October 9, 2014

The Providence community witnessed the centuries-old inspiring ceremony of ordination to the holy order of priesthood at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence, Rhode Island, last Friday and Saturday, October 3 and 4. The two-day ritual was celebrated under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, who officiated over the Service of Calling on Friday and the Divine Liturgy and Ordination on Saturday. The participation of ten clergymen serving the Eastern Prelacy, as well as a number of guest clergy made the service even more moving and poignant.

Deacon Harold Nazarian of Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence, was renamed Gabriel and Deacon Diran Der Khosrofian of St. Asdvadzadzin Church in Whitinsville, was renamed Michael by the Prelate, who directed his words to the newly anointed priests telling them they became new men. “You bowed down as human beings and stood up as Men of God.” With rich biblical references His Eminence told Rev. Fr. Michael and Rev. Fr. Gabriel to be good role models for their followers with their service, love, faith and conduct.

Der Michael and Der Gabriel are now observing their 40-day retreat under the fatherly supervision of Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, pastor of Providence’s Sts. Vartanantz Church. They will spend this time praying, meditating, and studying. They will celebrate their first Divine Liturgy on Sunday, November 9—Rev. Fr. Michael at St. Asdvadzadzin Church in Whitinsville and Rev. Fr. Gabriel at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence. Thereafter, Der Michael will begin his service as pastor of Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church and Der Garbriel will serve as assistant pastor at Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence.

A detailed press release about the ordination and more photos will be on the Prelacy’s web page tomorrow.

To see an article from the Providence Journal click here.
Archbishop Oshagan places his hands upon the heads of each candidate asking all to pray for the candidates.
Dn. Diran Der Khosrofian and Dn. Harold Nazarian were remained Michael and Gabriel, respectively, to begin their new life of service.
The clergy gather around the candidates.
Rev. Fr. Gabriel is anointed with Holy Muron by the Prelate, as the anointed Rev. Fr. Michael stands at extreme right.

Archbishop Oshagan will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Sarkis Church in Dearborn, Michigan, this Sunday, October 12. During the Liturgy His Eminence will ordain Jeffery Naraian, Khatchig Kafafian, and Thomas Guerjikian as deacons and Yervant Bedigian as a sub-deacon.

Following the Liturgy, His Eminence will preside over the banquet celebrating the 52nd anniversary of the parish.


Archbishop Oshagan will preside over the gathering of the clergy serving the Eastern Prelacy at a retreat of renewal, reflection, and meditation, as well as discussions on specific topics of interest. The clergy will gather at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, this Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (October 13, 14, 15).

Topics to be explored during the conference will include a final review of Holy Week services that have been a focus of attention during past gatherings, and the directives of the National Representative Assembly, the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the forthcoming pontifical visit of His Holiness Aram I, and the “In Defense of Christians” summit that took place in Washington last month.


Bishop Anoushavan will preside over the Divine Liturgy at Soorp Khatch Church in Bethesda, Maryland this Sunday, October 12. The Liturgy will be celebrated by Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian, pastor; Bishop Anoushavan will deliver the sermon. Following the Liturgy the Vicar will present a reflection on the “Holy Translators of the Fifth Century and Armenian Culture Today.”


Archbishop Oshagan presided over the Divine Liturgy last Sunday at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. The Liturgy was celebrated by the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian and Bishop Anoushavan delivered the sermon. Following the Liturgy, Bishop Anoushavan presented the prayers of St. Ephraim the Syrian in a program that also included students of the Nareg Saturday School who offered selections about Mesrob Mashdots and the Holy Translators.
Archbishop Oshagan and Bishop Anoushavan with the students and teachers and administrators.

In an uplifting Dedication Service following the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 5, the Sunday School teachers of St. Gregory Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, committed themselves to God, before their students and the congregation to teach the message of the Gospel and the love of Christ according to the doctrine and creed of the Armenian Church. After reciting prayers, reading the Creed of Faith, hearing the Good News from the Book of Romans as it relates to teaching about Jesus and salvation, the teachers received blessings from Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, pastor. Der Hayr then presented each teacher with a beautifully engraved cross, saying “as the Cross is the symbol of the highest sacrifice made by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, may God accept your sacrifice and dedication as you continue with your teaching this year.”
Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian with the Sunday School staff at St. Gregory Church, Philadelphia.

The Saint Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, North Andover, Massachusetts, will soon begin a six-part adult Christian education course on the Nicene Creed, led by Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, pastor. On that occasion, Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Director of AREC, was invited, this past Sunday, to speak briefly on the origin of creeds in general and the Nicene Creed in particular, highlighting the various purposes it has served in the life of the Church. As in the past, the Nicene Creed today functions as a badge of membership, as a summary of faith in an outline form, as a test for what is orthodox and what isn’t, and as a syllabus for Christian instruction.

Commentary on the Nicene Creed by Archbishop Zareh, published by the Eastern Prelacy, will be used as the text for the adult Christian education course.


Vazken Ghougassian, Executive Director of the Prelacy, traveled to Armenia this week where he is  conferring with the Prelacy sponsored “The Saint Nerses the Great Charitable Fund” about the various charitable projects in Armenia and Artsakh.

Before returning to the United States, Dr. Ghougassian will travel to New Julfa, Iran, where he will participate in a series of events from October 18 to 22 celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Cathedral of All Savior’s Monastery organized by the Diocese of New Julfa, under the auspices of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. Dr. Ghougassian is one of twelve scholars invited to participate in a conference on October 21. He will present a paper entitled “The Social, Administrative and Ecclesiastical Structure of the New Julfa Armenian Community in the 17th Century.”


The Musical Armenia committee is accepting applications from young Armenian musicians who would like to be featured in a concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City. Those interested in applying should visit the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org) or click here.

The Prelacy inaugurated the Musical Armenia series in 1982 in order to promote the careers of talented young Armenian musicians from all over the world. Since then, the annual concerts have remained faithful to the objectives of the series. The 2015 concert will take place on Friday, March 20. Applications should be sent no later than October 30, 2014.

Bible readings for Sunday, October 12, Fifth Sunday of the Exaltation are, Isaiah 19:1-11; Galatians 2:1-10; Mark 12:35-44.

While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’

David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.

As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
(Mark 12:35-44)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.

This Saturday, October 11, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Holy Translators, one of the most beloved feasts. There are, in fact, two such commemorations in our liturgical calendar. One is on the Thursday following the fourth Sunday after Pentecost, which can occur in June or July; the other is on the second Saturday of October.

The October commemoration focuses on the creation of the Armenian alphabet (406) and on the accomplishments of the Holy Translators. Mesrob Mashdots, the founder of the alphabet, and Catholicos Sahag, together with some of their students, translated the Bible. Schools were opened and the works of world-renowned scholars were translated. Their work gave the Armenian Church a distinct national identity.

In modern times the entire month of October has been designated as a “Month of Culture.” Armenians throughout the Diaspora and Armenia mark this with cultural events not only in remembrance of the past, but in celebration of modern-day scholars, theologians, writers, and translators.

Specifically remembered this Saturday along with Mesrob and Sahag, are: Yeghishe, a renowned student of Sahag and Mesrob, who served as secretary to Vartan Mamigonian and who wrote the great history of the Vartanantz wars; Movses of Khoren, another student of Sahag and Mesrob, who is revered as the father of Armenian history; David the Invincible, a student of Movses, received most of his education in Athens, where he was given the title “Invincible” because of his brilliance in philosophy; Gregory of Narek, who is considered the greatest poet of the Armenian nation and its first and greatest mystic; and Nerses Shnorhali, a great writer, musician, theologian, and ecumenist.

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, the holy scriptures, adorned the Armenian churches, praise God with a sweet-sounding song.
(Canon to the Holy Translators, from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)

“After translating the book of Proverbs, Mesrop and his students began the translation of the New Testament. Translating the bible into any language is an enormous amount of work. It is especially daunting given the absence of any Armenian literature prior to the Bible. Contrast this with the translation of the Bible into English. The most famous English translation is the King James Version, completed in 1611. The earliest English Bible was produced by John  Wycliffe in 1382. But even before Wycliffe, there was a tradition of writing in English from which Wycliffe and subsequent translators could draw familiar expressions and phrases. The Armenian Bible, however, is the first work of Armenian literature. In translating the Bible, Sahak and Mesrop and their disciples did more than just a translation. They in essence created a new written language that would be a source and inspiration for all of the Armenian literature that would follow.”
(Light from Light: An Introduction to the History and Theology of the Armenian Church, by Michael B. Papazian)
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Completion of the first printing of the Armenian Bible
(October 13, 1668)

After more than two and half years of work, the printing of the first edition of the Armenian Bible was finished in Amsterdam (Netherlands) in 1668. The tenacious efforts of Voskan Yerevantsi, a bishop of the Armenian Church, had finally achieved an elusive target that had been pursued for several decades.

Voskan (1614-1674) was the son of parents from Yerevan, who had been part of the deportation of Armenians from Eastern Armenia to Persia ordered by Shah Abbas I in 1604 and settled in New Julfa (Nor Jugha), the Armenian suburb of Ispahan founded by the Persian ruler.  He studied at the monastery of All Saviors and, against the wishes of his parents, he was consecrated a celibate priest.  After a few years of further study in Holy Etchmiadzin and Yerevan, he returned to New Julfa. Invited to Etchmiadzin by Catholicos Pilipos I Aghbaketsi in 1634, he was appointed abbot of the monastery of St. Sargis in Ushi, where he took classes in Latin, philosophy, geometry, and astronomy from the learned Dominican monk Paulo Piromalli, a Catholic missionary in Armenia, and taught Armenian to him.

In 1655 Catholicos Hakob IV Jughayetsi (1655-1680) sent his secretary, Movses Tzaretsi, to Europe with the aim of establishing a print shop. He did not find support in Italy and went to Amsterdam, where conditions were more favorable for printing, as the Netherlands were outside the sphere of influence of the Catholic Church. He was able to establish a print shop, but his attempt at printing the Armenian Bible ended in failure. Before his death in 1661, he asked his friend, the merchant Avetis from Jugha, to take over the print shop and continue his work. Avetis, at his turn, asked his brother, Voskan Yerevantsi, to come to Amsterdam. The latter had already been consecrated as bishop and was commissioned by the Catholicos to continue the task.
The first page of the Gospel of Matthew from the first printed Armenian Bible of 1668.
Bishop Voskan arrived in the Dutch port in 1664 and took over the direction of the “Holy Etchmiadzin and St. Sargis” print shop. Between 1664 and 1669, he printed 14 Armenian books, including the first printed book by a living Armenian historian, the Book of Histories by Arakel of Tabriz (1669). He and his disciples Karapet Andrianatsi and Ohan Yerevantsi started the printing of the Armenian Bible on March 11, 1666, which would result in a beautifully illustrated edition of 21 x 26 cm. (8.27 x 10.23 inches) and 1464 pages. This achievement would become enough to give Voskan Yerevantsi a place of honor in the history of Armenian printing, following the first printer of Armenian books, Hakob Meghapart.

Voskan moved his print shop to Livorno, Italy, in 1669, and three years later to Marseilles, France. He would print eight more books, including the first mathematical textbook, which was also the first printing in Modern Armenian, entitled Art of Calculus (Արհեստ համարողութեան, 1675). He died on February 4, 1674, before the printing of the textbook was complete. His print shop remained active until 1686 and a total of 40 books were printed.

The original text of the Armenian Bible has had ten editions since 1666 (the last one was printed in Vienna by the Mekhitarist fathers in 1929). Very Rev. Hovhannes Zohrabian’s edition, printed in Venice in 1805, is regarded as the most valuable by Biblical scholars.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” can be read on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org).
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Don’t Rub This on Anyone’s Face

If you still use a pencil to write, then you probably have an eraser around to rub out pencil marks. Because of such use, the elastic substance that came from tropical plants has been called rubber since the end of the eighteenth century.

Something similar happened in Armenian: the elastic substance was called redeen (ռետին) and your eraser bears the same name redeen. Unlike English, however, the word had no relation with the function of the eraser, but was created from a different source. It was the name of a substance that flowed from trees as a balsam or a medicine. Armenian medical books from the Middle Ages advised: “Redeen, which is a balsam.”

The word redeen probably entered the Armenian language through the translation of the Bible in the fifth century, and its source was the Greek word rhetine “pine resin.” Several other languages borrowed this word: Latin resina, Arabic ratinag, Farsi ratiyan.

Of course, the Latin word sounds familiar. It is the indirect source, through Old French, for the current English word resin.

But where does the Greek word, the common ancestor for Armenian redeen and English resin, come from? That is one of the many mysteries that students of the language have not been able to solve so far.

Previous entries in “The Armenian Language Corner” can be read on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org).
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
October 11—Armenian Friends of America presents Kef 5, 7:30-12:30, Michael’s Function Hall, 12 Alpha Street, Haverhill, Massachusetts. Tickets $50; students 21 and under, $40. Proceeds will benefit Armenian churches of Merrimack Valley. Individually served mezza platters and pastries; musicians, Mal Barsamian (clarinet), John Berberian (oud), Bob Raphaelian (violin), Bruce Jigarjian (guitar), Jason Naroian (dumbeg & vocals). Advance ticket sales only. John Arzigian, 603-560-3826; Lucy Sirmaian, 978-683-9121; Peter Gulezian, 978-375-1616, Sandy Boroyan, 978-251-8687.

October 12-15—Prelacy Clergy Gathering for Reflection and Renewal at St. Mary of Providence Retreat Center, Elverson, Pennsylvania.

October 18—Annual Armenian Bazaar, St. Gregory Church, 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, 10 am to 7 pm. Favorite Armenian dinners including shish, losh, and chicken kebab and rice pilaf; stuffed grape leaves, cheese and spinach pie, pickled vegetables; traditional Armenian and American baked goods; raffle. Take-out available. For information: (413) 543-4763.

October 19—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan will ordain Ara Stepanian as Deacon during the Divine Liturgy and preside over the parish’s 89th Annual Banquet.

October 25—St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, Annual Fall Fair, 10 am to 7 pm, at Jaffarian Hall, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts. Shish, losh, and chicken kebab dinners, lentil and kheyma, vegetarian dinners, pastries, gifts, raffles. For information: 978-685-5038.

October 26—Celebration of 80th anniversary of Armenian Weekly and 115th anniversary of Hairenik, at home of Carmen and Avo Barmakian, 58 Matthew Lane, Waltham, Massachusetts. Keynote speaker, Professor Richard G. Hovannisian, professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History at UCLA. Reservations by October 18, Heather Krafian, 617-932-1965.

November 2—All Saints Church, Glenview, Illinois, 71st Anniversary under auspices of Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, following the Divine Liturgy, at Shahnasarian Hall, 1701 N. Greenwood, Glenview, Illinois.

November 6—Avak Luncheon, sponsored by St. Gregory Church, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts, at noon. Speaker: Sonya Vartabedian, “Diary of a Community Editor,” reflections from Sunday School student here to award-winning journalist and editor of The Andover Townsman and Andover Magazine.

November 7-8-9—Rouben Mamoulian Film Festival, 7 pm, at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York. Sponsored by the Anthropology Museum of the People of New York, the Armenian Cultural Educational Resource Center Gallery at Queens College, and The Museum of the Moving Image. Opening night and reception will feature Love Me Tonight, the 1932 musical comedy film produced and directed by Mamoulian, with music by Rodgers and Hart, starring Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier. For tickets and information: anthroarmen@aol.com or 718-428-5650.

November 7 & 8—St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, 58th Armenian Bazaar, 10 am to 9:30 pm at Armenian Cultural & Educational Center, 47 Nichols Avenue, Watertown, Massachusetts. Meals served from 11:30 am to 8:30 pm (take out is available). Enjoy delicious meals, Armenian pastries, gourmet items, arts and crafts, books, raffles, attic treasures. For information: 617-924-7562.

November 15 &16—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Armenian Fest 2014 at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, Broad Street, Cranston, Rhode Island.  Largest indoor festival in Rhode Island. Delicious shish and losh kebob, chicken and kufta dinners and Armenian pastry available all day.  Live dance music. The Mourad Armenian School and Providence Hamazkayin dance groups will perform on Saturday and Sunday at 5 pm. Hourly raffles, silent auction, country store, gift baskets, flea-market, arts and crafts. Main raffle prizes worth total $2,700.  Fun for all ages. Free admission, parking and valet. For information: 401-831-6399 or www.stsvartanantzchurch.org.

November 21, 22, 23—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Annual Bazaar, Food Festival, and Hantes. Mezze and Kebab dinners (chicken, shish, luleh); dessert table and trays of home-made delicacies; Boutique Booths; Chinese Auction; Supervised Game Room for children; Pre-packaged Monte, Sou Buereg, Kufteh, and Lehmejun; Take-out available; Live Music for dancing and listening. Traditional Kavourma dinner on Sunday served immediately after church service. For information: 201-943-2950.

December 6—Armenian Winter Dessert Festival, Soorp Khatch Church, Bethesda, Maryland.

December 6—St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, Annual Bazaar at Christian Reform Church, Whitinsville, 10 am to 5 pm.

December 7—Ladies Guild of St. Stephen’s Church of New Britain and Hartford, Connecticut, will host a Wine Tasting Party at noon in the church hall, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain. A wine talk and tasting will be provided by Taylor Brooke Winery, Woodstock, Connecticut, owned by Linda Varjabedian Auger.

December 7—8th Annual ANC Eastern Region Banquet, Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, NY. Freedom Award Honoree: former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and the Morgenthau family; Vahan Cardashian Award Honoree: ANCA activist Alice Movsesian.  Tickets are $250.  For reservations and information, please visit www.anca.org/erbanquet or 917.428.1918.

December 12—Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) 11th Annual Holiday Gala, Cipriani 42nd Street, New York City. Cocktails and Silent Auction, 7 pm; Dinner & Program, 8 pm; Dancing & After Party, 10 pm. For tickets and information www.coafkids.org or 212-994-8234.

February 9-11, 2015—Ghevontiantz gathering of clergy serving the Eastern Prelacy.

March 13-15, 2015—“Responsibility 2015,” International conference for Armenian Genocide’s centennial at Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York, featuring prominent historians, policymakers, authors, and artists. Organized by the ARF Eastern US Centennial Committee, under the auspices of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of America, Eastern Region. www.responsibility2015.com for information.

October 5-9, 2015—Clergy gathering of Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies.
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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