July 24, 2014
The following announcement was released to the press by the National Centennial Committee to Commemorate the Armenian Genocide.
Leaders of the Armenian Church in the United States have joined to plan a special remembrance of the Armenian Genocide next year. Commemorating the passage of 100 years since the start of the first genocide of the 20th century, a schedule of events including an ecumenical prayer service at the National Cathedral, a memorial concert, public exhibitions and a Pontifical Divine Liturgy will take place from May 7 to 10, 2015, in Washington, DC.
His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, will both journey to the United States to lead and participate in the commemorative events.
A National Centennial Committee has been formed under the auspices of the Diocese and the Prelacy to oversee and guide the commemorative activities. The Committee, chaired by Dr. Noubar Afeyan, Boston-based entrepreneur and philanthropist, includes leaders from Armenian religious, political, and civic organizations from across the United States. The Committee includes Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America; Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America; Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Legate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.
“We are organizing these events in the nation’s capital in order to involve the country’s political leaders, raise awareness in the non-Armenian community, and honor countries and individuals that have helped Armenians during and after the Genocide,” said committee chair Dr. Afeyan. “We are honored that Catholicos Karekin II and Catholicos Aram I will be among us, blessing the occasion, as together we stand up for the Armenian presence in America and in the world,” he added.
The National Centennial Committee has met several times and is working together with Washington D.C.-based sub-committees to plan the various events and activities.  The Committee is working closely with the Central Commemorative Committees for the United States and Armenia to coordinate the activities.

The Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) will sponsor a teachers’ seminar to be held on August 23, at the Prelacy headquarters in New York, from 10 am-4 pm. All schools and teachers are invited to participate. The program will have the following lectures:
Sossi Essajanian: “Supporting the Next Generation: Early Childhood Development, Best Practices, and the Armenian Language Teacher”; Anahid Garmiryan: “To Be or Not to Be a Teacher: the Challenges of Bilingualism”
For more information, please email ANEC at anec@armenianprelacy.org or call (212) 689-7231/7810.

The Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC), jointly sponsored by the Prelacy and the Armenian Relief Society, sponsored for many years the Siamanto Academy for young adults. After a recent hiatus, the Academy is ready to resume its activities. The Academy offers courses on Armenian history, culture, and contemporary issues. Classes will take place on a monthly basis, every second Saturday, beginning in September at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church (Ridgefield, New Jersey), from 2 pm-5 pm. For additional information, please contact ANEC at anec@armenianprelacy.org.
Bishop Anoushavan prepares to honor Chris Bohjalian’s newest book with a “wine blessing.”
The latest novel by Chris Bohjalian, Close Your Eyes. Hold Hands, was introduced at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, on Sunday, July 13. The book was honored with the traditional “Kinetzon,” by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General of the Prelacy.

Bohjalian’s works have been critically acclaimed, and a number of his novels were adapted for television and Hollywood. His 2012 The Sandcastle Girls about the Armenian Genocide was on the New York Times best seller list for a number of weeks.
Bible readings for Sunday, July 27, Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, (Aylakerputiunm / Vartavar) are Wisdom 7:25-8:4; Zechariah 14:16-21; 1 John 1:1-7; Matthew 16:13-17:13.
Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud over-shadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” And the disciples asked him, “Why then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He replied, “Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they do not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:1-13)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
This Saturday, July 26, the Armenian Church commemorates the Old Ark of the Covenant and the Feast of the New Holy Church. This combined commemoration takes place on the Saturday prior to the Feast of the Transfiguration. Celebrating the old and the new shows the perpetuity of the church. God revealed Himself to humankind gradually through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and the prophets. The church existed from the beginning, and that is why the Old Testament is accepted as part of the Holy Scriptures and recognized as a preamble to the New Testament. The hymn designated for this day proclaims: “Who from the beginning established your church with wisdom, O, Father of Wisdom, who revealed to Moses upon Sinai.”

This Sunday, July 27, the Armenian Church observes one of its five major feasts, the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ (Aylakerputiunm / Vartavar). This Feast is observed fourteen weeks after Easter, and therefore can fall between June 28 and August 1. It commemorates an episode in the New Testament recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Peter. (See today’s Bible reading for the text from the Gospel according to St. Matthew).
The Transfiguration took place on the “holy mountain” (believed to be Mt. Tabor) where Jesus went with John, James and Peter to pray. As He was praying, “His face shone like the sun and His garments became white as light.” The Patriarch Moses and Prophet Elijah appeared at His side. It was at this moment that His appearance was “transfigured” revealing himself as God to His disciples as a voice from above said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”
The pre-Christian festival, Vartavar (Festival of Roses), was joined with this new Christian holiday. Armenians would decorate the temple of the goddess of Asdghig (goddess of love, beauty, fertility, and water) with roses, release doves, and engage in water games on this pre-Christian holiday. St. Gregory the Illuminator combined Vartavar with Transfiguration. The fifth century historian Yeghishe wrote the prayer that is recited in church on this feast: “O Lord, bless the harvest of this year and defend from all the perils, and may Your right hand, O Lord, protect us for the whole year.”
Vartavar became a traditional day of pilgrimage to churches named in honor of St. John the Baptist. The most popular destination was the Monastery of Sourp Garabed of Moush, founded by Gregory the Illuminator in the province of Taron near Moush. (Garabed means Forerunner, referring to John the Baptist). The monastery was large and expansive and built like a fortress in the mountains. More than one thousand pilgrims could be accommodated. After 1915 the complex ceased to exist. The monastery was destroyed by the Turkish army, and the ravages of time, weather and scavengers completed its destruction. The once large and thriving Armenian monastery is now a mass of stone and rubble.
This Sunday is the name day for those named Vartkes, Vartavar, Vart, Vartouhi, Alvart, Sirvart, Nevart, Lousvart, Baidzar, Vartanoush, Vartiter, Varvar.

The Monday after each of the five major feasts of the Armenian Church is a Memorial Day, Remembrance of the Dead.
His Holiness Aram I presided over the 2014 Khatchik Babikian Graduation in Armenian Studies and Distribution of Inter-School competition awards on Sunday, July 6, following the Holy Liturgy. The ceremony recognized the winners of the inter-school competition in Armenian language and culture and the graduates of the two-year intensive course in Western Armenian language and culture.
Sarkis Guiragosian, Director of the Department of Armenian Studies of the Catholicosate, welcomed everyone and spoke ab9out the unique contribution of these two activities of the Khatchik Babikian Foundation for the Armenian community ihn Lebanon and the Diaspora. Silva Bakarian-Karaoghlanian thanked His Holiness on behalf of the graduates and award winners.
After the distribution of diplomas and awards, His Holiness addressed the audience. He congratulated the students and thanked the families, directors, and teachers for their commitment to safeguarding the western Armenian language and culture. “The message of this gathering today is clear: the Armenian school is alive and will continue its difficult task of sustaining western Armenian, while responding to its linguistic changes. In this way it remains the relevant means of transmitting our spiritual, cultural, and historical heritage and documenting of our new experiences,” His Holiness said.

During the past week Catholicos Aram met with several religious and political leaders at his summer residence in Bikfaya, including the following:
Jean-Louis Kordahi, a former member of the Lebanese government, who discussed projects related to the property of the Catholicosate in Byblos and issues linked to the postponement of presidential elections in Lebanon.
Archbishop Rafael Minassian, Prelate of the Armenian Catholic Church, who informed His Holiness of the activities of his church in Armenia, as well as their planned conference on “Christian Communication in Armenia: Organization and Networking.” The Archbishop invited His Holiness to send his representative to the conference.
Matthias Wilkes, governor of Bergstrasse, Germany, and Dr. Steven Brian Fera, Honorary Ambassador of Germany to Armenia, visited His Holiness to discuss issues related to the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Self Portrait, 1874
Birth of Ivan Aivazovsky
(July 29, 1817)
Ivan Aivazovsky is considered one of the greatest marine painters in history. Famous Russian story writer Anton Chekhov popularized the winger word “worthy of Aivazovsky’s brush,” used for “describing something ineffably lovely."
Aivazovsky was born Hovhannes Aivazian on July 29, 1817, in Feodosia, a port on the Black Sea in Crimea. He received parochial education at the local St. Sargis Armenian Church and was taught drawing by a local architect. He attended the Russian gymnasium of Simferopol from 1830-1833 and then studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts from 1833-1837, graduating with gold medal two years in advance.
The promising painter was sent by the Academy in 1840 to study in Europe. He first traveled to Venice, where his brother Gabriel was a member of the Mekhitarist Congregation (he would leave the congregation and return to the Armenian Apostolic Church in the 1850s). Aivazovsky studied Armenian manuscripts and became familiar with Armenian art. After a four year sojourn in Italy and France, with visits to half a dozen European countries and prolific exhibitions, he returned to Russia in 1844.
Upon his return, he was appointed academician of the Imperial Academy of Arts, from where he had graduated seven years before, and appointed the official artist of the Russian Navy. After traveling to the Aegean Sea and Constantinople in 1845, he settled in his hometown, Feodosia. The Academy gave him a title of professor of seascape painting in 1847, while the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences elected him a member in the same year.
He married English governess Julia Graves in 1848 and had four daughters. They separated in 1860 and divorced in 1877 with permission from the Armenian Church, since Graves was a Lutheran.
Aivazovsky would receive many honors throughout his life: first non-French artist to receive the Legion d’Honneur in France (1857), Order of the Medjidie (Ottoman Empire, 1857), honorary member of the Moscow Art Society (1857), Order of the Redeemer (Greece, 1859), Order of St. Vladimir (Russia, 1865), Order of Osmanieh (Ottoman Empire, 1874), member of the Academy of Arts of Florence (Italy, 1876), honorary member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Stuttgart (Germany, 1878), and others. He held fifty-five solo exhibitions over the course of his career in the Russian Empire, Europe, and the United States (New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, 1893), and participated in many collective exhibitions. He was one of the most prolific artists of his time: he created around 6,000 paintings during his almost sixty-year career. The vast majority of his works are seascapes, but he often depicted battle scenes, Armenian themes, and portraiture. He never painted his pictures from nature, but from memory. His artistic memory was legendary. The Ninth Wave (1850, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg) is generally considered his masterpiece.
American Shipping off the Rock of Gibraltar, 1873
Aivazovsky visited Russian Armenia for the first time in 1868. The next year, he participated in the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal in Egypt, and became the first artist to paint the Canal. He continued his travels abroad during the next three decades, including a trip to the United States in 1892. In 1880, he opened an art gallery in his Feodosia house, which became the third museum in the Russian Empire, after the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg and the Tretyakov Gallery of Moscow. Two years later, he remarried to a young Armenian widow, Anna Burnazian. He said that he “became closer to [his] nation” by marrying her. His career across the civil ranks of Russian government reached its highest position in 1896 when, at the age of 79, he was promoted to the rank of full privy councillor.
Aivazovsky was deeply affected by the Hamidian massacres of 1894 and 1896. He painted a number of works on the subject. More symbolically, he threw the medals given to him by the Ottoman Sultan into the sea and told the Turkish consul in Feodosia: "Tell your bloodthirsty master that I've thrown away all the medals given to me, here are their ribbons, send it to him and if he wants, he can throw them into the seas painted by me." He spent his last years in his hometown, to which he contributed many efforts to its improvement.
Aivazovsky passed away on May 2, 1900, in Feodosia and was buried in the courtyard of the St. Sargis Church. A quote in Classical Armenian from Movses Khorenatsi’s History of Armenia is engraved on his tombstone: “Born as a mortal, left an immortal memory of himself.
The Prelacy Bookstore has an extensive collection of books (in Armenian and English) about the Genocide including histories, historical novels, memoirs, eye witness testimonies, essays, and poetry. From now through next April we will feature one or two books each week from the Bookstore’s collection.
A new release:
The Grandchildren
The Hidden Legacy of ‘Lost’ Armenians in Turkey

By Ayse Gul Altinay and Fethiye Cetin
Foreword by Gerard Libaridian
Translated by Maureen Freely
The Grandchildren is a collection of testimonies by grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Turkey’s “forgotten Armenians”—the orphans adopted and Islamized by Muslims after the Armenian Genocide. One of the authors, Fethiye Cetin, wrote an earlier memoir titled My Grandmother that disclosed her grandmother’s true Armenian heritage resulted in wide interest in Islamized Armenians that prompted this newly released book.
215 pages, hardcover, $49.95 plus shipping & handling
Պատմութիւն Հալէպի հայոց, հատոր Ա.
Արտաւազդ արք. Սիւրմէեան
Հալէպ, «Կիլիկիա» հրատարակչատուն, 2002
1940ին լոյս տեսած՝ Հալէպի երբեմնի առաջնորդ Արտաւազդ արք. Սիւրմէեանի աշխատութեան վերատպումն է։ Առաջին հատորը լայնածաւալ ներկայացումն է Սուրիոյ բնական, քաղաքական ու տնտեսական աշխարհագրութեան, ինչպէս եւ երկրի պատմութեան՝ սկիզբէն մինչեւ օսմանեան տիրապետութեան հաստատումը։
Գին՝ 20 տոլար (լաթակազմ)
The crises in Syria, including the recent upheaval in Kessab, require our financial assistance Please keep this community in your prayers, your hearts, and your pocketbooks.


Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief
Thank you for your help
July 26—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, Ladies Guild Cooking Class, “Short Cuts to Armenian Cooking,” 11 am, Boereg. $15 for each class; $40 for three classes.
August 3—St. Stephen’s Church of Greater Boston, Annual Picnic at Camp Haiastan, Franklin, Massachusetts. Lunch beginning at 12 noon, includes delicious shish kebab and refreshments. Blessing of Madagh at 3 pm. Live Armenian music.
August 3—Annual Shish-Kebob Picnic and Grape Blessing, St. Paul Church, 645 South Lewis Avenue, Waukegan, Illinois, 12 noon to 4 pm. Armenian dinners and pastries available; dine in or takeout available. For information and/or pre-order requests, 847-244-4573.
August 4—St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, Annual Golf Tournament.
August 10—Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Picnic at Camp Haiastan, 12 noon to 6 pm. Under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. Games and the Bouncing Bubble for children. Delicious shish, losh and chicken kebab dinners. Choreg and Armenian pastries. Live music by Michael Gregian and Ensemble. Madagh and Blessing of the Grapes at 3:300 m with participation of New England clergy. For information: 401-831-6399.
August 10—Annual Church Picnic and Blessing of the Grapes, Holy Trinity Church, 635 Grove Street, Worcester, Massachusetts. Join us for a fun filled day and enjoy our delicious food, music by DJ Shaheen, backgammon tournament, children’s activities. Begins at noon. Admission is free. For information holytrinityaac@gmail.com or 508-852-2414.
August 15-17—Armenian Fest / Blessing of Grapes, All Saints Church, Glenview, Illinois.
August 17—St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, Annual Picnic and Blessing of the Grapes.
August 17—St. Sarkis Church (Dearborn) Grape Blessing Family Fun Picnic at Kensington Park, Kensington, Michigan. Good food, music, biking, soccer, dancing, magician, swimming, playscape, kids games, door prizes, face painting, tavloo tournament and more.
August 17—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Annual Picnic and Blessing of the Grapes, 1-5 pm  at Saddle River County Park, Wild Duck Pond area. Music, delicious Armenian food and desserts, arts and crafts, and playground for children, cards, and tavloo, and more.
August 23—Teachers’ seminar sponsored by the Armenian Education Committee (ANEC), at the Prelacy offices in New York, 10 am to 4 pm. All schools and teachers are invited to participate. Lecturers: Sossi Essajanian, “Supporting the Next Generation: Early Childhood Development, Best Practices, and the Armenian Language Teacher” and Anahid Garmiryan, “To Be or Not to be a Teacher: The Challenges of Bilingualism.” For information: anec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810.
September 7—Picnic Festival, St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts, featuring musicians Leon Janikian, Jason Naroian, Johnny Berberian, and John Arzigian; presentation by Siroun Dance Ensemble of Central Massachusetts. 12:30 to 5:30 pm, church grounds. Shish, losh, and chicken kebab dinners, veggie plates, Armenian pastries, family games and activities.
September 7—St. Stephen’s Church of New Britain and Hartford, Connecticut, Annual Church Picnic after Sunday services will take place at The Quartette Club, 225 Wooster Street, New Britain. Armenian music, dancing, and food.
September 7—Holy Cross Church, Troy, New York, Annual Armenian Picnic, 12pm to 4 pm. Shish Kebob dinner, Lahmajoun for sale, Armenian pastries, live music. For info: skarageozian@gmail.com.
September 14—St. Sarkis Church, 38-65 234th Street, Douglaston, New York, Annual Picnic on the church grounds following church services. Admission is free. Enjoy excellent kebabs and salads. Terrific entertainment for everyone and special activities for children in the “KidZone.” Music, food, and friends…a wonderful afternoon. For information 718-224-2275.
September 18—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, 12th Annual Golf Classic, River Vale Country Club, River Vale, New Jersey. Rain or Shine. 11 am registration and Grilled Lunch Buffet; 1 pm Tee Off. Format: Shotgun Scramble (All player levels welcome). Golf Outing Reservation: $195; limited to first 128 paid golf reservations. Reservation includes: Grilled lunch buffet, dinner banquet, golf, cart, and range balls. Contests and Prizes. Sponsorships available. For information: 201-943-2950.
September 21—Ladies Guild of St. Stephen’s Church of New Britain and Hartford, Connecticut, will host a Tea party at noon in the church hall, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain, Connecticut. Brought back by popular demand. Guest speaker from the Bigelow Tea Company. Goodie bags for all. Raffle prize is being provided by Armeny Custom Jewelry Design.
September 21—St. Gregory Church, Philadelphia, “Designer Bag Bingo” luncheon in Founders’ Hall at 2 pm. Fifteen lucky winners of designer bags, including top labels, Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Laboutin, Judith Leiber, Chanel, and others. Join us for a fun game of Bingo, Chinese auction, and enjoy the lavish Chanel inspired theme and décor, along with champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts. Ticket sales limited. For reservations and information: Cissy DerHagopian 856-313-6848; Donna Walter 484-354-0388.
October 3—St. Sarkis Armenian Church, Douglaston, New York, Saturday School Dinner Dance Gala.
October 19—St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan will ordain sub-deacon Ara Stepanian during the Divine Liturgy and preside over the parish’s 57th Annual Banquet.
November 7 & 8—St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, 58th Armenian Bazaar, 10 am to 9:30 pm at Armenian Cultural & Educational Center, 47 Nichols Avenue, Watertown, Massachusetts. Meals served from 11:30 am to 8:30 pm (take out is available). Enjoy delicious meals, Armenian pastries, gourmet items, arts and crafts, books, raffles, attic treasures. For information: 617-924-7562.
November 21, 22, 23—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Annual Bazaar, Food Festival, and Hantes. Mezze and Kebab dinners (chicken, shish, luleh); dessert table and trays of home-made delicacies; Boutique Booths; Chinese Auction; Supervised Game Room for children; Pre-packaged Monte, Sou Buereg, Kufteh, and Lehmejun; Take-out available; Live Music for dancing and listening. Traditional Kavourma dinner on Sunday served immediately after church service. For information: 201-943-2950.
December 7—Ladies Guild of St. Stephen’s Church of New Britain and Hartford, Connecticut, will host a Wine Tasting Party at noon in the church hall, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain. A wine talk and tasting will be provided by Taylor Brooke Winery, Woodstock, Connecticut, owned by Linda Varjabedian Auger.
Web pages of the parishes can be accessed through the Prelacy’s web site.
To ensure the timely arrival of Crossroads in your electronic mailbox, add email@armenianprelacy.org to your address book.
Items in Crossroads can be reproduced without permission. Please credit Crossroads as the source.
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
138 East 39th Street | New York, NY 10016 US
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