January 9, 2014
The Prelate’s annual Christmas reception took place on the evening of January 6 filling the Prelacy’s Vahakn and Hasmig Hovnanian reception hall with many well-wishers from the metropolitan New York area who were greeted by the Prelate, Archbishop Oshagan, and the Vicar, Bishop Anoushavan. The traditional Home Blessing service was offered by Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, with the participation of area clergy.
The Armenian tradition of Home Blessing can be done throughout the year, but is especially popular during the holy days of Christmas and Easter. During this ceremony, the officiating clergyman blesses bread, water, and salt, all considered to be essential to life. It is customary to burn incense, echoing the words of the psalmist, “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you.” (Psalm 41)
O Christ our God, guardian and hope of all our faithful, protect and keep in peace your people under the protection of your holy and venerable cross; and especially this family, their home, the bread, the salt, and the water. Save them O Lord from visible and invisible enemies and make them worthy to glorify you with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always, forever and ever. Amen. (Benediction from the Armenian Blessing of Homes service).
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, leads the Home Blessing service at the Prelacy. From left to right, Ambassador Garen Nazarian, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations; Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, pastor of  Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey; Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of Eastern Prelacy; Rev. Fr. Mesrob; Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy; Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC); Mrs. Garen Nazarian; and Deacon Bedros Kalajian.
Two candidates for the priesthood who have been studying in the United States will travel to Lebanon this weekend to complete their studies leading to their ordination as priests. The two candidates are Deacon Diran Der Khosrofian, from St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, and Deacon Harold Nazarian from Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island. Accompanying the two deacons to Lebanon is Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, pastor of Sts. Asdvadzadzin Church, who is chairman of the Prelacy’s Religious Council.
For two years both candidates have been following a special curriculum of study designed by the Prelate and the Religious Council. They will now travel to Lebanon to continue their studies at the Seminary of the Holy See of Cilicia to complete their studies. The two candidates were given farewell receptions recently by their respective parishes.
Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian with Deacon  Diran Der Khosrofian and his family at St. Asdvadzadzin Church in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, where the Ladies Guild hosted a luncheon for their deacon and his family.
Deacon Harold Nazarian cuts a cake during a reception organized by the Board of Trustees of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, expressing best wishes and success to Deacon Harold as he completes the final portion of his studies in the Seminary in Antelias.
Armenian Churches throughout the world celebrated Christmas on Monday, January 6, remaining faithful to the original date marking the birth and baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Antelias, Lebanon, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator. His Holiness’ Christmas message was based on peace, following the teachings of our Lord, the Prince of Peace, through his parables and his blessing of peacemakers.
The parishes of the Eastern Prelacy celebrated the birth and baptism with record attendance of the faithful at Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. Everywhere children played a major role in the celebrations. Unfortunately most of our parishes in the Midwest cancelled services because of the Polar Vortex that brought large amounts of snow and record-breaking and extremely dangerously low temperatures.
St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, New York City
Archbishop Oshagan celebrated the Christmas Divine Liturgy and the Blessing of the Water at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. The Godfather of the Cross was Haig Nadjarian (kneeling to the right of the Archbishop), son of Paul and Rachel Nadjarian.
St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts
On Sunday morning, January 5, right after morning service, the Sunday School presented, in drama form, the readings from the Book of Daniel, where three young men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were thrown into a fiery furnace because they did not worship the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar. They were miraculously saved by Divine Intervention. The inspiring presentation was enjoyed and appreciated by the parishioners.
Sunday School students at St. Asdvadzadzin Church present a drama from the Book of Daniel that is part of the Christmas Eve readings.
Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island
Sunday School students at Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, present a Christmas pageant depicting the birth of Christ.
St. Stephen's Church, New Britain, Connecticut
On Sunday, January 5, 2014, the Sunday School of Saint Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church of New Britain, Connecticut held its Christmas Pageant and luncheon. Mrs. Barbara Bagdassarian, pageant director, presented to the audience a beautiful rendition of the timely Christmas story of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Celebration and enjoyment was had by all.
St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Massachusetts
The traditional blessing of the water service at St. Gregory Church, North Andover. From left, Dn. John  Saryan, Dn. Arek Kalayjian, Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, Godfather Emmanuel Ohannessian, and Dn. Avedis Garavanian.
St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York
Bishop Anoushavan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and the Blessing of Water, on Christmas at St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston. The Vicar’s sermon reflected on the message of “the love of God.” Following the Liturgy the Blessing of Water Service, symbolizing the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan took place with Hovnan Oranjian, altar server, and graduate of the Sunday School, as the Godfather of the Cross.
St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts
Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, pastor of St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, with the Godfather of the Cross, Andre Avedis Monteiro, whose birthday is January 6. He is the son of Ted and Salpi (Badrikian) Monteiro, and the grand-nephew of Archpriest Fr. Zareh Sahagian.
Bible readings for Sunday, January 12, are: Romans 1:1-7; Luke 2:1-7.
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
This Sunday, January 12, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Naming of our Lord Jesus Christ, in accordance with the Hebrew tradition. The commemoration of this event (Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 1:30-32; Luke 2:21) comes seven days after the Feast of the Nativity (the eighth day of the octave of Nativity). This event of the naming and circumcision of our Lord is the basis for the tradition of baptizing children eight days after birth—a tradition that is rarely followed now.
“After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” (Luke 2:21)

This Monday, January 13, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Forerunner (also known as St. John the Baptist). John is an important figure in the New Testament and is mentioned prominentl6y in all four Gospels, which indicates that he had an effective ministry baptizing those who repented their sins. He announced the coming of “on greater” than himself who is “to come baptizing not with water but with the Spirit.” (See Matthew 3:11-12; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:16-17; John 1:26-27). According to the Gospel of Luke, John was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a cousin of Mary. John is considered to be the last of the Old Testament prophets and the precursor of the Messiah. John is one of the two prime intercessors to Jesus Christ, the other being Mary, the mother of our Lord.
“Hasten to our help from on high, Saint John, apostle and prophet and forerunner and baptizer of the Son of God and intercede for us before Christ. You are the priest who offered himself on the cross; beseech him to grant purification from sins to me who composed this hymn and to those who celebrate your memory; Saint John, intercede for us before Christ.”
(Canon for the Nativity of John the Baptist according to the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)

The 2014 color poster of the Liturgical Calendar of the Armenian Apostolic Church is now available at the Prelacy. At a glance, one can see the cycle of feasts and fasts and seasons of the Armenian Church year, which begins on January 6, 2014.
An added feature this year is a list of “Basic Facts” about the Armenian Church’s liturgical year. This 27x36 inch poster belongs in every Sunday school classroom.
To order, please contact the Prelacy at 212-689-7810 or at arec@armenianprelacy.org. The cost of the poster is $5.00 plus shipping and handling.
His Holiness Aram I celebrated the Holy Liturgy and delivered his Christmas message on Christmas at the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Antelias, Lebanon. His Holiness stressed the theme of peace, in keeping with the message of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. The Catholicos stressed that the peace of Jesus was built on justice and mutual love, and said that the Church is called upon to make peace the core of its vocation.
His Holiness spoke of the major conflicts in the countries of the world, and especially those in the Middle East. In the spirit of the message of peace that is central to the teachings of Islam and Christianity, His Holiness asked Christians and Muslims to denounce violence. The Catholicos described Lebanon as the ideal model for Christian –Muslim conviviality. Although not exempt from regional conflicts, Lebanon has remained a bridge between the East and the West. He urged the Armenian community to remain united and to help protect Lebanon‘s independence and integrity.
Catholicos Aram concluded his Christmas message by speaking about the suffering of the Armenian community in Syria. He told the faithful that we must pray for the community while helping the community materially until it can begin the process of recovery and rebuilding of lives.

Birds Nest Orphanage/School
Catholicos Aram I, accompanied by members of the clergy, visited the Birds Nest Orphanage and School in Byblos, Lebanon, as well as three other humanitarian centers on December 23. The sisters of the Kayanian Order, the members of the Board, the director, faculty and staff, greeted the Catholicos and his entourage. After watching a special program prepared by the children that featured recitations, songs, and dances, His Holiness spoke with the children while the priests distributed gifts.
The Birds Nest was established as an orphanage/school after the Genocide of the Armenians in Turkey. Danish Missionaries brought hundreds of orphaned children to Lebanon at that time. The institution currently serves children from broken or poor families and is currently also hosting children displaced because of the war in Syria.
The Howard Karagheusian Association for Child Welfare
The director of the Howard Karagheusian Association for Child Welfare, Mr. Serop Ohanian, welcomed His Holiness Aram I and transmitted the greetings of the General Director of the Foundation at the headquarters in the United States of America. After thanking the director and the staff for their reception, Catholicos Aram I expressed his appreciation for the work of the Karaghuesian Foundation in Lebanon for its long years of service to the Armenian community and particularly for its family-centered support. The Catholicos thanked and blessed the personnel for expressing God’s love through their work.
The Armenian Relief Cross (ARC) at the Araxie Boulghourdjian Social Center
The president of the Armenian Relief Cross (ARC), Mrs. Maral Hovhannessian, and the director, Verjin Sarafian, welcomed His Holiness Aram I to their Center. His Holiness thanked the benefactor of the Center, Mr. Melkon Boulghourdjian, and the members of the ARC who had come to welcome him. His Holiness said that the Center was close to his heart because he had been involved in the planning of the project with Mr. Boulghourdjian while Prelate of Lebanon. He mentioned the important role of the Social Center during the civil war in Lebanon and acknowledged its contribution to alleviating the suffering of many needy Armenian families. He also commended the devotion and commitment of Armenian women through the Armenian Relief Cross and wished them a blessed Christmas and a fruitful New Year in 2014.
The Armenian Home for the Elderly
The Armenian Home for the Elderly was the final pastoral visit of the day for Catholicos Aram and his entourage. After the formal welcome by the director, Rev. Sebouh Terzian, the clergy accompanying His Holiness offered a prayer service. The prayer service was followed with a cultural program prepared and presented by the residents of the Home. The Catholicos thanked the members of the board and the director and staff of the Home for their services to the elderly. Addressing the residents, the Catholicos said the Home is not an institution, but a home that belongs to the community, hence their home. He then announced that he is declaring 2014 as the Year of the Armenian Elderly.
During the visit to the Karaghuesian Foundation, the Armenian Relief Cross and the Home for the Elderly, His Holiness was accompanied by the Prelate of Lebanon, Bishop Shahé Panossian, other clergy from the Holy See of Cilicia, and Panos Manjian, a member of the Lebanese Government, Vrej Saboundjian, the Minister of Industry, and Hagop Pakradouni, a Member of Parliament.
The Azounieh Sanatorium-Hospital
The next day, December 24, His Holiness Aram I concluded his pastoral visits with a visit to the Azounieh Sanatorium-Hospital accompanied by members of the clergy. Following a prayer service, the Catholicos blessed the patients and thanked the medical staff for the care and attention they give the residents. Before leaving the Sanatorium-Hospital, the Catholicos and the clergy, visited the patients who were bedridden and prayed with them.
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Birth of Sergei Parajanov (January 9, 1924)
"Everyone knows that I have three Motherlands. I was born in Georgia, worked in Ukraine and I'm going to die in Armenia," declared Sergei Parajanov, one of the most talented names of Soviet cinematography. Despite running afoul of censorship and repression, his original cinematic style made significant contributions to Ukrainian, Armenian, and Georgian cinema.
Parajanov was born in Tiflis, capital of Georgia, to Iosif Parajanov and Siranush Bejanova. At the age of 21, he traveled to Moscow (1945), enrolled in the directing department of VGIK (the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography), the oldest film school in Europe, and studied under directors Igor Savchenko and Aleksandr Dovzhenko.
In 1948 he was convicted of homosexual acts and sentenced to five years in prison, but was released under an amnesty after three months. In video interviews, friends and relatives contested the truthfulness of the charges. In 1950 he married his first wife, Nigyar Kerimova, from a Muslim Tatar family, in Moscow. She converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity to marry him, and was murdered by her relatives because of her conversion a year later. After her murder, he left Russia for Kiev (Ukraine), where he produced three documentaries and several narrative films. He married his second wife, Svetlana Sherbatiuk, in 1956. Their son Suren was born in 1958 and they divorced in 1962.
In 1964 Parajanov abandoned socialist realism (the state-sanctioned art style in the Soviet Union) and directed Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, a poetic film over which he had complete creative control. He would later dismiss all films he had directed before 1964 as “garbage.” This film won numerous international awards and turned him into a cult director.
He later left Kiev and moved to Armenia. He filmed Sayat Nova in 1968, choosing the life of the famous eighteenth-century Armenian troubadour as the apparent subject, but the film was immediately banned. He re-edited his footage and renamed the film The Color of Pomegranates. The film won much praise internationally and increased his popularity as a venerated director.
 A still from the movie The Color of Pomegranates.
His projects were systematically banned or scraped between 1965 and 1973 because of charges of deviation from accepted artistic norms, until Parajanov was sentenced to five years in a hard labor camp in Siberia on charges of homosexuality and pornography in December 1973. Many international artists protested on behalf of the filmmaker without effect, including Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Luis Buñuel, Françoise Sagan, Yves Saint Laurent, Andrei Tarkovsky, and others. He obtained an early release in December 1977.
The imprisoned filmmaker produced a large number of miniature doll-like sculptures and some 800 drawings and collages, many of which are currently displayed at the Parajanov Museum in Yerevan.
Sergei Parajanov, Tarkovsky's Night Bird, 1987, Collage, Mixed Media.
After his return from prison to Tbilisi, he could not pursue his career. He was imprisoned again in February 1982 on charges of bribery and freed nine months later, although his health was seriously compromised after the harsh conditions of the Siberian camp.
After his release, the support of Georgian intellectuals allowed him to produce his last two films, which received critical and public acclaim: The Legend of Suram Fortress (1984) and Ashik Kerib (1988). He moved back to Armenia, where he started a project that would remain unfinished: his final film, The Confession. Its original film footage was assembled and released as Parajanov: The Last Spring, by his close friend Mikhail Vartanov in 1992.
Sergei Parajanov passed away on July 20, 1990, in Yerevan, a victim of cancer, at the age of 66. He left a legacy of sixteen films (feature and documentary), and ten unproduced screenplays and projects, including films on the Armenian legend of Ara the Beautiful and the Armenian epic David of Sassoun.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org).
The Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief is a joint effort of: Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern Prelacy); Armenian Catholic Eparchy; Armenian Evangelical Union of North America; Armenian Relief Society (Eastern USA, Inc.); Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
Thank you for your help
January 31—Memorial Program dedicated to Sos Sargsyan, Armenian actor, playwright, people’s artist, and political activist, organized by Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of New York, featuring Karine Kocharyan, Voice of Armenians TVNY, at the Armenian  Center, 69-23 47th Street, Woodside, New York. Suggested donation: $7.00. For information: 718-565-8397.
February 1—Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance, St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.
February 2—St. Sarkis Men’s Club, Dearborn, Michigan, presents Super Bowl Party, at Lillian Arakelian Hall.
February 9—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Book Presentation by Deacon Shant Kazanjian following the Divine Liturgy at Lillian Arakelian Hall.
February 24-26—Annual Clergy Ghevontiantz Gathering hosted by Holy Cross Church, 255 Spring Avenue, Troy, New York.
March 1—St. Sarkis Sunday School, Dearborn, Michigan, Poon Paregentan Costume Party for everyone, at Lillian Arakelian Hall.
March 26—St. Sarkis Ladies Guild, Dearborn, Michigan, Mid-Lenten Luncheon following the Lenten morning service, Lillian Arakelian Hall.
March 28—Musical Armenia Concert presented by Eastern Prelacy and Prelacy Ladies Guild, at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, 8 pm.
May 13-17—Clergy Conference and National Representative Assembly, and Annual Conference of the National Association of Ladies’ Guilds (NALG) of the Eastern Prelacy, hosted by St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan.
June 1—Ladies Guild Annual Brunch, St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.
June 1—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Toronto Children’s Choir concert in the church sanctuary.
Web pages of the parishes can be accessed through the Prelacy’s web site.
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Items in Crossroads can be reproduced without permission. Please credit Crossroads as the source.
Parishes of the Eastern Prelacy are invited to send information about their major events to be included in the calendar. Send to: info@armenianprelacy.org
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