February 6, 2014
His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, recently announced the designation of 2014 as “The Year of the Elderly.”
In his Pontifical Message, the Catholicos noted that the early Church Fathers gave an important place to the elderly in their writings in biblical commentaries and church history. “The presence and role of the elderly in society as depicted in the Bible and by our Church Fathers, as well as in the pages of our people’s history, clearly portray the elderly as being prudent, tranquil, righteous, sober, and experienced…. Indeed, the elder generation is the lifeline of society, the foundation of the family, and one of the strong footholds of any organization. Our people must show a high level of care, love, attention, and respect for their elders.”
On this occasion His Holiness has asked the prelacies under the Holy See of Cilicia and all affiliated community organizations to organize events during 2014, “taking into consideration these thoughts and expectations that will strengthen the care, love, and respect we have for the elder generation. We pray to Almighty God to keep in his heavenly care and protection our fathers and mothers in their advanced age, and fill their lives with good health, happiness, and abundant goodness.”
Archbishop Oshagan has instructed all Prelacy parishes to present Catholicos Aram’s message to their faithful during the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, February 16.
You can read Catholicos Aram’s Pontifical Message in Armenian or English.

The annual clergy gathering on the occasion of the Feast of St. Ghevont and the Priests will take place February 24 to 26. Clergy from the Eastern and Canadian Prelacies will be meeting jointly this year at Holy Cross Church in Troy, New York.

The 31st Musical Armenia concert will take place Friday evening (8 pm), March 28, at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, featuring Narek Arutyunian (clarinet) and Friends (Hahnsol Kim, violin; and Yunqing Zhou, piano).  For more information click here.
The 2014 National Representative Assembly (NRA), along with the Clergy Conference, and the Conference of the National Association of Ladies Guilds (NALG), will take place May 13-17, hosted by St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan. Watch for details.
Bible readings for Sunday, February 9, Fourth Sunday after Nativity, Eve of the Fast of the Catechumens, are: Isaiah 61:10-62; 2 Timothy 2:15-26; John 6:15-21.
When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going. (John 6:15-21)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
There are no Bible readings according to the Armenian Liturgical calendar three days next week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, February 10, 11, and 12.
These days without designated readings coincide with the Fast of the Catechumens, which begins Monday and ends on Friday. There is only one Bible reading for Thursday, February 13, the entire Book of Jonah. This period is traditionally a time for reflection and repentance, and a time for the clergy and laity to witness their faith to the unbaptized who are preparing for baptism. The Fast of the Catechumens, which is unique to the Armenian Church, leads to the Church’s remembrance of the prophet Jonah, whose “entombment” in the belly of the whale represents the three-day burial of Jesus, and Jonah’s release represents the resurrection of our Lord.

This Sunday, February 9, is the Paregentan (Mardi Gras) of the Fast of the Catechumens. A catechumen is someone who is receiving instruction in the fundamentals of the faith while preparing for baptism. This occurs three weeks before Poun Paregentan (Eve of Great Lent) and ten weeks before Easter. The Fast of the Catechumens is five days of strict fast (dzom). Traditionally, the Catechumens were instructed for several hours daily and required to stand through every church service, separate from the baptized congregation. This continued until Easter when the catechumens were baptized and anointed and received their first communion.

This Saturday, February 8, the Armenian Church remembers the sons and grandsons of St. Gregory the Illuminator: Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris, and Daniel (who was not related, but as a distinguished student of St. Gregory). All of them continued the work of St. Gregory, preaching the word of Christ, at great personal peril.
St. Gregory had two sons, Aristakes and Vrtanes. Aristakes, the younger son, succeeded Gregory as Catholicos and was martyred around 333 A.D. He represented the Armenian Church at the first ecumenical council of Nicaea in 325. It was at this council that the Nicene Creed, recited to this day during the Divine Liturgy, was written and adopted. Vrtanes—at this time over 70 years old—was called upon to become catholicos and served for eight years until his death. Vrtanes had two sons, Grigoris and Housig. Grigoris preached in the northern provinces of Armenia (present day Georgia) where he was martyred. Housig, although not a clergyman, was called upon to assume the catholicosal throne. He was martyred in 347. Daniel, who as noted above was not related by blood to Gregory, is included with the sons and grandsons. He was chosen to succeed Housig as catholicos, but never actually served as he too was martyred one year later in 348.

The 2014 Lenten Lectures will begin on Wednesday, March 5, and continue through subsequent Wednesdays during Lent. The theme of the lectures will be The Nicene Creed, based on the recently published Commentary on the Nicene Creed, by Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian, of blessed memory. The newly published bilingual book was translated by Deacon Shant Kazanjian, director of the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC).
The lecturers include: Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy; Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, pastor of St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts; Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York; and Deacon Shant Kazanjian, director of AREC.
The Prelacy’s Lenten Lectures continue a decades-old tradition. The series is sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council, the Prelacy Ladies Guild (PLG), and the Ladies Guild of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. The lectures take place at the Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, with church service at 7:30 pm; Lecture and Q & A at 8 pm; Table Fellowship at 8:45 pm.
For information contact the Prelacy office at 212-689-7810, or arec@armenianprelacy.org or the Cathedral office at 212-689-5880.
The members of the Commission on the Classification of Saints met at the Catholicosate last week. The Commission first met with His Holiness Aram I, who gave them his blessings and thanked them for their work. The membership on the Commission includes representatives appointed by His Holiness Karekin II of Holy See of Etchmiadzin and His Holiness Aram I of the Holy See of Cilicia.
The co-moderators, Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian (Cilicia) and Bishop Arshak Khatchadurian (Etchmiadzin), opened the meeting, during which the members discussed the classification process and rites for the victims of the Genocide; the canons, hymns, ordering of Saints according to dates, preparation of relics, and icons, and the timetable for the 2015 commemorations. The next meeting of the Commission will take place in Holy Etchmiadzin in April.

The members of the Commission jointly appoint ted by His Holinesses Karekin II and Aram I, met in Antelias to study the recommendations and comments of the prior Bishops Conference and to finalize the draft of the Canon of Baptismal Rite. Under the leadership of the co-moderators, Archbishop Komitas Mehanian (Cilicia) and Bishop Arshak Khatchadurian (Etchmiadzin), the Commission discussed language policy regarding the text of the Baptismal Rite and guidelines for teaching the canon. The next meeting of the Commission will take place in Holy Etchmiadzin in May.

The 11th meeting of the joint international commission for theological dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches took place last week in India. The Armenian Church was represented by Bishop Hovaguim Manoukian and Rev. Shahe Ananian (Holy See of Etchmiadzin) and Archbishop Nareg Alemezian (Holy See of Cilicia).
Archbishop Nareg and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Commission for Christian Unity co-moderated the conference. The major discussion centered on the nature and concept of communion as it existed in the undivided church of the fifth century prior to the Chalcedonian  schism. The next meeting of the joint commission will take place at the Vatican in January 2015.
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Death of Armen Tigranian (February 10, 1950)
They were brother and sister, and had very divergent ways. While Armen (1879-1950) was a musician and became an artist emeritus of the Republics of Armenia and Georgia, Armenuhi (1888-1962) was a poet and became an expatriate with her husband Vartkes Aharonian, son of novelist Avetis Aharonian and a literary critic and public figure himself (people of certain age in the East Coast and particularly in New York will probably recall the Aharonians as teachers, writers, and lecturers).
Armen Tigranian was born in Alexandropol (now Gumri) on December 26, 1879. He played the flute from an early age and participated in the concerts of the woodwind orchestra at his school. His family moved to Tiflis in 1894 when he was fifteen. Eight years later he graduated from the classes of flute and musical theory of the School of Music; he had also taken lessons of composition from Makar Ekmalian, the noted author of the Armenian polyphonic mass. In the same year, 1902, he returned to Alexandropol. He organized school and popular choirs; the latter toured Tiflis, Baku, and Kars. He composed his first songs at this time with lyrics from poets like Avetik Isahakian and Hovhannes Hovhannisian, as well as arrangements of Armenian folkloric songs.
In 1908, at the age of 29, Tigranian started to write his first opera, Anush, based on the celebrated poem by Hovhannes Tumanian, which laid the ground for a new stylistic orientation in the Armenian music theater. Fragments of the opera were presented in Tiflis in the same year. A complete version of Anush was staged for the first time in Alexandropol four years later. The opera was the first composed in Eastern Armenian, and its Alexandropol performance was the first presentation of an opera in Armenia. For the next thirty years, the composer introduced some changes and additions, and revised the musical arrangement of his work. The opera was particularly remarkable for the scenes of popular feasts and ceremonies, as well as its lyrical songs, duets, and choir songs. Some of the melodies composed by Tigranian became very popular and continue to be popular to this day.
Tigranian commemorated on an Armenian stamp.
The composer moved back to Tiflis in 1913. He participated in the activities of the Armenian Musical Society (1913-1921), taught at the Hovnanian School and gave concerts. He wrote new works, such as music for the drama Layla and Majnun (1918), the Oriental Dance for symphonic orchestra, and choral works, and made arrangements of folkloric songs.
Tigranian continued his creative endeavors during the 1920s and 1930s, and produced songs, cantatas, choral works, and piano works (Dance Song, Suite of Armenian Dances, Oriental Fantasy, Emerald of Shirak, Child Album, etcetera). Anush was staged for the first time at the Opera of Yerevan in 1935.
During World War II, Tigranian started to work, among other pieces, on a new opera, David Bek, based on Raffi’s homonymous novel. The subject, which was the heroic resistance of the Armenians of Siunik against Persian and Turkish invasion in the 1720s, was suited to fit patriotic feelings, which were on the rise at the time in the Soviet Union. As in the case of Anush, the new opera included many elements of village music. He finished the opera in 1949, but it was premiered posthumously in 1950 at the Opera of Yerevan.
A scene from the opera Anush staged by the Gyumri Opera Company
Besides writing music for many plays, Tigranian translated the librettos of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto and George Bizet’s Carmen into Armenian.
Tigranian’s house-museum is located in his birthplace, Gumri, while streets and music schools in Gumri and Yerevan have been named after him. His statue graces the Ring Park of Yerevan.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org).
The Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief is a joint effort of: Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern Prelacy); Armenian Catholic Eparchy; Armenian Evangelical Union of North America; Armenian Relief Society (Eastern USA, Inc.); Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
Thank you for your help
2014 Prelacy Lenten Program, on Wednesdays, starting March 5, at St. Illuminator’s Armenian Apostolic Cathedral (New York City), Sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Prelacy Ladies Guild (PLG), and the St. Illuminator’s Cathedral Ladies Guild. For information, please contact the Prelacy office at 212.689.7810, or arec@armenianprelacy.org or the Church office at 212-689-5880 or office@stilluminators.org.
February 6—Avak luncheon, noon, St. Gregory Church, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts; p4rogram, Joe Almasian’s 20th anniversary representing Armenia in World Olympic Games at Lillehammer, Norway.
February 9—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Book Presentation by Deacon Shant Kazanjian following the Divine Liturgy at Lillian Arakelian Hall.
February 9—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Bishop Anoushavan will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon. Following the services, His Grace will make a presentation commemorating the 50th anniversary of the passing of Catholicos Zareh I, and the 30th anniversary of the passing of Catholicos Khoren I.
February 24-26—Annual Clergy Ghevontiantz Gathering hosted by Holy Cross Church, 255 Spring Avenue, Troy, New York.
March 1—St. Sarkis Sunday School, Dearborn, Michigan, Poon Paregentan Costume Party for everyone, at Lillian Arakelian Hall.
March 2—St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, New York City, Poon Paregentan Manti Luncheon and Program, at John Pashalian Hall, 1 pm, sponsored by the Ladies Guild of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. Admission $30.
March 8—Sunday Teachers’ Seminar for NY-NJ region, at St. Illuminator’s Armenian Cathedral (New York City), sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). Theme: The Nicene Creed.
March 26—St. Sarkis Ladies Guild, Dearborn, Michigan, Mid-Lenten Luncheon following the Lenten morning service, Lillian Arakelian Hall.
March 28—Musical Armenia Concert presented by Eastern Prelacy and Prelacy Ladies Guild, at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, 8 pm, featuring Narek Arutyunian (clarinet) & Friends, Hahnsol Kim (violin) and Yunqing Zhou (piano).
March 27—April 6—Third Annual Online Auction hosted by Armenian Relief Society, Eastern USA, Inc. Auction items include Weekend Getaways, Unique Gifts, Restaurants, Hotels, Spa and Salon Services, Jewelry, Electronics, Artwork, Sports Memorabilia, and more. To view and bid on auction  items during the auction dates: www.biddingforgood.com/arseastusa. To contact the ARS Auction committee: arseusaauction@gmail.com.
April 5—Sunday School Teachers’ Seminar – New England region, at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). Theme: The Nicene Creed.
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.
June 1—Ladies Guild Annual Brunch, St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.
June 1—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Toronto Children’s Choir concert in the church sanctuary.
June 29 - July 6—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) of the Eastern Prelacy. For information, contact the AREC office at 212.689.7810 or at arec@armenianprelacy.org.
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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