Subscribe to our email list

June 2, 2016
The German parliament today approved a resolution recognizing the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turkey during World War I as genocide. The word “genocide” is used in both the text and headline of the resolution that also states that Germany bears some guilt for its inaction at the time. Following the vote, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Germany “for consultations.” The vote was nearly unanimous with only one opposed and two abstentions.

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, immediately sent a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcoming Germany’s brave stand. His Holiness reminded the Chancellor that the Holy See of Cilicia was a victim of the genocide, describing how his predecessor Catholicos Sahag II and the brotherhood of priests were exiled from their historical catholicosal seat in Sis.
Armenian observers at the German Bundestag following the historic vote.
Archbishop Oshagan is departing for an overseas visit to Lebanon and Armenia and will be away from New York for the next few weeks. His Eminence will be attending meetings at the Catholicosate in Antelias, Lebanon, and then will travel to Armenia.

The annual Summer Camp for children enrolled in the Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship Program will take place for the seventh consecutive summer from July 10 to 18. The camp program is organized by the Prelacy’s office in Yerevan, “The St. Nerses the Great Charitable Organization,” and directed by Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, pastor of St. Stephen’s Church in Connecticut.

Prelacy parishes were asked to pass a special plate collection last Sunday and this Sunday, June 5, to help defray the expenses incurred.

Each year about fifty children are selected to attend the summer camp, where they receive daily instruction in Bible studies, Armenian Church history and rituals, along with recreational sports, games, and field trips.

Archpriest Fr. Aram has indicated his willingness to visit any parish that wished to have more details about the summer camp. Contact Der Aram by email (

Donations may also be sent directly to the Prelacy payable to “Armenian Apostolic Church of America,” with “Summer Camp” indicated in the memo area. Mail to 138 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016.
Camper's gather at the St. Nerses the Great office in Yerevan to start their summer camp program.
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.

Mr. Lernik Hovhannisyan, a member of the parliament of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh visited the Prelacy office this afternoon where he met with His Grace Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General, Dr. Vazken Ghougassian, Executive Director, and Iris Papazian, Director of Communications. Mr. Hovhannisyan was invited by the Artsakh Fund of the Eastern United States to tour the Armenian communities in the East Coast and provide information about recent developments in Artsakh. He said his tour will take him to New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Washington, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Michigan. Last week he attended the Armenian Youth Federation Junior Seminar in Pennsylvania, where he met with hundreds of young people.
Bible readings for Sunday, June 5, Third Sunday after Pentecost, Eve of the Fast of our Holy Father St. Gregory the Illuminator, are: Isaiah 1:2-15; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 12:1-8.

At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”  (Matthew 12:1-8)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
This Saturday, June 4, the Armenian Church commemorates Catholicos Nerses the Great and Khat the Bishop. Nerses the Great was the father of Catholicos Sahak I. He succeeded two catholicoi whose reigns were unexceptional, and the people were eager to return to the line of their beloved Gregory the Illuminator. Nerses was a student of St. Basil of Caesarea, one of three great Cappadocian Fathers. Nerses’ pontificate was the beginning of a new era. He brought the church closer to the people, rather than to royals and nobles. He convened the Council of Ashtishat that resulted in numerous laws on issues related to marriage, worship, and customs. He built many schools, hospitals, and monasteries. He sent monks to preach the Gospel throughout the country. His bold actions resulted in great displeasure by the royal family and in 373 he was reportedly poisoned by the king. His accomplishments for the spiritual and social well-being of the common people earned him the gratitude of the entire nation and the honorific “Great.”

Khat the Bishop worked closely with St. Nerses the Great. Like Nerses he had great passion for social issues, especially helping the poor. Nerses entrusted most of the benevolent work of the church to Khat. He is so closely associated with St. Nerses that the church honors them on the same day.

By the light of unspeakable grace of your divine knowledge you arose on the land of Armenia, merciful heavenly Father; have compassion on us who have sinned. Saint Nerses, pure in soul, from birth you were chosen to inherit the paternal lot of shepherding righteously and lawfully. You adorned the Church with the laws of truth and established good order within it; through his prayers have mercy on us, O Christ.
(Canon to the Holy Patriarch Nerses the Great from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)

This Tuesday, June 7, the Armenian Church remembers Constantine the Great and his mother, Helena. Constantine was the first Christian emperor of Rome. In 330 he founded Constantinople as a “second Rome,” and considered himself to be a servant of God. He was buried amid the apostles in the basilica he founded in their honor in Constantinople. Helena followed her son in becoming a Christian and devoted her life to charitable work. She built many churches and monasteries and is believed to have played an important role in the recovery of the true cross in Golgotha. She is also believed to have helped find Christ’s exact place of burial where later the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built.
The 30th annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute summer program for youth ages 13-18 will be held at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from July 3-10. Sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the summer program offers a unique weeklong Christian educational program for youth. It aims to instill and nurture the Armenian Christian faith and identity in our youth through a variety of educational activities, coupled with daily church services and communal recreational activities. For information and registration, please visit the Prelacy’s website at or contact the AREC office at 212-689-7810 or

ANEC at the NRA 2016 
In his presentation, Executive Director of the Armenian National Education Committee Dr. Vartan Matiossian first briefly discussed the main functions of ANEC as an advisory body for the schools under the jurisdiction of the Prelacy. He also noted that technology has been thoroughly inserted into the work of ANEC, including new features such as teleconferences with school principals and teachers. One of the outcomes of these teleconferences was the creation of a committee on Armenian as a Second Language (ASL), which is working on the preparation of curriculum guidelines, expected to be ready by the end of 2016. Last year’s introduction of a series of four handouts, “Let’s Chat,” has led to the preparation of a booklet with the same name that has collected and updated the material of the handouts and added new material. This booklet in English and Armenian, also offering Armenian in transliteration, will be of help for teaching to beginners and others.

Dr. Matiossian also presented the Siamanto Academy, which was reintroduced in 2014 in New Jersey. He also discussed other ongoing features in the field of technology, including the columns “This Week in Armenian History” and “Armenian Language Corner,” which run in “Crossroads” before being stored in special blogs.  Both columns are important as a source of information for teachers, as well as for general readers. He also noted the presence of a section of online resources for teachers in the ANEC webpage, as well as the Western Armenian online course, the ANEC blog and the Facebook page. At the end of his presentation, Dr. Matiossian emphasized that “Serve to Preserve,” the motto of the Prelacy, also means “Serve to Develop and to Transmit,” and this is the main mission of ANEC.
Dr. Vartan Matiossian, director of ANEC, presents his report to the Assembly.
The NRA panel on Youth Ministry was facilitated by Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York. The attendees discussed the challenges their parishes face in engaging and developing the youth to be active citizens of their parish community. It was noted that greater emphasis needs to be placed on Christian education in cooperation with existing programs that work for each parish. Certain programs have successfully been implemented in some parishes geared for all age groups that should serve as models. 

Suggested resolutions included: (1) The Religious Council appoint a committee of clergy and lay members to develop a curriculum of 12 lesson plans that focus on the Bible, Armenian Church history, and Ethics. (2) Coordinate with the AYF and HMEM to develop programs that will foster religious education in their programs. (3) To hire a youth coordinator to develop and implement religious programs and initiatives that would be a resource for local parish priests and their boards of trustees.

As it does each year the National Association of Ladies Guilds (NALG) convened its annual meeting concurrent with the National Representative Assembly. 

The basic purpose of the NALG is to help strengthen and promote the activities of Ladies’ Guilds; to inspire members to learn the doctrines and traditions of the Armenian Church; to cooperate and maintain harmonious relationships with all other organizations under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Prelacy. In addition the NALG has been a source of support for charitable and educational projects in the United States and Armenia, and in recent years for the Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief.

The newly elected Executive of the NALG consists of: Joyce Bagdasarian, chair; Madonna Kzirian, vice chair; Rosemary Khachadoorian, treasurer; Maggie Kouyoumdjian, corresponding secretary; Margaret Stepanian, recording secretary.
The delegates to the NALG with Archbishop Oshagan.
The annual Prelacy raffle campaign is a major fundraiser for the Prelacy. The Executive Council expresses its heartfelt thanks to Noubar Megerian and Antranik Boudakian, the national co-chairmen, and the regional coordinators who made the raffle one of the most successful ever. Thanks also to everyone who purchased tickets.

The regional coordinators are: Janet Haroian, Granite City; Susan Erickson, Chicago; Alta Mekaelian, Waukegan; Levon Saryan, Racine; Raffi Ourlian, Detroit; Harry Ishkanian, Niagara Falls; Antranig Karageozian, Troy; Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, New York; Antranig Boudakian, Douglaston; Aram Haroutunian, New Jersey; Noubar Megerian, Philadelphia; Aram Sarafian, Washington, DC; Ardemis Babaeghian Walen, Springfield-Indian Orchard;  Richard Greenhaulgh, Worcester; Hagop Antranigian, Whitinsville; John Daghlian, Watertown; Karekin Soghigian, North Andover; Hagop Khatchadourian and Joyce Yeremian, Providence; Ara Der Bagdasarian, New Britain.

The raffle is drawn at the conclusion of the National Representative Assembly’s banquet. This year’s winners are: First place ($5,000), Ladies Guild of Soorp Khatch Church, Bethesda, Maryland; Second place ($2,000), Mr. and Mrs. Harout Jamgotchian, East Hanover, New Jersey; Third place ($1,000), Dr. and Mrs. Michael Nalbantian, Radnor, Pennsylvania; Fourth place ($1000), Mr. and Mrs. Edward Barsamian, Woodside, New York; Fifth place ($1,000), Mr. and Mrs. Lou Taverna, Watertown, Massachusetts.

Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Death of Bedros Atamian
(June 4, 1891)
Bedros Atamian was the greatest tragic actor in the Armenian theater during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

Born on December 21, 1849, in Constantinople, he belonged to a lower middle class Armenian Catholic family. His mother died when Bedros was one year old. In 1857-1858 he went to the elementary school of the St. Salvador Armenian Catholic Church in the neighborhood of Galata. He was a precocious and voracious reader. After graduating from the school, they placed him as an apprentice, but his heart was not in learning a trade. He found his vocation in theater.

After playing a silent role in 1864, he debuted in the play William the Conqueror two years later. Between 1867 and 1869 he played in various theatrical groups of the city. As most of his contemporaries, he was a self-taught actor, but he studied the theoretical approaches of European theater to improve himself over time. In 1869 he went with a theatrical group to Nor Nakhichevan (Nakhichevan-on-the-Don), in Northern Caucasus, but the venture ended in financial failure. During his absence, the great fire of Constantinople, in 1870, had ravaged the area of Pera (nowadays Beyoglu) and destroyed his father’s properties, who was ruined and died shortly thereafter.

Atamian continued his theatrical career, and also dabbled as a painter to make his daily living. The newly built theater of Ortakeuy housed a brilliant theatrical group from 1872-1875, under the direction of Bedros Maghakian, with Atamian and the famous actress Azniv Hrachia as its main stars.

1879 would be a breakthrough year for the talented actor. Actor Gevorg Chemeshkian went from Tiflis to Constantinople, commissioned by the Armenian Theatrical Board of the city, to hire several actors. He came to an agreement with Atamian and two promising sisters, Siranush, who would become one of the most famous actresses of the Armenian scene, and Asdghik. For the next three years, he would win over the Armenian audiences of Tiflis. The newspaper Meghu Hayastani wrote: “He rules over the play and, like a bright lighthouse, he illuminates the stage.” The Georgian and Russian newspapers would also devote columns to him. Following the suggestions of the press and his friends, he left aside the customary melodramas and historical plays, and incorporated new and fresh works. The centerpiece would be Shakespeare, who had been played only since 1866. Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear would be the three Shakespearean roles in Atamian’s 250-strong repertoire. He later performed in many other cities, like Shushi, Rostov-on-the-Don, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Astrakhan, Baku, Odessa, et cetera, not only with Armenian, but non-Armenian groups. For instance, in 1882 he performed Hamlet with a French group in Rostov; the performance was in French, with Atamian playing Hamlet in Armenian. His performances as Hamlet and Othello would be highly praised everywhere by the audiences and the press, both Armenian and Russian, and they immortalized his name.
Atamian was not only an actor, but also a theater scholar. In 1887 he published a study in Armenian, Shakespeare and the Sources and Criticism of his Tragedy Hamlet, which was the first of its kind. He also wrote poetry and a novel (posthumously published), although without great literary value.
In mid-1888 he returned to his hometown, Constantinople, and the twenty-fifth anniversary of his theatrical career was celebrated on December 30, 1888. His last performance was a year later. In the meanwhile, he had taken a devastating turn in his life: he developed a condition in his throat that was attributed either to tuberculosis or to cancer. He was unable to work anymore, and fell into utter poverty. Thanks to the efforts of Russian friends from St. Petersburg, he was moved to the St. Nicholas Russian hospital of Pera in February 1891. However, medical assistance was not enough to save his life and he passed away on June 4, 1891. The great Shakespearean actor was buried in the Armenian cemetery of Sisli.

Atamian’s name was later given to the Armenian theater of Tiflis, as well as to the theater group of the Armenian General Benevolent Union in Aleppo. Today, a street in Yerevan also bears his name.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (

The crisis in Syria requires 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: Armenian Apostolic Church of America
(Memo: Syrian Armenian Relief)

Thank you for your help.
This week featuring: 
An Interview with Armen Bandikian: Armenia’s IT Boom.
And much more.

Click on the image above to listen
Gareen Chorbajian born today, June 2, 2016.
We end this week’s Crossroads with the happy news of the arrival of Gareen Chorbajian, daughter of Rev. Fr. Torkom and Yn. Shogher Chorbajian. Gareen was born this afternoon at 12:15 pm. Der Hayr reports that Gareen weighs 6.7 lbs and is 18.42 inches long. Mother, Father, and Baby are doing well. Congratulations and best wishes to them. Rev. Fr. Torkom is pastor of St. Gregory Church in Granite City, Illinois.
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.

June 3—“An Evening of Poetic Songs,” a concert by Berge Turabian, “Revisiting My Songs”; also featuring Ani Djirdjirian. John Pashalian Hall at St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 E. 27th Street, New York City, 8 pm. Reservations/Information: 212-689-5880.

June 4—Premier of “Women of 1915,” a documentary by Bared Maronian. Sponsored by the Armenian Relief Society of Eastern United States, Ciccone Theater at Bergen Community College, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, New Jersey, at 7:30 pm. Reception will follow the program. Tickets $30 (advance purchase); $35 (at door). Contact: Sonia (917-679-6992); Diana (201-790-0397).

June 5—Sunday School commencement, Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey.

June 12—Nareg Armenian School Year-End Program, Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey.

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 or contact the AREC office at 212-689-7810 or

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 9—SAVE 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 22—SAVE 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.
To ensure the timely arrival of Crossroads in your electronic mailbox, add to your address book.
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:
138 East 39th Street | New York, NY 10016 US