May 15, 2014
St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, host of the 2014 National Representative Assembly.
The 2014 National Representative Assembly (NRA) convened this afternoon and will conclude at noon on Saturday. The 2014 Assembly is hosted by St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan. The clergy conference began yesterday. The full Assembly officially opened at 1:30 pm today with a prayer by His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan. The first session included the appointment of temporary co-chairs and secretaries, credential report, election of a nominating committee, and welcoming remarks by Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian, pastor of the host parish, and Arnold Kourtjian, chairman of the board of trustees.
Archbishop Oshagan is scheduled to deliver the Keynote Address tomorrow morning. Concurrent with the Assembly the National Association of Ladies Guilds (NALG) is once again convening their annual conference.
Scenes from the opening session of the 2014 National Representative Assembly in Dearborn, MI
His Grace Bishop Meghrig Parikian was elected Prelate of the Canadian Prelacy last week at the National Representative Assembly of the Prelacy of Canada that took place in Montreal.
Clergy and lay delegates from all parishes of the Canadian Prelacy, elected Bishop Meghrig to his first term of office as Prelate, succeeding His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Hagopian. Bishop Meghrig was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1968, and ordained a celibate clergyman in 1988. He received his Episcopal consecration last month by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. Bishop Meghrig has served as pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Toronto and Vicar of the Canadian Prelacy. Following his election, the clergy escorted him into Montreal’s Sourp Hagop Church where a traditional Hrashapar service took place. The newly elected Prelate thanked the delegates for the privilege to serve the Canadian Prelacy and its people.
Very Rev. Fr. Meghrig Parikian received his Episcopal consecration by Catholicos Aram I in Antelias, Lebanon.
St. Gregory of Datev Institute will hold its 28th annual summer program for youth ages 13-18 at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from June 29 to July 6, 2014. The program is sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC).
For information and registration, please visit the Prelacy website (

Sunday School students at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City have been studying Armenian church architecture for the past two weeks. They first examined the interior and exterior of present-day Armenian churches and churches in Western Armenia.
Continuing their studies, the students watched three short video tours of these churches, studying the design themes and patterns. Based on this, the students compiled an extensive list of distinguishing features of the Armenian Church. The next week each student was given a “blueprint” sheet to fill out, sketching out their own church design by using the knowledge of features that are common to Armenian churches. The construction of a cardboard model based on the students’ blueprint began last Sunday. In the upcoming weeks they will continue to work on their models.
Bishop Anoushavan and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian with students and staff display the Armenian Church architecture project thus far.
This year St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (SSAES) expanded its one-day Science Fair to a week-long STEM Expo (Science Technology Engineering Math), as part of its ongoing STEM program. The program that was launched in 2011 creates and supports a deep and sustainable culture of inquiry-based teaching and learning that excites and inspires SSAES students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. “The STEM Expo focuses our students on a particular STEM topic and allows for collaborative learning which is key to developing highly desirable 21st century skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration,” said Mrs. Houry Boyamian, principal.
Leading up to the STEM Expo, students worked on group STEM projects grounded in everyday life. These real-life applications of math and the sciences were framed by teachers such that students had an opportunity to explore and reason about different options rather than look for one right answer. “Our goal is to inspire students, stimulate their imagination and curiosity, and encourage them to become life-long learners,” said Dr. Sevan Ficici, committee chair of the STEM program.
Founded in 1984, the St. Stephen’s School has distinguished itself with its bilingual curriculum, academic strength, devoted staff, and low student-to-teacher ratio. The School is fully accredited by the Association of Independent Schools in New England, the accrediting body for independent elementary schools.
St. Stephen’s School students who participated in the STEM program.
The STEM team includes, from left to right: Dr. George Halebian, Kimberly Kamborian, Dana Cinar, Principal Houry Boyamian, Dr. Sally Vanerian, Margarit Belorian, and Dr. Sevan Ficici.
Note: Beginning last April 28  and continuing until Pentecost (June 8), 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 18, Apparition of the Holy Cross are: Readings for the Apparition of the Holy Cross (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 18, 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. This event 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. This year he was honored on Saturday, March 15.
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.”
His Holiness Aram I, welcomed members of the Executive Committee of the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches, representing the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, on April 30 at the Catholicosate. They discussed the hardships of the Armenian community in Syria, Armenia-Diaspora relations, and the commemorations of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
His Holiness thanked the guests and expressed his appreciation for the long-standing ecumenical cooperation between the Armenian Evangelical Churches and the Catholicosate of Cilicia and their joint projects in Lebanon, namely, the Azounieh Hospital in the Chouf, and the Home for the Elderly in Bourj Hammoud. The Catholicos also noted the important contribution of Haigazian University to the Armenian youth.

Catholicos Aram I delivered the Keynote Address at an international inter-religious conference, “Dialogue of Civilizations” in Bahrain last week. The conference was organized by His Royal Highness King Hamad bin Al Khalifa.
In his address His Holiness emphasized the crucial importance of “accepting and respecting each other the way we are,” as the only way of building harmonious, coherent, and peaceful societies and a better world.  His Holiness emphasized that “The growing tension between peace and war, hope and despair, reconciliation and confrontation, cohabitation and polarization, integration and exclusion has become a salient feature of contemporary societies. Humanity’s future is seriously threatened because of its disordered relations with God, with the creation and with one another. Unless we accept and respect each other the way we are, humanity will face even greater dangers with far reaching consequences.”
Speaking about the importance of living together, His Holiness said, “Remaining faithful to our teachings and values, we need to rise above our narrow confines to the broader concerns of humanity. We must together build a society in which diversities are celebrated, differences are accepted, mistakes are tolerated, and values are respected. It is not diversities that alienate us. It is rather our prejudices, deeply rooted in our religions, culture, and ethnicities that keep us away from each other. In the fast, we erected religious, cultural, ethnic, and political fences around us to protect us from the other. In the world today the other is next to me. It is even in my family.”

His Holiness Catholicos Aram and the members of the Catholicosate’s Executive Council continue to closely monitor the situation in Kessab and the state of its uprooted population. The Catholicos and Council are deeply concerned about the serious political, national, and humanitarian implications of the displacement.
Along with community leaders, Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian continues to meet with the Kessab refugees in Latakia. His Holiness has again appealed to all Armenians worldwide to assist the Armenian communities of Syria, including Kessab.
Please see instruction below for donations.
The crises in Syria, including the recent upheaval in Kessab, require our financial assistance. Please keep this community in your prayers, your hearts, and your pocketbooks.
Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief
Thank you for your help
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Death of Simon Vratzian (May 21, 1969)
The last Prime Minister of the first Republic of Armenia, Simon Vratzian, was born in 1882, in the village of Medz Sala, near Nakhichevan-on-the-Don (today Rostov-on Don, in the northern Caucasus). He studied in the local Armenian and Russian schools, and in 1900 he was admitted in the Kevorkian Lyceum of Etchmiadzin, of which he was a brilliant graduate in 1906. By that time, he was already a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. He had participated in the protests against the confiscation of the properties of the Armenian Church by the imperial regime (1903-1905), in the first Russian Revolution (1905), and in the Armenian self-defense during the Armeno-Tatar conflict of 1905-1906.
He was a representative of the A.R.F. Student Union to the fourth General Assembly of the party (Vienna, 1907), which would have a decisive importance in its ideological orientation. He later went to St. Petersburg, where he studied law, agronomy, and pedagogy at the university. In 1910, when the persecution against the A.R.F. had peaked in the Russian Empire, he went to Karin (Erzerum), where Rostom, one of the founders of the party, had settled, gathering around him many experienced and promising members in order to dedicate himself to the development of Western Armenians in the country itself.
Vratzian edited the A.R.F. organ Harach in Karin for a year (1910-1911), and then, by Rostom’s recommendation, he was sent to Boston, where he edited Hairenik, then a biweekly, until 1914. He returned to Karin and participated in the crucial eighth General Assembly of the A.R.F., where he was elected a member of the Bureau and left for Tiflis, in the Caucasus. There, he took the editorship of the party daily Horizon and was elected member of the Armenian National Council, which dedicated itself to the organization of the volunteer movement.
After the independence of Armenia, Vratzian moved to Yerevan, where he was elected member of the Parliament and collaborated with the governments of Hovhannes Kachaznuni and Alexander Khatisian. In May 1920, when Hamo Ohanjanian became prime minister, Vratzian took the position of Minister of Labor and Agriculture, until the fall of the government in November 1920. As prime minister from November 24 to December 2, 1920, he would become the witness of the final agony of the independence after the defeat in the Armeno-Turkish war, which would force the sovietization of the country to escape destruction. He signed the agreement to transfer power to the Revolutionary Committee of the Bolsheviks, and he also became the president of the Committee of Salvation of the Homeland, which led Armenia after the rebellion of February 18, 1921.
After the re-establishment of Soviet power in April 1921, Vratzian took the road of exile and settled in Paris, where in 1924 he became the editor of Droshak, the A.R.F. central organ, until its demise in 1933. He wrote his monumental work, The Republic of Armenia, which he published in 1928, with a second, revised edition published in 1958. He was a prolific writer on political, historical, and literary subjects, and published and edited a journal of history and culture, Vem, between 1933 and 1939.
During the war, he moved to the United States, where he was one of the founders of the Armenian National Committee in 1945 and participated in the lobbying for the Armenian Cause during the founding meetings of the United Nations in San Francisco. In 1952, after the death of writer Levon Shant, Vratzian succeeded him as principal of the Nshan Palandjian Lyceum of Hamazkayin in Beirut, a position that he maintained until his death. He worked actively to consolidate the economic foundations of the Lyceum and continued the publishing of books, including a revised edition of The Republic of Armenia in 1958 and his memoirs in six volumes, “On the Path of Life."
He had written: “The regimes are a temporary phenomenon. The leaders are temporary. Nations and fatherlands, the people sitting in their homeland, are eternal. The freedom-loving Armenian people, which had trampled death with death, forged the independence of the fatherland. The Republic of Armenia continues to live in the heart of the Armenian people as a burning reminder of the past and a lively hope of the future.” He was far from imagining that Armenia would become an independent country less than a quarter of a century after his death in Beirut on May 21, 1969.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (
We have now entered the tenth decade that will lead us to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2015. The Prelacy’s Bookstore has an extensive collection of books (in Armenian and English) about the Genocide including histories, historical novels, memoirs, eye witness testimonies, essays, and poetry. From now through next April we will feature one or two books each week from the Bookstore’s collection.
The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response
By Peter Balakian

During the United States’ ascension in the global arena at the turn of the twentieth century, America’s humanitarian movement for Armenia was the rising nation’s first epoch of internationalism. The Burning Tigris reconstructs this landmark American cause that was spearheaded by the passionate commitments and commentaries of a remarkable cast of public figures.

The Burning Tigris (hardcover), $20.00 plus shipping & handling.
The Fall of the Aerie
By Aram Haigaz
Translated by H. Baghdoyan

Aram Haigaz was a well-known beloved Armenian American writer and survivor of the Armenian Genocide, who wrote an account of the heroic defense of his birthplace, Shabin Karahisar. The town rebelled against the order of deportation and resisted until the Turkish troops overran the defenders, who had already depleted their weapons and provisions. A few survivors crossed the Turkish lines. Among them was 15-year-old Aram Haigaz, who lived to tell the story of Shabin Karahisar.

The Fall of the Aerie, (soft cover), $10.00, plus shipping & handling

To order contact the Prelacy Bookstore by email ( or by telephone (212-689-7810).
May 16—Eastern Prelacy’s National Representative Assembly (NRA) banquet hosted by St. Sarkis Church (Dearborn) at Double Tree Hotel Banquet Hall, 5801 Southfield Service Drive, Detroit. Cocktails 7 pm; dinner 8 pm. Ticket donation, $50. For reservations contact the church office, 313-336-6200 before May 9.
May 21—Benefit for Boston’s Armenian Heritage Park, “Chefs Party for Our Park!” Royal Sonesta Hotel, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 6:30 pm, with participation of more than 15 of Boston’s top chefs. Go to for information.
May 13-17—Clergy Conference and National Representative Assembly, and Annual Conference of the National Association of Ladies’ Guilds (NALG) of the Eastern Prelacy, hosted by St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan.
May 18—St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, Saturday school year-end hantes, 4 pm.
May 18—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, ARS Havadk Chapter Bingo Luncheon.
May 24—96th anniversary of Armenian independence sponsored by Lowell “Aharonian” ARF, 6 pm, St. Gregory Church, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts. Dinner, entertainment, and speaker, Baku pogrom survivor Anna Turcotte, author of “Nowhere, A story of Exile.” Admission: $20 adults; $10 students.
May 31—The Armenian Bar Association presents a panel discussion about “Ongoing Legal Efforts and Challenges to Preserve Armenian Antiquities and Cultural Property,” at Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 42 West 44th Street, New York City (between 5th and 6th Avenues), 3:30 to 4:30 pm. Free admission. For information: Denise Darmanian or 917-848-0968.
May 31—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, Ladies’ Guild Cooking Class, “Short Cuts to Armenian Cooking,” 11 am, Homemade Lahmajoon. $15 for each class; $40 for three classes.
June 1—Ladies Guild Annual Brunch, St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.
June 1—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, Sunday School trip to Boston.
June 5—Avak luncheon at noon, St. Gregory Church, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts. Speaker: U.S. Army Major Felix Gregorian, “To America With Love,” on his pending fifth deployment to the Middle East.
June 8—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, Ladies’ Guild Hot Dog Social.
June 15—St. Gregory Church, annual Father’s Day Picnic, 12 noon to 5 pm on the church grounds at 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Enjoy many favorite Armenian dinners including shish kebab and rice pilaf. Baked goods available for purchase. Raffle, Armenian music and dancing, and activities for children. Admission and parking are free. For information, 413-543-4763.
June 16-17—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Sunday School Teens Seminar at Colombiere Conference and Retreat Center, Clarkston, Michigan.
June 23—Holy Trinity Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, 11th Annual Golf Outing, Sterling National Country Club, Sterling, Massachusetts. Tee off: 9 am, shotgun start, scramble format. $145 per person includes: Golf, cart, breakfast, dinner, prizes, raffles, and chance to win a two-year lease on a 2014 Land Rover with a hole in one. For information: Kap Kaprielian, or 508-872-9629.
June 24-26—Vacation Bible Camp for preschool (age 4) to 6th grade students at St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, from 10 am to 2 pm. Religious activities, lessons, crafts, and games. For information: 313-336-6200.
June 28—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, Ladies Guild Cooking Class, “Short Cuts to Armenian Cooking,” 11 am, Mock Manti. $15 for each class; $40 for three classes.
June 29 – July 6, 2014: 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, contact the AREC office at 212.689.7810 or at
July 14—39th Annual St. Sarkis Golf & Tennis Classic, Meadowbrook Country Club, Northville, Michigan. $250 donation for golf breakfast, lunch, and banquet. $125 donation banquet only. Reservations: 313-336-6200.
July 19—“A Hye Summer A Night IX,” sponsored by the Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, and Armenian Relief Society Ani Chapter, 7 pm to 12 midnight. Dinner Dance at Alpine Country Club, Pippen Orchard Drive, Cranston, Rhode Island, featuring Hachig Kazarian, John Berberian, Ken Kalajian, and Jason Naroian. Dinner-Dance, $50; dance only after 8:30 pm, $35 (with student ID $25). RSVP before June 30. Call Joyce Yeremian, 401-354-8770, or Joyce Bagdasarian, 401-434-4467,
July 26—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, Ladies Guild Cooking Class, “Short Cuts to Armenian Cooking,” 11 am, Boereg. $15 for each class; $40 for three classes.
August 17—St. Sarkis Church (Dearborn) Grape Blessing Family Fun Picnic at Kensington Park, Kensington, Michigan. Good food, music, biking, soccer, dancing, magician, swimming, playscape, kids games, door prizes, face painting, tavloo tournament and more.
September 18—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, 12th Annual Golf Classic, River Vale Country Club, River Vale, New Jersey. Rain or Shine. 11 am registration and Grilled Lunch Buffet; 1 pm Tee Off. Format: Shotgun Scramble (All player levels welcome). Golf Outing Reservation: $195; limited to first 128 paid golf reservations. Reservation includes: Grilled lunch buffet, dinner banquet, golf, cart, and range balls. Contests and Prizes. Sponsorships available. For information: 201-943-2950.
October 3—St. Sarkis Armenian Church, Douglaston, New York, Saturday School Dinner Dance Gala.
Web pages of the parishes can be accessed through the Prelacy’s web site.
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