September 19, 2013
This Saturday, September 21, is the 22nd anniversary of the Independent Republic of Armenia. God bless Armenia.
“…Thanks to God, we once again have a free and independent Armenia. However, it is not enough to simply take pride and joy in this fact. It is crucial that we bring our active participation to the sacred work of building the nation and the state. It is true that we are citizens of different countries and as such we have a primary responsibility to fulfill our civil obligations in those countries. Yet, we have a homeland that belongs to us and keeps reminding us that we all belong to one nation. While we are not physically living in Armenia, Armenia must become a living reality in our lives. … Helping Armenia is not a humanitarian task. It is a sacred vocation of each and every Armenian, since we all belong to Armenia whether we are living there or elsewhere."
His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia
(From message delivered at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, New York, upon arrival for his first pontifical visit to the Eastern Prelacy of the United States and Canada, October 1, 1997.)
Archbishop Oshagan is travelling to Armenia where he will join with the Archbishops and Bishops of the worldwide Armenian Church who are gathering for a meeting of the church hierarchy in Holy Etchmiadzin. The conclave will take place from September 24 to 27, with the presence and blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. The gathering will study the question of reforming the canons and liturgical practices of the Armenian Church.
Bishop Anoushavan will also travel to Armenia to participate in the historic conclave that is bringing together all of the Archbishops and Bishops of the Armenian Church.

Last Sunday, Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross at All Saints Church, Glenview, Illinois.
Bishop Anoushavan and Archpriest Fr. Zareh Sahakian, pastor of All Saints Church, with the deacons and altar servers following the services.
V. Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishyan and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian represented Archbishop Oshagan at the Prayer Service on the occasion of the opening of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The service took place at the Church of the Holy Family on Monday, September 16.
The Reverend Gerald E. Murray, Pastor of the Church of the Holy Family, welcomed the guests. Remarks were  offered by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York; His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; His Excellency Mr. Vuc Jeremic, President of the 67th session of the General Assembly; and His Excellency The Most Reverend Francis A. Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.
The service consisted of prayers, readings, and hymns. Many of the prayers called for an end of violence and war, and especially for peace in Syria and the Middle East.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, with V. Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishyan, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, and ecumenical leaders.
Soorp Khatch Church, Bethesda, Maryland, celebrated its name day and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross last Sunday with Archpriest Fr. Vazken Bekiarian officiating. Immediately after the Divine Liturgy the Antasdan, (Blessing of the Four Corners of the World), service was performed followed by the traditional Madagh blessed and served in the church’s hall.
See a video of the service here.
Archpriest Fr. Vazken Bekiarian delivering the sermon at Soorp Khatch Church in Bethesda, Maryland.
Der Vazken blesses the Madagh with the participation of the choir and deacons.
The Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) is sponsoring a symposium, “Armenian Women as Artists and Mothers,” in celebration of the Year of the Mother of the Armenian Family. It will take place on Saturday, October 5, 2013, from 2-6 pm, at Pashalian Hall, St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. The lecturers will be Jennifer Manoukian (Columbia University), Dr. Vartan Matiossian (ANEC), and Dr. Melissa Bilal (Columbia University). For more information about the event, click here.
Hrair Hawk Khatcherian holds a copy of “One Church, One Nation,” as he speaks about his encounters during his travels to fulfill his promise to photograph every Armenian Church in the world.
A new book, that has taken many years of work to complete, was presented last Sunday at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. The book, “One Church, One Nation,” is a result of a promise make by the book’s author, noted photographer Hrair Hawk Khatcherian, twenty years ago.
Introduced by Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of the Cathedral, Hawk explained the events that led to this day. In 1993 he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and given only ten days to live. Khatcherian described how as he contemplated this grim prognosis, he made a promise to God that if He allowed him to live, he would photograph every Armenian church in every country in the world. At the same time, in the same hospital, his mother-in-law, Araxie, was given a diagnosis of advanced breast cancer. “She died holding my hand and she passed along the rest of her life to me,” Hawk told the audience. “I had ten days to live, not ten days to die. That was twenty years ago. I’m still around.” Appropriately, this book is dedicated in loving memory of Araxie.
A lively and engaging speaker, Khatcherian described the ambitious project and his many journeys that took him around the world in fulfillment of his promise. The audience had many questions for him that he happily answered. Afterwards he signed copies of this newest volume as well as his other books that were available for purchase.
Bible readings for Sunday, September 22, Second Sunday of the Exaltation (Eve of the Fast of the Holy Cross of Varak), are: Isaiah 14:3-17; 2 Corinthians 10:18-11:10; Mark 10:1-12.
He left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.
Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”  (Mark 10:1-12)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
This Sunday, September 22, is the Paregentan (Eve) of the Fast of the Holy Cross of Varak. Monday to Friday are fasting days leading up to next Sunday, September 29, when the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak will be commemorated.

Next Tuesday, September 24, the Armenian Church celebrates Princess Shoushan, daughter of Vartan Mamigonian and great-granddaughter of Sahag Bartev. She was educated under the tutelage of St. Sahag and her mother, Sahaganoosh. Her father’s life and martyrdom influenced her to become a devout and faithful Christian. Her birth name was Varteny, but she was called Shoushan because of her extraordinary piety. She was married to Vazken, a son of a Georgian king, and had three sons and a daughter. After the death of her father-in-law, her husband became power-hungry, went to Persia, renounced the Christian faith and returned to Georgia with another wife, and tried to force Shoushan to renounce her Christian faith. Even after years of imprisonment and torture she refused to renounce the faith for which her father had fought so valiantly.
Death of Manuk Abeghian (September 25, 1944)
Manuk Abeghian was one of the most important scholars of Armenian Studies in the first half of the twentieth century. At the conclusion of his remarkable career, he became one of the founding members of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia in 1943.
Abeghian was born on March 17, 1865 in the village of Astapat, in the historical Armenian province of Nakhichevan (today in territory of Azerbaijan). He was the son of an agriculturist. After his initial studies in the school of the monastery of Karmir Vank, in 1876 he entered the Kevorkian Seminary of Etchmiadzin and graduated in 1885. He taught for many years in schools of Shushi (Karabagh) and Tiflis. In 1893 he went to Europe and became an auditor at the German universities of Jena, Leipzig, and Berlin, as well as in the University of Paris. In 1898 he was awarded his doctorate at the University of Jena, where he defended a dissertation on the ancient Armenian beliefs.
He returned to the Caucasus and was a teacher in his alma mater, the Kevorkian Seminary, until 1914. Then, he moved to Tiflis, where he taught at the Nersisian Lyceum until 1918.
He moved to Armenia in 1921 and became a professor at Yerevan State University; he also was the dean of the Faculty of History and Literature from 1923-1925. In 1935 he earned a second doctorate, this time in Armenian philology.
Abeghian was a foremost scholar in a variety of disciplines of Armenian Studies. He was a pioneering figure in the study of Armenian mythology. Besides recording several variants of the Armenian national epics David of Sassoun, he was the author of its first specialized study (1889). Together with his colleague Garo Melik-Ohanjanian, they both prepared a three-volume edition of all available variants of the epics (published between 1936 and 1951). Abeghian was also one of the authors of an integral version of the epics, which condensed all the variants into one single text (1939). He also published critical editions of Armenian popular songs and medieval poetry.
Among his major works was the two-volume History of Ancient Armenian Literature (1944-1945), which was left unfinished because of his death. Many of his studies were published in a collection of eight volumes between 1966 and 1985.
Abeghian’s name was linked to the reform of Armenian orthography in 1922. After the sovietization of Armenia, the new regime started a policy aimed at the simplification of Armenian orthography, whose ultimate purpose was to eliminate the Armenian alphabet and replace it with Latin script. In 1921, Abeghian presented his personal views as a report in a conference organized by the Commissariat (Ministry) of Education. The same report was used a year later by the Commissariat, without consulting with Abeghian, to decree, on March 4, 1922, the reform of the orthography. For this reason, it is common to call the reformed orthography with the name of “Abeghian spelling.” The excesses in this reform motivated a new change in the Soviet Armenian orthography—used today in Armenia, the former Soviet Union, and among the “new diaspora” formed after the migration of the past 25 years—in 1940, which made it closer to classical orthography (used today by the Diaspora, both speakers of Western Armenian and of Eastern Armenian, in the case of Iran).
Manuk Abeghian passed away in 1944. The Institute of Literature of the Armenian National of Academy carries his name.
Note: Previous entries in This Week in Armenian History are on the Prelacy’s web site (
Summer officially comes to an end this Sunday, September 22, and autumn begins.

Jerry Tarkanian, celebrated as one of the most successful coaches in college basketball history, was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame on September 9. His acceptance speech, read by his wife, speaks of his immigrant parents who fled genocide. It is very touching. Take a look here.
Armenian Legionnaires
Today, September 19, is the 95th anniversary of the World War I Battle of Arara, in which the Legion d’Orient (Armenian Legion) played a major role. Four Armenian Legion brigades fought with the Allies in Palestine to achieve a victory that led to the end of the war for the Turkish army, which was defeated in October of 1918. The role of the Armenian Legion was so pivotal that its efforts were recognized by the top commanders of the Allied Forces. General Edmund Allenby commended Armenian forces in his official dispatch to the Allied High Command: “On the right flank, on the coastal hills, the units of the Armenian Legion d’Orient fought with great valour. Despite the difficulty of the terrain and the strength of the enemy defensive lines, at an early hour, they took the hill of Dir el Kassis.” Allenby also said, “I am proud to have had an Armenian contingent under my command. They have fought very brilliantly and have played a great part in the victory.”
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.
September 5 to October 3—“A Brief Introduction to Modern Armenian Literature,” a series of five seminars presented on Thursdays, 7 pm to 8:30 pm, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. Sponsored by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) and the Cathedral. Presented by Vartan Matiossian, Ph.D.
September 20—St. Hagop Church, Racine, Wisconsin presents “Flavors of the Mediterranean” wine tasting fundraiser at Uncorkt in downtown Racine, 6 – 8 pm. Featured wines from France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Traditional mezza plates will be served. In addition to supporting the church, 10% of the proceeds will benefit the Mother and Child center in Armenia. For tickets/information contact: Denise Lansing, 262-639-8204; Mary M. Olson, 262-681-1535. Tickets are $20 per person or $35 per couple.
September 21—St. Illuminator’s Cathedral’s “Huyser” Music Ensemble presents “The Sound of Freedom,” a celebration of independence, at the Frank Sinatra School of Arts, Tony Bennett Concert Hall, 35-12 35th Avenue, Astoria, New York, at 7:30 pm. Tickets $25—$35. For information: 212-689-5880.
September 22—Presentation and book signing of A Place Far Away, a compelling new novel by Vahan Zanoyan, presented by the Agnouni, Bergen, Shake, and Spitak Chapters of the Armenian Relief Society, 2 pm at Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey. Refreshments served. All net proceeds from the book are being donated to organizations devoted to protecting children and fighting human trafficking in Armenia. Proceeds from book sales at this event will also benefit the ARS.
September 25—City University of New York, Middle Eastern and Middle Eastern American Center, presents a Workshop with Susan Pattie, “Learning to Enable Personal Narratives.” Dr. Pattie will lead the workshop, demonstrating how a simple object can open multiple doors into both past and present. The workshop is free and open to the public, Graduate Center, CUNY 365, 5th Avenue at 34th Street, New York City, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Skylight Room. Participants should bring an object with them. This can be anything from an old recipe to a diamond ring, a book, or a worn slipper, etc. For information:
September 26—Presentation and signing of A Place Far Away, a powerful portrayal of the realities of human trafficking in Armenia, 7 pm  at Kavookjian Auditorium, St. Vartan Cathedral, 630 Second Avenue, New York City. Sponsored by the Armenian Studies program of the Department of Youth and Education, the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, and the Fund for Armenian Relief. All proceeds from the book are being donated to organizations devoted to protecting children and fighting human trafficking.
September 26—“Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” sponsored by the Ladies Guild of St. Gregory Church, Philadelphia, at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Peter and Irene Vosbikian, Moorestown, New Jersey. Sumptuous brunch, vendors, Chinese auction, $50 per person. For reservations for the brunch contact: Mari Degirmenci 610-353-9199; Ashkhen Setrakian 610-527-3119; Cissy DerHagopian 856-231-9447; Theresa Hovnanian 856-231-1544. Transportation available from St. Gregory Church; departing 9:30 am and return trip at 3 pm. For transportation reservations ($20 per person) contact: Helen Guveyian 610-742-5871.
October 5—Symposium “Armenian Women as Artists and Mothers,” 2-6 pm, sponsored by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) at St. Illuminator Cathedral Pashalian Hall, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, in celebration of the Year of the Mother of the Armenian Family. Lecturers: Jennifer Manoukian (Columbia University), “Zabel Yessayan: Mother and Activist,”; Vartan Matiossian (ANEC), “Armen Ohanian: An Armenian Woman of the World,” and Melissa Bilal (Columbia University), “Lullabies and Tears: On Armenian Grandmothers and Granddaughters in Istanbul.”
October 5—St. Paul Monthly Movie Night featuring a documentary about Our Motherland—Armenia—with introduction by Rev. Fr. Daron Stepanian, 7 pm, at St. Paul Churchy, 645 S. Lewis Avenue, Waukegan, Illinois. Light refreshments. This is a free event. For information: Arda Haroian-Bowles, 847-445-7934.
October 6—Special program following the Divine Liturgy presented by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian commemorating the passing of Catholicos Zareh I (50th) and Catholicos Khoren I (30th) will take place at Soorp Khatch Church, 4906 Flint Drive, Bethesda, Maryland.
October 13—Special program following the Divine Liturgy presented by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian commemorating the passing of Catholicos Zareh I (50th) and Catholicos Khoren I (30th) will take place at St. Sarkis Church, 38-65 234th Street, Douglaston, New York, under auspices of Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan.
October 19—Armenian Friends of America presents “Hye Kef 5” featuring musicians Leon Janikian, Joe Kouyoumjian, Greg Takvorian, Ken Kalajian, Ron Raphaelian, and Jay Baronian, 7:30-12:30, Michael’s Function Hall, 12 Alpha Street, Haverhill, Massachusetts. Proceeds to benefit all Armenian churches in Merrimack Valley and New Hampshire. Tickets: $40 adults; $30 students; includes individually-served mezza platters. For information/reservations: John Arzigian 603-560-3826; Sandy Boroyan 978-251-8687; Scott Sahagian 617-699-3581; Peter Gulezian 978-375-1616.
October 20—St. Hagop Church, Racine, Wisconsin, 75th Anniversary Celebration to begin with Badarak at 10 am at the church, followed by a gala “tasting banquet” and program at the Racine Marriott. For information: Mary M. Olson, 262-681-1535.
October 24 to December 19—St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, an 8-week Bible study program beginning Thursday, October 24, and continuing on Thursdays up to December 19 (no session on Thanksgiving, November 28). Sessions will be presented by Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Executive Director of the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). Sessions will take place at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. 7:15-8:00 pm, Presentation; 8:00-8:45 pm, Q/A & Discussion. Registration is required. Register at or contact the Prelacy 212-689-7810, or the Cathedral at 212-689-5880.
October 27—90th anniversary celebration of St. Gregory Church, Philadelphia, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, Prelate. Immediately after the Divine Liturgy at the church’s Founders Hall, 8701 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19128.
November 1 & 2—St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, 57th Armenian Bazaar, 10 am to 9:30 pm, at Armenian Cultural & Educational Center, 47 Nichols Avenue, Watertown. Delicious meals (take-out available), Armenian pastries, Arts and Crafts, Books, Raffles, Attic Treasures, Auctions, and more. For information: 617-924-7562.
November 2 & 3—Armenian Fest 2013, Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, presents its Armenian Food Festival at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, Broad Street, Cranston. Featuring chicken, losh, and shish kebabs, and kufta dinners, Armenian delicacies, dancing to live music, arts and crafts, flea market, gift baskets, children’s corner, country store, jewelry, silent auction, hourly raffles, and grand prize, $2,000. Children’s dance group will perform on Saturday and Sunday at 5 pm. Armenian food and pastry are available all day. Saturday, noon to 9 pm; Sunday, noon to 8 pm. Free admission and parking. For information: 401-831-6399.
November 10—Ladies Guild of St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, presents The Way We Were Ensemble of New York/New Jersey in their performance of “The Gamavors,” at 2 pm in the church hall. Coffee and reception with cast will follow performance. Tickets: $20 adults; $10 children under 12. For tickets: Mary Derderian, or 781-762-4253.
November 15-16-17—Annual Bazaar, Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey.
November 16 & 17—Annual ART IN FALL Exhibition featuring national and international Armenian artists, Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. Fine art including oils, mixed media, photography, and sculpture in classic, modern, and contemporary styles by 27 artists. Opening Reception, Saturday, 7 to 10 pm. Cocktails and Hors D’oeuvres, $30 donation.  Sunday, 1 to 4 pm, Refreshments, $15 donation.
November 17—Banquet and Program celebrating the “Year of the Armenian Mother,” organized by the Eastern Prelacy, at Terrace in the Park, Flushing Meadows Park, New York. Watch for details.
November 24—Special program following the Divine Liturgy presented by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian commemorating the passing of Catholicos Zareh I (50th) and Catholicos Khoren I (30th) will take place at St. Stephen’s Church, 38 Elton Avenue, Watertown, Massachusetts.
December 7—Annual Church Bazaar of St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, will take place at Christian Reform Church, 25 Cross Street, Whitinsville. For information: 508-234-3677.
December 7—Annual Holiday Bake Sale, St. Paul Church, 645 S. Lewis Avenue, Waukegan, Illinois, 9 am to 3 pm. Enjoy authentic Armenian & American pastries and plan to stay for lunch at St. Paul Café. For information or pre-orders, 847-244-4573.
February 24-26, 2014—Annual Clergy Ghevontiantz Gathering hosted by Holy Cross Church, 255 Spring Avenue, Troy, New York.
March 28, 2014—Musical Armenia Concert presented by Eastern Prelacy and Prelacy Ladies Guild, at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, 8 pm.
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