APRIL 16, 2015
Centennial commemorations of the Armenian Genocide are taking place throughout the world. The national observance in the United States includes special events that will take place over a three-day period (May 7, 8, 9) in Washington, DC, that includes an ecumenical prayer service, a Pontifical Divine Liturgy, a memorial concert, and an awards banquet honoring those who helped the survivors. The Catholicoi, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, will be present to preside over the events.

The National Commemorative Committee announced last week that Paul Ignatius (Ignatiosian) will be one of the main speakers at the banquet that will take place on May 9 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington, DC. Mr. Ignatius has served in a number of important positions in government and industry including Secretary of the Navy and Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Lyndon B. Johnson; Assistant Secretary of the Army under President John F. Kennedy; and president of the Washington Post. Currently he is a trustee of the George C. Marshall Foundation, and a member of the Federal City Council and Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. His ancestors are from Agin, near Kharpert. Main speakers also include Ambassador Edward Djerejian and journalist Lara Setrakian. Mr. Djeredjian served eight U.S. presidents from Presidents John F. Kennedy to William Clinton, and also served as ambassador to Syria and Israel. Ms. Setrakian covered the 2011 Egyptian Revolution for Bloomberg television. She is a reporter for ABC News and a freelancer for Bloomberg TV.

For Listing of Events in Washington, DC and New York City click here

For more information about the national observances in Washington go to www.armeniangenocidecentennial.org

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the martyrs will be canonized at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in Armenia on Thursday, April 23, with His Holiness Karekin II and His Holiness Aram I presiding. At the symbolic hour of 19:15 (7:15 pm EDT), all the church bells throughout Armenia will ring one hundred times. Church bells will also toll in Armenian churches throughout the world as well as many other Christian denominations that are joining in honoring the newly canonized martyrs of 1915.

By Tom Vartabedian

Armenian churches throughout the world are about to canonize the Armenian Martyrs of 1915 into sainthood. And what better way is there to dedicate the momentous occasion than with sharagans (hymns) composed by the late Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian, a gifted musician/author from Lebanon and member of the Cilician Brotherhood who lived from 1947-2004.

The declaration of the new saints takes place April 23 at Holy Etchmiadzin by the two Catholicoi, His Holiness Aram I and His Holiness Karekin II, and is expected to lend new vibrancy to the already rich liturgical calendar of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The book containing all 1,166 canonical sharagans of the Armenian Church -- known as Sharagnots -- dates back in time to St. Mesrop Mashtots, inventor of the Armenian Alphabet, in 404 AD. It was slowly compiled over the centuries of Armenian literature's "Golden Age." The last recorded hymn in the Sharagnots was composed in 1478 by the monk Giragos --- until now.

“No new saints have been added to the list in more than 500 years,” confirmed Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, pastor, St. Gregory Church, North Andover. “The liturgical calendar hasn’t been touched in all that time. This is a perfect opportunity, as we recognize the martyrs during this centennial year, to once again welcome new liturgical developments into our Church life.”

The canon of hymns dedicated to the martyrs of April were written by Archbishop Aznavorian (words and music) and published by the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in 1990 for the 75th anniversary of the genocide. Now, 25 years later, it’s being revisited for use as the official canon of hymns of the genocide martyrs. To read the entire story click here.
Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian and John Boloian work on the recording of the hymns for the canonized martyrs.

We sadly announce the passing of Dr. Ara Caprielian, a faithful member of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, a past member of the Board of Trustees, and a delegate to the National Representative Assembly. Dr. Caprielian died on April 14. He is survived by his wife Arevik and son Armen. A National (Azkayin) Funeral will take place officiated by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar of the Prelacy.

The Wake service will take place Sunday, April 19, from 6 to 9 pm (service at 7 pm) at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 E. 27th Street, New York City. Funeral services will take place Monday, April 20, at 10 am at the Cathedral, followed by Interment service at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Flushing, New York.

In-lieu-of-flowers donations may be made to St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, Hamazkayin Eastern Region, or ARF Armen Garo Gomideh.

Dr. Caprielian was the son of genocide survivors and was born and raised in New York City. He earned his Ph.D. in political science from New York University. He served in the New York City Public School system until his retirement. He was an active member of the Armenian community and was a member of the ARF and Hamazkayin. He also served as principal of St. Illuminator’s Armenian Day School for two years, and was a member of the Armenian National Education Committee for several years. During his first visit to Yerevan in 1965 he met Arevik Shavoyan who would become his wife in 1972. 

Asdvadz Hokeen Lousavoreh.

We mourn the death of Virginia May Kafafian who passed on April 13 in Michigan. May served as secretary and administrative assistant at the Prelacy offices in New York for many years in the early 1970s. She was a devoted worker at a time when the Prelacy staff was at a minimum and she was responsible for many duties that she completed efficiently and with good humor.

May is survived by her husband, Khatchig Kafafian, and children Anne, Levon, and Arda; and sister Barbara (Andrew) Kourajian. Funeral services will take place on Tuesday, April 21, 9-10:30 am. Interment will follow at Cedar Grove Cemetery, Flushing, New York, where she will be buried alongside her parents. In lieu of flowers may be made to ARS “Women of 1915.”

May she rest in peace.
The European Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution calling on Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide by “coming to terms with its past.” The text also calls on “those EU member states that have not yet done so and EU institutions to recognize it.”

Pope Francis sparked a diplomatic row last Sunday when he referred to the killings as “the first genocide of the 20th century.” His remarks prompted Turkey to summon the Vatican’s ambassador to the Holy See and to recall its own. The European Parliament defended the Pope and commended the message the pontiff delivered at a special Mass for the Centennial of the Genocide.

An Armenian Khatchkar (Stone Cross) was re-installed at the United Nations headquarters in New York yesterday. The 12th century khatchkar, a gift from Armenia to the United Nations, was removed during the renovation of the UN building. Now that the renovation is complete it was returned to its initial location. Dr. Helen Evans, Metropolitan Museum Curator for Byzantine Art at the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, who helped in bringing the khatchkar to the UN offered remarks about the faithfulness of the Armenians to their Christian roots and noted that even the khatchkar holds the manifestation of the faith of a people.

Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Permanent Representative to the UN from the Republic of Armenia, welcomed the many guests who came to participate in this joyous occasion. He spoke about the agreement with the UN that the khatchkar will remain there as long as the UN exists.  He noted that this khatchkar is from the Monastery of Geghard and is famed for its possession of the lance that pierced the side of Christ at his crucifixion.
Ambassador Mnatsakanyan speaks in front of the 12th century Khatchkar with clergy, from left, Archbishop Khajag, Archbishop Oshagan, Bishop Anoushavan, and Father Simeon.
The Emergence of the Armenian Diocese of New Julfa in the Seventeenth Century, by Vazken Ghougassian, Executive Director of the Eastern Prelacy, was translated and published in Iran this month.

The book is based on Dr. Ghougassian’s PhD dissertation defended at Columbia University in April 1995 that was accepted with distinction. The book was published in 1998 by Scholars Press in the University of Pennsylvania Armenian Texts and Studies Series. The volume received glowing reviews and is considered a valuable source for the history of the New Julfa diocese.

The Persian translation was done by Saeed Karimpur and published by Tehran’s Amir Kabir Publishers. The 430 page hardcover volume contains 32 full-color illustrations.
Last week, ANEC Executive Director Dr. Vartan Matiossian participated in a cycle of lectures in Armenian on the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, held at the auditorium of the Surp Hagop Armenian School in Montreal and co-organized by Surp Hagop Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Education Department of the Canadian Prelacy, the Sanahin chapter of Hamazkayin and the literary supplement of the Horizon Weekly. The cycle was sponsored by His Eminence Bishop Meghrig Parikian, Prelate of the Armenians of Canada.  The lectures, in three successive nights, featured speakers from Montreal, New York, Lisbon, and Paris: Raffi Ajemian and Fr. Karnig Koyounian (April 9), Dr. Vartan Matiossian and Dr. Marc Nichanian (April 10), and Dr. Krikor Beledian and Archbishop Norvan Zakarian (April 11).

Dr. Matiossian’s lecture, entitled “The Great Crime and the Meaning of Medz Yeghern,” presented the results of his research about the etymology and meaning of the word yeghern in Armenian and its relation to 1915, as well as his observations about the recent developments in its use.

On April 11, Dr. Matiossian visited the Surp Hagop Armenian School and had talks with the eleventh and eighth grades, discussing issues of Armenian identity and language, and their relation with the forthcoming commemoration.
Participants of the lecture.
The 29th annual summer program for youth ages 13-18 is scheduled to be held at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from June 28—July 5, 2015. 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 by clicking the image above (armenianprelacy.org/arec/datev) or contact the AREC office at 212-689-7810 or arec@armenianprelacy.org.
Note: Beginning April 13 and continuing until Pentecost (May 24), each day four Gospels are read in the following order: (1) Morning—Luke; (2) Midday—John; (3) Evening—Matthew; (4) Evening dismissal—Mark.

Bible readings for Sunday, April 19, Green Sunday are: 1) Luke 6:12-45; 2) Acts 9:23-31; 1 Peter 2:1-10; John 2:23-3:12) Matthew 8:18-9:8; 4) Mark 3:6-12.

When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no on e to testify about anyone, for he himself knew what was in everyone.

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things.” (John 2:23-3:12)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
Easter Sunday is followed by a period of fifty days (Hinoonk) during which there are no fasting days and no saints’ days. This period from the Resurrection to Pentecost (Hokekaloost) is dedicated to the glorification of the Resurrection. Each of the seven Sundays of Hinoonk has a special name. Last Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter, was New Sunday.

This Sunday, April 19, is Green Sunday (Ganach Giragi), also called Sunday of the World Church (Ashkharhamadoor), that commemorates the establishment in Jerusalem of the first Christian church where Christ met with the Apostles in the upper room.

Green Sunday most probably originates from an ancient folk holiday celebrating spring. Our forefathers, seeing mother earth bloom after long winter months, glorified the Creator with an act of thanksgiving and celebrated by decorating the church and themselves with greenery. The reawakening of nature is symbolic of the Resurrection. Green is the color of life, freshness, and promise. After a barren winter we are filled with hope, life, and love.

Green Sunday is the perfect time for us to remember and reinforce our obligations to be good stewards of the earth and to be caretakers of the gifts given to us by God.

Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian accompanied by Dn. Kevork Hadjian visited the Armenian Home for the Aged in Flushing, New York, on April 15, where Dn. Hadjian performed a concert for the residents. At the end Der Mesrob presented “Forget-Me-Not” pins—the symbol of the Centennial of the Genocide—to all the residents and staff members.
Dn. Kevork Hadjian entertains the residents.
Der Mesrob presents the Forget-Me-Not pins.
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Thank you for your help
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Uruguay Recognizes the Armenian Genocide (April 20, 1965)
As it is well known, the fiftieth anniversary of the Medz Yeghern, the Armenian genocide, became the event that gathered Armenians worldwide around public claim for recognition of what had happened in 1915 and for the Armenian Cause.

Believe it or not, the small community of Uruguay was at the forefront of the struggle. Around 1963 the young generation came together to commemorate the month of Armenian culture in October, and the next year it joined its voice to the campaign in neighboring Argentina against the issuance of a postal stamp by the Argentinean postal service that would commemorate the 100th anniversary of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. These activities became the driving force behind the decision of young people in a community politically divided as elsewhere in the Diaspora to come together and organize the commemoration on April 24 in a unified way. They created the Coordinating Committee of Armenian Youth Organizations of Uruguay (Mesa Coordinadora de Organizaciones Juveniles Armenias del Uruguay), which was integrated by five organizations belonging to different political orientations of the community.

The Coordinating Committee organized the commemoration of 1964, with an imposing “March of Silence” through the streets of Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, which was widely commented in the press and had its impact over Armenians all over the world. It invited to a general assembly of 19 organizations (the entire spectrum of the community) that in January 1965 issued a communiqué, stating that, “The Armenian Cause belongs to all Armenians and is not the domain of any faction,” and that “Political organizations, religious institutions, and all organizations existing in the community must set to work around the Armenian Cause.”

The intensive activities carried by the Coordinating Committee, including lectures, press releases, PR work with the Uruguayan press, and a competition of posters for the 50th anniversary, were crowned by its lobby efforts.
These political efforts led to a commemoration by the Municipal Council of Montevideo on April 27, 1965, which was preceded, most importantly, by the passing of a law recognizing the genocide.
The draft bill was written by Representative Enrique Martínez Moreno, and introduced on January 29, 1965 to the Constitution and Codes Committee of the House Representatives, with the signature of six co-sponsoring representatives of different political parties. The bill stated:

Article 1. The following 24th of April is declared "Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Martyrs," in honor of the members of that nationality slain in 1915.
Article 2. The stations of the Official Radio Service must on that date conduct part of their broadcast in honor of the mentioned nation.
Article  3. Armenian descendants who are public servants are authorized to miss work on the mentioned date.

The word genocide was not mentioned in the draft bill, but it appeared mentioned several times to legally qualify the extermination of 1915 as “one of the most terrible genocides that history has known,” in the introductory text of the draft, adding that “the synthesis of one of the most brutal genocides is more than a million assassinated persons.”

The draft bill was discussed by the House of Representatives on April 6, 1965. A proposal to add an article naming a school of Montevideo with the name of Armenia mustered the necessary number of votes, while another proposal to devote a school class to refer to the genocide did not. The draft bill was approved with the addition of article 4 (“The 2nd Grade School, No. 156, in the department of Montevideo, is designated with the name of ‘Armenia’”) and went to the Senate. The project was not treated on April 7 and was delayed until April 20, when it was treated with urgent character and approved with unanimous vote. The law 13,326 was signed by Washington Beltran, President of the National Council of Government (Uruguay had a collegiate executive in those years), and issued on April 22, 1965. The enthusiasm that the approval of the law created in the Uruguayan Armenian community inspired a massive assistance to the commemorative acts from April 23-28.

Petty politics caused the demise of the Coordinating Committee shortly thereafter. The Armenian community would fall into decades of new political divisions that seem to be on their way to solution on the eve of the Centennial. It is noteworthy that on March 2004, the Uruguayan Parliament passed law 17,752 that extended the commemoration to every April 24, repeating the text of 1965 without the use of the word genocide. Nevertheless, on April 7, 2015, the Postal Service of Uruguay issued a stamp on the centennial of the Armenian genocide and Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa underscored that, “Uruguay was the first country to recognize the Armenian Genocide by law 50 years ago, a transcendental step in a struggle that continues to the present day.”

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org)
The Forty Days of Musa Dagh
By Franz Werfel
Translated by Geoffrey Dunlop and James Reidel

This is the newest edition of this masterpiece classic that includes the parts that had been dropped from the original version. It is the story of how the inhabitants of several Armenian villages chose not to obey the deportation order of the Turkish government and instead took refuge in Musa Dagh (Mountain of Moses). They repelled Turkish soldiers and police during the summer of 1915 while hoping the Allies would come to their rescue. A compelling story.

892 pages, $22.95 plus shipping and handling.

To order contact the Prelacy Bookstore by phone (212-689-7810) or email (books@armenianprelacy.org).
(Pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York)

This week’s podcast: Interview with Karen Jehanian and more.

Broadcast clips on the Pope (with some Kardashian coverage as well):
4/12: CNN News Room (first clip on TVEyes) – this one explicitly asks whether the Pope might walk back his statements


As a bonus, here’s Rep. Dold on CSPAN on the resolution:

By Chris Bohjalian, The Washington Post
April 15, 2015

By Seth Kugel, The New York Times
April 15, 2015

By Gregory J. Wallace
April 14, 2015

By Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe
April 15, 2015

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey
April 14, 2015

By Simon Heffer, International Business Times
April 13, 2015

By H.A. Goodman, The Huffington Post
April 13, 2015

By Kelsey Miller, Refinery29
April 10, 2015

By Noah Bierman, LA Times 
April 10, 2015
April 1-30—Photography exhibit by Tom Vartabedian commemorating the Centennial at Haverhill (Massachusetts) Public Library, 99 Main Street, showing images of the country and its people, including scenes of the eternal flame at Tzizernagapert. The exhibit is next to the Children’s Room in the upstairs gallery.

April 21—The Armenian Poetry Project Presents, “Commemorating the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide: A Reading in Remembrance,” Holy Cross Church, 580 West 187th Street, New York City, 7 pm. For information: Lola Koundakjian, armenianpoetryproject@gmail.com.

April 23—Canonization of the Armenian Martyrs of 1915 in Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenia.

April 24—Centennial Memorial Dinner, sponsored by Providence ARF, hosted by the Armenian Cultural Association of America, Inc., Omni Providence Hotel, One West Exchange Street, Providence, Rhode Island. Cocktails 6 pm; dinner 7 pm. Emcee: Honorable Scott Avedisian, Mayor of Warwick; guest speaker, Marian Mesrobian MacCurdy, author of “Sacred Justice: The Voices and Legacy of the Armenian Operation Nemesis.” $50 per person. Reserve by email: acaa.prov.ri@gmail.com or by phone: Raffi Rachdouni 401-226-2305; Paula Burke 401-282-0459.

April 25—Connecticut Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day at the Connecticut State Capitol at 11 am. Keynote speaker: Noted author Chris Bohjalian.

April 25—Armenian Genocide Centennial commemoration sponsored by the Armenian National Committee of Merrimack Valley (Massachusetts), 10 am at Lowell City Hall, following a procession from John Street, led by the Armenian American Veterans. Participants are asked to gather at 9:30 am. Luncheon buffet to follow with the showing of a film.

April 26—Centennial commemoration of Genocide. Joint united Divine Liturgy at St. Vartan Cathedral, New York City. Celebrant, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian; homilist, Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. To be followed by Times Square gathering “100 Years to Remember.”

April 27—“Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide,” by Drew University Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study in Madison, New Jersey at 7 pm. Testimony of Andranik Vartanian (1900-2007), presented by his daughter Susan Vartanian Barba; “Undoing Denial: The Armenian Genocide and Art” presented by Neery E. Melkonian; Concert by the Armenian folk group, Zulal, an a cappella trio will present Armenian village folk melodies. Free and open to the public. RSVP encouraged: (973) 408-3600 or ctrholst@drew.edu.

May 7, 8, 9—National Armenian Genocide Centennial Commemoration in Washington, DC, organized under the patronage of the Diocese and the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Presided by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia. May 7, Ecumenical Service at the National Cathedral, 7 pm; May 8, A Journey Through Armenian Music at the Music Center at Strathmore, 7:30 pm; May 8 & 9, Exhibits, Films, and Events at various venues; May 9, Divine Liturgy at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 10 am; May 9, A Time to Give Thanks, banquet, 5:30 pm, Marriott Marquis.

May 10 to June 4—Pontifical Visit of His Holiness Aram I to the Eastern Prelacy.

May 12—“Anatolia, Land of Armenians Until the 1915 Armenian Genocide,” presentation by Margaret Tellalian-Kyrkostas, executive director of the Anthropology Museum of the People of New York and the Armenian Cultural Educational Resource Center Gallery at Queens College, 7 pm in the Lapham Meeting Room at the Port Washington Public Library.

June 3-6—National Representative Assembly hosted by St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts.

June 18—Annual Cigar Night and Dinner, Men’s Club of St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, North Andover, Massachusetts. Drawing of Super Raffle of 2015 Mercedes Benz-CLA 250 will take place. Raffle tickets can be purchased online (saintgregory.org/organizations/mens-club).

June 28-July 5—29th annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program for youth ages 13-18 at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). For information and registration, please visit the Prelacy’s website at armenianprelacy.org/arec/datev or contact the AREC office at 212-689-7810 or arec@armenianprelacy.org.

July 18—Blessing of the Holy Muron (Oil) by His Holiness Aram I, at the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon. For details click here.

October 5-9—Clergy gathering of Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies.

November 15—90th Anniversary Banquet, St. Stephen’s Church, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain, Connecticut. Watch for details.
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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