February 25, 2016
Archbishop Oshagan has directed all parishes within the Eastern Prelacy to offer a solemn requiem service this Sunday, February 28, for the victims of the massacres in Sumgait, Baku, and Kirovabad that took place February 26-28, 1988.

“The whole world knows that the genocide perpetrated against the Armenian people continued into our era when 28 years ago our innocent brothers and sisters were the targets of pogroms in Azerbaijan. Let us remember those who fell and pray for their souls this Sunday,” said Archbishop Oshagan.

The late renowned academician Andrei Sakharov called these pogroms “a real threat of extermination to the indigenous Armenian community within Azerbaijan and in the autonomous region of Mountainous Karabagh.”

Archbishop Oshagan announced that this Sunday, February 28, Prelacy churches will observe Remembrance Day for the Armenian Relief Society. Requiem service for all deceased members and benefactors will be offered following the Liturgy.

Remembered specifically will be the founder of the ARS, Agnouni (Khatchadour Maloomian), on the occasion of the 101st anniversary of his death, and benefactors George and Beatrice Lazarian, Levon and Sophia Hagopian, Karekin and Virginia Siroonian, Samuel and Agnes Yeremian, Araxie Proodian, Haiganoush Garabedian, Doris Norian Lentzi, Alice Norian, Arpkes Kelerchian, Hagop Jacques Mouradian, Alice Haigazian Berman, Genevieve Yekeshian, Yervant and Helen Terzian, Albert and Takouhi Bagian, Giragos Vaporsiyan, Kourken Assaturian, and Margaret Assaturian.

“This is a day for us to honor those who served the Armenian people for many decades in the field of education and humanitarian and social welfare. It is also an opportunity for us to express appreciation of the Armenian Relief Society’s noble service for more than 100 years,” said the Prelate.

The Eastern Prelacy will host a Town Hall Meeting with the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard M. Mills, Jr., this Monday, February 29, 7 to 8:30 pm, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 E. 27th Street, New York City. The public is invited to attend to hear the Ambassador’s brief presentation that will be followed with a question and answer session.

Ambassador Richard M. Mills, Jr., a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service, is currently the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia. Prior to this assignment he served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.

He was a Nominee for the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Year Award in 2012 and has received nine Superior Honor Awards from the Department of State. Ambassador Mills, who was born in Louisiana and grew up in Michigan, received a B.A from Georgetown University, a J.D. from the University of Texas, and an M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University.

He has served in various positions for the U.S. Foreign Service in many countries including Malta, Iraq, London, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Russia, Paris, and Ireland
Bible readings for Sunday, February 28, Fourth Sunday of Great Lent, Sunday of the Steward are: Isaiah 56:1-57; Ephesians 4:17-5:14; Luke 16:1-31.

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘A how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Luke 16:1-13)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
Icon of St. Hovhan of Odzun
Icon of St. Krikor of Datev
This Saturday, February 27, the Armenian Church commemorates the lives of the following four saints:

St. John, Patriarch of Jerusalem, succeeded St. Cyril as Patriarch of Jerusalem (386-417). He grew up with the monks at the monastery of Nitria (Egypt) where he learned about Christianity and the teachings of Origen. He was noted for his keen intellect and is said to have delivered inspiring and eloquent sermons.

Hovhan Odznetsi (St. John of Otzoon) was catholicos from 717 to 728, which was a period when Armenia was under Arab rule. He defended Armenians from forced conversion and  was successful in securing the rights of worship for Armenian Christians. He was also successful in securing tax-exempt status for the church. He was highly admired and respected.

Hovhan Vorodnetsi (St. John of Orotni) was born in 1315. Following his ordination he served at the monasteries of Klatzor and Datev. He dedicated most of his efforts toward the preservation of the orthodox faith, and against the attempt to merge the Armenian Church with the Latin Church. He wrote commentaries on the Gospel of John and the epistles of St. Paul.

Krikor Datevatzi (St. Gregory of Datev), born in 1346 in the province of Vayotz Tzor, is perhaps the best known of the four. He was a student of John of Orotni and a great defender of the character of the Armenian Church. He was a brilliant scholar; he knew Latin fluently and had studied the Greek philosophers extensively. He is regarded to be the greatest teacher of the Armenian Church. His most famous work is the Book of  Questions (Kirk Hartsmants), which examines questions of faith. He is also credited with setting a high standard for preaching. He is often referred to as “the second Gregory the Illuminator.”

Datevatzi, who died in 1409, had the distinction of being the last person to be canonized in the Armenian Church, until last year when the Martyrs of April were canonized on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

This Sunday, February 28, the fourth Sunday of Lent, is the Sunday of the Steward (Tntesi Kiraki). The parable of the Unrighteous Steward is in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 16, Verses 1 to 8. This parable is about a rich man and his steward. The steward was one who looked out for his own personal benefit and through his cunning arrangements he made deals with those who were in debt to his master. Jesus used this parable not to condone the behavior of the steward but rather as an illustration of qualities that have a necessary place in the life of true disciples. Since we are stewards of the world, we are accountable to our Lord for the talents we have and the things that have been entrusted to our care.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus used parables as a teaching tool. His parables were common stories, usually short and always interesting. Generally, the stories were used to convey important moral and ethical lessons. Some of the parables are simple and easy to comprehend. Others are complex and more challenging.
Next Wednesday, March 2, is the median day of Lent (Meechink). It is the 24th day of Lent and it occurs on the Wednesday of the fourth week of Lent. Although it does not have any specific religious significance, this mid-point day has been traditionally marked as a special day and occasion for fellowship, friendship, and the sharing of a Lenten meal.
On many occasions we have expressed our personal appreciation of the Armenian Church’s Sunrise (Arevakal) service that is offered during Lent. Traditionally the service takes place on Wednesday and Friday mornings during Lent; however, we now celebrate it on Sundays immediately after the closed-altar Divine Liturgy.

This week we call your attention to a CD of the hymns of the Sunrise Service that was issued last year by the Prelacy. These hymns are spiritually uplifting and rich in musical expression. Included on the CD are the hymns Harevelits, Juknavork, Looys Ararich Looso, and Janabarh, with their variations. The CD comes with a 12-page booklet that includes the words of the hymns in Armenian, transliteration, and translation.

Well-known choral director, Haroutioun Odabashian, who has served as choirmaster of Yerevan’s Sourp Sarkis Church, and principle choirmaster of Armenia’s Araratian Diocese, directs the featured choir.

The Arevakal CD is available at the Prelacy Bookstore for the special low price of $10.00 plus shipping and handling. To place an order contact the Bookstore by email (books@armenianprelacy.org) or by phone (212-689-7810).

The third of a six-part Prelacy Lenten lecture series took place last night at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City, presided over by His Grace Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General, who spoke about “Service in patristic thought.” His Grace first reflected on the notion of service in general. He then highlighted three aspects of service from the writings of selected Church Fathers—namely, the essence of service, its process or means, and its goal. To view Srpazan’s presentation, please click below.
Next Wednesday, March 2, Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Director of AREC, will speak about “We were all pledged at baptism to serve God.”
The Lenten Program is sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Prelacy Ladies Guild (PLG), and the Ladies’ Guild of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral.
A scene from the prayer service before the third Lenten lecture last night.
A regional Board of Trustees Workshop will take place for the Prelacy parishes in the Midwest on Saturday, March 5, beginning at 10 am and concluding at 4:30 pm. All Saints Church in Glenview, Illinois is hosting the workshop. His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan will preside and members of the Religious and Executive Councils will participate. 

The 33rd Musical Armenia concert will take place on Friday, March 11, 8 pm at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City. This year the Musical Armenia committee is excited to present the pianist Sofya Melikyan and NUR (a collaboration of the lyric soprano Rosy Anoush Svazlian and the pianist/composer Andrea Manzoni. The Musical Armenia series is sponsored by the Eastern Prelacy and the Prelacy Ladies Guild. Tickets for the concert are twenty-five dollars.

Tickets are available at the box office,
and at the Prelacy office (212-689-7810).
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, visited the Armenian Home in Flushing, New York, last Thursday and performed the Sunrise service for the residents and administrative staff. Accompanying Der Mesrob were Dn. Kevork Hadjian and Jasmine Yedigarian.

Der Hayr congratulated the recently appointed Executive Director of the Home, Mrs. Jenny Akopyan, and wished her success in her new position.
Der Mesrob offering the Sunrise service at the Armenian Home for the Aged in Flushing, New York, along with Dn. Kevork Hadjian and Ms. Jasmine Yedigarian.
Der Hayr with Jenny Akopyan and Karine Barsoumian.
A two-day conference to evaluate the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide took place last week at the Catholicosate in Antelias, Lebanon. The participants included Heranoush Hagopian, Armenia’s Minister of the Diaspora; Ashod Kocharian, Ambassador of Armenia to Lebanon; Diocesan Bishops; members of the Genocide Commemoration committees of the region; and representative of the political parties.

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, met with the participants at the conclusion of the conference. He described the 2015 commemorations as a force that mobilized Armenians in all parts of the world. He said that Armenians should now consider what lessons we can take from these commemorations and develop new strategies in the context of the dominant global geopolitics. These strategies should reaffirm Armenian identity, reinforce claims for justice, and strengthen Armenia and the Diaspora.

In his message the Catholicos touched upon issues regarding Armenia-Diaspora relations, defense of Karabagh, continuation of the pursuit of recognition of the genocide, and united Armenian approach regarding Turkey.

In response to an invitation of the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Dubrovnik (Croatia), His Holiness Aram designated Archbishop Kegham Khatcherian to represent the Catholicosate of Cilicia at the 1700th anniversary of the Martyrdom of Bishop Vlass (Blasé), who is the patron saint of Dubrovnik. Archbishop Kegham, and the Cardinal representing Pope Francis, as well as other ecumenical guests took part in the religious services and commemorative festivities. During the church service, Archbishop Kegham read His Holiness’s message and offered a gift to the Bishop of Dubrovnik.
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
A portrait of Toramanian by Martiros Sarian.
Death of Toros Toramanian (March 1, 1934)
The scientific study of Armenian architecture has reached important milestones since the early twentieth century. One name is to be remembered as its pioneer: Toros Toramanian.

Toramanian was born on March 18, 1864 in the city of Shabin-Karahisar, in Western Armenia. (One year later, another famous Armenian would be born there: General Antranig.) He attended the local Armenian schools, and at the age of fourteen, he lost his parents. In 1884 he left for Constantinople to pursue higher education. After working for two years as a mason and stone worker, he approved the entrance exam of the School of Fine Arts and studied architecture from 1886 to 1893.

He graduated in 1893, but he had not begun his career yet, when he was forced to leave the city due to the massacres ordained by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. After going to Belgium, he then moved to Sofia and Varna, in Bulgaria, where he built several public and residential buildings. He went to Romania in 1900, and then visited Egypt, Italy, and Greece.

Toramanian settled in Paris in 1902, where he deepened his knowledge on history of architecture at the Sorbonne. There he met Garabed Basmajian, director of the journal Banaser, whom he already knew from Constantinople. They put together the project of a mission to Ani in order to study the monuments of the capital of the Bagratuni Kingdom. They traveled in 1903, and discovered that the task was immense, and their means were very limited. Basmadjian returned to Paris to collect the necessary funds, and Toramanian remained alone in Ani, but he never obtained any financial assistance.
The ruins of a church in Ani.
He wintered in Ani, in extremely difficult conditions. In an article on the church of Zvartnots published in 1905, he wrote: “I decided to stay and work in Ani to save from oblivion the remnants of the glorious past of our great people in order to be able to show them to the whole world.”

Toramanian had meanwhile participated in the excavations of Zvartnots, near Etchmiadzin, in the spring of 1904. He made a detailed study of the remaining pieces of the church, destroyed by an earthquake in the ninth century, and examined one by one all of them. This archaeological approach, quite unusual for the time, allowed him to propose the model of reconstruction of the circular church of Zvartnots that we know today.
The remains of Zvartnots Cathedral near the airport named after it in Armenia.
In 1904 Professor Nicolas Marr, from the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg, made his second campaign of excavations in Ani. Toramanian joined his team, and had the opportunity to study many monuments of the former Armenian capital, as well as of the surroundings, including the monasteries of Horomos, Tekor, and Bagnayr. In 1905-1906 the team of Marr discovered the remnants of the church of Gagikashen in Ani. Moreover, the finding of the statue of its builder, King Gagik I of Ani, holding the model of the church, confirmed Toramanian’s reconstruction of the circular church of Zvartnotz with three floors.

The architect continued his association with Marr at Ani and made various publications in Armenian journals, and became well-known in scholarly circles. In 1913 he was invited to Vienna by the famous Austrian art historian Josef Strzygowski (1862-1941) to give lectures on Armenian art, particularly about Ani. They had projected a joint work on the subject, based on the documents and materials that Toramanian had gathered. Afterwards, Toramanian accompanied Strzygowski on a brief trip in Armenia, and promised to complete the documentation for the joint publication.
An image of what Zvartnots Cathedral would have looked like befor its destruction drawn by Toramanian.
The beginning of World War I made it impossible for Toramanian to travel back to Austria to continue work on the publication. In 1918, however, the cover of the two-volume Die Baukunst die Armenier und Europa (The Art of the Armenians and Europe), which would engage specialists of European medieval art in heated debates, only had Strzygowski’s name on it, with Toramanian reduced to the role of an informant. Besides, he had lost most of his archives and unpublished works during the Ottoman invasion of Armenia in 1918, followed by the flee of his family from Alexandropol to Tiflis, including a dictionary of Armenian architecture, a comparative study of Byzantine and Armenian architecture, and a study on the history of Armenian funerary monuments.

After the establishment of the Soviet regime in Armenia, Toramanian became one of the founding members of the Committee for the Maintenance of Monuments. He created the Department of Architecture of the State Museum of Armenia, which he directed for two years. He passed away on March 1,1934, and his archives provided the material for the two-volume Materials for the History of Armenian Architecture, posthumously published in 1942 and 1948.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org

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A True Story of Courage, Survival, and Hope
By David Kherdian

This critically acclaimed and award-winning book by David Kherdian, based on the true story of his mother and the 1915 genocide, has now become a classic. Originally published in 1979, it has remained popular and continuously in print.

“David Kherdian re-creates his mother’s voice in telling the true story of a childhood interrupted by one of the most devastating holocausts of our century. Veron Dumehjian Kherdian was born into a loving and prosperous family. Then, in the year 1915, the Turkish government began the systematic destruction of its Armenian population.”

The Road from Home, 238 pages, soft cover, $8.99 plus shipping & handling

By Adam Bagdasarian

This novel, based on the true story of the author’s great-uncle, was a finalist for the National Book Award and is described by critics with words like gripping, eloquent, powerful, and impressive. This edition includes a Readers Guide and interview with the author.

“The reader is swept inescapably into the once beautiful, now shattered world of the Turkish Armenians. Adam Bagdasarian’s remarkable accomplishment is to seamlessly join history, autobiography, and art in a singular story that seizes the imagination and refuses to let go.” —National Book Awards Judges’ Citation

Forgotten Fire, 272 pages, soft cover $8.00 plus shipping & handling

Featured this week:
  • Bible Reflection
  • Hymn of the day
  • Interview with Dr. Khatchig Mouradian, Program Director of ARS Youth Connect Program.
Click on the image above to link and listen.
The ANC of New York has organized a demonstration on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the pogroms in Baku and Sumgait tomorrow, February 26, in front of the Azerbaijani Mission to the United Nations, First Avenue and 48th Street (NE corner), at 12:30 pm. For information: 347-281-3500.
SIAMANTO ACADEMY—Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: anec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810.

February 27—Sunday School Teachers’ Seminar, Mid-Atlantic Region, “Baptism, Chrismation, and the Eucharist: The Foundation of our Life in Christ,” at Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey, 10 am to 3 pm, lunch 12 noon to 1 pm. Sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC)—Eastern Prelacy. The seminar will be conducted by Dn. Shant Kazanjian, AREC Director. For information contact the AREC office by phone (212-689-7810) or email (arec@armenianprelacy.org).

March 2—Prelacy Lenten Program, “We were all pledged at baptism to serve God,” by Dn. Shant Kazanjian, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, 7 pm.

March 5—Midwest Board of Trustees Regional Workshop, hosted by All Saints Armenian Church, Glenview, Illinois, 10 am to 4:30 pm.

March 6—The Anthropology Museum of the People of New York and the Armenian Cultural Educational Resource Center Gallery at Queens College present the “Mark Kyrkostas Remember Me With Music,” Classical Music, Song and Dance Concert, 7 pm at the Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs, 209-15 Horace Harding Boulevard, Bayside, New York.

March 9—Prelacy Lenten Program, “Qualities of the servants of the Lord,” by Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, 7 pm.

March 11—33rd Musical Armenia, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and 7th Avenue, with Sofya Melikian, piano; and NUR featuring Rosy Anoush Svazlian and Andrea Manzoni, soprano and piano. Tickets: $25. Box office: 212-247-7800; Prelacy: 212-689-7810; email@armenianprelacy.org.

March 12—30th anniversary of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School at Sorenson Center for the Arts (Babson College), Wellesley, Massachusetts. Tickets ($125) may be purchased online (www.mkt.com/ssaes) by email (30years@ssaes.org), or by phone (617-926-6979.

March 16—Prelacy Lenten Program, “Service is the obligation of the community and government structures,” by Mrs. Silva Takvorian, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, 7 pm

March 19—Sunday School Teachers’ Seminar, New England Region, “Baptism, Chrismation, and Eucharist: The Foundation of our Life in Christ,” at Saints Asdvadzadzin Armenian Apostolic Church, 315 Church Street, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, 10am—3pm. Sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC)—Eastern Prelacy. The seminar will be conducted by Dn. Shant Kazanjian, AREC Director. For information contact the AREC office by phone (212-689-7810) or email (arec@armenianprelacy.org).

May 12, 13, 14—National Representative Assembly of the Eastern Prelacy hosted by St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York. Also convening are the National Association of Ladies Guilds conference, and conference of Yeretzgins.
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: info@armenianprelacy.org
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