March 12, 2015

The national observance in the United States includes special events that will take place over a three-day period (May 7, 8, 9) in Washington, DC, that includes an ecumenical prayer service, a Pontifical Divine Liturgy, a memorial concert, and an awards banquet honoring those who helped the survivors. The Catholicoi, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, will be present to preside over the events. Armenians from all over the United States are expected to participate in solidarity and unity.

Events in Washington, DC

Thursday, May 7, 2015—Ecumenical Service, 7 pm
Ecumenical Service will take place at the National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Presided by His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia. President of Armenia, Serge Sarkisian, will attend as will many dignitaries and diplomats. Performances by soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian and Hover Chamber Choir. Very limited seating and ID is needed. Tickets (non-transferable and color-coded for seating blocks) are free but required for entry. Contact your local parish and register your name for tickets.

Friday, May 8, 2015—Concert of Armenian Music at 8 pm
“A Journey through 100 Years, “ a concert of Armenian music at the Music Center at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike North, Bethesda, Maryland. Artists participating include sopranos Hasmik Papian and Isabel Bayrakdarian, violinists Ida Kavafian and Levon Chilingirian, cellist Alexander Chaushian, clarinetist Narek Arutyunian, Hover Chamber Choir, Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Edward Topchian. For tickets ($40 to $125) go to

Saturday, May 9, 2015—Divine Liturgy at 10 am
Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington, DC, on the campus of Catholic University, at 10 am. His Holiness Karekin II will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and His Holiness Aram I will deliver the sermon.  Armenian choirs from across the country will participate under the direction of Maestro Khoren Mekanejian.

Saturday, May 9, 2015—Reception and Banquet, 6 pm
Reception and Banquet at the Marriott Marquis Hotel at 6 pm. Institutions and individuals who helped Armenians will be honored, with remembrance of all those experiencing genocide and human rights abuses. Mark Geragos, emcee; keynote speakers to be announced; Zulal, a cappella choir, will perform. Tickets are $120 per person. Checks should be payable to Armenian Commemoration Centennial, and mailed to NCAGC, 4125 Fessenden Street, NW, Washington, DC 20016.


Learn more about the national observance in Washington at


Divine Liturgy, Friday, April 24, 10 am
Saint Vartan’s Cathedral
630 Second Avenue, New York City
Saint Illuminator’s Cathedral
221 East 27th Street, New York City

Friday, April 24—March to Demand Justice, 12 noon
Immediately after the Divine Liturgy there will be a march from St. Vartan and St. Illuminator Cathedrals to the Turkish Embassy organized by the ARF-ADL.

Sunday, April 26—Divine Liturgy, 10 am
Saint Vartan’s Cathedral
The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Armenian Church of America; the sermon will be delivered by His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America. Please note: Divine Liturgy will not be celebrated in local parishes of the Eastern Diocese and Eastern Prelacy on Sunday, April 26.

Sunday, April 26, 2015—Gathering at Times Square
Immediately after the Liturgy, the faithful will walk in a procession from Second Avenue and 34th Street to Times Square to participate in a rally/gathering at the crossroads of the world. Buses are expected from throughout the East Coast and Midwest making this the largest gathering ever of Armenian Americans.


The Knights of Vartan and the Eastern Centennial Committee have issued a call for volunteers to assist the elderly, direct procession participants, maintain security, and to keep order and flow of traffic of the participants at the gathering at Times Square on Sunday, April 26. Volunteers are needed for the procession from St. Vartan Cathedral to Times Square, 9am to 2pm and at Times Square, 10am to 5pm. Volunteers will be required to attend a pre-event orientation on Sunday, April 19, 1 pm at St. Vartan Cathedral (V-Hall). Contact: Tigran Sahakyan, 212-444-8003, or Ari Minnetyan, 516-521-7347,


“Responsibility 2015,” an international conference for the Armenian Genocide’s centennial will take place this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 13, 14, and 15, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, New York City. The conference featuring prominent historians, policymakers, authors, and artists is organized by the ARF Eastern US Centennial Committee, under the auspices of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of America, Eastern Region. 

For information:
Jeanette Nazarian

It was with heartbreaking sorrow that we received the news of the passing of Jeanette Sophia Nazarian, who died on Saturday, March 7. Jeanette was a faithful member of the St. Gregory the Illuminator parish in Philadelphia where she served in a number of capacities including director of the Sunday School for which she had a deep and special passion.

Funeral services will take place this Saturday, March 14, at St. Gregory Church, officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. Viewing will take place from 9 am to 11 am. Funeral services will follow at 11 am.

Jeanette Sophia Nazarian was born on June 1, 1956, to the late Joomshoot Nazarian and Victoria Azadouhi Antabian Nazarian, who survives her. Jeanette received a BA in German from Saint Joseph University and a BS from Thomas Jefferson University in Occupational Therapy. She loved languages and in addition to English she spoke Armenian, German, and Russian.

Jeanette’s passion in life was her faith and the Armenian Church and making a difference in the lives of her students in the Sunday School. In addition to her dedication to the Sunday School, Jeanette has served as editor and photographer of The Illuminator, as a delegate to the National Representative Assembly, as a member of the Board of Trustees, the choir, the Knar Choral Group, and an instructor and advisor at the Prelacy’s St. Gregory of Datev Summer Institute. She was a frequent contributor to the Prelacy’s e-newsletter Crossroads with news about her Philadelphia parish.

Jeanette is survived by her mother Victoria and her sister Anita. We pray the Almighty will embrace His faithful servant in heavenly peace and grant the grace of His comfort to her family and all those who loved and admired her. Asdvatz Hokeen Lousavoreh.

St. Gregory of Narek, the tenth century Armenian monk, priest, mystic, composer, theologian, and poet was declared the 36th Doctor of the Church by Pope Francis on February 21. The Roman Catholic Church confers this honor on saints whose lives and writings have provided significant contributions to the teachings of the faith. Thus, Gregory joins 35 other Doctors that include notable names like Augustine, John Chrysostom, and Thomas Aquinas.

Gregory grew up in a family of church leaders. His father was a bishop and theologian and his uncle was abbot of the famed Narek Monastery on the shores of Lake Van. Gregory spent most of his life as a monk, priest, and teacher at Narek. His first notable work was a commentary on the Song of Songs. He also wrote many letters, odes, songs, poems, and Armenian liturgical chants. His masterwork was his last, the “Book of Lamentations,” known simply as the “Narek.” It is a collection of 95 deeply personal prayers composed in classical Armenian in 1003, with one major goal: “Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart.” The Narek has been the source of consolation and guidance for generations in times of suffering.

The Narek was published in 2001 in a bilingual edition with English translation by Tom Samuelian. The book is now out-of-print; however, the Prelacy Bookstore has a few copies left from its original stock. The price is $35.00 plus shipping & handling. Contact the Bookstore, ( or 212-689-7810.

Gregory of Narek will be remembered on the Roman Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar on February 27 each year. In the Armenian Church, he is remembered on several occasions during the year.

Bible readings for Sunday, March 15, Fifth Sunday of Lent, Sunday of the Judge are: Isaiah 65:8-25; Philippians 3:1-4:9; Luke 17:20-18:14.

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)

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

We are now more than half-way through Great Lent (yesterday was Michink, the median day of Lent). This Sunday, March 15, is the Sunday of the Judge (Datavori Kiraki). The Gospel reading for this day is the parable told by Jesus about a widow and a judge (see reading above). The judge in the parable is seen as hard-hearted and without principles, fear of God, or compassion for people. A widow in the same town has been ill-treated and she has come to the judge for justice. Although her cause is just, the judge does not pay attention to her case. However, she is persistent and she makes the same appeal again and again until at last the judge decides to see she receives justice. He does this not because he cares about justice, but because he wants to be rid of the widow.

The message of this parable is that we must persist in our pursuit of righteousness and justice with the confidence that perseverance (especially in prayer) will be rewarded.


This Saturday, March 14, we  remember the Forty Martyrs of Sebastia. Although the backgrounds and identities of the forty young soldiers are not known, it is believed they came from Lesser Armenia and served in the Roman army. According to St. Basil of Caesarea, forty Christian soldiers refused to worship the Roman emperor while stationed in Sebastia in Armenia in 320. They remained faithful to their Christian faith. The soldiers were tried and condemned to death by stoning. Miraculously, when the sentence was being carried out, the stones would not reach the condemned soldiers, but would instead come back striking those throwing the stones. The soldiers were then thrown into a frozen lake and forced to stay there, unless they renounced their faith. Warm baths were prepared for anyone who would recant. Of the forty, only one gave up. When he did, another soldier, moved by the example of the suffering Christians, declared himself a Christian and took the apostate’s place. All forty died.

Some of our great Church Fathers like Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Ephraim the Assyrian, and Sisian of Sebastia, wrote panegyrics about the forty martyrs, who are remembered each year during Lent on the Saturday following the median day of Lent. The Armenians have built and named churches in memory of the Forty Martyrs in various parts of the world.


The fourth of the Prelacy’s six-part Lenten Program took place last night at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City, with church service and reflections and meal fellowship, presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan.

This year, instead of faith-based topics, the Lenten reflections are focusing on diverse aspects of the Armenian Genocide, in commemoration of the centennial anniversary. The reflections are presented by young adults, three every Wednesday. Last night’s presentations were offered by Lara Milian Bardizbanian, Simon Bardizbanian, Esq., and Hooshere Bezdikian Kaligian.

Next Wednesday, March 18, reflections will be presented by Andrew Bagdasarian, Dalita Getzoyan, Anahid Ugurlayan, Esq.

The Lenten Program is sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Prelacy’s Ladies Guild (PLG), and the Ladies’ Guild of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral.
The presenters last night were Lara Milian Bardizbanian, Simon Bardizbanian, Esq., Hooshere Bezdikian Kaligian.
Reflections offered in prior weeks, can be seen here.


To all lovers of Armenian music: The 32nd Musical Armenia concert is just a week away. If you have not secured your tickets we suggest that you do so right away. Tickets are $25 and can be secured from the Carnegie Box Office, 212-247-7800 or from the Prelacy, 212-689-7810 (

The annual Musical Armenia concert series presented by the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Prelacy Ladies Guild, will take place Friday, March 20, 2015 at 8 p.m. in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The high standards of professionalism as represented by the roster of artists featured during the past years will continue with this year’s thirty-second concert of the series. A duo of exceptionally talented musicians, Patil Harboyan, pianist, and Heather Tuach, cellist, in a program dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, will present the works of Armenian composers, including Atamian, Babajanian, Khatchaturian, Saradjian, Stepanian, and Talalyan. A considerable part of the program will be devoted to the work of the great Armenian composer and musicologist Komitas Vardapet, who was among the intellectuals and leaders arrested on April 24, 1915, at the onslaught of the Armenian Genocide. Continue reading the entire press release here.

For an online interview with Patil Harboyan go to

Fulfilling one of the missions of the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) of providing educational resources and guidance to Armenian schools, ANEC recently prepared curriculum materials on the Armenian Genocide for use of the schools under its jurisdiction. Structured as a Power Point presentation enriched with maps and illustrations, it includes an introduction about the definition of genocide and the reasons why the Medz Yeghern is a genocide, a historical background (the beginnings of the Armenian Question and the massacres of 1894-1896 and 1909), and the process of annihilation and its aftermath up to the present day. The materials have been sent to the schools for distribution to all teachers.


Remembrance Day for the Armenian Relief Society was observed in all Prelacy parishes on Sunday, March 1. Requiem service was observed for all deceased members and benefactors of the ARS.

Remembered specifically was the founder of the ARS, Agnouni (Khatchadour Maloomian), on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death, as well as benefactors George and Beatrice Lazarian, Levon and Sophia Hagopian, Karekin and Virginia Siroonian, Samuel and Agnes Yeremian, Araxie Proodian, Haiganoush Garabedian, Doris Norian Lentzi, Alice Norian, Arpkes Kelerchian, Hagop Jacques Mouradian , Alice Haigazian  Berman, Genevieve Yekeshian, Yervant and Helen Terzian, Albert and Takouhi Bagian, Giragos Vaporsiyan, Kourken Assaturian, and Margaret Assaturian.

“This is a day for us to honor those who served the Armenian people for many decades in the field of education and humanitarian and social welfare. It is also an opportunity for us to express appreciation of the Armenian Relief Society’s noble service for more than 100 years,” said the Prelate, Archbishop Oshagan.
Archbishop Oshagan, Bishop Anoushavan, Rev. Fr. Mesrob, and Talin Daghlian, chairlady of the ARS Eastern Region,  with members of the New York Mayr Chapter of the ARS, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York.
Requiem Service for ARS members and benefactors at Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey.
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: Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief

Thank you for your help
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Birth of Alan Hovhaness (March 8, 1911)

Armenian American composer Alan Hovhaness is said to be one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century.

He was born Alan Vaness Chakmakjian in Somerville (Massachusetts), on March 8, 1911. His father, Haroutioun Chakmakjian (1878-1973), was a professor of chemistry at Tufts College and author of a popular English-Armenian dictionary, as well as onetime editor of Hairenik. His mother, Madeleine Scott, was of Scottish ancestry, and did not especially approve that he learned about Armenian culture from his father. Until her death in 1931, the composer would sign his earliest music as Alan Scott Vaness.

Alan Hovhaness was a precocious composer who already penned operas by age 14. After initial studies at Tufts College, he studied composition at the New England Conservatory of Music, in Boston. In the 1930s, he composed mostly chamber music in Western modes of expression.

He would shift to a fusion of Western and Eastern music in the 1940s, starting with his job as organist at St. James Armenian Church in Watertown, where he was exposed to the Armenian liturgy and the works of Komitas Vartabed. “It was through Komitas that I got the idea of saying as much as possible with the fewest possible notes,” he would write later. He got rid of most of his earliest music, and started anew to seek out his Armenian heritage. His “Armenian period” lasted from 1943 to 1951, and was benefited from the performances of important works and rave reviews in the mainstream press. The Friends of Armenian Music, a committee headed by pianist Maro Ajemian and her sister, violinist Anahid Ajemian, were instrumental in supporting him in various capacities. Maro Ajemian performed and recorded many of his works. 
Alan Hovhaness conducts the Ani Symphony at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on April 21, 1989, in one of several events sponsored by the Prelacy on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary of the Great Cathedral of Ani.
After a three-year stint at the Boston Music Conservatory (1948-1951), while he had married for the third time, Hovhaness gradually acquired considerable reputation. He received academic honors and a steady flow of commissions. He embarked on a more Western phase of writing and devoted himself to full-time composing. His Symphony No. 2 (Mysterious Mountain ) that premiered in 1955, brought him national recognition. MGM Records released 8 long-plays of all-Hovhaness records from 1955-1957. “Mysterious Mountain” was recorded in 1958 by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and became his most famous recording and most-performed orchestral work. To this day it is considered to be one of the best recordings ever made.

After a Fulbright research scholarship in India (1959-1960), Alan Hovhaness also visited and studied in Japan and Korea. He also visited the former Soviet Union in 1965, including Soviet Armenia. He shared his time between New York and Switzerland in the mid-1960s, while steadily maintaining his prolific output. He settled in Seattle, Washington, in the early 1970s. At this time, his music veered towards a more Western neo-romantic expression. In 1977 he married his sixth wife, Japanese soprano Hinako Fujihara. In the same year, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In 1991 the American Composers Society and the Eastern Prelacy, by initiative of Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, celebrated the 80th birthday of Alan Hovhaness at Carnegie Hall. He directed his own works, including the premiere of his symphony No. 65 “Artsakh,” dedicated to the heroic fighters for the liberation of Karabagh and commissioned by the Prelacy.

The composer continued to be active until his 85th birthday. In 1996 his health suffered a marked decline. He passed away on June 21, 2000 at the age of 89. His official catalogue includes 67 symphonies and 434 works.
Episode 28: Interview with Mrs. Lala Demirdjian-Attarian, Executive Director of ARS, Inc.


Armenian Leaders Establish Rights Award to Commemorate Centenary of Genocide
By Rick Gladstone, New York Times, March 10. Click here.

Study Backs 5th-Century Historian’s Date for Founding of Armenia
By Nicholas Wade, New York Times, March 11. Click here.

Why does Turkey continue to deny Armenian genocide?
By Chris Bohjalian, Boston Globe, March 9. Click here.

Remembering a forgotten genocide.
By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Catholic Philly, March 5. Click here.
March 5-27—Solo Exhibition of art by Seeroon Yeretzian, N.A.W.A. Gallery, 80 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1405, New York City, Tuesday to Friday, 10 am to 5 pm. Opening reception on March 5, 5 pm to 8 pm. For information: 212-675-1616.

March 13-15—“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. for information.

March 15—Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Annual Membership Meeting following the Divine Liturgy. For information: 201-943-2950.

March 13-15—International conference, “Responsibility 2015” marking the Armenian Genocide’s centennial, at Marriott Marquis Hotel, New York City. Organized by the ARF Eastern United States Centennial Committee, under the auspices of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of America, Eastern Region. For information visit the web site (

March 20—Musical Armenia, presented by Eastern Prelacy and Prelacy Ladies Guild, Weill Recital Hall, 8 pm, Carnegie Hall, New York City. Featured artists Patil Harboyan, piano and Heather Tuach, cello, will present a program dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide that will include works of Armenian composers Atamian, Babajanian, Gomidas, Khatchaturian, Saradjian, Stepanian, and Talalyan. Tickets are $25 and will be on sale after December 20th at the box office and the Prelacy, 212-689-7810.

March 21—“Renewal and Remembrance,” Centennial Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide presented by Hamazkayin of Philadelphia, at Founders Hall, 7:30 pm, celebrating three generations of the Armenian singer in the Diaspora, featuring Maroush Paneyan-Nigon (soprano), Barig Naltantian (soprano), Vartan Gabrielian (baritone), and Gary Gress (piano) performing works by European, American and Armenian composers. Tickets: $35. Anny Aghajanian 215-699-9296; Elizabeth Dramgotchian 215-920-6054; Kari Ghezarian 484-919-0203.

March 28—Eastern Prelacy’s Mid Atlantic Regional Conference for pastors, trustees, and delegates, hosted by Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey, 10 am to 4 pm.

April 21—“Commemorating the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide: A Reading in Remembrance,” Holy Cross Church, 580 West 187th Street, New York City, 7 pm. For information: Lola Koundakjian,

April 23—Canonization of the Armenian Martyrs of 1915 in Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenia.

April 25—Connecticut Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day at the Connecticut State Capitol. Keynote speaker: Noted author Chris Bohjalian.

April 26—Centennial commemoration of Genocide. Joint united Divine Liturgy in New York City (site to be announced), presided by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. To be followed by Times Square gathering “100 Years to Remember.”

April 27—“Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide,” by Drew University Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study in Madison, New Jersey at 7 pm. Testimony of Andranik Vartanian (1900-2007), presented by his daughter Susan Vartanian Barba; “Undoing Denial: The Armenian Genocide and Art” presented by Neery E. Melkonian; Concert by the Armenian folk group, Zulal, an a cappella trio will present Armenian village folk melodies. Free and open to the public. RSVP encouraged: (973) 408-3600 or

May 7, 8, 9—National Armenian Genocide Centennial Commemoration in Washington, DC, organized under the patronage of the Diocese and the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Presided by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia. May 7, Ecumenical Service at the National Cathedral, 7 pm; May 8, A Journey Through Armenian Music at the Music Center at Strathmore, 7:30 pm; May 8 & 9, Exhibits, Films, and Events at various venues; May 9, Divine Liturgy at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 10 am; May 9, A Time to Give Thanks, banquet, 6 pm, Marriott Marquis.

May 10 to June 4—Pontifical Visit of His Holiness Aram I to the Eastern Prelacy.

June 3-6—National Representative Assembly hosted by St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts.

June 18—Annual Cigar Night and Dinner, Men’s Club of St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, North Andover, Massachusetts. Drawing of Super Raffle of 2015 Mercedes Benz-CLA 250 will take place. Raffle tickets can be purchased online (

July 18—Blessing of the Holy Muron (Oil) by His Holiness Aram I, at the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon. For details click here.

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

November 15—90th Anniversary Banquet, St. Stephen’s Church, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain, Connecticut. Watch for details.
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:
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