March 24, 2016

You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday. (Psalm 91)
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem
(Kovya Yerousaghem Uzder)

Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Christ is risen from the dead, alleluia!
To Him who is risen from the dead, alleluia!
To him that enlightened the world, alleluia!

Read the Prelate’s Easter Message in Armenian or English.
Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian
Archbishop Oshagan bids farewell to Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian during funeral service yesterday at St. Vartan Cathedral.

We note with sadness the passing of His Eminence Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian, the former Primate of the United Kingdom, and a long-serving clergyman in the Eastern Diocese. Archbishop Oshagan received the news of the passing of his elder brother-in-Christ with great sorrow. 

Archbishop Yeghishe became a mentor and inspiration for generations that followed. He will be remembered for his grace, humility, and loving service. Especially in recent years he was a familiar and welcome presence in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area.

Archbishop Oshagan participated in the Final Anointing and Burial service that took place yesterday, March 23, at St. Vartan Cathedral in New York City. Interment was at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York, followed by a Memorial Luncheon (hokejash) at St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church in White Plains, New York.

Archbishop Yeghishe was a graduate of the Theological Seminary of the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon. He was ordained a celibate priest by Archbishop Terenig Poladian, at the same time that his classmate Archbishop Hrant Khatchadourian was ordained.

In-lieu-of-flowers donations may be made to St. Vartan Cathedral, 630 Second Avenue, New York, New York 10016; or to the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 70 Main Street, Emerson, New Jersey 07630.

May eternal peace be granted to him and perpetual light shine upon him.
Acts 1:15-26; Mark 16:2-8. Evening Readings: Acts 1:1-8; Luke 24:13-35; John 20:1-18; John 5:24-30; John 19:31-37; John 20:19-25.

And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the  tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said  nothing to any one, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:1-8)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
In the Armenian tradition, the day following each of the five major feast days, is Memorial Day, or Remembrance of the Dead. Traditionally, the Divine Liturgy is celebrated on this day, and afterwards the faithful visit the graves of their loved ones that are blessed by the priest with chants and incense.

Every year during Holy Week Archbishop Oshagan and Bishop Anoushavan visit the Hovnanian School in New Milford, New Jersey, the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Emerson, New Jersey, and the Armenian Home in Flushing, New York. The Prelate and Vicar were joined by Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian, Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, and Dn. Kevork Hadjian.

Home Blessing service at the Hovnanian School.
Archbishop Oshagan, Fr. Hovnan Bozoian and Fr. Mesrob Lakissian visit the residents at the Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Emerson, New Jersey.
Bishop Anoushavan, Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian, Fr. Nareg Terterian, Fr. Mesrob Lakissian and Deacon Kevork Hajian visit the residence of the Armenian Home in Flushing, New York.
Dn. Shant goes through the essentials of the Armenian Liturgy.
On a sunny Saturday (March12), over 50 parishioners of Holy Trinity Church in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania spent the day at a seminar on the Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church entitled “Exploring the Eucharist.” Their guide was Deacon Shant Kazanjian, the Director of the Armenian Religious Education Council of the Eastern Prelacy.

One participant remarked, “I could sit here for another four hours to learn more and more about our beautiful Badarak.”  Jeanette Der Hagopian, Choir Master and Parish Council Vice-Chair, commented on Deacon Shant’s passion and zeal for his topic. “I loved what he said about the Liturgy being the place where heaven and earth come together—I was very moved by that comment.”

Using numerous passages from Scripture (from Exodus through Revelation) and the text of the Liturgy, as well as some video footage, Deacon Shant, laid the foundation of worship and went through the essentials of Liturgy in an engaging and down-to-earth manner.  Holy Trinity pastor, Rev. Fr. Hakob Gevorgyan, thanked Deacon Shant for his thorough and insightful presentation. 
Perhaps Joyce Baldadian Hoyle expressed it best when she reflected, “I’ve discovered the beauty of the Liturgy in its mystery, but more importantly, I understand my role as a participant.”
Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Director of the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), conducted a seminar for the New England Region Sunday School Teachers, hosted by Saint Asdvadzadzin Armenian Apostolic Church of Whitinsville, Massachusetts, on Saturday, March 19, 2016, titled “Baptism, Chrismation, and the Eucharist: The foundation of our life in Christ.”  Fourteen teachers and directors participated from four parishes—Saint Asdvadzadzin (MA), Holy Trinity (MA), Sts. Vartanantz (RI), St. Stephen’s (CT). 
The program began with a prayer and opening remarks by Rev. Fr. Mikael Der Kosrofian, pastor of Saint Asdvadzadzin Church.
Deacon Shant walked the participants through the service of baptism-chrismation, highlighting its distinctive parts, symbolisms and ritual movements. He also walked them through four key scriptural passages—Galatians 3, John 3, Romans 6, and Matthew 3. These texts provide an indispensable lens to see the meaning of the sacrament of baptism. Throughout the 4-hour seminar, the participants engaged in a host of questions related to the sacrament of baptism, exploring its multi-dimensional imagery and its implications and mandates for living out our baptismal vocation. 
Deacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC) conducts a seminar for Sunday School teachers in Whittinsville, Massachusetts.
A large number of parishioners attended the Palm Sunday celebrations at St. Sarkis Church. His Grace Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and gave a sermon emphasizing the importance of having the peace of Christ in our hearts and walking with Jesus.

Palm Sunday procession of young children with decorated candles was the highlight of the day and it was was followed by the service of "Trunpatzek" (Opening of the portal ceremony).
Bishop Anoushavan, Fr. Nareg Terterian, deacons and acolytes of St. Sarkis Church pictured here with their youngest parishioners.
Bishop Anoushavan, Fr. Nareg Terterian, deacons and acolytes of St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York, during the Palm Sunday procession.
On Sunday, March 13, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Antelias, concluding the week-long pilgrimage dedicated to St. Gregory the Illuminator, the Patron Saint of the Armenian Church. This year is the 85th anniversary of the edict issued by Catholicos Sahak II Khabayan establishing the “Day of Faith,” in honor of St. Gregory.

His Holiness entered the Cathedral at the back of the procession, led by the seminarians, the priests, and bishops, and the clergy carrying the silver box containing the right hand relic of the Saint, a reminder to the Armenian people of the Patron Saint of the Armenian Christian faith. In his sermon, Archbishop Komitas Ohanian described St. Gregory as the second illuminator of the Armenian faith and the Shepherd of the Church who continues to inspire the people.

At the end of the Holy Liturgy, Catholicos Aram blessed the faithful with the relic as the procession walked among them. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh, Ara Haroutunian, and his delegation, as well as the members of the Executive of the Church Council were invited to join the Procession.

After meeting the people and blessing them, His Holiness returned to the altar and blessed the water with the relic, while reciting his prayer. He beseeched St. Gregory, as the witness of Jesus Christ and the Apostle of the faith of the Armenian people, to intercede and bestow heavenly grace upon Armenians and lead them to a virtuous life.
A large crowd gathered at the cathedral in Antelias to receive blessings from Vehapar who was weilding an arm-shaped reliquary containing the relics of St. Gregory the Illuminator.
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Birth of Arthur Pinajian
(March 28, 1914)
"He painted every day but no one saw his art. He received no reviews and not one of his paintings or works on paper ever was shown in a New York gallery or museum," has said art historian Peter Hastings Falk, who is the curator of his works.

The story of obscure Armenian-American artist Arthur Pinajian stands out as one of those many cases, like Vincent Van Gogh, who became posthumously (re)discovered. He was a secret artist who painted for himself for years, and no one seemed to have noticed it.

Ashod (Arthur) Pinajian was born on March 28, 1914 in Union City, New Jersey, in a family of workers. He was a precocious youngster who excelled in school and skipped grades. At the same time, he showed excellent skills in drawing. He graduated in 1930, during the Great Depression, and took a clerical job to support his family, since his father was out of a job. His mother passed away two years later, and he moved his father and sister to Long Island.
Pinajian started drawing comic strips, and he was hired as a freelance cartoonist by Lud Shabazian, a reporter-illustrator at the New York Daily News. He took some lessons at the Art Students League and became a pioneer in comic book creation, being active from the late 1930s throughout the 1950. He worked on many titles and features of Centaur Publications in the 1930s, including “Captain Juan,” “Egbert the Great,” and “Tim Roberts,” and subsequently joined Funnies, Inc. He also drew characters for Fiction House, Fox Comics, Lev Gleason Publications, and Timely Comics. Pinajian created the characters Madame Fatal and the Invisible Hood (also known as Hooded Justice and Invisible Justice) for Quality Comics, and worked on Western stories for Atlas/Marvel in the 1950s.
He served in the U.S. Army in World War II and earned the Bronze Star Medal for valor. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, he was able to take lessons at the Art Students League and was drawn to the works of old and modern art masters, and endlessly roamed through the Manhattan museums and art galleries. 

For the last 26 years of his life, Pinajian devoted his life completely to art, living in a tiny room. No articles were written about him; one couple at the opening reception of his exhibition in March 2003 related how they had purchased a figurative painting many years ago from the artist for a mere $100, “so that Pinajian could have money to purchase paint for his work.”  He struggled financially and relied on his secretary sister, Armen, for support. The siblings lived together most of their lives and neither married. 
When Pinajian passed away on August 18, 1999, his art, which had been stored in his garage, was left to be destroyed at his request. His wishes were ignored, and they remained gathering dust and mold. Two years after the death of his sister (2005), his artistic works would see the light of day. Investors Thomas Schultz and Larry Joseph purchased the ramshackle bungalow in Bellport, New York in 2007, hoping to renovate it. The majority of Pinajian’s work was found stacked up in the one-car garage and attic of the property. Along with the art were found his journals, many letters, and sketch books that spanned the 50 years of his creative life.
The buyers paid an extra $2,500 for the art collection and set about restoring it. The pieces included abstract expressionist paintings, landscapes, sketches from the Second World War, illustrations for 1930s comic books, and images from the 1960 Woodstock artist colonies. In all, there were more than 3,000 paintings, drawings and illustrations.

At the first gallery exhibit in March 2013, one painting sold for $100,000, the highest price paid for one of Pinajian's paintings so far. Schultz is the full-time registrar, while Falk, the director of exhibitions, has valued the collection at around 30 million dollars.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (
An article in the March 15th issue of The New York Times announced the finalists for the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity that was established last year. The winner will receive $100,000 and designate an organization to be the beneficiary of $1 million. The winner will be announced in a ceremony in Yerevan on April 24.

The creation of the Aurora Prize was announced last April 24 by Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, who serves on the selection committee, and philanthropists Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan. 

The finalists (chosen from 200 submissions) are Marguerite Barakitse, founder of Maison Shalom, which began as a center for orphans during ethnic upheavals in Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1990s; Dr. Tom Catena, a physician from Amsterdam, New York, who founded the Mother of  Mercy Hospital in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains eight years ago; Syeda Ghulam Fatima, who runs the Bonded Labour Liberation Front, an organization in Lahore, Pakistan, that aids destitute workers; and the Rev. Bernard Kinvi, a priest from Togo who runs a Catholic mission in the Central African Republic that has saved many civilians in that country’s civil conflict, regardless of their backgrounds.

The award is named after Armenian genocide survivor Aurora Mardiganian, who witnessed the massacres of relatives and told her story in a book and film.
Recipients of the Aurora Prize; Marguerite Barakitse, Rev. Bernard Kinvi, Syeda Ghulam Fatima, Dr. Tom Catena pictured here with Dr. Vartan Grigorian.

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Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Armenian Apostolic Church of America
(Memo: Syrian Armenian Relief)

Thank you for your help.
For many decades the Prelacy has sponsored an annual raffle drawing the proceeds of which are devoted to the educational and religious programs of the Prelacy that benefit our youth. The drawing takes place in May during the annual National Representative Assembly. The top prize is $5,000, second prize is $2,000 and third, fourth, and fifth prizes are $1,000. 

Of course being a winner is great. But, truthfully, in this raffle there are no losers, because the money raised funds the programs that are so vital to our church’s mission. If you haven’t bought a ticket please consider purchasing one or more now. Contact your local parish or contact the Prelacy ( or 212-689-7810)
SIAMANTO ACADEMY—Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: or 212-689-7810.

April 2—Contemporary Art Exhibit and Reception, 7 pm to 10 pm, Vahakn and Hasmig Hovnanian Hall at the Armenian Prelacy, 138 E. 39th Street, New York City. Sponsored by the Armenian Relief Society of the Eastern USA, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, Prelate. The works of prominent Armenian artists from Armenia and the Diaspora will be on view and available for purchase. Curated by Vicki Shoghag Hovanessian. Proceeds will benefit the ARS Educational Programs. The exhibition will also be open on Sunday, April 3, 1 pm to 4 pm. Admission is free.

April 8—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Annual Membership meeting, 7 pm in large hall. Light dinner will be served.

April 16—Reception for Pillars of the Prelacy in New England area, Cocktails and Dinner at Armenian Museum of America, 65 Main Street, Watertown, Massachusetts. Exclusive exhibition preview for the Pillars of “Metal Memories: Selected Metalwork from the Berdj Garabedian Collection.” For information (

April 17—“Walk Armenia,” sponsored by ARS Mayr Chapter of New York; a 2-mile walk starting and ending at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. Registration at 12 noon; walk starts at 1 pm. Registration fee: $25. Proceeds from the walk will benefit renovations to Camp Haiastan. For information contact Anais (

April 23—“Remembrance, Witness and Resurrection,” Archdiocese of Boston commemoration of the Armenian Genocide at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley will host and lead the first ever Archdiocese of Boston commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. The Cardinal will preside at a 4 pm prayer service. Joining the commemoration will be His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. A large number of faithful from the Archdiocese and the Armenian Church will be joined by ecumenical and interreligious guests and civic dignitaries.

April 23—Connecticut General Assembly, in association with the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee of Connecticut, will commemorate the 101st anniversary of the Armenian genocide; flag raisin g at 11 am, commemoration at 11:30 am in the House Chambers of the Connecticut State Capitol. Guest Speaker: Shant Mardirossian, Chairman Emeritus of the Near East Foundation (formerly Near East Relief). Reception will follow event.

April 24— “Remembering the Armenian Genocide,” Gathering at Times Square, New York, beginning at 2 pm. Sponsored by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan. Free bus transportation available. For information ( 

May 12, 13, 14—National Representative Assembly of the Eastern Prelacy hosted by St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York. Also convening are the National Association of Ladies Guilds conference, and conference of Yeretzgins. 

May 21—Friends of Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School (HMADS), Annual Gala, North Hills Country Club, Manhasset, New York. Educating today’s Armenian American students remains our first priority. Join us in the festivities and help ensure the future of our Armenian School. For reservations/information: 718-225-4826.
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:
138 East 39th Street | New York, NY 10016 US
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