June 18, 2015
His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan issued a circular this week to all parishes in the Eastern Prelacy regarding the annual Summer Camp for children enrolled in the Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship Program in Armenia. This is the sixth summer that the camp, which is organized by the Prelacy office in Yerevan, “The St. Nerses the Great Charitable Organization” will take place under the direction of Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, pastor of St. Stephen’s Church in Connecticut.

The Prelate has directed all parishes to pass a special plate on two consecutive Sundays—this Sunday June 21 and next Sunday June 28—to help defray the expenses incurred.

Each year about fifty children are selected to attend the summer camp which this year will take place from July 16 to 23. The children receive daily instruction in Bible studies, Armenian Church history and the rituals of the Armenian Church, along with sports, games, and field trips.

Archpriest Fr. Aram has indicated his willingness to visit any parish that wishes to have more details about the summer camp without any obligation. Contact Der Aram by email (aram2@charter.net).

Donations may also be sent directly to the Prelacy payable to “Armenian Apostolic Church of America,” with “Summer Camp” indicated in the memo area. Mail to 138 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016.
A scene from last year’s summer camp.
Kirk Kerkorian

Kirk Kerkorian, who arose from his humble origins to become one of the richest Americans, died on Monday, June 15, at age 98. Mr. Kerkorian donated millions of dollars to various causes that were dear to his heart through the Lincy Foundation that he named after his daughters, Tracy and Linda. 

Forced to drop out of school at 8th grade, in 2011 Mr. Kerkorian donated $200 million to the University of California (Los Angeles). He was a generous supporter of the Prelacy schools on the West Coast through the Lincy Foundation, and after the 1988 earthquake in Armenia and independence in 1991, he donated many millions to build and repair the infrastructure of Armenia and through the United Armenian Fund sponsored the frequent air shipments that transported all kinds of aid to Armenia.
Normally reluctant to talk to journalists he once offered this assessment to a reporter about the fervor that motivated him: “When you’re a self-made man, you start very early in life. In my case it was at 9 years old when I started bringing income into the family. You get a drive that’s a little different, maybe a little stronger, than somebody who inherited.”

May the Lord grant him eternal peace.
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 at armenianprelacy.org/arec/datev or contact the AREC office at 212-689-7810 or arec@armenianprelacy.org.
On Saturday, June 14, the Siamanto Academy had its last meeting of the year at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. On this occasion, students became teachers and teachers became students. Parents and members of the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) were present, as well as ARS Eastern Region chairwoman Ms. Talin Daghlian.

After introductory words by ANEC Executive Director Dr. Vartan Matiossian, who was one of the teachers of the Academy together with ANEC Chairman Mr. Haroutune Misserlian, the eight students made Power Point presentations on subjects of their choice from Armenian history and culture. Subjects included historical figures like Tigran the Great and David Bek, Armenian identity, intellectuals who were victim of the genocide, genocide survivors, the relations between Armenia and Ethiopia, and Karabagh. The presentations were made either in Armenian or in English, and were very well received by those attending.

The Siamanto Academy is a two-year program sponsored by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC). It is geared towards 8-12th grade students. Activities will resume in September. For more information about the Siamanto Academy contact ANEC at (212) 689-7810 or email anec@armenianprelacy.org.
Some of the students of the Siamanto Academy with their teachers.
Professor Hratch Zadoian, past vice-chairman of the Prelacy’s Executive Council, and retired professor and administrator of Queens College was honored last week with the Hagop Meghabart Medal by the National Library of Armenia.

Last year, Professor Zadoian donated a major portion of his books to the National Library. The donation was made under the auspices of the Prelacy that made the arrangements for shipping the books to Armenia through the United Armenian Fund. The collection included more than 25,000 volumes on political science, history, literature, and biography. Last week Professor and Mrs. Leslie Zadoian were in Armenia for the official opening of a section of the library devoted to the Zadoian collection. The director of the library, Mr. Tigran Zarkaryan, described the donation as being a very valuable and unique addition to the National Library’s collection.
Professor Hratch Zadoian (center) receives the Hagop Meghabart Medal presented by the Director of the National Library Tigran Zarkaryan (right).  Ms. Lilit Galustyan, former member of Parliament, and current president of Hamazkayin in Armenia introduced Professor Zadoian to the assembled guests.
Professor Zadoian looks at some of the displays of his donated books.
Bible readings for Sunday, June 21, Fourth Sunday after Pentecost are: Isaiah 1:21-31; Romans 7:15-8:11; Matthew 12:38-45.

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth. The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation. (Matthew 12:38-45)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
This Tuesday, July 8, the Armenian Church commemorates Daniel the Prophet and his companions. Daniel and his youthful companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, found favor with the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar after their captivity. When the king gave orders for a large statue of himself that would be worshipped like a god, Daniel and the three youths refused. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were put into a large furnace. The flames shot out of the furnace and attacked those standing nearby, but the three young boys walked in the flames without harm. Seeing this, the king ordered their release from the furnace, and he became a convert to the True God. (See the Book of Daniel, chapters 1 to 3 for the full account).

The Hamasdegh School of Soorp Khatch Church, Bethesda, Maryland, had its graduation ceremony last Sunday, June 14. The event was web cast live, and viewed by an international audience not only in the United States, but also in Armenia, Kuwait, Lebanon, France, Saudi Arabia, and Canada, according to Dr. Zareh Soghomonian who has put in an enormous amount of time and effort during the past year to develop and improve the technology that the parish is utilizing now. View the graduation here.

The Nareg Saturday School of Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, had its graduation ceremonies last Sunday, June 14, in the church hall. Ten students graduated from Kindergarten, and nine students from 7th grade. The program included a selection of songs by all grades and a tableau dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Besides their certificates, several graduates received prizes for their academic performance.
Nareg Armenian School students performing during the graduation and year-end hantes.
St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, honored its graduates last Sunday, June 14. Eleven young parishioners were blessed and congratulated upon their graduation from Middle School, High School, and College. This year’s graduates were: Juliet Hagobian, Christina Kerestedgian, Cedric Yepremian, William Mouradian, Hovnan Orangian, Sevag Ebrimian, Sevag Hagobian, Anni Oranjian, Katherine Costello, James Mengouchian, and Nevair Oranjian.

In his sermon, the pastor Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian  addressed the graduates as his younger brothers and sisters and he exhorted them to face challenges in life without fear, to always walk with God, and to seize every opportunity to become a better person. The graduates were blessed by Archbishop Oshagan during the Divine Liturgy and each received symbolic stole-sashes as a token of appreciation for their achievements.

Following the Liturgy, graduates were led into the main hall in a procession by Archbishop Oshagan, Bishop Anoushavan, and Rev. Fr. Nareg. Graduates and guests enjoyed a luncheon and program hosted by the St. Sarkis Youth Club families. Father Nareg introduced a video montage that included photographs of all the graduates throughout the years. (Reported by Seta Megherian)
Archbishop Oshagan, Bishop Anoushavan, and Rev. Fr. Nareg with the graduates.
The annual picnic of the Armenian Home in Flushing, New York, took place last Sunday. Bishop Anoushavan, a frequent visitor at the Home, is seen here with administrators and volunteers at the Home.
The Armenian American Health Professionals Organization (AAHPO) of New York and New Jersey hosted a dinner lecture at Sevan Restaurant in Queens, New York, on June 12. Carlo Bayrakdarian, MD, a member of AAHPO and a pillar of the Armenian community and St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, lectured about Alzeimer’s disease, its diagnosis and treatment. Attending the lecture were more than 30 health care providers, as well as Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General of the Prelacy, and Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan, Pastor of Holy Martyrs Church in Bayside, New York.
Bishop Anoushavan and Rev. Fr. Abraham with health care providers at the lecture.
The Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia released a statement issued by the legal team representing the Catholicosate to provide more information about the nature and purpose of the See’s claim for the return of its historical seat in Sis (present day Kozan in Turkey), that is currently pending before the Turkish Constitutional Court. The statement is as follows:

“The lawsuit claims the right of ownership and religious worship with regard to the Monastery and Cathedral of St. Sophie, the Seat of the Catholicosate from 1293 to 1921. To comply with the procedures for filing property claims before the Court, the application indicated a provisional estimated value for the property. However, the demand is clearly and emphatically for the return of the property and its restoration and use for religious worship, and this demand cannot be satisfied by the payment of monetary compensation. The claim is for restitution of the property and not for compensation.

“The decision of the Catholicosate to initiate this lawsuit was motivated by the historical and religious significance of this property for the Armenian Church and Nation. There are two separate legal grounds for the claim; namely, (1) the property rights of the Catholicosate, and (2) the religious rights of the Catholicosate. While the ownership rights of the Catholicosate may raise issues of compensation under Turkish laws and procedures, the rights of religious worship are a separate matter and can only be remedied by return of the property, and its restoration and use for worship. This is a non-negotiable demand that will not be withdrawn under any circumstances.

“The lawsuit has been submitted to the Turkish Constitutional Court to satisfy the requirement of the exhaustion of domestic remedies as a precondition for any appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. If the Turkish court ruling is not favourable, or if the Turkish government does not otherwise return the property, the Catholicosate will appeal the decision to the European Court of Human Rights, and seek to enforce its rights under international law.

“The lawsuit is a matter of great complexity and sensitivity and the legal process will unfold over the coming months and years. It is unfortunately not possible to reveal all details and aspects of the case while it is still pending before the courts, as this will prejudice the claim of the Catholicosate. During this period, uninformed comments and speculation in the media will not contribute to the success of this historical initiative against the many obstacles it will invariably encounter.

“The Catholicosate will pursue every possible means within the law to assist its property and religious rights, to reclaim its historical Seat, and to reclaim the historical heritage of the Armenian Church and Nation.”
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Assembly of Shahabivan (June 24, 444)
In a period when the kingdom had fallen (428) and the country was divided between Persia and Byzantium, the Armenian Church rose as the main unifying force. Victim of various accusations, after the fall of the kingdom Catholicos Sahak Partev was retained in Persia, and Surmak, from the house of Aghbianos—rival to the house of St. Gregory of Illuminator—became Catholicos, supported by the Persian king Vram V, although he never enjoyed the support of the Armenian Church. After his death in 443, Hovsep I Hoghotsmetsi, a student of Mesrop Mashtots, was elected Catholicos and was recognized both by the Church and by new Persian king Yazkert II.

Catholicos Hovsep and governor of Armenia Vasak Siuni agreed to convene a national-ecclesiastical assembly in the town of Shahabivan, in the district of Dzaghkotn of the province of Ayrarat (Great Armenia), which was the headquarters of the Armenian royal army. The assembly was attended by 40 bishops and other ecclesiastics, as well as many laymen, including princes, members of the military, etcetera. It started on June 24, 444.

The assembly was convened, mainly, to confirm the rules established by the Apostles and the Council of Nicea, which many ecclesiastics had broken, and to reaffirm the internal order and moral norms of the Armenian Church, as well as to give its judgment upon various heresies and wrongdoings.

The assembly of Shahabivan was canonical, but its resolutions, unlike other cases, were the only ones that established punishment for various transgressions. For these reason, its resolutions took the character of a judicial code. Only one of the 20 rules had an advisory character. Otherwise, ten rules (six of them fully, and four partly) were devoted to ecclesiastics, and they established canonical and criminal punishments for canonical violations and transgressions. Nine rules in their totality and four of them partly were about princes and villagers, with different punishments. Interestingly, while villagers received corporal punishment (beating), the princes were only sentenced to advice, fine, and repentance.

However, some transgressions had the same punishment for both villagers and princes. The fines established for villagers were half or less than half of the fines for princes. The rules took into consideration the economic situation of both social classes.

According to the resolutions of the assembly, all fines would go to the churches and homes for the aged, and in certain cases a portion of the fines would be distributed among the poor. In the canons of the assembly, women and men were equal before the law: “Whether male or woman, the canon applies.”

The assembly passed severe resolutions against the heresy of the Messalians. This heresy, which had originated in the fourth century, denied that the Sacraments gave grace, including baptism, and declared that the only spiritual power was constant prayer that led to possession by the Holy Spirit. The adult members of heretical families were confined to leper colonies, while the children were delivered to the Church, which took their spiritual education in its hands.

The assembly of Shahabivan was very important in the consolidation of the grounds of the Armenian Church and the formation and development of a corpus of Armenian law. It might also be said that its momentum was still felt a few years later, when the attempt of Persia to impose Zoroastrianism met a fiery Armenian resistance symbolized by the battle of Avarair in 451.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org)
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Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief

Thank you for your help
(Pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York)

Episode 42: Interview with Peter Boyadjian, a new Eagle Scout…and much more.
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 21—Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Sunday School Father’s Day Picnic.

June 21—St. Gregory Church, annual Father’s Day Picnic, noon to 5 pm, on the church grounds, 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Many favorite Armenian dinners including shish kebab and rice pilaf. Baked goods available for purchase. Enjoy Armenian music and dancing, activities for children, raffle drawing. Admission and parking free. For information: (413) 543-4763.

June 27—Armenian Food Fair, sponsored by Ladies Guild of St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, 11 am to 7 pm, in Jaffarian Hall, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts. Enjoy losh, chicken, and shish kebab, salad, pilaf, kheyma, veggie plate, and desserts. For information: Sossy Jeknavorian (978-256-2538) or Ann Apovian (978) 521-2245.

June 28—Annual “Madagh Picnic,” St. Hagop Church, Racine, Wisconsin, Blessing of the Madagh will take place at 11 am by Rev. Fr. Daron Stepanian, and served at noon. All are invited to enjoy the picnic all afternoon up to 7 pm. Enjoy marinated shish kebab and chicken dinners, sarma, penerlee, khurabia, and other Armenian delicacies and pastries. Live Armenian music and children’s entertainment. Raffle drawing at 6 pm.

June 28—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain and Hartford, Annual Church Cookout at the church hall and grounds after church services. Come for a day of relaxation, fun, great food, and friendly people! Shish, Losh, and Chicken Kebabs, Pilafs, Salad, Armenian bread, famous baked goods, and more.

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 11—St. Stephen’s Church Ladies Guild, Hartford-New Britain, Connecticut, “Elizabeth Park Brunch.” Come see the roses and 100 acres of formal gardens, and enjoy offsite brunch and meeting at Pond House in the park. For reservations contact Sue Shabazian or Suzanne Midinian. For information: church office, 860-229-8322.

July 11—60th anniversary of Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, at Alpine Country Club, Cranston, Rhode Island, 6 pm, featuring Hachig Kazarian, John Berberian, Ken Kalajian, Jason Naroian. Dinner/Dance $50.00 per person; Dance only (8 pm) $25.00 per person. For information and reservations contact Joyce Bagdasarian, 401-434-4467.

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.

August 9—“Pizza, Popcorn, and a Movie,” St. Stephen’s Church Hall, New Britain, Connecticut, hosted by Ladies Guild. Lunch and movie, $10.

September 13—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain and Hartford, Annual Church Picnic at Winding Trails in Farmington. Family and Friends Day; Bring a Friend. New spectacular venue for our picnic this year. Lots of sporting activities for the children and young adults and Holiday Boutique “Trinkets and Treasures.” Pavilion next to hall with lots of room in case of inclement weather.

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

October 25—Breakfast in the church hall ($10) after the Liturgy, St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, sponsored by the Ladies Guild.

November 15—“Remembering the Past, Embracing the Future, 1925-2015,” St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, 90th Anniversary celebration. His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, Prelate, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and preside over the banquet at Farmington Club, 162 Town Farm Road, Farmington, Connecticut. Details to follow.

December 6—ARS Holiday Dinner, St. Stephen’s Church Hall, New Britain, Connecticut, after church services. Save the date. Details to follow.

December 20—“Soup, Sandwiches, and Bingo,” St. Stephen’s Church Hall, New Britain, Connecticut, following church services, sponsored by Ladies Guild.
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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