APRIL 30, 2015
As Armenians we received the news of the earthquake in Nepal with sorrowful remembrances of the suffering and agony experienced in December 1988 following the earthquake in Armenia. So much of the scenario is so similar: the mounting death toll, the lack of proper equipment to help find bodies and survivors, the lack of emergency medical care, and the dire need for shelter, food and clean water.

Archbishop Oshagan issued a directive asking all parishes of the Eastern Prelacy to offer special prayers for the people of Nepal this Sunday, May 3, and to conduct a special plate collection specifically for earthquake relief.

Let us pray that the people of Nepal will be comforted and healed in the days to come by the grace of the Almighty.

Leaders and lawyers representing the Catholicosate of Cilicia participated in a press conference yesterday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to discuss their lawsuit against the Turkish government seeking the return of the historic seat of the Catholicosate, located in Sis (currently Kozan), at one time the capital of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.

The press conference featured remarks by Archbishop Oshagan, as well as the following: Teny Pirri-Simonian, Senior Advisor to the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia; Payam Akhavan, former United Nations prosecutor at The Hague and lead international counsel in this case; Cem Sofuoglu, Turkish human rights lawyer and local counsel. Joining them was Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America.

In his remarks Archbishop Oshagan reviewed the spiritual history of the Sis Catholicosate, noting the central role it played in Armenian religious life until the Armenian genocide of 1915. “We are asking for the return of our land in order to worship there, just as we did for one thousand years. I know that the land is ours. I know that the land recognizes her master.”

Ms. Pirri-Simonian reviewed the history of the case, highlighting the leadership of His Holiness Aram I in convening conferences and consulting with international legal experts. She underscored the Catholicos’s commitment to convey “more than memory” to coming generations, by securing the return of the Armenian nation’s spiritual heritage.

Lead attorney Akhavan spoke about this case being “about translating the demand for justice into a very concrete case, and that case is the return to the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia of its historical seat in present day Kozan.” 

To read the entire press release click here.

To see a video of the press conference click here.
At the press conference, from left: Aram Hamparian, Archbishop Oshagan, Payam Akhavan, Teny Pirri-Simonian, and Cem Sofuoglu.
The participants at the National Press Club.
After more than one year of planning, the Washington events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide loom before us. Thousands of Armenian Americans are preparing to travel to Washington next week for the historic commemorations that will take place May 7, 8, and 9.

Most of the major events have been “sold-out” for several weeks. However, there are many exhibits and other events that will take place at the Marriott Marquis that can be seen, including a must-see exhibit, “They Shall Not Perish; The Story of the Near East Relief.”

For up-to-date information about the national observances in Washington go to www.armeniangenocidecentennial.org
Archbishop Oshagan delivers the sermon in front of the Martyrs Altar at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral.
It was quite a week with all of the activities for the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. On the morning of April 24 Archbishop Oshagan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at the Martyrs Altar at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. Clergy attending included Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General; Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York; Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator Cathedral; Rev. Haig Kherlopian, pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Church, and Rev. Fr. Thomas Garabedian of the Armenian Catholic church.

Following the Liturgy the parishioners joined with parishioners of St. Vartan Cathedral and marched to the Turkish Consulate. The “March to Demand Justice” was organized by the NY-NJ committees of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party.

Evening prayer services took place at the Martyrs Altar beginning the evening of April 24 and continuing for seven evenings. The final prayer service in remembrance of the Centennial commemoration will take place tonight at 7 pm. All are welcome to attend.
The clergy join in the “March to Demand Justice.”
For seven days special evening prayers were offered in commemoration of the genocide anniversary.
A “Mother’s Day Prayer Service and Blessing of Mothers,” will take place on Sunday, May 10, at 9:30 a.m. in the Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington. This service, which will bring to a close the commemorative events, is organized under the auspices of the Dioceses and Prelacies of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the East and West coasts.

The service will be presided by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. All are invited to join the leaders of the Armenian Church and the entire community of faithful for this prayerful tribute to mothers.

This year is also the centennial year of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. On Sunday, May 17, a Pontifical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, who will begin his visit to the Eastern Prelacy immediately after the conclusion of the Washington events. The Liturgy will begin at 10 am. In the afternoon a banquet in honor of His Holiness and in celebration of the Cathedral’s centennial will take place at the New York Palace. Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of the Cathedral, is urging everyone to make their reservations immediately because space is limited. For information and reservations please contact the Cathedral’s office by telephone (212-689-5880) or email (office@stilluminators.org).

The Prelate and Executive Council received with sorrow the news of the passing of Dr. Zareh Hovanesian, a devoted member of the Armenian Church and community. Dr. Hovanesian died on April 24, 2015.

Dr. Hovanesian was a member of the Prelacy’s Executive Council from 1984 to 1986, serving as assistant treasurer. He was a member of Sts. Vartanantz Church in New  Jersey for many years, where he served as a member of the Board of Trustees and delegate to the National Representative Assembly.

Funeral services will take place on Saturday, May 2, at 10 am at Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey. His Grace Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian will officiate.

The wake will take place at William Basralian Funeral Home, 559 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell, New Jersey, Friday, May 1, from 6 to 9 pm with services at 8:30 pm.

Dr. Hovanesian is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Mariam Simonian, and two daughters Nora and husband Bryan Mann and Stella and husband Razmik Avanesian, and four grandchildren.

Dr. Hovanesian was born in Tehran, Iran, where he attended the University of Tehran and received a degree in Internal Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at Wilson Memorial Hospital in Binghamton, New York.

He was a passionate collector of coins and stamps and in 2000 published a book about Armenian historical events through its Philatelic history.

Asdvatz Hokin Lousavoreh. May God Illuminate his soul.
The Armenian Church of Forty Martyrs in Aleppo has been destroyed. Early reports claim the church was bombed with explosives placed underneath the structure; other reports said the destruction was caused by shelling.

The Forty Martyrs Church dates back to the 15th century. The bell tower was built in 1912. The Church housed khatchkars, relics, and icons, including “The Last Judgment,” a painting that dates to 1703.

The destruction of the Forty Martyrs Church comes about four months after the bombing of the Armenian Catholic Cathedral, and about seven months after the destruction of the Armenian Genocide Chapel and Memorial in Deir el Zor.
The crisis in Syria requires 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
Note: Beginning April 13 and continuing until Pentecost (May 24), each day four Gospels are read in the following order: (1) Morning—Luke; (2) Midday—John; (3) Evening—Matthew; (4) Evening dismissal—Mark.

Bible readings for Sunday, May 3, Apparition of the Holy Cross are: Readings for the Apparition of the Holy Caross (morning): Galatians 6:14-18; Matthew 24:30-36. 1) Luke 11:33-12:12; 2) Acts 17:1-15; 1 John 1:1-10; John 7:14-23; 3) Matthew 13:53-58; John 19:25-30; 4) Mark 6:30-44.

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:1-10)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
This Sunday, May 3, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Apparition of the Cross (Yerevoumun Sourp Khatchi). The Apparition of the Holy Cross is the first feast dedicated to the Holy Cross in the Armenian liturgical calendar. It is celebrated in remembrance of the appearance of the sign of the cross over the city of Jerusalem in 351 that remained in the sky for several hours. The apparition extended from Golgotha to the Mount of Olives (about two miles), and was brighter than the sun and was seen by everyone in Jerusalem. The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cyril, used this occasion to remind Emperor Constantius of Byzantium of his father’s (Constantine the Great) orthodox faith. Cyril said the Apparition was further reason to return to orthodoxy.

Traditionally, the Armenian translation of Cyril’s message is read on this feast day during the Antastan prior to the Gospel lection. The Apparition is celebrated by the Armenian and Greek churches. The Greeks observe it on the fixed date of May 7, while the Armenian date is moveable depending on the date of Easter. It is celebrated on the fifth Sunday of Easter, which is the fourth Sunday after Easter.

Cyril is a revered Doctor of the Church and he is remembered in the Armenian Church’s liturgical calendar. Here is a short excerpt from Cyril’s letter about the apparition:

“In those holy days of the Easter season, on 7 May at about the third hour, a huge cross made of light appeared in the sky above holy Golgotha extending as far as the holy Mount of Olives. It was not revealed to one or two people alone, but it appeared unmistakably to everyone in the city. It was not as if one might conclude that one had suffered a momentary optical illusion; it was visible to the human eye above the earth for several hours. The flashes it emitted outshone the rays of the sun, which would have outshone and obscured it themselves if it had not presented the watchers with a more powerful illumination than the sun. It prompted the whole populace at once to run together into the holy church, overcome both with fear and joy at the divine vision. Young and old, men and women of every age, even young girls confined to their rooms at home, natives and foreigners, Christians and pagans visiting from abroad, all together as if with a single voice raised a hymn of praise to God’s Only-Begotten Son the wonder-worker. They had the evidence of their own senses that the holy faith of Christians is not based on the persuasive arguments of philosophy but on the revelation of the Spirit and power; it is not proclaimed by mere human beings but testified from heaven by God Himself.”
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.
Kevork Hadjian, tenor, and accompanist Gina Maria D’Alessio acknowledge the appreciation of  the audience.
Parishioners of St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, enjoyed a concert on April 26 by renowned tenor, Kevork Hadjian. Mr. Hadjian, accompanied by pianist Gina Maria D’Alessio, presented a moving collection of Armenian classical songs and compositions by Gomidas. During the second part of the program he captivated the audience with Armenian nationalistic and heroic music. Following the concert, the congregation enjoyed a reception in Lillian Arakelian Hall, and the opportunity to meet Mr. Hadjian.
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
The Ring Operation Begins (April 30, 1991)
The Ring Operation was a military action executed by Soviet army forces and battalions of special significance (OMON) of the Interior Ministry of Azerbaijan. It is generally accepted that it was sanctioned by Moscow as retaliation for the non-participation of Armenia (together with the Baltic republics, Georgia, and Moldova) in the March 17, 1991 referendum about the preservation of the Soviet Union. However, secret documentation disclosed by Viktor Krivopuskov, chief of the operative group of the Soviet Interior Ministry in Karabagh from 1990-1991, shows that the operation had been in preparation since November 1990 by the Azerbaijani authorities and later agreed with the Soviet Security Council. It was part of the policy of ethnic cleansing executed by Azerbaijan from 1988-1991 that ended with the centuries-old Armenian communities in its territory.

Firing against the villages of Getashen and Martunashen, in the Azerbaijani district of Khanlar, by the OMON forces had started on March 25, 1991, while the military operation started on April 30 at 5:00 am. The second division of the Fourth Soviet Army, stationed in Kirovabad (today Ganja), with the cooperation of tanks, artillery, and military aviation, blockaded the villages of Getashen and Martunashen, in the district of Khanlar of Soviet Azerbaijan. Hours later, the OMON battalions and Azerbaijani “volunteers” entered the villages. On that day, 37 people, including women and children, were killed in the villages, and one hundred were wounded. More than 100 villagers were beaten, wounded, and mutilated. A total of 43 people were captured as hostages, with 14 taken to unknown destinations. The other 29, after being subjected to two days of savage and continuous beating, on the third day were exchanged for 14 soldiers and a colonel taken prisoners by the Armenians. 
Villagers of Getashen shortly before its fall to the Azeris.
Tatul Grbeyan
The resistance to the attack against the peaceful population was led by teacher Tatul Grbeyan, who had been the head of the self-defense in the two villages since September 1990, and Simon Achikgozian. They fell heroically in the unequal combat on April 30.

Despite the promise by USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev to prevent the bloodletting on May 1, the following day both villages were attacked again, and Martunashen was totally burnt. On May 4 the Soviet leader repeated again that there was no right to force the population to leave the villages, while at the same time 1,317 people were forcefully transported to Stepanakert by helicopter on May 4 and 5, and another 1,100 on May 6 and 7. More than 500 young and middle-aged people were captured and their fate is unknown.  

No Armenian was left in Getashen and Martunashen, and both villages were plundered by the Azerbaijani population of the surrounding villages. On June 14, 1991 the Azerbaijani daily Bakinski Rabotchi reported that 3,000 Azerbaijanis were already living in Getashen.

On July 4 Gorbachev signed the decree to decorate seven officials of the Azerbaijani OMON with the order of the Red Star “for having participated in the combats to disarm militants in the district of Khanlar in Azerbaijan,” namely, for the deportation of the population of Getashen and Martunashen.

On May 1, 1991 the U.S. Senate unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the crimes committed by Soviet and Azerbaijani authorities against the Armenian population. The resolution in particular, condemned “the attacks on innocent men, women and children in Nagorno-Karabakh, in the adjacent Armenian settlements and in Armenia; the large-scale use of military force and firing of the unarmed population on the eastern and southern borders of Armenia,” and called “to put an end to the blockades and other forms of force and the terror against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh."

The operation remained a “dead letter.” The operation would continue in the following months and many thousands of Armenian would be deported from other locations.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org)
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
When an Anniversary is Not a Birthday
2015 is particularly filled with feelings and thoughts inspired by the hundredth anniversary of the Medz Yeghern, the Armenian genocide. On the eve of the symbolic day that commemorates the most catastrophic crime in Armenian history, it is appropriate to revisit the meaning of “anniversary.”

We usually use “anniversary” in English for a date of foundation, a marriage, or a certain event, something that returns yearly (Latin anniversarius, from annus “year” and versus “turning”). The English word has its counterpart in Armenian, daretartz (տարեդարձ), which sounds like a calque: dari (տարի “year”) and tartz (դարձ “turning”).* However, this word is not an exact translation. It has one more and one less meaning than in English.

Indeed, both languages say amoosnootian daretartz (ամուսնութեան տարեդարձ) and “marriage anniversary,” as well as angakhootian daretartz (անկախութեան տարեդարձ) for “anniversary of independence.” However, while the Armenian language uses daretartz to mark the anniversary of the birth of someone who is alive, and hence we say yerchanig daretartz (երջանիկ տարեդարձ) or shunorhavor daretartz (շնորհաւոր տարեդարձ) to greet the person, the English language, as we all know, uses birthday and happy birthday.

There is a difference in birth, as there is a difference in death. It would sound ridiculous to call the 100th anniversary daretartz or “birthday.”  The Armenian language has a special word to commemorate the anniversaries of tragic events. Whether it is the death of millions or a single person, the word in that case is darelits (տարելից). It is another compound word, formed by dari and lits, the root of the verb ltsnel/letsnel (լցնել/լեցնել) “to fill.”

In conclusion, if you want to say “100th anniversary of the genocide,” it is tseghasbanootian haryooramea darelits (ցեղասպանութեան հարիւրամեայ տարելից). However, if you prefer to say “centennial” instead of “100th anniversary,” you can do it with one word: haryoorameag (հարիւրամեակ).

(*) Many compound words are linked by the connective a (ա): dari + a + tartz. In the cases when i and a come together in composition, it is a rule that they turn into e (ի + ա = ե), hence dariatartz becomes daretartz.
TIMES SQUARE, NEW YORK: The annual Martyrs Day Times Square gathering drew the largest crowd ever with estimates vacillating between 10,000 to 15,000. The event is organized each year by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, and this year was also under the auspices of the Centennial Commemorative Committee. Archbishop Oshagan delivered the invocation. (Photo by Tom Vartabedian)

See more photos from Times Square by Tom Vartabedian here.
CHICAGO: Joint Badarak with the participation of all of the Armenian churches in the Greater Chicago area took place on April 19 at All Saints Church, Glenview, Illinois. The faithful filled the church sanctuary as well as the auxiliary sanctuary (Shahnasarian  Hall).
WAUKEGAN: Parishioners from the churches in Waukegan, Illinois community gather at St. Paul Church as they prepare to attend the Chicago Centennial Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. Crosses prepared by the youth of both churches stand in memory of those who gave their lives.
DETROIT: Two thousand parishioners from the four Armenian churches of Greater Detroit  gathered at St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Basilica for an Ecumenical Service of Prayer, remembering the Martyrs and celebrating their canonization as saints of the Armenian Church. More than thirty clergymen from different denominations were present. Archbishop Allen Vigneron from the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit was the homilist. Also participating were Metropolitan Nicholas of the Metropolis of Detroit of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Archbishop Nathanial Popp from the Romanian Episcopate of the Orthodox Church of America. Following the service, the congregation admired illuminated images of historic Armenian churches projected onto the façade of the Basilica. During the reception, a 21-foot mural was unveiled, entitled, “100 Years of Endurance: The Story of a Peoples’ Struggle for Survival and the Desire for Truth and Reconciliation.”


(Pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York)

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

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

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

May 16—“Your Church. Your Nation. Engage.” A Dialogue with His Holiness Aram I, for young adults (ages 18-35). Speakers will explore the theme of Faithfulness, the Centennial of the Armenian genocide, and the canonization of the Martyrs. St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, 3 pm to 5 pm. Registration required.

May 30—“Your Church. Your Nation. Engage.” A Dialogue with His Holiness Aram I, with young adults (ages 18-35). Speakers will explore the themes of Faithfulness, the Centennial of the Armenian genocide, and the canonization of the Martyrs. Westin Hotel, 70 Third Avenue, Waltham, Massachusetts, 10 am to 2 pm.

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

June 4-5—National Association of Ladies Guilds 2015 Annual Conference, St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts. For information: Sharke Der Apkarian, shakar07@comcast.net, or 978-808-0598.

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

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

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

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

November 15—90th Anniversary Banquet, St. Stephen’s Church, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain, Connecticut. Watch for details.
Web pages of the parishes can be accessed through the Prelacy’s web site.

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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.
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