June 16, 2016
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saints Sahag Bartev and Mesrob Mashdotz, the Holy Translators. The feasts dedicated to the Holy Translators are among the most beloved commemorations for Armenians. Sahag and Mesrob are honored two times during the liturgical year: on the Thursday following the fourth Sunday after Pentecost, which is today, and on the second Saturday in October. The visionary leadership of these two men who recognized the imperative necessity of an Armenian alphabet changed the course of Armenian history. The two saints, Sahag and Mesrob, are forever linked in the minds and hearts of the Armenian people.
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.

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.
Bible readings for Sunday, June 19, Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Feast of the Discovery of the Box of the Theotokos are: Isaiah 2:5-11; Romans 9:30-9:4; Matthew 13:24-30.

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from? He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the  reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the whet into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
As noted above, today the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Sts. Sahag Bartev and Mesrob Mashdotz, the Holy Translators.

St. Sahag is remembered for his strong leadership during some of the most difficult days for the Armenian Church, as well as during some of the most glorious. He is also remembered for his vast body of literary work. After the development of the Armenian alphabet, he was the guiding force for the translation of the Bible as well as in the translation of the works of the Holy Fathers.

St. Mesrob developed the Armenian alphabet with the help and support of St. Sahag, after a long period of travel and investigation. According to tradition, during one of his travels Mesrob was meditating in a cave in Palu, and it was there he saw a vision that helped him complete his task of creating an alphabet for the Armenian language.

The holy translators, like stewards, were interpreters of the divine Scriptures by inventing letters by means of which are preserved on earth as living words for the shepherd flock of the New Israel; praise God with a sweet-sounding hymn.

They looked on the greatness of earthly glory as on darkness and having put their hope in the immortal bridegroom they were made worthy of the kingdom of heaven; praise God with a sweet-sounding song.

By the power of the Father’s wisdom the uncreated existing One by means of their translation they made firm the throne of Saint Gregory; praise God with a sweet-sounding song.

Saint Sahag having dressed in the new word adorned the Armenian churches; praise God with a sweet-sounding song.
(Canon to the Holy Translators from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)

This Saturday, June 18, the Armenian Church remembers King Drtad, Queen Ashkhen, and Princess Khosrovitoukht. After torturing and condemning St. Gregory to the pit, and his cruel and fatal treatment of the Hripsimiantz nuns, King Drtad became inflicted with strange debilitating maladies. Queen Ashkhen and the king’s sister, Khosrovitoukht (who had secretly become Christian) convinced the king that only Gregory could cure him. Thus, Gregory was released from the deep pit. With the king’s subsequent recovery, all three helped Gregory spread Christianity throughout Armenia. In their later years the queen and princess lived in the fortress of Garni and the king retired to St. Gregory’s retreat on Mt. Sepouh.

This Sunday, June 28, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Discovery of the Jewel Box of the Asdvdzadzin. The Holy Mother was assumed into heaven, and there are no relics of her earthly body. Therefore, her personal belongings became valued and venerated.

On Tuesday, June 21, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Zechariah the Prophet. Zechariah (“God Remembered”) is the eleventh of the twelve “minor” prophets of the Old Testament. They are called “minor” not because they are less important but because the books attributed to them are shorter than those of the “major” prophets.

The Siamanto Academy finished the academic year 2015-2016 on Saturday, June 11. ANEC Executive Director Dr. Vartan Matiossian, who also directs the academy, thanked the students and their parents for their support. Throughout the year, classes were offered by Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Mr. Harout Misserlian, Ms. Jennifer Manoukian, with Dr. Khatchig Mouradian as guest speaker. Seven students completed the two-year course of Armenian history, culture, and current affairs, and made presentations on different subjects of their choice, related to these issues. The presentations were well received by ANEC members and parents who attended this final class.

The Academy will resume its activities on Saturday, September 10, 2016. Students from ages 13 to 17 are welcome to join the academy. The meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month, from September to June. For more information and registration, please email ANEC at anec@armenianprelacy.org or call at (212) 689-7231.
Graduates from the Siamanto Academy, with their instructors Dr. Vartan Matiossian and Mr. Harout Misserlian. First row: Lori Samuelian, Serge Aruch, and Vahan Atakhanian. Second row: Emil Orbelian and Vahn Mouradian. Missing from photo: Tvene and Lori Baronian.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of St. Gregory of Datev Summer Institute. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Eastern Prelacy’s St. Gregory of Datev program that has touched the lives of hundreds of Armenian teenagers in the past three decades. We need your help to continue our mission fostering the Armenian Christian growth and development of our youth. Any size donation helps.

The Eastern Prelacy’s annual weeklong Datev program, organized by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), has grown extensively since its beginnings in 1987. The four year program offers young Armenians an enriching curriculum that mixes theory with practice, under the auspices of the Prelate, His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan.

Why Datev?
• To instill and nurture the Armenian Christian faith and identity in our youth.
• To encourage Armenian youth to become more involved in the life of the Church.
• To discuss youth-related issues with Armenian clergy6 and teachers.
• To provide a forum for our youth to expand their knowledge of Armenian culture through language, poetry, music, song and dance.

Rooted in the Armenian Christian faith and culture, the Institute is a four-year (one week each summer) faith-based program for youth ages 13 to 18. Those who complete the four year program may return for postgraduate classes. Classes for the five levels of study take place concurrently. The daily schedule reflects the Institute’s three main objectives: Education, worship, and fellowship. And the program includes worship services, Bible study, group discussions, lectures, and recreational activities. Your donation will help us embrace the next chapter of our journey with a renewed vision and commitment to bring our youth closer to God and the Armenian Church.

Your tax-deductible donations may be made on line (click here) or if you prefer you may send your donation to the Armenian Prelacy, 138 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016. Checks should be payable to the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; please indicate “Datev” in the memo area.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Bailey
We note with great sadness the passing of Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Bailey, a world-renowned biblical scholar, a prolific author, and a dynamic lecturer, who passed away on May 23 at age eighty-five. Our readers might rightly wonder, “Who is Dr. Bailey?” He was the beloved New Testament professor at the Near East School of Theology (NEST) in Lebanon, where a number of clergymen from the Holy See of Cilicia have also studied. Dr. Bailey is also fondly remembered by many students of the St. Gregory of Datev Institute, where he taught a number of mini courses to upper level students, at the invitation of one of his former students, His Grace Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy.

In the course of his ministry and throughout his retirement, Dr. Bailey wrote ten volumes on distinctive biblical themes that have become a significant resource for academics, pastors, church educators, and adult leaders of various Christian denominations. He was noted for his uniquely insightful treatment of the parables of Jesus, and became widely read through his books, hundreds of journal articles, and an extensive film and video ministry. His final work was The Good Shepherd: Thousand-Year Journey from Psalm 23 to the New Testament (2014) which he considered to be his best work.

May he rest in the peace of the Lord.
His Holiness Aram I presided over the Seminary’s graduation ceremony last Sunday in Bikfaya, Lebanon. Rev. Fr. Bedros Tinkjian welcomed the audience of clergy, seminarians, and guests. Seminarians who had participated in a special two-year music curriculum presented a short program that was followed by a performance by the Armash Choir.

Rev. Fr. Oshin Choualertanian addressed the gathering on behalf of the graduating class. Very Rev. Fr. Torkom Donoyan, Director of the Seminary, presented the annual report and spoke about the centuries-long vocation of the Seminary. He advised the graduates to follow the journey of spiritual life and diakonia of their predecessors and serve the Diaspora communities wherever they may be called.

His Holiness distributed the diplomas and then addressed the graduates. He said, “Diplomas are symbolic expressions of the knowledge you have acquired through your studies. However, the seminary not only provides knowledge, it builds character and forms the person. Our graduates leave the seminary enriched by spiritual values and shaped by our national ideals. They transform their seminary experience into mission in service of the people.” He then reminded the graduates and those present that the Armenian Church is not a self-centered institution. Reciting the words of the Seminary anthem, he said that the Seminary forges its graduates and prepares them for service by combining the spirituality of the church with the dreams, aspiration, and hopes of the nation.”
Upon the invitation of Grigor Hovhannisyan, Ambasador of the Republic of Armenia to the United States, spiritual and lay leaders from the East and West Coasts gathered at the Embassy to discuss the celebration and related matters of the upcoming g 25th anniversary of the Independent Republic of Armenia. Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General attended on behalf of the Eastern Prelacy.
Clergy and Lay leaders attended a meeting in Washington D.C., to discuss the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Republic of Armenia.
“Map of Salvation,” a feature-length docudrama film made to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, was screened at the Armenian Center in Woodside, New York, last Friday. The screening was hosted by St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, ARF Armen Garo Gomideh, the ANC, ARS “Mayr” and “Erebouni” Chapters, and the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society.

The production is based on  actual events, with the protagonists based on  real people, including five women—Maria Jacobsen (Denmark), Karen Jeppe (Denmark), Bodil Bjorn (Norway), Alma Johansson (Sweden), and Anna Hedvig Bull (Estonia), who were witnesses to the Armenian Genocide and subsequently founded shelters for Armenian children and women. Their dramatic encounter with the survivors became a significant part of their lives. They left their comfortable lives in Europe and devoted themselves selflessly and unconditionally to help the remnants of the Armenian nation.

Remarks were offered by Dr. Artur Martirosyan, ANCA-ER communications director and Mr. Manvel Saribekyan, the producer of the documentary. Closing remarks were given by Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy.

Lernik Hovhannisyan, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation parliamentary faction in the Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh presented an account of the recent developments in Artsakh at the Armenian Center in Woodside, New York, last Sunday. Attending were Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General of the Prelacy, and Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York. Mr. Hovhannisyan has been touring the Armenian communities on the East Coast to provide insight and information about the current situation in Artsakh. 

Mr. Lernik Hovhannisyan with Bishop Anoushavan and Rev. Fr. Nareg and organizers of the presentation.
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the European Parliament (June 18, 1987)
Turkey has been in a dialogue with Europe since the 1940s. In 1948 Turkey was one of the founding members of the European Organization of Economic Cooperation, predecessor of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It adhered to the Council of Europe in 1949 and to NATO in 1951. During the Cold War, the country positioned itself along Western Europe and the United States. The European Economic Community (EEC), predecessor to the current European Union, was founded in 1957, and Turkey became an associate member in 1963. By then, the preamble of the agreement of association signed between both sides recognized that “the aid contributed by the EEC to the efforts of the Turkish people to improve their level of life will ultimately facilitate the adhesion of Turkey to the Community.” The final goal, therefore, was well known to both sides.

Bilateral relation were quite cold in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly after the September 1980 coup d’état in Turkey. Following a formal return to democracy after the end of the military regime in 1983, Turkey presented its demand of official adhesion to the European Community on April 14, 1987. 

Armenian political violence had winded down, and in August 1985, the report on genocide by Benjamin Whitaker had been approved by the U.N. Sub-Commission of Human Rights, with mention of the Armenian genocide as one of the first in the twentieth century. The European Parliament, the legislative body of the European Community, resisted enormous pressure from Turkey and its hired guns, and set the record straight. The courageous actions of a group of Parliament members, led by French Henri Saby (1933-2011), on the basis of a detailed report introduced by Belgian Jaak Vandemeulebroucke in April 1987, were instrumental to deliver the historic decision. The “Resolution on a political solution to the Armenian question” was voted in Strasbourg during the plenary session of June 18, 1987, and the European Parliament became the first major international body to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The resolution established that “the tragic events in 1915-1917 involving the Armenians living in the territory of the Ottoman Empire constitute genocide within the meaning of the convention on the prevention and the punishment of the crime of genocide adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948,” although it denied that the Republic of Turkey could be held responsible and stressed that no claims against Turkey could be derived from the recognition. It called for a fair treatment of the Armenian minority in Turkey and made “an emphatic plea for improvements in the care of monuments and for the maintenance and conservation of the Armenian religious architectural heritage in Turkey.” Most importantly, it stated that “the refusal by the present Turkish Government to acknowledge the genocide against the Armenian people committed by the Young Turk government, its reluctance to apply the principles of international law to its differences of opinion with Greece, the maintenance of Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus and the denial of existence of the Kurdish question, together with the lack of true parliamentary democracy and the failure to respect individual and collective freedoms, in particular freedom of religion, in that country are insurmountable obstacles to consideration of the possibility of Turkey's accession to the [European] Community.”

The resolution was repeated many times afterwards. A resolution of November 12, 2000, on “The progress made by Turkey on the path of adhesion” reminded, on point 10, that Turkey had been invited to recognize publicly the Armenian genocide. The February 28, 2002 resolution about “The relations of the European Union with the South Caucasus” reproduced textually the position of June 18, 1987, and asked Turkey to create the conditions for reconciliation. After a recommendation of 2004 about “The policy of the European Union towards the South Caucasus” repeated the positions of 1987, two resolutions of December 15, 2004, and September 28, 2005, reaffirmed the existence of the Armenian genocide. The last declaration in this regard was the resolution of April 15, 2015, passed on the centennial of the genocide.  

The government of the Republic of Armenia bestowed upon Henri Saby the medal “Mkhitar Gosh” in March 2011 for his services to the Armenian Cause. The former member of the European Parliament passed away in August of the same year. According to his last will, his ashes were buried in France, Armenia (cemetery of Tokhmakh, in Yerevan), and Artsakh (cemetery of Stepanakert). 

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org).

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Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Armenian Apostolic Church of America
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Thank you for your help.
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 9SAVE 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 22SAVE 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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