May 12, 2016
St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, host of the 2016 National Representative Assembly.
The 2016 National Representative Assembly (NRA) convened today and will conclude at noon on Saturday. The Assembly is hosted by St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York. The Clergy Conference began yesterday. The full Assembly officially opened with a prayer by His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan. Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church, and Dr. Aram Cazazian, chairman of the Board of Trustees, welcomed the delegates. The first session included the appointment of temporary co-chairs and secretaries, credential report, election of the nominating committee. Concurrent with the Assembly is the annual conference of the National Association of Ladies Guilds (NALG), and a conference of the Yeretzgins that will focus on the “Year of Service” theme.  Archbishop Oshagan will deliver the Keynote Address tomorrow. 

The Assembly’s “Banquet of Recognition” will take place Friday evening at LaGuardia Plaza Hotel, East Elmhurst, New York. Dr. Garo H. Armen, founder and chairman of the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) will be honored as the Man of the Year. Mr. Arthur B. Hairabedian, the first chairman of the Board of St. Sarkis Church and a long-standing supporter of the Prelacy will be awarded the “Eagle of the Prelacy. The evening will begin at 7:30 pm with a cocktail hour followed by dinner at 8:30 pm.
Bible readings for Sunday, May 15, 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 Pampylia, 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 15, 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 that 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 different 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 understand 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 30th annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute summer program for youth ages 13-18 will be held at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from July 3-10. Sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the summer program offers a unique weeklong Christian educational program for youth. It aims to instill and nurture the Armenian Christian faith and identity in our youth through a variety of educational activities, coupled with daily church services and communal recreational activities. For information and registration, please visit the Prelacy’s website at or contact the AREC office at 212-689-7810 or
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney made a Congressional floor statement on April 28 in honor of the 100th anniversary of St. Illuminator's Cathedral and the tenth anniversary of Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian's ordination to the priesthood. 

Congresswoman Maloney, who represents the 12th Congressional District of New York, is a strong voice for the Armenian American community and an advocate of Armenian national causes. In her statement she once again reconfirmed her tribute to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide and her respect for the Armenian spirit of revival for which St. Illuminator's Cathedral is a prime example having been founded the same year as the darkest page in the long history of the Armenian nation. The following statement by the Congresswoman  was printed in the Congressional Record:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the 100th anniversary of St. Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Cathedral located in the district I represent in Manhattan, New York. It was the first Armenian church established in New York City.

“After fleeing to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century following the Hamidian Massacres and Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians of New York City did not have their own church to worship in together. They held religious services in various churches, most of which were located in the neighborhood of the current cathedral. Purchasing a church was initially proposed in 1913. A successful fundraising effort allowed construction to begin for what was then known as the central cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church in 1915. The Cathedral officially opened its doors in 1916, but parishioners celebrated the Cathedral's centennial throughout 2015 at the same time as the centennial of the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey in 1915.

“For over a century, St. Illuminator's Cathedral has played a significant role in advocating for Armenians in the U.S. and around the world. Many Genocide survivors found their refuge in the United States, entering the country through Ellis Island. St. Illuminator came to serve as shelter to many of them once they arrived. Today, there remains a vibrant congregation, inspiring their community through faith and service.

“I extend my congratulations to the pastor, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian who has led the church for 10 years, the Board of Trustees, and all members and friends of St. Illuminator, and wish them many more years of success and service to the Armenian American community.

I ask my colleagues to join me in celebrating the anniversary of St. Illuminator's Cathedral and its contributions to the Armenian American residents of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn as well as the larger Armenian American community in the United States."

Members of the Ladies Guild of St. Gregory Church, Granite City, Illinois at their annual spiritual retreat. They are shown here with their guest speaker Sr. Juliet Mousseau.
Choir members of St. Gregory Church, Granite City, Illinois in their new choir robes with Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian, who blessed the robes.
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Death of Cardinal Gregorio Agagianian
(May 16, 1971)
Cardinal Gregorio Agagianian was the foremost Armenian figure of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century, and rose to world fame when in the papal elections of 1958 and 1963 he was about to become the first non-Italian head of the Church in almost 450 years.

Ghazaros Agagianian was born in Akhaltsikhe, in the historical region of Javakhk (now in Georgia), on September 18, 1895. His family was part of the local Armenian Catholic community. After studying at the seminary of Tiflis, he went to Rome, where he studied at the Urban College of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (now Pontifical Urbaniana University) and was ordained a priest in 1917 with the name of Gregorio (Krikor). He returned to Tiflis, where he did pastoral work from 1917-1921. Afterwards, he left Soviet Georgia and became a member of the faculty at the Pontifical Armenian College in Rome in 1921 and Rector of the same college from 1932-1937. He also taught at the Urban College from 1922-1932.

Meanwhile, he had been consecrated bishop on July 21, 1935, with a previous appointment as titular Bishop of Comana. The Armenian Synod elected him Patriarch Catholicos of the House of Cilicia on November 30, 1937, with the name of Krikor-Bedros XV.

In 1938, after an agreement of the French colonial authorities of Syria and Turkey, the sanjak of Alexandretta (later renamed Hatay) was annexed to the latter. The efforts of the Armenian community of Paris, Patriarch Agagianian, and the Vatican representative to Syria and Lebanon Remi Leprert allowed that many areas of Kessab inhabited by Armenians remained in Syria. In recent years, the Syrian government renamed one of the streets of Aleppo after Cardinal Agagianian to honor his efforts.

Agagianian was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope Pius XII with the title of Cardinal-Priest of San Bartolomeo all’Isola in 1946. He participated in the papal conclave of 1958, following the death of Pius XII, and received a large number of votes, eventually approaching the majority needed for election. This was confirmed by Pope John XXIII, the elected pope.
Pope John XXIII standing to the right of Cardinal Agagianian at the Second Vatican Council
John XXIII appointed Cardinal Agagianian as a member of the leading body of the Second Vatican Council, where he was a member of the presidency board from 1963-1965. Agagianian was Pro-Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith from 1958-1960 and full Prefect from 1960-1970. In 1962 he resigned from his position of Armenian Catholic Patriarch.

After the death of John XXIII, Agagianian participated in the conclave of 1963, which elected Pope Paul VI. He was rumored to have been actually elected, but declined to accept. In 1970 he was elevated to the order of Cardinal-Bishops as Cardinal-Bishop of Albano.

Seven months after this elevation, Cardinal Gregorio Aghagianian passed away in Rome on May 16, 1971, aged 75, from cancer. He was buried at the Armenian church of San Nicola da Tolentino, the same place where he was consecrated bishop thirty-six years earlier.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (

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Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Pronouns Are Not Always Necessary
Imagine that you come across the following paragraph: “A young man gets hurt. He goes to the hospital. He is cured by a doctor. He comes out from the hospital. He stops a taxi and goes home. After taking a painkiller, he goes to sleep. The next day, he feels better and goes to work.”

As you may notice, the narration required the use of six pronouns (“he”), one for each sentence. (Of course, we can use connectives like “and” to avoid repetition, but we are not discussing the accurate style of the English sentences here.) This is something common and unavoidable in English. However, it is not the common rule for the Armenian language. Unlike English or French, if you are talking in the first person, for instance, you do not need to say “I” in every single sentence. Armenian, like Spanish or Arabic, is what linguists call a null-subject language, where the subject may be just implicit. Therefore, instead of using an (ան “he”) in every single sentence of the above mentioned paragraph, you can say it in the following way:

“Yeridasart muh guh viravorvi. Hivantanots g’erta. Pujishgi me goghmeh guh poozhvi. Hivantanotsen g’elle. Taxi me guh getsneh yev doon g’erta. Tegh arneleh yedk, g’erta bargeloo. Hachort oruh, aveli lav guh uzka yev kordzi g’erta.”

(Երիտասարդ մը կը վիրաւորուի։ Հիւանդանոց կ՚երթայ։ Բժիշկի մը կողմէ կը բուժուի։ Հիւանդանոցէն կ՚ելլէ։ Թաքսի մը կը կեցնէ եւ տուն կ՚երթայ։ Դեղ առնելէ ետք, կ՚երթայ պառկելու։ Յաջորդ օրը, աւելի լաւ կը զգայ եւ գործի կ՚երթայ)։

As you see, there was not a single pronoun in the paragraph. Of course, you may include one or two, if you feel it necessary. But that is up to you and your personal stylistic preferences. 

This does not mean, of course, that you can suppress the use of pronouns. You should use them when you want to emphasize something or you want to avoid any kind of confusion. For instance, if you needed to translate Leonardo DiCaprio’s famous sentence from Titanic, “I am the king of the world!”, then it would be better to translate it Yes ashkharhi takavorn em (Ես աշխարհի թագաւորն եմ) and not Ashkarhi takavorn em (Աշխարհի թագաւորն եմ), because he wanted to emphasized the “I” first and then the fact of being... “the king of the world.”

As we have said many other times, if Armenian is not your native language and you are learning it, then you need to get the “feeling” of the language, which is different from the “feeling” of the language you learned first, in this case, English. Otherwise, you may risk talking... translated English.

Previous entries in “The Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web site (
The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of the Eastern United States is sponsoring the world premiere of “Women of 1915,” a documentary film by award-winning filmmaker Bared Maronian, at Bergen Community College’s Ciccone Theater on Saturday, June 4 at 7:30 pm. Ms. Nora Armani will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. Special guest artist, Hooshere, will participate.

“Women of 1915” is the first documentary ever to unveil the role of Armenian women of the era who lived through the horrors of the first genocide of the 20th century. The documentary highlights the integral role Armenian women played in their respective communities and the heroic, humanitarian women advocates who came to their aid from around the world.

A limited number of seats to the world premiere are available and may be purchased through For further information about the world premiere contact the ARS office, (617) 926-3801.
SIAMANTO ACADEMY—Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: or 212-689-7810

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. LaGuardia Plaza Hotel, 104-04 Ditmars Boulevard, East Elmhurst, New York.

May 15—“Artsakh is Ours” concert presented by St. Illuminator Cathedral’s “Huyser” Music Ensemble and featuring “Armenstring” Ensemble. John Pashalian Hall, 221 E. 27th Street, New York City, 8 pm. Reservations/Information: 212-689-5880.

May 15—The Armenian community of Connecticut presents a talk on current events by Stepan Piligian. Topic: “Nagorno-Karabkah (Artsakh): The Cause of Armenian Self-Determination; A Recent History and Prospects for Peace.” West Hartford Public Library, Noah Webster Library, 20 South Main Street, West Hartford, Connecticut 06107. Reception 2:30 pm; lecture 3:00 pm.

May 21—Friends of Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School (HMADS), Annual Gala, North Hills Country Club, Manhasset, New York. Educating today’s Armenian American students remains our first priority. Join us in the festivities and help ensure the future of our Armenian School. For reservations/information: 718-225-4826.

May 21—Armenian Relief Society New Jersey Shakeh Chapter, Concert of Patriotic Songs featuring Karnig Sarkissian and his band. Guest speaker: Dr. Nyree Derderian, Vice Chair, ARS Central Executive Board. Sts. Vartanantz Church Hall, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey, 7:30 pm. Admission: (Mezza / cash bar) $65.00; children 4-12, $45. RSVP: Call/text 201-417-0204 (Ani); email

May 22—Book Presentation by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian, John Pashalian Hall at St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 E. 27th Street, New York City, 8 pm. Reservations/Information: 212-689-5880.
June 3—“An Evening of Poetic Songs,” a concert by Berge Turabian, “Revisiting My Songs”; also featuring Ani Djirdjirian. John Pashalian Hall at St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 E. 27th Street, New York City, 8 pm. Reservations/Information: 212-689-5880.

June 4—Premier of “Women of 1915,” a documentary by Bared Maronian. Sponsored by the Armenian Relief Society of Eastern United States, Ciccone Theater at Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, New Jersey, at 7:30 pm. Reception will follow the program. Tickets $30 (advance purchase); $35 (at door). Contact: Sonia (917-679-6992); Diana (201-790-0397).

July 3-10—St. Gregory of Datev Summer Institute at St. Mary of Providence Center, Elverson, Pennsylvania. Sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the summer program offers a unique weeklong Christian educational program for youth. For information and registration, please visit the Prelacy’s website at or contact the AREC office at 212-689-7810 or

May 22—Ladies Guild of St. Stephen’s Church, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain, Connecticut, present “Sandwiches and Bingo” following church services. All proceeds will go to Artsakh.

June 5—Sunday School commencement, Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey.

June 12—Nareg Armenian School Year-End Program, Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey.

June 19—Father’s Day Picnic sponsored by Sts. Vartanantz Church Sunday School, on church grounds, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey.

June 27—Book Presentation and Reception in honor of Pulitzer Prize winner Professor Peter Balakian, at John Pashalian Hall, Saint Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street. Watch for details.

August 14—Annual Picnic, Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, News Jersey, at the Wild Duck Pond, Ridgewood, New Jersey, following the Badarak.

October 9—SAVE THE DATE. Special event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the enthronement of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. Details will follow.

October 22—SAVE THE DATE. Armenian Friends of America presents Hye Kef 5, a 5-hour dance, 7 pm to midnight with buffet; Andover Windham, 123 Old River Road, featuring musicians Onnik and Ara Dinkjian, Johnny Berberian, Mal Barsamian, Jason Naroian and Paul Mooradian, with proceeds benefiting area Armenian churches. Advance tickets before September 1, $55, call either John Arzigian (603) 560-3826; Sharke Der Apkarian, (978) 808-0598; Lucy Sirmaian, (978) 683-9121, or Peter Gulezian, (978) 375-1616.

November 4, 5, 6—Annual Bazaar and Food Festival of Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey. Live entertainment Friday and Saturday; children’s activities; vendors; homemade Manti, Kufte, Sou Buereg, Choreg, and more. Traditional Khavourma dinner on Sunday. Extensive Messe and dessert menu for your Thanksgiving table available for take-out.
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