August 6, 2015
His Holiness Aram I blesses the new Muron on July 18 in Bikfaya, Lebanon.
Archbishop Oshagan has directed all parishes in the Eastern Prelacy to conduct Blessing of Water (Chrorhnek) ceremony following the Divine Liturgy this Sunday, August 9, with the newly blessed Holy Muron that has been distributed to all parishes.

Holy Muron holds a very special place of reverence in the Armenian Church from the earliest days of Christianity. It is believed that St. Thaddeus brought holy oil to Armenia that St. Gregory mixed with Muron that he blessed. To this day, whenever a new batch of the holy oil is prepared and blessed, some of the old Muron is mixed into the mixture, thus preserving the centuries-old continuity. The newly blessed oil by Catholicos Aram contains Muron from the Holy Mother See of Etchmiadzin, as well as the remaining portion that was previously blessed by the Holy See of Cilicia.

“Take the finest spices….and make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.” (Exodus 30:23-25)

“…You have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge.” (1 John 2:20)

Oh God, in the power of the Holy Spirit, let this Muron become a source of sanctification and an instrument of faith against the evils of the world.” (Prayer recited during blessing of Muron)

“This year is the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. It is, therefore, a spiritually enriching moment to consecrate the Holy Muron before the monument that symbolizes the martyrdom of one-and-a-half million Armenians, who were recently canonized as saints by our Church…. While consecrating the Holy Muron, we remember our martyrs and reaffirm our faithfulness to their sacred legacy: justice for the Armenian people and to all whose human rights have been violated. While consecrating the Holy Muron, we are called to recommit ourselves to working together for peace with justice, to work towards overcoming violence in all its expressions and to promote tolerance and mutual respect and understanding among religions, cultures and nations.”
Aram I
Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia

Archbishop Oshagan returned from Antelias, Lebanon, last weekend where he participated in the Blessing of the Holy Muron and other related events. This Sunday he will preside at the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony and offering of Madagh at the annual picnic of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, that will take place at Camp Haiastan in Franklin, Massachusetts.

Bishop Anoushavan will attend the Divine Liturgy and preside over the Blessing of the Water ceremony at St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, this Sunday, August 9.

Dr. Vazken Ghougassian, Executive Director of the Eastern Prelacy, is currently in Armenia for his annual visit to confer with the staff of the St. Nerses the Great Charitable Fund, the Prelacy’s office for charitable projects in Armenia and Artsakh.

Dr. Ghougassian was honored by the National Library of Armenia in appreciation of his support of the Library. Mr. Tigran Zarkaryan, the director of the Library, presented him with the Hagop Meghabart Medal and thanked him and the Prelacy for the large number of books donated to the Library through the years. Most recently, more than 25,000 books were donated by Professor Hratch Zadoian that reached Armenia through the efforts of the Prelacy and the United Armenian Fund. Previously the Prelacy donated hundreds of duplicate books from its St. Nerses Shnorhali Library. Most of the donated books were books long out-of-print and difficult to acquire. 

Tigran Zarkaryan, director of the National Library of Armenia, presents Dr. Vazken Ghougassian with the Hagop Meghabart Medal.
The Library’s director and personnel show Dr. Ghougassian a display of recent donated books.
Bible readings for Sunday, August 9, Fifth Sunday of Transfiguration (Eve of the Fast of the Assumption), are Isaiah 7:1-9; 1 Corinthians 13:11-14:5; Mark 2:1-12.

When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:1-12)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
The convocation of the 200+ bishops who attended the third ecumenical council in the year 431 AD in Ephesus without the modern modes of travel we have today seems daunting to say the least. Yet the Bishops arrived over a period of several weeks and met during the months of June and July of 431 at the Church of Mary in Ephesus. According to our fifth century historians, at the time of this council, six students of Saints Sahag and Mesrob were pursuing theological studies in Constantinople. Patriarch Maximian met with them, gave them the decisions of the Council of Ephesus, along with an authentic copy of the Holy Scriptures with the instruction to return to Armenia and give these documents to Catholicos Sahag before the followers of Nestorius could spread the false teachings in Armenia and Persia.

This Saturday, August 8, the Armenian Church remembers the Holy Fathers of this Council that was convened by order of Emperor Theodosius II to settle the Nestorian heresy. A large number of high-ranking church leaders attended, headed by Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria. The principle decision of the Council was the condemnation of Nestorius. The Council also confirmed the Nicene Creed, and approved the title of Theotokos (God-bearer) for the Virgin Mary.

The Armenian Church accepted the canons and decisions of this council and designated a day in the liturgical calendar on the Saturday of the Paregentan of the Assumption to commemorate the Holy Fathers. The Armenian Church recognizes the first three ecumenical councils: Nicaea (325); Constantinople (381); and Ephesus (431), with special days in the liturgical calendar for each.

Ephesus is an ancient Greek city that later became the chief city of the Roman province of Asia at the crossroads of the coastal route between Smyrna and Cyzicus. The Temple of Ardemis in the city was one of the great wonders of the ancient world. St. Paul took Christianity to Ephesus (Acts 18:18-19). He stayed there for two years during his third missionary journey.

Ephesus is one of the seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation. In chapter 2, Jesus praises the people of Ephesus for their perseverance and hard work, however admonishes them for forgetting their first love; their Christianity had become a faithful ritual rather than a relationship of love to the Lord. Ephesus, now located within Turkey in the province of Izmir, is a popular destination for international tourists.

This Sunday, August 9, is the Paregentan, or Eve of the Fast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God. This is a five-day period of fasting (Monday to Friday) that precedes the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother which is next Sunday, August 16. Paregentan, which means “good living,” is a day of enjoyment and feasting before the beginning of the fasting period.


All Saints Church in Glenview, Illinois, this year organized a Vacation Bible School that proved to be welcoming and successful. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Sahakian, pastor, notes, “There was a lot of joy, enthusiasm, and excitement as our children learned about our Almighty and comforting Savior.”
Dr. Artur Martirosyan, a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral recently visited the Lchkadzor in Armenia’s northeastern region of Tavush. The village established a sister city partnership with the Cathedral in 2014, and they have been working together through the international aid organization Oxfam Armenia.

During his visit, Dr. Martirosyan toured the greenhouse installed by Oxfam Armenia through the support of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. He witnessed the harvesting of fresh vegetables that provide sustainable income to members of the “Debed” consumer cooperative who manage the green house. This work provides community members opportunities for local employment instead of traveling abroad to serve as labor migrants. Residents also emphasized another benefit of the greenhouse: local fresh produce instead of imported goods.

Dr. Martirosyan also met with cooperative chairwoman Lusine Bejanian and the membership at large, as well as with Oxfam Armenia Country Director Margarita Hakobyan. They discussed new opportunities for cooperation between the organization and the Cathedral. Hakobyan stressed that the Lchkadzor greenhouse project is among the best of more than 10 greenhouses installed so far by Oxfam in the Tavush region. She praised the hard work and commitment of the villagers. As a next step she noted that Oxfam in Armenia will receive funding from the Austrian Development Agency to install dry fruit processing facilities in the region, and the Cathedral expressed interest in sponsoring one of these facilities. 

While in Lchkadzor, Dr. Martirosyan also noticed many villagers wearing shoes donated by the Eastern Prelacy’s St. Nerses the Great Charitable Fund, with the help of AmeriCares and the United Armenian Fund. Upon the request of St. Illuminator’s pastor Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian and with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, more than 400 pairs of shoes were provided to the most disadvantaged members of the Lchkadzor community.  

On behalf of the pastor and members of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, Dr. Martirosyan thanked Oxfam Armenia for their work and confirmed the Cathedral’s commitment to continue to support its sister community. He emphasized their common goals of poverty reduction, migration prevention, and sustainable community development. Upon his return, Dr. Martirosyan reported to the pastor, board of trustees, and membership of the Cathedral, noting the ideas for joint projects in 2015.
Harvesting the crops in Lchkadzor, Armenia.
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Birth of Stepan Lianozov
(August 9, 1872)
John Reed, the American Communist militant who witnessed the October Revolution that would give birth to the Union Soviet, called Stepan Lianozov the “Russian Rockefeller.” Both Lianozov and Rockefeller competed for the oil of Baku in the early twentieth century, at the time when Armenians like Lianozov had an important share in its production and exploitation.

Stepan Lianozov (Lianosian) was born on August 9, 1872 in Moscow. His father, Gevorg Lianozov (1835-1906), descended from an Armenian family that had been deported from Eastern Armenia by Iranian Shah Abbas III at the beginning of the seventeenth century.  He was a dominant name in the production of caviar from the Caspian Sea, and would inherit the interests in the oil of Baku that his brother, also called Stepan, had built since 1872.

Gevorg Lianozov’s son Stepan graduated from high school and in 1894 entered the School of Natural Sciences of the University of Moscow. He changed his career and graduated from the School of Law four years later. He worked for two years as an assistant to a magistrate in the court chamber of Moscow.

In 1901 Stepan left to his brothers Martin and Levon the caviar business and entered the growing and lucrative field of oil to assist his father.

After the death of his father, Stepan Lianozov founded the oil company G. M. Lianozov and Sons in St. Petersburg (1907), with a statutory capital of 2 million rubles. He transformed the family business into a corporative activity, attracting big investors, and engaging the biggest players in Baku: the Nobels, the Rothschilds, and the Shell Company. Between 1907 and 1910, G. M. Lianozov and Sons multiplied its production almost nine times.
Oil rigs around a pool of crude in Baku around 1900. 
The company owned oil fields, as well as subsidiaries in Baku that produced kerosene and refined petroleum, a pipeline in the Caspian shore, and others. Lianozov was elected member of the Baku City Council and the Baku Stock Exchange council.

On July 28, 1912 the Russian Main Oil Union, also called Oil, was founded in London. It united three Armenian and one Russian oil companies, several big Russian banks and representatives of British business, with a founding capital of 2.5 million sterling pounds. Stepan Lianozov became director-manager of the new company, which soon bought twelve big oil companies (including Mantashov and Co., Mirzoyev Brothers and Co., A. S. Melikov and Co., and Aramazd), and became the third biggest oil company in the world, after Standard Oil and Royal Dutch Shell.

G. M. Lianozov and Sons paid 18% to its shareholders in 1913. It had representative companies in Great Britain (British Lianosoff Wite Oil Company), France (La Lianosoff Français), and Germany (Deutsche Lianozoff Mineralöl Import Act.Ges).

In the spring of 1914 Lianozov and the Mantashov brothers (sons of the late Armenian oil magnate Alexander Mantashov or Mantashiants) made a big investment in the movie company Biochrome, founded by Sergei Prokudin-Gorski. The headquarters of the company were in Moscow, in one of the houses of the Lianozovs, which would become the offices of the Ministry of Cinematography after the Russian Revolution. The company filmed several movies until 1918, when the movie sets were burned by a fire: “No Exit,” “The God of Revenge,” “The Eternal Tale of Life.”

Lianozov’s business activities continued successfully after the beginning of World War I, but the Russian Revolution ruined the oil magnates of Baku. Unlike many other businessmen, Stepan Lianozov actively entered politics and participated in the civil war that followed. After migrating to Finland, in May 1919 he participated in a meeting organized by the counterrevolutionary forces (the Whites), which decided to create the Northwest Republic with center on the north of current Estonia. Lianozov was designated head of government, and took the positions of Prime Minister, Minister of Finances, and Minister of Foreign Affairs. General Nikolai Yudenich, who had been one of the main Russian commanders in the Caucasian front, and was one of the military leaders of the counterrevolutionary movement, together with Generals Kolchak and Denikin, took the position of Minister of War and commander in chief of the Northwest Army.

One of the first measures by Lianozov was to recognize the independence of Estonia on August 11, 1919, followed by the recognition of Latvia (September 3) and Finlandia (September 23). He also issued rubles of the Northwest Republic, signed by Yudenich and himself.

In October 1919 Yudenich headed an attack against St. Petersburg. However, the White offensive failed to occupy the capital of Soviet Russia, and, as a result, the Northwest Republic self-dissolved on December 5, 1919 and Lianozov moved to Paris.

In 1920 Stepan Lianozov founded TorgProm (Russian Trade-Industrial and Financial Union), together with the brothers Poghos and Abraham Ghukasian, and some Russian emigré businessmen, to protect the interests of Russian businessmen in Francia. He worked as a film producer in 1925, which became his main source of income for several years. Meanwhile, in 1926 he was the representative for France of the Russian Congress Abroad. This organization published its own newspaper from 1925 to 1940, called Renaissance.

Stepan Lianozov passed away on August 10, 1951 in Paris and was buried in the cemetery of Passy. He left one son, called Nikolai.

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)
People and Youth Are Not Plural
“People have the power.” “Youth are the future.” Any English speaker will not think twice before using the words people and youth in plural. This happens because both words are thought as plural, even though they are singular in construction.

However, don’t even think for a second about writing «Ժողովուրդը ուժը ունին» (Zhoghovoorte oozhe oonin) and «Երիտասարդութիւնը ապագան են» (Yeridasartootioone abakan en). As we have said in other opportunities, the rules of Armenian are not the same as the rules of English, and naturally, the result of thinking in English and writing in Armenian is not... Armenian.

What happens in this case? As in Indo-European languages other than English (for instance, Spanish and French), the words zhoghovoort (“people”) and yeridasartootioon (“youth”) are singular in construction and must match a singular verb. (It is true that in certain cases, you can use youth with a singular verb, but there is not a choice in Armenian.) Even more: the word yeridasartootioon, unlike its English counterpart, cannot be used in plural.

Then, the right way to translate the two sentences is:

«Ժողովուրդը ուժը ունի» (Zhoghovoorte oozhe ooni – “People have the power”)

«Երիտասարդութիւնը ապագան է» (Yeridasartootioone abakan eh – “Youth are the future”).

Of course, someone may think that both sentences are not true, and that neither do the people have the power (it is somewhere else) nor the youth are the future (they are the present). But this is a subject for a different discussion.

Previous entries in “The Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web site (
(Pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York)

This week’s Podcast: Interview with novelist Aida Zilelian…and much more!
Click on the image above to link
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is circulating a video featuring Archbishop Nareg Alemezian, Catholicosal Vicar of Cyprus, speaking about the unification of Cyprus. Archbishop Nareg says, “The pilgrimage of justice and peace is a call from God. All of us, as human beings and Christians will respond positively to this calling.” See the video here.
August 9—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 delicious food, music by DJ Shaheen, backgammon tournament, children’s activities including bouncy house and more. Begins at noon. Admission is free. For more information or 508-852-2414.

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

August 9—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Picnic at Camp Haiastan from 12 noon to 6 pm, rain or shine. The blessing of madagh and grapes will take place at 3:30 pm under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, with the participation of pastors of the New England area churches. Full menu of shish, losh, and chicken dinners. Armenian pastry and choreg. Music by Michael Gregian Ensemble with special guest Joe Zeytoonian on the oud. All welcome.

August 16—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Annual Picnic at the Wild Duck Pond, Ridgewood, New Jersey, following the Badarak.

August 16—Annual Picnic and Blessing of Grapes, Soorp Asdvadzazin Church, 315 Church Street, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, under the auspices of Arhbishop Oshagan. Lunch served beginning at noon. Shish kebab, chicken keba, losh kebab, desserts, choreg sale. Live music, Siroonig dancers, rain or shine. For information: or 508-234-3677.

August 20-21—Youth Retreat (ages 12-18), sponsored by St. Sarkis Church of Douglaston, New York, at The Immaculate Conception, 440 West Neck Road, Huntington, New York. Theme: “Jesus got up…and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Prayer, discussions, camp fire & recreational activities. Registration fee: $125. Limited Availability. For information: church office 718-224-2275 or Mrs. Vicky Hagobian 917-613-6972.

August 23—Annual Picnic of Armenian Compatriotic Union of Ourfa, starting at noon on the grounds of St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Rain or shine. Ourfa Eggplant Kebab, Pilav, Dessert. Entertainment and Arts & Crafts for kids.

August 27-30—Hamazkayin ArtLinks 2015, educational workshops for 21 to 30 age group. Speakers and workshop leaders include: Eric Bogosian, Eric Nazarian, Aline Ohanesian, Scout Tufenkjian; program director Khatchig Mouradian. Participation fee of $150 includes all workshops, three nights of lodging, and meals. For information: 

August 29—Teachers’ Seminar, organized by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC), 10 am to 3:30 pm, Hovnanian Hall, Prelacy office, 138 E. 39th Street, New York City.

September 12—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Nareg Saturday School opening and registration.

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. Armenian food and live music.

September 13—Picnic Festival, sponsored by St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts, Noon to 5 pm. Shish, losh, chicken kebab, vegetarian dinners. Featuring Siroun Dance Group, dancing to music of John Berberian, Leon Janikian, Jason Naroian, and John Arzigian. Family games and activities. For information or 978-685-5038.

September 20—“25 Years in Philadelphia,” a banquet in honor of Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian’s 25 years of service to the Philadelphia Armenian community, 2 pm at Founders Hall, St. Gregory Armenian Church, 8701 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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

October 18—Presentation of the Album “Retrospective” by well-known Canadian photographer Kaloust Babian, at Pashalian Hall, St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, at 1 pm. Organized by St. Illuminator’s Cathedral and Hamazkayin of New York.

October 24—Concert dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide featuring singers Nune Yesayan and Sibil, with participation of the Hamazkayin NJ Nayiri Dance Ensemble and Arekag Chorus, 7:30 pm at BergenPac, 30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey. Tickets: $85, $65. $45. For information: Ani Mouradian 973-224-2741.

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

October 28—Near East Foundation’s Centennial Gala Celebration, 6:30 pm, Cipriani, 25 Broadway, New York. Save the date.

October 31—100th anniversary of Hudson County (NJ) Shakeh Chapter of Armenian Relief Society, under auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, Chart House Restaurant, 1700 Harbor Boulevard, Weehawken, New Jersey at 7:30 pm. Sponsored by Dr. Kourkin and Talene Tchorbajian. Featuring Elie Berberian from Canada. Donation $100. For reservations: Knar Kiledjian (201)943-4056; Silva Takvorian (201)779-6744; Marina Yacoubian (201)978-8926.

November 1—Arminstring Ensemble, St. Illuminator Cathedral’s John Pashalian Hall.

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 5—Soorp Asdvadzadzin Church Annual Bazaar, 315 Church Street, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, 10 am to 4:30 pm. Dinners served from 11:30 am. 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.
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