November 6, 2014

Archbishop Oshagan and Bishop Anoushavan, Prelate and Vicar, respectively, of the Eastern Prelacy will travel to Etchmiadzin, Armenia, next week where they will join other bishops of the Armenian Church from all over the world for a three-day synod that will begin on Tuesday, November 4. His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, will preside.

The bishops met last year in September for the first time in nearly six centuries, and agreed to meet again in the autumn of 2014. The bishops will continue their examination of the collective canonization of the victims of the Armenian Genocide and the holy sacrament of Baptism and Chrismation. Serving as co-chairs are Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan; Archbishop Nareg Alemezian and Archbishop Arshak Kachatryan serve as secretaries.


The National Centennial Committee has announced events that will take place from May 7-9, 2015, in Washington, DC. His Holiness Karekin I and His Holiness Aram I will preside over the events that are organized under the patronage of the Diocese and the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Archbishop Oshagan will travel to the Washington, DC area this weekend where on Sunday he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at Soorp Khatch Church in Bethesda, Maryland. Following the Liturgy, His Eminence will preside over the celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the parish.


Last Sunday, Archbishop Oshagan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at All Saints Church in Glenview, Illinois, on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the parish. Following the services His Eminence presided over the anniversary banquet that took place in the parish’s Shahnasarian Hall.
Archbishop Oshagan with deacons and altar servers during the Divine Liturgy at All Saints Armenian Apostolic Church, Glenview.
Bishop Anoushavan ordains Stephen Sherokey to the diaconate.

Bishop Anoushavan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, of Springfield & Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, last Sunday. During the service His Grace ordained Stephen Michael Sherokey to the diaconate and consecrated an icon of Saint Sarkis the Warrior. The Vicar presided at the banquet that followed the liturgical services.

The newly ordained deacon, Stephen Sherokey, graduated from the University of Balamand’s American Program in 2004 with a Master of Arts in Applied Orthodox Theology. In 2010 he received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. One of his major interests and studies has been Armenian Orthodoxy. Deacon Stephen will serve two Prelacy parishes, Holy Cross Church in Troy, New York, and St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Vicar with the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Bedros Shetilian, altar servers, choir, and members of the community.

St. Illuminator Cathedral’s annual Book Fair and Lecture will take place this Sunday, November 9, following the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral’s John Pashalian Hall, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. A large selection of Armenian books, CDs and gift items will be available.

Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar of the Prelacy, will present a lecture on “The Holy Translators and the Survival of St. Ephrem’s Prayerbook.”


Last Friday evening, Archbishop Oshagan and many parishioners and friends of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral gathered in John Pashalian Hall for a special dinner and program featuring Ms. Margarita Hakobyan, Oxfam Armenia’s Country Director who spoke about the first joint project in the Lchkadzor sister community in the Tavush region of Armenia.

The dinner also honored H.E. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, the recently appointed Permanent Representative to the United Nations of the Republic of Armenia, on the occasion of his first visit to the Cathedral. Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of the Cathedral, welcomed the attendees and thanked all of the donors to the sister community project. In her presentation, that also included a film, Ms. Hakobyan introduced the process of launching a green-house installation in Lchkadzor, and provided details on how each dollar of the donations raised by St. Illuminator’s was spent. Ms. Hagobyan’s visit is the second to New York City to show how much progress has been made in just one year.

In his comments, Mr. Mnatsakanyan described the operations of Armenia’s Mission to the United Nations, and his vision of Armenia-Diaspora cooperation. He praised Oxfam for its exceptional work in Armenia. He thanked the Cathedral for its partnership with Oxfam on this important initiative.

Archbishop Oshagan expressed his appreciation to Ms. Hakobyan for Oxfam’s professional performance. He noted that although the concept of sister communities is not new for the Diaspora, the way it is done through partnership with an internationally known and respected organization like Oxfam is new and innovative. The Prelate noted that the funds raised by the Cathedral are matched by Oxfam who assures accountability, transparency, and visibility. The Prelate expressed the hope that other parishes in the Eastern Prelacy will follow the example of the Cathedral.

The event included a performance by the Cathedral’s “Huyser” musical ensemble that delighted the audience. Contributions for the Cathedral’s Lchkadzor sister community project can be sent to the Cathedral, 221 E. 27th Street, New York, NY 10016. Checks should be payable to St. Illuminator’s Cathedral with “Sister Community” noted in the memo area.
Margarita Hakobyan, Director of Oxfam Armenia, explains the sister community project for green-house installations.
A green-house installation in Lchkadzor.

Bible readings for Sunday, November 9, Ninth Sunday of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, are: Isaiah 24:1-13; Ephesians 5:15-33; Luke 8:49-56.

While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.” When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened. (Luke 8:49-56)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
A modern depiction of Archangel Michael.

This Saturday, November 8, the Armenian Church commemorates the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. The word “angel” (hreshdag) means messenger. Archangel is a title given to an angel of high rank in the celestial hierarchy.

Michael (Hebrew meaning “Who is like God”) is the prince of all angels and the leader of the celestial armies. He is considered to be the protector of Christians in general and soldiers in particular, and the guardian of the orthodox faith and defender against heresies.

Gabriel (Hebrew meaning “Strength of God”) is one of God’s chief messengers. He was God’s messenger to Daniel to explain his vision (Dan. 8:16-26) and prophecy (Dan. 9:21-27). He foretold the birth of John the Baptist and was the messenger announcing the forthcoming birth of Christ (Luke 1:11-21).

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)

You who see the unseen One who reveal to mankind the depths of God’s mysteries, you came down with the Only-Begotten to serve his economy at his birth you were announcers to the Shepherds and to the myrrh-bearing women; you were proclaimers of the Good News of the life of the risen one; we beseech you, be our intercessor before the Lord for the purification of our sins.

Guardians of the world, the Lord’s guardians of those who fear God, friends of the human race, mediators between death and resurrection, great Michael and Gabriel who stand before the all-Holy Trinity; we beseech you, be our intercessor before the Lord for the purification of our sins.
(Canon to the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel and all the Heavenly Powers, from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church).

His Holiness Catholicos Aram spent his last weekend in Iran meeting and praying with members of the Iranian Armenian community. He also met with Ali Larinjani, chairman of the Parliament of Iran, and Dr. Abuzar Ibrahimi, director of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization.

His Holiness presided over the Liturgy at St. Sarkis Church, met with the Sts. Vartanantz parish in the Sardarabad area for canonical prayers, and visited the Armenian schools in Tehran, cultural centers, and the offices of ALIK, the Armenian daily newspaper, where he met with the editorial board, representatives of the Armenian Cause committee, and members of the Central Committee of the ARF.

On Sunday October 26, His Holiness presided over the Holy Liturgy at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Tehran. Bishop Sebouh Sarkissian, Prelate of Tehran, introduced the activities of the community to His Holiness, who praised the community and emphasized that faith and good works must go together. Later in the afternoon the Catholicos met with the youth at the Prelacy of Tehran. After the young people spoke about their various projects, His Holiness expressed his confidence in the Armenian youth and in their ability to face difficult challenges. He urged them to remain attached to Armenian spiritual and cultural values and to participate in the life of the community. In the evening the Catholicos was the guest of honor at a farewell dinner hosted by the Prelacy Council of Tehran. Speaking on behalf of the Armenian community in Iran, Eduard Papakhanian, President of the Council, said that His Holiness’ visit had invigorated the community and strengthened their ties with the Holy See of Cilicia. In his concluding message, the Catholicos said, “Antelias belongs to the people, and the aim of the Catholicosate is to respond to the aspirations and needs of Armenians.”


There are two items on the internet today concerning the Armenian Church and Genocide Memorial at Deir Zor that was recently destroyed.

CNN includes the Genocide Memorial in its list of “The greatest buildings you’ll never see: 19 priceless monuments lost in conflict.” You can see it here.

The World Council of Churches posted on its web site a “Reflection on the destruction of the Armenian Church in Deir Zor.” Read it here.
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)
Inauguration of the National Library of Armenia (November 7, 1922)

The biggest repository of Armenian literature in the world is the National Library of Armenia, founded in 1921, but officially inaugurated on November 7, 1922.

The beginning of its history is linked to the foundation of the library of the Boys Gymnasium of Yerevan, in 1832. (“Gymnasium” was the name of Russian schools that emphasized strong academic learning, similar to U.S. preparatory high schools.) During the first independence of Armenia, this library, with a collection of 18,000 volumes, became the main state library after a decree was passed by the Council of Ministers of the Republic. The first director of the library was Stepan Kanayan, between 1919 and 1921. His efforts were instrumental to collect and buy the libraries of various Armenian organizations and schools in Tiflis, Baku, Akhaltskha, and Kars, and transfer them to Yerevan.

Various private and public collections were assembled and became the basis for what was known, during the Soviet period, as the Yerevan Public Library. Alexander Miasnikian, chairman of the Soviet of Popular Commissars (Council of Ministers) from 1921-1925, was instrumental in its foundation and initial growth. After his death in an airplane accident in 1925, the library was named after him and maintained that name until 1990 when it became the National Library of Armenia. Since 1999, July 4 is celebrated as day of the National Library of Armenia.

The library has four buildings. The oldest is the main building designed by architect Alexander Tamanian (1868-1936), who designed the master plan of Yerevan, and finished in 1939. 
The number of daily visitors to the library is about 900. An annual average of 1.5 million pieces is delivered to library users. The library collection encompassed more than 6.3 million units as of January 1, 2014, including books, journals, newspapers, maps, posters, dissertations, musical notes, postcards, stamps, calendars, ex libris, banknotes, audiovisual and electronic supports (CDs, DVDs), etcetera. The library has the first printed book in Armenian, Urbatagirk (Venice, 1512); the first newspaper in Armenian, Azdarar (Madras, 1794); and the first map printed in Armenian, Համատարած աշխարհացոյց (Worldwide Map; Amsterdam, 1695). Its current director is Tigran Zargaryan.

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

The Prelacy Bookstore has an extensive collection of books (in Armenian and English) about the Genocide including histories, historical novels, memoirs, eye witness testimonies, essays, and poetry. From now through next April we will feature one or two books each week from the Bookstore’s collection.
My Father’s Journal: A Soliloquy
By Toros Ari Gochigian
Translated by Aris Sevag

Although technically this is not the story of a survivor, since its author had left his native village of Odour in Western Armenia in 1913 and was living in the United States when the Armenian Genocide began. However, he suffered the loss of his wife, two children, and many members of his family. The book reflects the vicissitudes he experienced through an eclectic mix of autobiography, letters from home, soliloquies, dreams, reminiscences, poems, and lamentations.

$15.00 plus shipping & handling
Վերապրողի մը ոդիսականը 
Սուրէն Ա. Փափազեան 
Երեւան, Ամարաս, 2000

«Սուրէն Փափազեանի յուշապատումը կորուստների, անփոխարինելի, թանկ կորուստների մասին է, բայց ողբ չէ, ահազանգ է, պատգամ ու պատուիրան։ Միայն չասէք, թէ հարիւրամեայ ծերունին ինչո՞ւ է դա անում, ո՞ւմ համար է անում։ Նա հայի աւանդական իմաստնութեամբ ու տարիների փորձառութեամբ հաւատում, իր հաւատը փոխարինում է մեզ» (Գրիգոր Ջանիկեանի յառաջաբանէն)։

Գին՝ 13 տոլար (թղթակազմ)

To order these books or for information contact the Armenian Prelacy Bookstore by email ( or by phone (212-689-7810).
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Money, Money, Money...

Before the European Union officially introduced the euro as currency in 1999 and Greece adopted it in 2001-2002, it had its own currency, called drachma, with a very long history. It had been used by many Greek city-states between the second and the first millennium B.C., including the Classical period; then it was used in the Hellenistic period and finally under Roman domination. Greece obtained its independence in 1830 from the Ottoman Empire, and two years later, the drachma was restored as the official currency.

The drachma was also a weight unit, first equivalent to 66.5 grains, and then approximately to one gram. It is likely that this quantity was first used as monetary unit before metals were adopted; the word δραχμή (drakhmḗ) was derived from δράσσομαι (drássomai, “to grasp, seize”) and originally may have meant “fistful.”

The Greek word was loaned by the Iranian languages, and thus we have words like Persian diram, Pahlavi dram (“a small weight; money”) , and Kurdish diraw (“money”). On its way, it lost the middle sound kh (an aspirated h) and the final e. And yes, we also have Armenian դրամ (Classical/Eastern Armenian dram; Western Armenian tram), which most probably came from Middle Persian or, otherwise, had a similar bumpy road of lost sounds from Greek drakhmḗ. In any case, the word was already mentioned in the Armenian translation of the Bible (before the first half of the fifth century A.D.).

The word dram was already used as a monetary unit during the time of the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia, particularly in the 13th and 14th centuries, and the second republic of Armenia adopted the dram as the name of its own currency in November 1993.

However, you should not be confused in the streets of Yerevan: although Modern Armenian uses the word dram in both Western and Eastern Armenian, for instance for the word tghtatram (թղթադրամ “banknote”), in Eastern Armenian the word pogh (փող) is used in colloquial language with the meaning of “money.” This word, which was also utilized in Cilician times as a monetary unit, comes from Persian pul (“small coin”).

Previous entries in “The Armenian Language Corner” can be read on the Prelacy’s web site (

Tuesday, November 11, is Veteran’s Day, formerly called Armistice Day marking the end of what was then called the Great War, subsequently known as World War I. The Armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed at the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918 at Compiegne, France. Veterans Day in the United States now honors all American veterans, living and dead.

Please pause this Tuesday and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and pray for the safety of all of our service men and women serving around the world.
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: 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 8—ARF Day Celebration, hosted by the New York Armen Garo Gomideh. Dinner followed by patriotic songs by Karnig Sarkissian. Guest speaker, Vicken Hovsepian, Central Committee Western Region, at Armenian Center, 69-23 47th Avenue, Woodside, New York, at 8 pm. For reservations/info: 718-651-4687.

November 9—St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, 1 pm, Armenian Cultural Month, “The Holy Translators and the Survival of St. Ephrem’s Prayerbook,” presented by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian. Book Fair with hundreds of Armenian books, CDEs and gift items at reasonable prices.

November 14—Lecture by Hagop Balian, “Boghos Snabian (1927-2014), Armenian Center, Woodside, New York, 8 pm. Organized by St. Illuminator’s Cathedral and Hamazkayin of New York.

November 14-15—Holy Trinity Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, Annual Fall Fest. Friday, 4 to 8 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. Shish, chicken, losh kebab and kheyma dinners. Home made pastries and special desserts. For information: 508-852-2414.

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

November 20—“Reflections,” CD release concert, music by Karen Hakobyan, at Louis K. Meisel Gallery, 141 Prince Street, New York City; Wine & Refreshments 7 pm to 8 pm; music and wine, 8 pm to 9:30 pm. For information and tickets contact 

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.

November 23—Thanksgiving Luncheon, St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, New York City, John Pashalian Hall, Featuring St. Illuminator’s Huyser Music Ensemble. Admission: $30. Reservations: email ( or phone (212-689-5880).

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

December 6—Lowell Gomideh anniversary celebration, 6 pm, at St. Gregory Church, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts. Dinner, entertainment, program, speaker: David Boyajian, “The Survival of Armenia: Dangers and Opportunities. Admission: $20 adults; $10 students. For information: or 978-373-1654.

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, tasting, and Armenian food pairing will be provided by Taylor Brooke Winery, Woodstock, Connecticut, owned by Linda Varjabedian Auger. For information: 860-229-8322.

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 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 or 212-994-8234.

December 13—St. Gregory Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, “A 2014 Christmas Celebration” at 7pm in the Sanctuary. Usher in the Christmas season with family and friends. Featuring master organist, Ara Eloian, group caroling in Armenian and English. Reception following in Terhanian Hall. Admission is Free. RSVP to church office 215-482-9200.

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. for information.

March 20, 2015—Musical Armenia, presented by Eastern Prelacy and Prelacy Ladies Guild, Weill Recital Hall, 8 pm, Carnegie Hall, New York City.

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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