Ladies Guild Annual Brunch, St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.
Web pages of the parishes can be accessed through the Prelacy’s web site.
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Parishes of the Eastern Prelacy are invited to send information about their major events to be included in the calendar. Send to:
138 East 39th Street | New York, NY 10016 US