July 16, 2015
Thousands of pilgrims from around the world will witness the Blessing of the Holy Muron (Holy Chrism) by His Holiness Aram I this Saturday evening, July 18 at Saint Mary Monastery in Bikfaya, Lebanon. His Holiness will be joined by the Bishops of the Armenian Church, as well as many high-level ecumenical leaders from around the world.

Archbishop Oshagan and Bishop Anoushavan are in Lebanon to participate in the ceremony. Bishop Anoushavan has been leading a group of pilgrims to various religious and historic sites in the area.

Bikfaya, Lebanon, is the picturesque mountain summer home of the Catholicosate of Cilicia as well as the year round location of the Cilician See’s Theological Seminary.

The Holy Muron is composed of olive oil and forty-eight flowers, herbs, and aromas. The blessing of the oil generally takes place every seven years. The remaining portion of the previous blessed oil is always mixed into the newly prepared oil during the ceremony, thus preserving the continuity from generation to generation. The blessed oil is distributed to the Armenian Churches for sacramental and ritual uses.

Blessing of the Muron ceremony will begin in Bikfaya, Lebanon at 8 pm (1 pm EDT) on
Saturday, July 18. The ceremony will be broadcast live by TeleLumiere.
See the schedule HERE.

Bishop Anoushavan is leading a group of pilgrims for the Blessing of the Holy Muron. During the past few days they have been visiting sites in Lebanon.
The pilgrims visit His Holiness Aram I.
At the Genocide Memorial in Bikfaya. The memorial was originally erected in 1969, and was recently refurbished.
At Saint Boghos Church in Anjar.
For the sixth year, Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, pastor of St. Stephen Church, New Britain, Connecticut, is directing a summer camp in Armenia for the children enrolled in the Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship Program. The camp is organized by the Prelacy’s Yerevan office of St. Nerses the Great Charitable Fund. The children enjoy a fun-filled week while learning about the teachings of Christianity and the Armenian Church at camp grounds in Dzaghgatzor, Armenia.
The children gather in front of the Prelacy’s charitable office in Yerevan before they board the bus that will take them to the camp grounds.
When they arrive at the camp, Der Aram leads an orientation session.
In keeping with the popular tradition, parishes of the Eastern Prelacy celebrated Vartivar with a variety of water games.
Children and adults of St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, enjoy celebrating Vartivar with a variety of water games on the church grounds.
Keeping dry was a challenge during the Vartivar celebration at Saint Gregory Church in Granite City, Illinois.
Here are some of the impressions of students who attended this year’s St. Gregory of Datev Summer Institute:

Through the years, Datev has been a main part of my summer. I always get overjoyed a week prior to Datev, knowing it is right around the corner. As a 6th year post-grad, it is my job to help the younger children learn about their faith and help them follow path into God’s ways. I hope every year each child takes a little something that they have learned with them, along with many memories.
-Aram Kouyoumdjian (post grad)

When I attended Datev as a first year student in 2011, I would have never imagined that 4 years later, I would be returning as a post-graduate. Instead of going through my four years as a regular student and moving on after graduating, I decided to return because of the numerous friends and memories I have made and continue to make, as I wish all of the younger Datev goers will decide to do as well.
-Armand Charkhutian (post grad)
I have been coming to Datev for five years. Both of my parents graduated from Datev, so it only seemed right that I come, too. I loved Datev so much that I cried when leaving my first year. Datev has become like a second home to me where I can see my friends and strengthen my faith. I encourage everyone to come to Datev, because it truly is a life changing experience.
-Marina Tekeyan (post grad)

My second year at Datev was amazing. From singing at the services to making new friends, Datev was very fun. I really enjoyed singing with the clergy from around the country. I cannot wait until next year.
-Levon Tekeyan  (2nd level)

Datev for me has been an experience that I will never forget, seeing more youth coming together in one place with a common goal: to learn about the church, the bible, and to meet new people from all over. This unity, both in spirit and in community, is what really makes this camp meaningful and memorable.
-Katherine Jemian (2nd level)

My experience at Datev has been very good. The classes are interesting and the sports and activities are very fun. I enjoyed all of camp and look forward to the rest of it.
-Ani Parnagian (1st level)

This is my graduating year of Datev. It has given me so many friends and memories, as well as helping enrich my Christian beliefs.
-Anoosh Kouyoumdjian (4th level)

During my stay at Datev, I met many new people. I also had the chance to learn new things. Some of the activities this week involved getting off my phone and going outside, learning my Armenian past, and spending quality time with friends.
-Garo Gosdigian  (1st level)
This was my first year, and all of my expectations were met. I really enjoyed Datev this year. From the community of amazing people to the informative classes, Datev has helped me grow as a person spiritually. My favorite part was learning about Christianity and building my relationship with God. After only one week, I have developed stronger communication with Him. I would definitely recommended Datev camp for all Christians with a desire to learn and for those who have (or want to build) a strong faith towards God.
-Meline Momjian (1st level)

This year at Datev tested my faith and it made me a better person. I learned that my life can be more valuable if I put forth the necessary effort and put more faith in God’s plan for me. I look forward to graduating Datev next year and returning home to share my experiences.
-Aleen Takvorian (3rd level)

This year at Datev has been one of the best I’ve had, both spiritually and recreationally. I was not only able to reconnect with friends I made in the previous three years, but I was also able to connect with new people. This year was the most spiritually fulfilling as I was able to connect and analyze the word of God in a way I never had experienced before. My favorite part of the day is the Evening Service. The way the clergy sing Der Vorghormia is one of the most beautiful renditions I’ve ever heard. I’m so grateful I was given the opportunity to come back to Datev to graduate. I’m so excited to make new memories and expand my spiritual knowledge further as a post-grad.
-Deborah Agopian (4th level)
Bible readings for Sunday, July 19, Second Sunday of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, are Isaiah 3:16-4:1; 1 Corinthians 1:25-30; Matthew 18:10-14.

For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:25-30)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
Today, Thursday, July 16, the Armenian Church remembers the prophet Isaiah, who is best known for the longest prophetic book in the Old Testament (66 chapters) that bears his name. Isaiah foretells the birth of the Messiah by a virgin and describes the suffering of the Messiah’s church. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus refer to the book of Isaiah. Because of his clear foretelling about Christ the Savior, Isaiah is also recognized as an Old Testament evangelist. Although it is not recorded in the Bible, it is believed that Isaiah died a martyr’s death by order of the Hebrew king, Manasseh. Relics of the prophet are preserved at Mt. Athos in the Greek Orthodox Khilendaria Monastery in Greece.

This Saturday, August 2, the Armenian Church commemorates Saint Thaddeus, one of two apostles who preached in Armenia, and Saint Santookht, daughter of King Sandadrook, and the first saint of the Armenian Church.

Princess Santookht was converted to Christianity by Thaddeus. Her father tried to have her renounce her conversion and finally gave her a choice of the crown or the sword. She chose the sword and became the first witness for Christianity in Armenia and the first saint of the Armenian Church. Shortly after her martyrdom, Thaddeus was also martyred.

On Monday, July 20, the Armenian Church commemorates St. Cyprian (Gibrianos), who was bishop of Carthage, an important early Christian writer, and a major theologian of the early African church. Many of his works in Latin have survived.  One of his best known works is, On the Unity of the Church. Many of his epistles, treatises, and pastoral letters are extant. He urged Christians to recite the Lord’s Prayer every day, meditating on each phrase. He wrote a commentary on the Lord’s Prayer showing how it is the model for prayer.

Born in the year 200, he was the son of wealthy parents and became a teacher of rhetoric and literature. He converted to Christianity in his middle years and was ordained a priest and elected to serve as bishop of Carthage. He was subject to persecution after his conversion and in the year 258 was beheaded along with forty-five martyrs.

“When we pray, we should ensure that we understand the words we use. We should be humble, aware of our own weaknesses, and be eager to receive God’s grace. Our bodily posture and our tone of voice should reflect the fact that through prayer we enter God’s presence. To speak too loudly to God would be impudent; thus a quiet and modest manner is appropriate. The Lord has instructed us that we should usually pray in private, even in our own bedrooms. This reminds us that God is everywhere, that he hears and sees everything, and that he penetrates the deepest secrets of our hearts.”
(From “On the Lord’s Prayer,” by Cyprian of Carthage)

St. Sarkis Church in Dearborn, Michigan, hosted its 40th annual golf and tennis classic at Meadowbrook Country Club in Northville, Michigan, on July 13 with more than 100 participants. At the banquet the Board of Trustees and organizing committee honored Jack Garbooshian and Haig Aznavourian for their years of tireless effort and commitment to the Church and to the Golf Classic.
The participants in the Golf and Tennis Classic of St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn.
Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian and organizers with Jack Garbooshian and Haig Aznavourian, who were honored for their years of service.
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Death of Yeghia Demirjibashian (July 19, 1908)
Yeghia Demirjibashian was born in Khasgiugh (Haskoy), a suburb of Constantinople, on May 8, 1851. He completed his education at the local Nersesian and Nubar-Shahnazarian schools, and graduated with distinction. From early youth he was a solitary person and an avid reader, with an encyclopedic mind. He was principally captivated by books that represented the sadder aspects of life, its vanity, and the reality of death, which seemed to suit his melancholic disposition.

He worked for a while at the Printing Office of the government, and as a secretary of the administrative assembly of the ministry of Public Works, but he quit his job with the intention of going to Paris. Family situation shook his delicate psyche and his physical health, and the project failed. He was in love with a young lady who had decided to marry a wealthy man. Out of desperation, he attempted to commit suicide in 1874, but failed. Deeply concerned about his condition, his family found the means to send him to Marseilles with the advice to studying economics. Instead, he spent his time reading voraciously and even trying to publish a newspaper in French, Le Moniteur littéraire et financier de Marseille.

He returned to Constantinople in 1876 and became involved in the dispute over the grammar and spelling rules of Modern Armenian that his classmate Minas Cheraz (1852-1929) had suggested, and that ultimately met the rejection of the Armenian Education Council.

In 1879 he began publication of the Philosophical Dictionary, with the aim of introducing a critical spirit and freedom of thought into literature. He published critical articles and book reviews in the periodical Masis from 1880. He also launched two newspapers, Kragan yev imasdasiragan sharjum (1883) and Yergrakunt (1884); while the first was filled with his own articles, the second had contributors such as Krikor Zohrab, Reteos Berberian (another of his classmates), and Yervant Odian. Both papers ceased publication in 1888. He also briefly edited other publications. Besides the Philosophical Dictionary, his only other books would be two bilingual dictionaries, Armenian-French (1894) and French-Armenian (1896).

By 1889 Demirjibashian’s health started to deteriorate, and he sank into despondency. His main desire became to die and to attain Nirvana, to which he frequently referred in his writings. The pessimistic mood that engulfed him was aggravated by the loss of his mother in 1890, following the death of his young brother. His father had passed away years before. He continued his work as teacher and editor until 1893, when he attempted suicide again, but a boatman saved him from the sea. He frequently changed his place of residence, driven by a persecution complex. In 1895, during one of those moves, he rang the bell of a house in Pera. The landlady, a Hungarian woman called Mrs. Ellen Nisen, took pity on him, gave him a room in her house, and eventually became his guardian angel, as Demirjibashian himself recognized more than once. The financial support of an aunt allowed him to travel to Geneva, Vienna, and Budapest in 1897, but this did not help his situation. He returned to the hospitality of Mrs. Nisen, who compassionately took care of him. After a year spent in the National Hospital (1901-1902), the illness practically confined him to his home, and then, to his bed. In the end, on July 19, 1908, he hanged himself during his hostess’ absence with a scarf that she had given to him as a present.

A talented but eccentric figure, Demirjibashian reflected his psychological turmoil in his writings. His artistic sensitivity produced moments of deep emotion, but his poetry was not balanced enough to become a finished product. He would leave hundreds of poems, but not a single literary work finished. Several collections of his poetry were published posthumously. The library of the Armenian Cultural Foundation in Arlington, Massachusetts, carries his name.

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: Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief

Thank you for your help
(Pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York)

Episode 46: Interview with photographer Scout Tufankjian and more.
Click the image above to link.
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.

July 23—“Armenian Village People—A Country Kaleidoscope,” presented by Tom Vartabedian at the Buttonwoods Museum, sponsored by the Haverhill Historical Society, 240 Water Street, Haverhill, Massachusetts. Illustrated talk at 7 pm in conjunction with a month-long exhibit throughout July. Refreshments.

August 2—Annual Picnic, St. Stephen’s Church of Greater Boston, under the auspices of Archbishop Oshagan, at Camp Haiastan, Franklin, Massachusetts. Lunch beginning at 12 noon. Delicious kebabs and refreshments. Blessing of Grapes and Madagh at 3 pm. Live Armenian music. Rain or Shine. For information: 617-924-7562.

August 9—Annual Church Picnic and Blessing of the Grapes, Holy Trinity Church, 635 Grove Street, Worcester, Massachusetts. Join us for a fun filled day and enjoy delicious food, music by DJ Shaheen, backgammon tournament, children’s activities including bouncy house and more. Begins at noon. Admission is free. For more information holytrinityaac@gmail.com or 508-852-2414.

August 9—“Pizza, Popcorn, and a Movie,” St. Stephen’s Church Hall, New Britain, Connecticut, hosted by Ladies Guild. Lunch and movie, $10.

August 9—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Picnic at Camp Haiastan from 12 noon to 6 pm, rain or shine. The blessing of madagh and grapes will take place at 3:30 pm under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, with the participation of pastors of the New England area churches. Full menu of shish, losh, and chicken dinners. Armenian pastry and choreg. Music by Michael Gregian Ensemble with special guest Joe Zeytoonian on the oud. All welcome.

August 16—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Annual Picnic at the Wild Duck Pond, Ridgewood, New Jersey, following the Badarak.

August 27-30—Hamazkayin ArtLinks 2015, educational workshops for 21 to 30 age group. Speakers and workshop leaders include: Eric Bogosian, Eric Nazarian, Aline Ohanesian, Scout Tufenkjian; program director Khatchig Mouradian. Participation fee of $150 includes all workshops, three nights of lodging, and meals. For information: artlinks@hamazkayin.com.

August 29—Teachers’ Seminar, organized by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC), 10 am to 3:30 pm, Hovnanian Hall, Prelacy office, 138 E. 39th Street, New York City.
September 13—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain and Hartford, Annual Church Picnic at Winding Trails in Farmington. Family and Friends Day; Bring a Friend. New spectacular venue for our picnic this year. Lots of sporting activities for the children and young adults and Holiday Boutique “Trinkets and Treasures.” Pavilion next to hall with lots of room in case of inclement weather.

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

October 18—Presentation of the Album “Retrospective” by well-known Canadian photographer Kaloust Babian, at Pashalian Hall, St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, at 1 pm. Organized by St. Illuminator’s Cathedral and Hamazkayin of New York.

October 24—Concert dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide featuring singers Nune Yesayan and Sibil, with participation of the Hamazkayin NJ Nayiri Dance Ensemble and Arekag Chorus, 7:30 pm at BergenPac, 30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey. Tickets: $85, $65. $45. For information: Ani Mouradian 973-224-2741.

October 25—Breakfast in the church hall ($10) after the Liturgy, St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, sponsored by the Ladies Guild.

October 28—Near East Foundation’s Centennial Gala Celebration, 6:30 pm, Cipriani, 25 Broadway, New York. Save the date.

November 1—Arminstring Ensemble, St. Illuminator Cathedral’s John Pashalian Hall.

November 15—“Remembering the Past, Embracing the Future, 1925-2015,” St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, 90th Anniversary celebration. His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, Prelate, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and preside over the banquet at Farmington Club, 162 Town Farm Road, Farmington, Connecticut. Details to follow.

December 6—ARS Holiday Dinner, St. Stephen’s Church Hall, New Britain, Connecticut, after church services. Save the date. Details to follow.

December 20—“Soup, Sandwiches, and Bingo,” St. Stephen’s Church Hall, New Britain, Connecticut, following church services, sponsored by Ladies Guild.
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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