June 9, 2016
Archbishop Oshagan recently announced that the Eastern Prelacy will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the election and consecration of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, on Sunday, October 9. The day will begin with a Pontifical Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. In the afternoon a special cultural program prepared specifically for this occasion will take place at the Marriott at Glenpointe in Teaneck, New Jersey, that will be followed with a banquet and anniversary celebration at the same venue. This event will be the one and only celebration honoring His Holiness within the Eastern Prelacy. Details will be forthcoming during the coming weeks.

Archbishop Oshagan noted that although His Holiness’s 20th anniversary was last year, he chose to postpone any celebrations until this year in order to focus solely on the worldwide 100th anniversary commemorations of the Armenian Genocide.  

His Holiness was elected and consecrated in July 1995. During the past twenty years under his leadership a new page in the history of the ancient Holy See of Cilicia has been filled with many accomplishments that include new initiatives for educational religious and cultural programs, finding ways to strengthen the Armenian identity in the Diaspora, promoting and supporting ecumenism and interfaith relations, supporting the Armenian Cause, and launching many new construction projects.

Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, was elevated to the rank of Dzayakouyn Vartabed on Sunday, May 29 at St. Stephen’s Church in Watertown, Massachusetts. 

The elevation, granted by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, was conferred by the Prelate Archbishop Oshagan during the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General of the Prelacy. A reception in Hayr Sahag’s honor followed in the church hall.

The degree of Dzayakouyn Vartabed (Archimandrite Superior) confers ten advanced theological degrees in addition to the four given at the time of elevation to the rank of Vartabed (Doctor). This ceremony is usually conducted at the Catholicosate in Antelias, so most of the faithful in the United States have not witnessed this impressive ceremony. 

The service itself consists of the presentation and examination of the candidate’s faith and knowledge, after which the various degrees are conferred through the singing of special hymns, the recitation of Psalms and readings, and prayers. Throughout the service, the Archimandrite’s staff, which symbolizes the candidate’s authority to preach, is veiled, until the conclusion of the services when the newly elevated clergyman receives the staff and delivers his sermon.

Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, pastor of St. Stephen’s Church, said his parish was honored to host this occasion that provided the opportunity for parishioners to witness this historic and moving religious event.
Archbishop Oshagan and the Executive Councils are hosting a reception in honor of Professor Peter Balakian, noted author and winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, on Monday, June 27, at 7 pm, at Pashalian Hall, St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City.

Professor Balakian is professor of Humanities and Director of Creative Writing at Colgate University. He is the author of more than ten books that include poetry, prose, history, and memoir.

Professor Khachig Tololyan, professor of English and Comparative Literature at Wesleyan University will introduce the honoree’s work, including his most recent Ozone Journal that won the Pulitzer. Reception will follow the presentation. Signed copies of Ozone Journal will be available. Please RSVP to the Prelacy, 212-689-7810.

The National Representative Assembly’s banquet attended by delegates and many parishioners from the tri-state metropolitan New York area provided the opportunity to honor a number of individuals that included the following:

Man of the Year Award 
Garo H. Armen, Ph.D, was honored as the Prelacy’s 2016 Man of the Year. Dr. Armen is the Founder, Chairman  and Chief Executive Officer of Agenus, a publicly held immune-oncology company. He is founder and chairman of the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) that implements programs to improve and advance all aspects of life for children living in rural villages of Armenia. Since 2004 COAF has spent over $20 million (USD) on projects directed at reversing the impoverished conditions affecting people in rural Armenia. In accepting the honor, Dr. Armen recalled his journey from his birth in Turkey, to his education in the United States, and the opportunities for success in business and philanthropy.

Eagle of the Prelacy
Arthur Hairabedian was honored with the Eagle of the Prelacy award. Mr. Hairabedian is a long-standing pillar of the Prelacy and served as the first chairman of the Board of Trustees of St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston. Acknowledging the honor he said, “The Prelacy is the light of all our churches. If that light goes out, we all go dim. Religion and a belief in God will remain for all eternity.”

Certificate of Appreciation
Kenneth Sarajian was honored with a Certificate of Appreciation for many years of devoted service to the Armenian Church and community with “profound thanks for leadership as co-chairman of the Eastern United States Centennial Committee commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.” Mr. Sarajian accepted the award noting that it was truly an honor for him to serve in this capacity and thanked those who had helped him in this historic endeavor.

Youth Leadership Award
Deborah Agopian and Christapor Raffi Megherian were honored with the Prelacy’s Youth Leadership Award. Each year this award is given to two members of the younger generation who have been leaders in the community. The award’s inscription says: “With love and gratitude for your devoted service to the Armenian Church and respect for Armenian Christian values and traditions. Thank you for being a role model for the coming generations.”
Bible readings for Sunday, June 12, Fourth Sunday after Pentecost are: Isaiah 1:21-31; Romans 7:25-8:11; 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 in the heart of the earth. The people of Ninevah 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 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.
On Saturday, June 11, the Armenian Church observes one of the three feast days dedicated to St. Gregory the Illuminator (Krikor Lousavorich): the discovery of his relics. St. Gregory is considered to be the “Apostle of Armenia,” and the patron saint of the Armenian Church. He preached throughout Armenia, built churches, including the great cathedral in Etchmiadzin, established the first canon laws, wrote many prayers, and organized the liturgical services.

After years of evangelizing, St. Gregory sought solitude and an ascetic life. He retired to a cave at Mount Sepouh where he died in solitude. Shepherds found his body and without realizing his identity they buried him under a pile of stones. Later a hermit, known as Garnik of Pasen, who was a disciple of Gregory, saw a vision and went to Mount Sepouh and found the burial site. He took the saint’s remains to the village of Tordan for burial where King Trdat was buried.

Relics from the right hand of St. Gregory, encased in a golden arm, are at the Holy Mother See of Etchmiadzin and the Holy See of Cilicia. The Catholicoi mix the new Muron (holy oil) with the old Muron with the golden arm of St. Gregory.

On Tuesday, June 14, the Armenian Church commemorates Daniel the Prophet and his companions. Daniel and his youthful companions Shadrach (Setrak), Meshack (Misak), and Abednego (Apetnakov), 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. Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego were put into a large furnace. The flames shot out of the furnace and attacked those standing nearby, but the three boys walked in the flames without harm. Seeing this, the king ordered their release from the furnace, and he became a convert. (See the Book of Daniel, chapters 1 to 3 for the full account).

The 30th annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute summer program for youth ages 13-18 will be held at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from July 3-10. Sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the summer program offers a unique weeklong Christian educational program for youth. It aims to instill and nurture the Armenian Christian faith and identity in our youth through a variety of educational activities, coupled with daily church services and communal recreational activities. For information and registration, please visit the Prelacy’s website at armenianprelacy.org/arec/datev or contact the AREC office at 212-689-7810 or arec@armenianprelacy.org.
Sunday school students of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York, last week presented the service project they planned for the community as their culminating activity to end the academic year. The project started after a weekly Bible study discussion a few months ago on the “Fruit of the Spirit.” The students were particularly inspired by one of the ideas: patience. As part of the lesson they read and discussed Bible verses about the topic and were given scenarios where they may become impatient. Together in groups they came up with creative ways to be patient and thought about how that helped themselves and others. They wanted to share these strategies with the community as a way to help people. They made a plan and broke up into groups to produce the different parts including posters, flyers, guide books, handbooks, and a short skit. For weeks they reviewed and discussed the Bible verses they wanted to include as part of each product and discussed why they thought it was relevant.

On the day of the presentation the students ran the entire program, from writing their own introductory speeches to how to set the stage and writing and presenting the skit. The skit depicted a child who was impatient while waiting in a line but was given advice by her peers on strategies to use and how to use the Bible as a resource at all times. After the program, guests were invited to look through the guide books, examine the posters, and read the flyers. Before concluding, the teachers revealed the new Sunday School website that they will continue building together with the students. See the website at http://stilluminatorssundayschool.weebly.com/.
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian with Sunday School students and staff.
St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Massachusetts recognized the Sam Manoian Post, Armenian-American Veterans of Lowell, during Sunday services on the occasion of the anniversary of D-Day (June 6), the allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord that began the liberation of German-occupied Northwestern Europe. (Photo by Violet Dagdigian)
On Monday, June 6, hundreds of activists gathered in front of the United Nations to promote peace for Sudan and to call for an end to the genocide in the Nuba Mountains in the South Kordofan, Sudan. The area is home to a group of indigenous ethnic groups known collectively as the Nuba peoples.

On May 1, President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, sent another jet fighter into the Nuba Mountains to kill more civilians. The people living in the Nuba Mountains have been forced to hide in caves and foxholes to escape the bombs sent by the government of Sudan.  For five years, the world has known about the suffering in the Nuba Mountains that Greta Van Susteren, George Clooney, former Representative Frank Wolf, and Mukesh Kapila have witnessed and reported, but the United Nations Security Council has done nothing to stop the genocide.

In his remarks to the gathering, Der Mesrob said, “The Armenian American community stands in solidarity with all of the suffering nations of the world. We stand shoulder to shoulder with those bold enough to stand up and speak up for justice and truth. Our Armenian ancestors have been on that torturous road of genocide and that is why we will always speak and act on behalf of persecuted people.”
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian with organizers at the Rally.
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)

Death of Jacques de Morgan (June 14, 1924)
Jean-Jacques de Morgan was born in Huisseau-sir-Cosson, in the French department of Loir-et-Cher, on June 3, 1857. The family environment was prone to learning and scientific rigor. His father was a mine engineer who was interested in prehistory, and who initiated his two sons in fieldwork. The younger, Jacques, wanted to follow his father’s profession. He started to publish the results of his research in 1879, and meanwhile, he graduated from the Ecole des Mines in 1882.

He was then appointed to head a survey expedition to Scandinavia and subsequently conducted surveys in Germany, Austria, Turkey, India, and Malaysia from 1883-1886. He went next to Eastern Armenia, where he managed a copper mine at Akhtala, in the region of Lori. He believed that the Caucasus was of special interest in the study of the origins of metals. In 1887-89 he unearthed 576 graves around Alaverdi and Akhtala, near the Tiflis-Alexandropol railway line, together with copper ornaments, weapons, and objects of daily life. In the dedication of his The History of the Armenian People, he wrote: “To you, Armenians, I dedicate this book, in memory of those happy days of my youth spent in your picturesque mountain villages, in your enchanting forests, among your flower-spangled meadows all glistening in the beautiful Eastern sunshine.”

The scientific reports that Jacques de Morgan wrote upon his return from the Caucasus were published in 1889-1890. Upon his return to France, the Ministry of Public Education entrusted him with his first official mission to Persia, where he did geological and archaeological investigations in the regions of Kurdistan and Luristan. He also made some minor discoveries in the high mound known as the “citadel” in Susa (Šūš), in the historical region of Susiana (the old Elam). This would lead him to reopen the excavations at the site, which would happen years later.

In late 1891 he was invited to take over as acting director of the Egyptian antiquities service; he remained in this interim appointment until 1897. He founded, with Giuseppe Botti, the museum of Greco-Roman antiquities at Alexandria; saved the temple of Kom Ombo from destruction; undertook publication of a general catalogue of the monuments and inscriptions of ancient Egypt; and, just before his departure, laid the cornerstone for the Cairo museum of ancient Egyptian antiquities. His explorations have allowed him to be considered the father of prehistoric archaeology in Egypt.
In 1897 de Morgan left Egypt with the intention of creating a French archeological service in Persia. He focused most of his own efforts at the site of Susa: “Susa, because of its very early date, provided the possibility of solving the greatest and most important problem, that of our origins. This city, in my view, belonged to that primordial world that had witnessed the discovery of writing, the use of metals, the beginnings of art.” 

He devoted himself to excavations there for the next ten years, although his decision to simply removing an enormous amount of dirt condemned the architectural remains of Susa to total destruction. In the meantime, he published his Mission scientifique en Perse (1894-1905) in ten volumes, with geological, archeological, geographical, and linguistic studies. In 1912 he also published the final excavation report on Susa.

As someone who had been deeply interested in the Orient, its political situation was no little concern for de Morgan during World War I. He wrote extensively from 1915-1917 in L’Eclair of Montpellier and Revue de Paris, denouncing the Armenian Genocide and the war crimes committed by the Ottoman Empire. His articles were gathered in a volume eloquently titled Contre les barbares de l’Orient (Against the Barbarians of the Orient) and published in 1918. He wrote there: “When one reads attentively the documents related to the massacre of Armenians, the prevision and the ability with which the government of the Young Turks organized these horrors are striking. Everything has been anticipated: the disarming of the victims; the kidnapping of the young element, which could have resisted; the exodus and the suffering on the routes; the massacre of the men on the road; the selection of women and girls to be Islamized (...). There is nothing to debate about the horrors so coldly wanted and so quietly executed, but the day will come when the criminals, whether they are Berliners or Asiatic, will be accountable for the actions and will pay for their heinous crimes.”

De Morgan also worked throughout the war, thanks to the efforts of Armenian writer and journalist Arshag Tchobanian, on a history of the Armenian people from its origins to his days. Published at the end of the war (1919) as Histoire du peuple arménien, it was, for a long time, one of the best available sources for the general reader. An English translation appeared in 1965 by the efforts of Hairenik Press, in Boston (History of the Armenian People: From the Remotest Times to the Present Day, translated by Ernest F. Barry). 

Fighting against health and economic problems for the last fifteen years of his life, Jacques de Morgan passed away on June 14, 1924 in Marseilles. His major works remain L’humanité préhistorique (The Prehistoric Humanity, 1921), and especially the three-volume La préhistoire orientale (The Oriental Prehistory, 1925-27), which appeared posthumously.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org).
Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, His Holiness Aram I has closely monitored the situation of the Armenian community in Syria through regular communications with Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian, the Prelate, and Lay leaders. 

A few days ago, Archbishop Shahan informed His Holiness that the latest mortar attacks on Aleppo hit the Armenian neighborhoods, causing a death, injury, and destruction. Despite the danger, the leadership of the community has been closely monitoring the situation and the community was able to hold religious services and organize educational and cultural activities. His Holiness was informed that many Armenians have left Aleppo and settled in Latakia, Tartus, Kessab, and other coastal regions with the help of the leadership. His Holiness describes the imperative of helping the Syrian community describing it as a “most urgent priority.”

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Armenian Prelacy
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Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
When Singing, Keep Thinking
The patriotic song popularly known by its first two words, “Harach Nahadag,” is one of the most popular among us, perhaps the equivalent to “America the Beautiful.” Its martial sounds have turned it into the official anthem of Homenetmen, but the song is also interpreted in many other occasions, and it has also been used as official song in various Armenian schools of the Diaspora.

The story of the song remains to be researched. We do not know when the lyrics and the music were written. The lyrics, entitled “Gamavoragan kaylerk” (Կամաւորական քայլերգ / March of the Volunteers) belong to poet Kevork Garvarentz (1892-1946), who was the father of composer Georges Garvarentz (1932-1993), Charles Aznavour’s brother-in-law and author of the music for a hundred of his songs. The music is from one of Gomidas Vartabed’s “five disciples,” Parsegh Ganachian (1885-1967), who also arranged the music for the Armenian national anthem “Mer Hairenik” and wrote the music of the Lebanese national anthem. 

When songs are learned by heart and few care to think about the meaning of what they sing, little but significant distortions happen. This is the case of “Harach Nahadag,” for instance. Whoever knows Armenian will agree that the lyrics are not your standard share of “kitchen Armenian,” but they are written with a deep sense of language and poetical technique.  Some of those distortions may go unnoticed, because the outcome still has a reasonable meaning, but others may border on the ridiculous. Here are the cases:

1) Vets taroo anmorr vrezhi zurahner  (Վեց դարու անմոռ վրէժի զրահներ “Armors of six centuries of unforgettable revenge”)

People sing anmar (անմար), which means “unquenchable.” It is true that revenge may be both unforgettable and unquenchable, but you should ask yourself whether both words mean the same. Can you change Nat King Cole’s song “Unforgettable” and turn it into... “Unquenchable”? (Imagine the first lines: “Unquenchable, / that’s what you are,/ unquenchable, though near or far.”)

2) Gadarn hayreni lerants herrakooyn / Yertank gotoghel troshagn yerrakooyn (Կատարն հայրենի լերանց հեռագոյն / Երթանք կոթողել դրօշակն եռագոյն “Let’s go and plant the tricolor flag / On the peak of the farthest homeland mountains”)

Under the influence of yerrakooyn (եռագոյն “tricolor”) in the second line, people also sing yerrakooyn in the first. The actual word is herrakooyn, from herroo (հեռու “far”), meaning “farthest” (kooyn here has nothing to do with kooyn “color”). If you use mistakenly yerrakooyn, the result is the meaningless line “On the peak of the tricolor homeland mountains.” Can you tell which Armenian mountain has three colors and which colors are those?

3) Vadin sev arioon mer hoghn vorrokets / Darakir hayn ir gyankuh norokets (Վատին սեւ արիւն մեր հողն ոռոգեց / Տարագիր հայն իր կեանքը նորոգեց “The black blood of the evil watered our soil / The exiled Armenian renewed his life”)

This is similar to case 2. Under the influence of norokets (նորոգեց “renewed”) in the second line, people also sing norokets in the first. (Of course, the different spelling of r in vorrokets/ոռոգեց and norokets/նորոգեց remains unnoticed.) Can you seriously imagine that the “black blood of the evil” (meaning: the enemy) could renew the Armenian land? Yes, you can, if you are not thinking about the actual meaning of what you sing. 

Previous entries in “The Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org).
With our electronic devices getting smaller, lighter, and more and more powerful, let us pause for a moment and note that sixty-five years ago UNIVAC I, the first commercial electronic digital mainframe computer was introduced. It needed 5,200 vacuum tubes and weighed 29,000 pounds and required year-round air conditioning because of the heat generated. Developed by J. Presper Echert and John Mauchly, the UNIVAC I was introduced on June 14, 1951.
SIAMANTO ACADEMY—Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: anec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810
June 12—Nareg Armenian School Year-End Program, Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey.

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

June 19—Father’s Day Picnic & Alumni Reunion, St. Gregory Church, 135 Godwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Shish Kebab & Losh Kebab Dinners; Shish Kebab & Losh Kebab sandwiches; homemade pastries and baked goods. Armenian dancing with music by Leo Derderian (Oud); Haig-Aram Arakelian (Dumbeg); David Ansbigian (Guitar).  Information: (413) 543-4763.

June 25—Armenian Food Fair, sponsored by St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts, 11 am to 7 pm; losh and chicken kebab, kheyma, vegetarian plate, pastries, dine in or take out. Information: Sossy Jeknavorian (978-256-2538) or Ann Apovian (978-521-2245).

June 27—Book Presentation and Reception in honor of Pulitzer Prize winner Professor Peter Balakian, at John Pashalian Hall, Saint Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street at 7 pm. Professor Balakian’s work will be presented by Professor Khachig Tololyan. Reception will follow presentation. Signed copies of “Ozone Journal” will be available.

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

July 16—Sts. Vartanantz Church Ladies Guild and ARS Ani Chapter, “A Hye Summer Night 10 Dinner Dance,” featuring Hachig Kazarian, clarinet; John Berberian, oud; Ken Kalajian, guitar; Jason Naroian, dumbeg; Khatchig Jingirian, vocals. Alpine Country Club, 251 Pippin Orchard Road, Cranston, Rhode Island. Dinner buffet $55 per person; dance only $30; students $30. For tickets/information: Joyce Bagdasarian (401) 434-4467; Joyce Yeremian (401) 354-8770.

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

October 9—SAVE THE DATE. Special event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the enthronement of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. Details will follow.
October 22—SAVE THE DATE. Armenian Friends of America presents Hye Kef 5, a 5-hour dance, 7 pm to midnight with buffet; Andover Windham, 123 Old River Road, featuring musicians Onnik and Ara Dinkjian, Johnny Berberian, Mal Barsamian, Jason Naroian and Paul Mooradian, with proceeds benefiting area Armenian churches. Advance tickets before September 1, $55, call either John Arzigian (603) 560-3826; Sharke Der Apkarian, (978) 808-0598; Lucy Sirmaian, (978) 683-9121, or Peter Gulezian, (978) 375-1616.

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