June 19, 2014
This Sunday, June 22, a 40th day requiem service will be said following the Divine Liturgy for Diramayr Mary Choloyan, mother of our Prelate, Archbishop Oshagan, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. Following the service the Cathedral will offer Madagh in memory of Diramayr who died on May 7.
Archbishop Oshagan expresses his sincere thanks for the many condolence messages he received. His Eminence said, “I am grateful for the many messages and cards received by mail, email, telephone, and donations in-lieu-of-flowers. My family and I were truly comforted by the many thoughtful and caring expressions of sympathy.”

According to reporting by Reuters, rebel and al Qaeda-affiliated militants, who seized the town of Kessab in March by way of the Turkish border, have withdrawn, and the Syrian Army officially announced its recapture and liberation.  There is widespread damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure resulting in the lack of water, electricity, and telephone service.  The Syrian army reported that engineering teams were removing mines and explosives planted by the “terrorist gangs.”  A number of Armenians returned to Kessab early this week to assess the damage to their residences in order to plan their return in the near future. Homes, community centers, schools, and churches have sustained heavy damage.
The situation in Aleppo continues to be serious. The Armenian populated section of “Nor Gyugh” is reported to be deserted and devastated.
The crises in Syria, including the recent upheaval in Kessab, require our financial assistance. Please keep this community in your prayers, your hearts, and your pocketbooks.
Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief
Thank you for your help
St. Gregory of Datev Institute will hold its 28th annual summer program for youth ages 13-18 at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from June 29 to July 6, 2014. The program is sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). For information and registration, please visit the Prelacy website (armenianprelacy.org/arec/datev).
A concert by Margar Yeghiazaryan, organized by St. Illuminator’s Cathedral and Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of New York, took place last night at the Armenian Center in Woodside, New York.
Mr. Yeghiazaryan, a native of Etchmiatzin, Armenia, credits his mother for instilling in him the love of music. His mother sang in several choirs and cherished Armenian music and folklore. A graduate of the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan, he has performed in Armenia and abroad. He is a soloist with the famous KOHAR Symphony Orchestra and Choir and has toured with them several times.

Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of the Cathedral, expressed heartfelt congratulations and thanks to Mr. Yeghiazaryan on behalf of the organizers for his spectacular performance.
Bible readings for Sunday, June 22, Second Sunday after Pentecost, Feast of Holy Etchmiadzin are: Proverbs 9:1-6; Zechariah 3:7-4:9; Hebrews 9:1-10; John 10:22-30.
At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one” (John 10:22-30).
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
Today, June 19, is the Feast of St. John the Baptist (also called the Forerunner), and Bishop Athenogenes.
John the Baptist is prominent in each of the four Gospels. He is associated with the beginning of the ministry of Jesus and is considered to be the “forerunner” to Jesus the Messiah. He baptized those who repented their sins, and he preached of the coming of one after him who is greater than he and would baptize not with water but with the Spirit. In the third chapter of Matthew, John is reluctant to baptize Jesus and does so only after encouragement from Jesus. The Armenian Church considers St. John the Baptist as one of the two prime intercessors to Jesus, the other being the Blessed Mother.
Athenogenes, a bishop and theologian was burned to death along with ten of his disciples in Sebastia, Armenia, during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian. Athenogenes wrote a hymn of praise proclaiming the divinity of the Holy Spirit. He is remembered as singing this hymn as he went into the flames.
This Saturday, June 21, is the Feast of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s deliverance from the pit (Khor Viraben Yelkuh). Gregory is revered as the patron saint of the Armenian Church. He is recognized and memorialized in both eastern and western hierarchical churches. The Armenian liturgical calendar reserves three feast days in his honor: Entrance into the pit, deliverance from the pit, and discovery of relics. In addition to these three days, there are several feast days to which he is closely connected, namely the feast days for Sts. Hripsimiantz, Sts. Gayaniantz, Shoghakat, Holy Etchmiadzin, and King Trdat. The Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox churches, and Oriental Orthodox churches have special days in their calendars for the veneration of St. Gregory, who is considered to be one of the Fathers of the early Christian church.
Gregory was condemned to the pit in 287 AD by King Trdat and the persecution of Christians began. After the martyrdom of a group of nuns who came to Armenia from Rome led by Hripsime and Gayane, Trdat was stricken with strange maladies. His sister, Khosrovidukht, had a dream that Gregory was the only person who could heal her brother. Miraculously, Gregory was still alive after many years in the pit, thanks to an angelic woman who lowered food and water into the pit each day. Gregory emerged from the pit; the king was healed and baptized, and he declared Christianity to be the official religion of Armenia.
Gregory was not the first to preach Christianity in Armenia. That distinction belongs to the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew who came to Armenia in the first century, and thus gave the Armenian Church its apostolic designation. Nevertheless, Gregory is revered in the Armenian Church and is considered by Armenians to be the father of their faith. Hundreds of churches have been built and named in his honor.
“The ancient calendars of the still undivided Church celebrated him [Gregory] on the same day in both the East and the West as a tireless apostle of truth and holiness. The father in faith of the whole Armenian people, St. Gregory still intercedes from heaven today, so that all the children of your great nation may at last gather round the one table prepared by Christ, the divine Shepherd of one flock.”
Pope John Paul II in his “Apostolic Letter for the 1700th Anniversary of the Baptism of the Armenian People,” issued February 2, 2001.
This Sunday, June 22, is the Feast of Holy Mother Etchmiadzin, the cathedral built by St. Gregory after his deliverance from the pit, to the specifications he saw in a vision, and on the place marked by the Lord with a golden hammer. This feast day commemorates the establishment of the Armenian Church and the end of paganism.
Etchmiadzin is the oldest example of a four-altar, four-pillar, domed, cruciform church in Christian architecture. More than 1,700 years old, it is the oldest surviving Armenian Christian site. Relief sculptures on the exterior walls are some of the oldest examples of the Christian Armenian art of sculpting.
His Holiness Aram I sent the following letter to Dr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, chairman of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria while he was visiting Pope Francis at the Vatican:
Dear Dr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro,
I am writing to you as the Head of the Spiritual Head of Armenians in Syria and many communities in the Diaspora.
I read your 29 July 2013 report to the General Assembly of the UN on the situation in Syria, which you made as the Chairman of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria. I still remember your statement that “Syria is in free-fall” and your description of a “fragmented society” in which “fighters are changing allegiances.” I would add that minorities are also the victims of violence perpetrated by all sides.
With great grief I have been observing the victimization of my community. The late events in Kessab, facilitated by Turkey, demonstrate the free hand with which third-party countries are exploiting the situation. As we prepare to commemorate in 2015 the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turkey, modern Turkey has forced another tragedy upon our people. Our community in Kessab, which have been displaced from their historical land of Cilicia, have lost everything and have become refugees once more.
I am currently on an official visit to Pope Francis I in the Vatican. I would like very much to meet with you and share our concern personally. However, my representative in Switzerland, Ms. Teny Pirri-Simonian is available to brief you on the situation of our people in Kessab. I would appreciate if you could meet her personally….  If that would not be possible, I propose that we forward to you information concerning the situation of the Armenian community in Syria.
I pray that the report of your commission will touch the heart of all those contributing to the disintegration of Syria and the victimization of helpless minorities.
I look forward to hearing from you through our representative.

Last week His Holiness Aram I received Bishop Arseni, representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Syria and Lebanon. Bishop Arseni conveyed the greetings of Patriarch Kirill. The Catholicos and Bishop discussed the situation of Christians in the Middle East. His Holiness asked the Bishop to transmit his greetings to the Patriarch, who is a long-time ecumenical colleague.
Later on the same day, Rev. Pierre Lacoste, representing the French Protestant Federation, met with His Holiness. They spoke of the long friendly relationship between the French and Armenian people. His Holiness expressed the profound gratitude of the Armenian people to France for its support of the Armenian cause.
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Death of Ghazaros Aghayan
(June 20, 1911)
Ghazaros Aghayan was one of the important names in the literary and education awakening of Eastern Armenians in the late nineteenth century.
He was born on April 4, 1840, in the Armenian village of Bolnis-Khachen, currently in Georgia. After receiving elementary education in his birthplace, in 1853 he entered the Nersisian School of Tiflis, but left after a year. He would become an autodidact.
He worked as a typographer in Tiflis, Moscow, and St. Petersburg. In 1867 he returned to the Southern Caucasus, and became the manager of the printing house of Holy Etchmiadzin and the editor of the monthly Ararat of the Holy See (1869-1870). He later entered the educational field and taught in schools of Akhaltskha (Akhaltsikhe), Alexandropol (Gumri), Yerevan, and Shushi (1870-1882), and was also the diocesan director of the Armenian schools of Georgia.
He was a theoretician of education. The aim of his pedagogical system was to develop “strong, smart, and virtuous” citizens. He gave preeminence to learning the mother tongue and to moral and esthetic education. He was against corporal punishments and favored co-ed schools, as well as practical education and physical education. He wrote many works in the field, and his textbook “Study of the Mother Tongue” was particularly appreciated; its first volume, with 33 printings, was the most commonly used first-grade textbook in Armenian schools for four decades (1875-1916).
Ghazaros Aghayan with Hovhannes Tumanian
Aghayan, who wrote the first autobiographical novel in Armenian literature (“Arutin and Manuel,” 1867) was also a famed author of children’s poetry and tales; his tale “Anahit” (1881) is a classic of the genre. His fairy tale “Aregnazan” and his poem “Tork Angegh” are also well-known works.
He worked in the editorial boards of the monthly Portz and the children journal Aghbiur. In 1895 he was arrested with the charge of being a member of the Hunchakian Party; he was exiled first to Nakhichevan-on-the-Don, and then to Crimea (1898-1900). He remained under police surveillance until the end of his life. In the 1900s he was the elder member of the literary cenacle “Vernatun” (Attic), together with Hovhannes Tumanian, Avetik Isahakian, Levon Shant, and Derenik Demirjian. He passed away on June 20, 1911, in Tiflis.
Aghayan was the father-in-law of renowned painter Martiros Sarian (1880-1972) and maternal grandfather of composer Ghazaros Sarian (1920-1998).
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org)
Tom Vartabedian, the veritable journalist, reports that the last genocide survivor in Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts, died on June 12.  Nazalie “Nellie” Nazarian was 102 years old, still living independently with the help of two granddaughters. Just weeks prior to her death, she attended a genocide commemoration at North Andover High School, and also attended the unveiling of a genocide memorial at Lowell City Hall.
Nellie escaped the massacre in her native village of Chimisgazag by taking refuge in the mountains with her family. She eventually settled in the United States where she met and married her husband Stephen, who died in 1965.
To read Tom’s story about “Nellie” click here.
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
The Armenian Squirrel
The Greek language has been a provider of Armenian words from very old times, although it may have been played a less remarkable role than the impact of French over the English language.
Squirrels are very cute when they run around parks and backyards, but they may become pesky if they turn to get refuge into someone’s home. In any case, that’s an issue for a specialized company. Our issue is to explain how Anglo-American and Armenian squirrels are related to each other.
The Armenian squirrel (սկիւռ skiour) got its name from the Greek language: skiouros, literally “shadow-tailed,” from skia “shadow” and oura “tail.” But the name does not appear in Classical Armenian literature, thus it must have been borrowed in later time. Linguist Hrachia Adjarian even suspected that the word may have actually come from Latin.
As a matter of fact, the Latin word is sciurus, which seems to have originated from the Vulgar Latin word *scurius and its diminutive *scuriolus. From this last word came the Old French escureuil (Modern French écureuil), which became the Anglo-French esquirel and then, after the fourteenth century, appeared in the English language as squirrel.
In conclusion, American and Armenian squirrels are distant cousins.
100th Anniversary of Genocide at the Bookstore
The Prelacy’s Bookstore has an extensive collection of books in Armenian and English about the Genocide including histories, historical novels, memoirs, eye witness testimonies, essays, and poetry. Through next April we will feature one or two books each week from the Bookstore’s collection.

Now available in paperback:
By Antonia Arslan
This is the new softcover edition of Antonia Arslan’s story about a family’s international struggle to stay alive during the Armenian Genocide. Yerwant’s relatives prepare for his homecoming from years spent living in Italy, but the festivities are overshadowed by the imminent threat of World War I. As the Young Turks begin to execute their plan of exterminating the Armenians, Yerwant’s family struggles to reach Italy and safety, leaving behind their “little city.”
Skylark Farm, 268 pages, softcover, $18.00, plus shipping & handling.
Հայ հոգեւորականութեան կորսուտը Մեծ Եղեռնին
Բաբգէն Ծ. վրդ. Չարեան

Հատորը, համադրելով զանազան աղբիւրներէ տեղեկութիւններ, կը ներկայացնէ Մեծ Եղեռնին նահատակուած Հայց. Եկեղեցւոյ տասը հոգեւորականներու կենսագրութիւնը։ Այնուհետեւ, ան կը ներկայացնէ նահատակ հոգեւորականներու ցանկեր՝ առաքելական (817), կաթողիկէ (99) եւ աւետարանական (35) եկեղեցիներէն։
Գին՝ 12 տոլար (լաթակազմ)։

To order these or other books, contact the Prelacy Bookstore by email at books@armenianprelacy.org or telephone, 212-689-7810.
The sun will reach its northernmost point in the sky on Saturday, June 21 at 6:51 am, daylight saving time, thus signaling the official start of the summer of 2014, in our part of the world.
June 22—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Nareg Saturday School year-end Hantes, following the Divine Liturgy.
June 22—Wisconsin chapter of SOAR (Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief) Golf Outing, Meadowbrook Country Club, 2149 N. Green Bay Road, Racine; 11 am lunch and registration; 1 pm shotgun start; 5:30 pm finish; 6 pm dinner and entertainment. Golf event with dinner $150 per golfer; $50 dinner and program for non-golfers. Registration and/or information: 262-352-4140.
June 23—Holy Trinity Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, 11th Annual Golf Outing, Sterling National Country Club, Sterling, Massachusetts. Tee off: 9 am, shotgun start, scramble format. $145 per person includes: Golf, cart, breakfast, dinner, prizes, raffles, and chance to win a two-year lease on a 2014 Land Rover with a hole in one. For information: Kap Kaprielian, kappyk@verizon.net or 508-872-9629.
June 24-26—Vacation Bible Camp for preschool (age 4) to 6th grade students at St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, from 10 am to 2 pm. Religious activities, lessons, crafts, and games. For information: 313-336-6200.
June 28—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, Ladies Guild Cooking Class, “Short Cuts to Armenian Cooking,” 11 am, Mock Manti. $15 for each class; $40 for three classes.
June 29 – July 6, 2014: 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). For information, contact the AREC office at 212.689.7810 or at arec@armenianprelacy.org.
June 29—St. Hagop Church, Racine, Wisconsin, Annual Armenian Picnic and “Madagh” blessing at 11 am, by Rev. Fr. Daron Stepanian, pastor of St. Hagop Church, at Johnson Park, 6200 Northwestern Avenue. Shish kebab and chicken dinners, sarma, penelee, khurabia, and more. Live Armenian music; children’s activities, raffle drawing. For information: Zohrab at khaligian@netzero.net.
July 14—39th Annual St. Sarkis Golf & Tennis Classic, Meadowbrook Country Club, Northville, Michigan. $250 donation for golf breakfast, lunch, and banquet. $125 donation banquet only. Reservations: 313-336-6200.
July 19—“A Hye Summer A Night IX,” sponsored by the Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, and Armenian Relief Society Ani Chapter, 7 pm to 12 midnight. Dinner Dance at Alpine Country Club, Pippen Orchard Drive, Cranston, Rhode Island, featuring Hachig Kazarian, John Berberian, Ken Kalajian, and Jason Naroian. Dinner-Dance, $50; dance only after 8:30 pm, $35 (with student ID $25). RSVP before June 30. Call Joyce Yeremian, 401-354-8770, joycey41@cox.net or Joyce Bagdasarian, 401-434-4467, sweetano6aol.com.
July 26—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, Ladies Guild Cooking Class, “Short Cuts to Armenian Cooking,” 11 am, Boereg. $15 for each class; $40 for three classes.
August 4—St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, Annual Golf Tournament.
August 17—St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, Annual Picnic and Blessing of the Grapes.
August 17—St. Sarkis Church (Dearborn) Grape Blessing Family Fun Picnic at Kensington Park, Kensington, Michigan. Good food, music, biking, soccer, dancing, magician, swimming, playscape, kids games, door prizes, face painting, tavloo tournament and more.
August 17—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Annual Picnic and Blessing of the Grapes, 1-5 pm  at Saddle River County Park, Wild Duck Pond area. Music, delicious Armenian food and desserts, arts and crafts, and playground for children, cards, and tavloo, and more.
September 18—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, 12th Annual Golf Classic, River Vale Country Club, River Vale, New Jersey. Rain or Shine. 11 am registration and Grilled Lunch Buffet; 1 pm Tee Off. Format: Shotgun Scramble (All player levels welcome). Golf Outing Reservation: $195; limited to first 128 paid golf reservations. Reservation includes: Grilled lunch buffet, dinner banquet, golf, cart, and range balls. Contests and Prizes. Sponsorships available. For information: 201-943-2950.
October 3—St. Sarkis Armenian Church, Douglaston, New York, Saturday School Dinner Dance Gala.
October 19—St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan will ordain sub-deacon Ara Stepanian during the Divine Liturgy and preside over the parish’s 57th Annual Banquet.
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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