June 12, 2014
“Your solidarity with the Armenians during the 100th Anniversary Commemorations of the Genocide will be a valuable contribution to our just cause” (Catholicos Aram)
“The history of emigration, persecutions and the martyrdom experienced by so many of the faithful has inflicted deep wounds on the hearts of all Armenians. We must see and venerate these as wounds inflicted on the very body of Christ.” (Pope Francis)
Following a private meeting between Pope Francis and Catholicos Aram I, Pope Francis and Catholicos Aram met with the delegation that accompanied the Catholicos. In his speech the Catholicos noted that since 1997 he has had the opportunity to meet Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and currently, His Holiness Francis I.
Catholicos Aram I then spoke of the special relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Catholicosate of Cilicia during the time of the Kingdom of Cilicia and after the Genocide when the Holy See settled in Antelias, Lebanon.
The Catholicos expressed his appreciation of the Pope’s effort to take the church to the people, which he said is also at the heart of the Armenian Orthodox Church and to which it is fully committed. He invited all churches to leave confessional differences aside and face together the urgent challenges confronting humanity. 
Speaking of the Middle East, the Catholicos said that despite the current violence in the region, Christians would continue to witness for their faith, fulfill their duties, and demand their rights as citizens of their countries.
Speaking about the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide that will be commemorated in 2015, the Catholicos thanked the Pope for his past positions towards the Armenian cause and spoke of the one-and-a-half-million Armenians that had lost their lives and of the churches, homes, sources of livelihood, spiritual and cultural heritage that had been lost in the Genocide that had been perpetrated upon the Armenians by the Ottoman Turks. The Catholicos paid tribute to Pope Benedict XV who denounced the Armenian Genocide in a letter to Sultan Mehmet V in 1915. The Catholicos asked the Pope to continue advocating for the rights of the Armenian People.
In his response, Pope Francis, noted that Catholicos Aram’s “commitment to the cause of Christian unity is known to all. You have been especially active in the World Council of Churches and you continue to be most supportive of the Middle East Council Churches, which plays such an important role in assisting the Christian communities of that region as they face numerous difficulties. Nor can I fail to mention the significant contribution which Your Holiness and the representatives of the Catholicosate of Cilicia have made to the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. I am convinced that on our journey towards full communion we share the same hopes and a similar sense of responsibility as we strive to be faithful to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Referring to the Armenian Genocide, the Pope said “the Armenian people represent a part of the Christian world that is irrevocably marked by a history of trials and sufferings courageously accepted for the love of God. The Armenian Apostolic Church has had to become a pilgrim people; it has experienced in a singular way what it means to journey towards the Kingdom of God. The history of emigration, persecutions and martyrdom experienced by so many of the faithful has inflicted deeps wounds on the hearts of all Armenians. We must see and venerate these as wounds inflicted on the very body of Christ, and for this very reason a cause for unfailing hope and trust in the provident mercy of the father.”
At the end of formal speeches, the two Pontiffs and the delegation accompanying Catholicos Aram I, coming from Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America, attended a special prayer service. Following the service, the delegates were formally introduced to the Pope.

The newly appointed Executive Director of the Karageuzian Foundation, accompanied by the directors of the Foundation in Armenia and Lebanon, visited the Prelacy offices yesterday where they were received by the Vicar General, Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian.
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).
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian with Mrs. Eranouhi Shahbazian.
Mrs. Eranouhi Shahbazian, who was one of the most dedicated members of the Cathedral since she came to the United States from Romania many decades ago with her family, passed away on June 6 at the age of 103.
Mrs. Shahbazian, a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, was born on August 25, 1910, in Ordou, Turkey. At the age of five she lost her mother, and later her father. She was reunited with her sister in an orphanage from where they were first sent to Russia and then to Romania.
St. Stephen’s Saturday School in Watertown, Massachusetts, held its year-end program, highlighted by the graduation of 12 students from the 12th grade. St. Stephen’s is the only ANEC-affiliated one-day school whose classes extend through the high school level.
The program was dedicated to the elders of the community in accordance with the declaration of His Holiness Aram I, proclaiming 2014 as the Year of the Elders.  This year’s graduates were: Talar Kaya, Barkev Chaghlasian, Aren Torigian, Arlene Cimen, Sarkis Toukhmanian, Aida Barsoumian, Ani Khachadrian, Karni Berejiklian, Alek Kotikian, Raffi Bilanian, Anette Calisir, and Taleen Saghrian.
The 12th grade graduates with 11th and 12th grade teacher, Mr. Khajag Megerdichian; Pastor, Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian; Principal, Mrs. Mayda Melkonian, and School Committee Chairman, Mr. Missak Barsoumian.
Last Sunday St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, honored graduates of the Armenian community in a special Church Service and luncheon that followed.  Honored were, College Graduates: Hagop  Nercessian and Leon Zohrabian; High School Graduates: Armen Bijimenian, Arthur Mouradian and Christapor Megherian; Eighth Grade graduates: Nicole Mark, Shushan Aghavian, Cassandra Trivino, Isabel Hagobian, Raffi Hagobian, Mimi Bijimenian, and Arev Ebrimian; Sixth Grade Graduates: Peter Agopian and Alicia Mordjikian; and Fifth Grade graduate Michael Trivino.
Sixteen graduates and their families attended the Divine Liturgy. Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar of the Prelacy, and Rev. Fr. Nareg invited the graduates to the altar where His Grace prayed for each one as he presented them with a specially designed satin stole representing St. Sarkis Church, hand crafted  by Mrs. Jeanette Nenejian. Following church services the graduates and their families were invited to join in a special luncheon and program. (Reported by Seta Megherian)
Bishop Anoushavan and Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York with the 2014 graduates.
The graduates of the Taniel Varoujan Armenian Saturday School in Glenview, Illinois, with Archpriest Fr. Zareh Sahakian, Pastor of All Saints Church, Mrs. Talin Artinian, Principal, Mrs. Arpie Dekirmenjian, Vice Principal, Mrs. Rita Arakelian, 7th grade teacher, and Mrs. Silva Bedian, 7th grade teacher.
The Mourad Armenian Saturday School of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, concluded the school year with its annual Hantes at Hope Highlands School in Cranston. The program included singing, recitations, dance performances, and drama. Students, parents, and the principal Deegen Anahid Kibarian and the teachers all worked diligently during the school year to prepare this year’s presentation that was dedicated to the “Year of the Elderly.” Honorees were three long-time servants of the school: Mrs. Carol Mesrobian (School Committee treasurer), former co-principal Mrs. Rozanne Arzoomanian, and the current principal, Mrs. Kibarian.
Five students won the essay contest sponsored by the Armenian Relief Society. Seven students, David Ayriyan, Anahid Donoyan, Taleen Donoyan, Armen Eghian, Datev Katchatryan, Rosdom Mkrtschjan, and Lorie Simonian, graduated, and participated in the Divine Liturgy by reading from the Gospel in Armenian and English, reciting the Havadamk (Nicene Creed), giving the Voghchooyn (Kiss of Peace), and performing ushering duties. Next school year, these graduates will serve as assistant teachers, as members of the church choir, or serve on the altar.
A dance presentation by the younger grades.
Honorees and graduates with Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, Mrs. Maggie Nalbandian, and School Committee chair, Hagop Khatchadourian.
Induction services for the new Board of Trustees of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, took place last Sunday after the Divine Liturgy. Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, pastor, conducted the service in the presence of a large number of parishioners. At the end of the induction service, Der Hovnan congratulated the new Board of Trustees on behalf of the Prelate and Vicar General, and the Sts. Vartanantz family and wished them health and good luck in their service.
Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian with the members of the new board of trustees. Front row, left to right, Karoun Dayermenjian (secretary), Apraham Dermenjian (chair), Fr. Hovnan (pastor), Lynn Mahlebjian (Vice Chair), Vicken Mazbanian (treasurer). Back row, left to right: Advisors, Nora Sarajian, Vahe Asayan, Silva Kouyoumdjian, Mher Azazian, and Garo Khatchadourian.
Last Sunday, a presentation on World Vision International Charitable Organization’s operations in Armenia, was presented at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. The presentation was facilitated by Rev. David L. Snyder, the Church Partnerships (Officer of World Vision’s U.S. office, and Dr. Artur Martirosyan, a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, and former staff member of World Vision in Armenia.
In his opening remarks, Dn. Shant Kazanjian, director of the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC) welcomed the guest speaker, thanked World Vision for its worldwide charitable work, especially in Armenia, and stressed the importance for cooperation.
Rev. Snyder described the mission of World Vision and its important role in Armenia. Dr. Martirosyan stressed the new initiative by World Vision US to engage with the US-based Armenian Diaspora primarily through the Armenian Church. The presentation was accompanied with impressive video materials on how the change is brought to an ordinary Armenian village through the facilitation of World Vision Armenia as well as a video describing the global nature of World Vision and the objective of child sponsorship. At the conclusion of the presentation, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of the Cathedral presented a copy of the book, Living Faith, to Rev. Snyder, and thanked all of the participants.
World Vision presentation took place at the Cathedral. Left to right, Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Rev. David L. Snyder, Dr. Artur Martirosyan.
Bible readings for Sunday, June 15, First Sunday after Pentecost, (Beginning of Sundays of Resurrection) are: 1 Kings 18:29-46; 2 Kings 2:1-15; James 5:16-20; Luke 4:25-30.
Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.
My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:16-20)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
This Sunday, June 15, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of Elijah, the Messianic prophet of the Old Testament recorded in 1 and 2 Kings. Elijah was the greatest prophet in the Old Testament and therefore his feast day falls on a Sunday. He appeared along with Moses at the Transfiguration as the prophet of life and the new covenant; Moses was representative of the old covenant. The Armenian Church (like all the Eastern churches) holds Elijah in the highest esteem. Most importantly, Elijah did not experience death, but was taken to heaven, like the Holy Mother of God. He is mentioned in the Armenian hymn Ee Verin, sung during the Requiem Service.
“Receive us in Jerusalem above, in the dwellings of the angels, in Eden, the paradise where Enoch and Elijah live worthily resplendent in dove-like purity and in old age. O merciful Lord, have mercy upon the souls of ours who have fallen asleep.”
(From the Armenian hymn Ee Verin Yerousaghem (Receive us in Jerusalem above), sung during the Requiem Service.)

This Monday and Tuesday, June 16 and 17, the Armenian Church commemorates the virgin saints Hripsime and Gayane and their companions. Thirty-three nuns, led by Gayane, left Rome and sought refuge in Armenia hoping to escape the Roman Emperor who desired one of the nuns, the beautiful Hripsime. In Armenia, King Dertad became captivated by Hripsime’s beauty and sought to wed her. She refused. Enraged, the king had Hripsime (and the other nuns) imprisoned and tortured to death.
When Gregory was released from his imprisonment in the deep pit (Khor Virab) he built chapels over the relics of the nuns, which Catholicos Sahag Bartev later renovated. During the 7th century, churches were built over both sites. The church dedicated to Saint Hripsime, built by Catholicos Gomidas, is considered to be an architectural masterpiece and influenced the future course of Armenian architecture. Catholicos Gomidas also wrote a sharagan (hymn) in their memory—the well-known Antsink Nviryalk (Dedicated Beings).
The two churches, as well as a third (Shoghakat) are in the city of Etchmiadzin (Vagharshapat), not far from the complex of buildings that comprise the Holy Mother See of Etchmiadzin, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Birth of Tigran Petrosian
(June 17, 1929)
Armenia was not an independent state in the 1960s, when Tigran the Great was the king of the world. Tigran Petrosian put Armenia and Armenians on the world map of chess. His almost impenetrable defensive playing style earned him the nickname “Iron Tigran” by Soviet grandmaster Lev Polugaievsky.
Petrosian was born in Tiflis on June 17, 1929. He learned to play chess at the age of 8, though his father, who was illiterate, encouraged him to continue studying. He was orphaned during World War II and was forced to sweep streets to earn a living.
He began training at the Tiflis Pioneers’ Palace in 1941, and became a candidate Master at the age of 17 (1946). He then moved to Yerevan and won the Armenian chess championship. He earned the title of Master during the USSR junior chess championship of 1947.
After moving to Moscow in 1949, Petrosian's career as a chess player advanced rapidly. In 1951 and 1952 he earned the titles of International Master and Grandmaster. In the tournament of candidates for world championship of 1953, he arrived in fifth position. After the 1956 candidates’ tournament, he made a turnaround in his production. He went on to win the 1959 and 1961 USSR championships, and after winning the candidates’ tournament of 1962 in Curacao, he earned the right to challenge Mikhail Botvinnik, another Soviet player, for the title of world chess champion. Petrosian won the match in 1963 with a final score of 12.5 to 9.5.
Upon becoming world champion, Petrosian became editor-in-chief of the chess monthly Shakhmatnaya Moskva (1963-1966) and campaigned for the publication of a chess newspaper for the entire Soviet Union. This newspaper became known as 64. He would become its founding editor from 1968-1977. He earned a Ph.D. in Philosophical Science at Yerevan State University in 1968, with his dissertation entitled “Chess Logics: Some Problems of Logic of Chess Thought.”
After successfully defending his crown in 1966 against Boris Spassky, Petrosian, who had won the Soviet championship in 1969, was challenged again by the same player in the same year. This time, Spassky won the match by 12.5-10.5.
The Armenian player continued his career and participated four more times in the candidates’ tournament (1971, 1974, 1977, and 1980). He won again the Soviet championship in 1975. He participated as a representative of the USSR in ten Chess Olympiads from 1958-1978, where he obtained the third all-best performance of all times (79.5 per cent, with only one defeat on 129 games) and won six individual gold medals.
Petrosian photographed during a match with rival Bobby Fischer in Belgrad, Yugoslavia, 1970.
In his 1973 book on grandmasters of chess, New York Times journalist Harold C. Schonberg said that “playing him was like trying to put handcuffs on an eel. There was nothing to grip.” Boris Spassky, Petrosian’s successor, described his style of play: “Petrosian reminds me of a hedgehog. Just when you think you have caught him, he puts out his quills."
Petrosian passed away of stomach cancer in Moscow on August 13, 1984. He was buried in the cemetery of Vagankovo, where world chess champion Garry Kasparov unveiled a memorial on his grave in 1987, depicting the laurel wreath of a world champion and an image contained within a crown of the sun shining above the twin peaks of Mount Ararat.  In the district of Davtashen, in Yerevan, a monument honoring the world-famous player was opened in 2006 on the street that carries his name.
Tigran Petrosian contributed enormously to popularize chess in Armenia. The country became a great power in the chess world after independence. Grandmaster Tigran L. Petrosian, born a month after his death, was named after him.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are 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
June 15—St. Gregory Church, annual Father’s Day Picnic, 12 noon to 5 pm on the church grounds at 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Enjoy many favorite Armenian dinners including shish kebab and rice pilaf. Baked goods available for purchase. Raffle, Armenian music and dancing, and activities for children. Admission and parking are free. For information, 413-543-4763.
June 16-17—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Sunday School Teens Seminar at Colombiere Conference and Retreat Center, Clarkston, Michigan.
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: 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 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.
Web pages of the parishes can be accessed through the Prelacy’s web site.
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