July 11, 2013
The city of Aleppo, where many Armenians live, is facing a crisis of enormous proportions.
The crisis in Syria is worsening and the situation in Aleppo, a heavily Armenian populated city, is very serious. Many roads are closed making access to Aleppo for emergency and relief services difficult. There is a shortage of basic needs including food, fuel, medical services, and medications. The Syria currency, the lira, has been devalued considerably and continues to fall, creating inflated prices for basic commodities like bread.
Under very difficult conditions, the leadership of the Armenian community in Aleppo is continuing to use every possible means of getting relief aid to families, even though the cost of fuel is now ten times the regular price.
Please consider making a donation to the Fund for Syria Armenian Relief so that there will be no lapse in relief aid.  Donations can be made on-line (see below) or can be mailed to the Armenian Prelacy, 138 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016.
  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.
The following is a translation of an anonymous report from a reliable source that appeared in the July 9th issue of “Marmara,” the Armenian newspaper published in Istanbul. 
From the day when the internal conflict of Syria escalated and became a blind war between both sides, Aleppo turned into one of the most affected cities.
This wealthy and fertile metropolis of the Orient, which has an important Armenian community steeped in tradition, has been paralyzed for exactly one year. It has been ceaselessly bombed from land and air for a year; it has been constantly subjected to destruction and erosion for a year; its vital infrastructures and rich markets, ancient historical neighborhoods, and mosques, schools and hospitals are being destroyed. Who could believe it? Aleppo is being destroyed by the hand of its owners or children with the most brutal methods.
In the first phase of the war, every time people telephoned their relatives or friends in Aleppo from abroad, they used to ask: "Do you have bread, do you have food?" Aleppines always answered: "Don't worry, food prices have increased, but we have plenty of everything. We only lack peace"...
Today, the situation has completely changed. For the past six days, Aleppo and the Aleppines are collectively living perhaps the most worrisome moments of their lives. The city is surrounded from all sides. The army has also closed the last passages to enter the city. No food may enter.
The population is enormously agitated and terrified. Food stalls are completely empty and the merchants have closed down their shutters. Most bakeries of the city have not worked for the past five days due to the lack of flour. There is no combustible and natural gas, and even if they are found, the price is exorbitant. Moreover, all basic food has vanished from the markets. There is no bread, milk, yogurt, tomato, cucumber, squash, or eggplant, nor any kind of fruit. The citizen who goes to do essential shopping in the morning circulates through empty stores and returns home with empty hands. How is he going to feed his children? How is he going to feed himself? Nobody knows.
Besides these extraordinary and unbelievable deprivations, electricity and drinking water are being cut long hours every day.
We may say, without hesitation, that the "city of our dreams" (Երազային Հալէպ) with its more than three million inhabitants, is on the verge of famine. The next days will show how many days it can resist.
The St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program concluded on Sunday, July 7, with the celebration of Soorp Badarak at St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church of Philadelphia, presided over by His Grace Bishop Anoushavan (Vicar General). Sixty-eight students (ages 13-20) and twenty clergymen and lay leaders participated in the weeklong Datev Summer Chrstian Studies Program sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC).
2013 Graduates of the Datev Institute with Fr. Nareg Terterian (Director of the Institute) and Dn. Shant Kazanjian (Executive Director of AREC) are (front row left to right): Daniel Megerian, Aram Kouyoumdjian, Shaunt Doghramadjian, Anais Bayrakdarian, Mariam Momjian, Anni Oranjian, Anna Gharibian, Celina Bozoian, Nairi Asadurian. (Back row left to right): George Minassian, Fr. Nareg, Dn. Shant, Christopher Selverian, Amir Adelinia. The graduates completed the four-week Summer Program of the Institute, sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council(AREC).
 His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, Prelate,flanked by the Datev Institute instructors, staff and students.
“This is the most meaningful gift I have ever received,” said Archbishop Oshagan to Yeretzgin Joanna Baghsarian’s class at the St. Gregory of Datev Institute. The students had just presented the Prelate with a beautiful blue box full of prayers for him. “It is a gift that is just for me and it is not a material gift, but a spiritual gift that comes from your hearts,” the Prelate said.
First a list was developed of the many duties Srpazan must tend to. The 16-point list included things like: Teaches Doctrine; Oversees Parishes; Initiates Programs; Preserves and Protects the Faith; Preaches the Gospel; Ordains Priests and altar servers; Appoints Priest; Visits Parishes; Focuses on Youth, etc. etc. Each Datevatzi selected one of the 16 categories and promised to pray daily for the Prelate for his successful service in that category. The Datev students then wrote letters to Archbishop Oshagan informing him of their commitment to pray for him for one year until the next Datev Institute. The letters were collected in a box and presented to Srpazan during his July 4th visit.
Each letter is different with a distinct focus. For example Anoosh Kouyoumdjian, a second year Datevatsi from Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, made a commitment to pray daily for Srpazan’s service of providing programs for local parishes. She wrote, in part: “Our commitment is to pray for you so that you may be successful every single day of the year until our next Datev week…. There is so much that you do in order to keep our churches running smoothly, and to keep programs like the Datev program alive for us to attend…. I hope I can stick to this plan and pray for your success. We are all so grateful for everything you do for us.”
Archbishop Oshagan takes a break from his busy day to read a few of the offerings in his Box of Prayers presented to him by Datevatsis.
The Datev class that has made the commitment to pray daily for Srpazan and his mission of service.
Archbishop Oshagan attended the Homenetmen Eastern Region’s Annual Athletic Games last weekend in Philadelphia. His Eminence delivered the invocation and message at the banquet Saturday evening and at the closing ceremonies on Sunday. The Homenetmen honored the Prelate, who was an active member during his youth, with a medal and the highest Homenetmen award in appreciation of his steadfast and strong support of the organization and its programs.
Hratch Mesrobian (right), a member of the Central Committee of theHomenetmen and Hovig Apkarian (rear), chairman of the Regional Committee,  present Archbishop Oshagan with a medal andplaque.
The Homenetmen Scouts lead the guests into the banquet.
St. Sarkis Church community in Dearborn, Michigan, enjoyed its Vartavar celebration, reviving a centuries-old pre-Christian custom combined with the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ. After the Divine Liturgy, parishioners of all ages participated in the tradition of splashing, throwing, and playing with water. Lead by Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian, children, parents, deacons, choir members, Sunday School teachers, and board members joined in the fun of squirting, throwing water balloons, dumping, and splashing water on each other. The front lawn of St. Sarkis Church was a joyous scene of running, jumping, chasing, sneaking, and surprising each other with water. Squeals of delight and shrieks of laughter filled the air as children and adults alike were soaked, a little muddy, and having a wonderful time. Everyone is already looking forward to next year’s Vartavar.
Young and old engaged in water fights and games in Dearborn.
New York Times bestselling author Chris Bohjalian discussed his new novel, The Lights in the Ruins, and described his trip to Historic Armenia on Tuesday, July 9, at the Hovnanian School in New Milford, New Jersey. The event was sponsored by the Hovnanian School and the Hamazkayin of New Jersey. Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, performed the traditional book blessing (Kinedzon). In his brief remarks, Der Mesrob, spoke of the tremendous success of Bohjalian’s book The Sandcastle Girls, last year and urged everyone read his new book which is already receiving critical acclaim.
Author Chris Bohjalian watches as Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissianblesses his newly published novel, The Lights in the Ruins, with wine.
Bible readings for Sunday, July 14, Second Sunday of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, are Isaiah 3:16-4:1; 1 Corinthians 1:25-30; Matthew 18:10-14.
For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:25-31)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
Today, Thursday, July 11, the Armenian Church commemorates the prophet Isaiah, who is best known for the longest prophetic book in the Old Testament (66 chapters) that bears his name. In what has been described as one of the greatest finds, two nearly intact manuscripts of the entire book of Isaiah were discovered in 1947 in a remote cave above the north end of the Dead Sea.
Isaiah foretells the birth of the Messiah by a virgin and describes the suffering of the Messiah’s church. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus refer to the book of Isaiah. Because of his clear foretelling about Christ the Savior, Isaiah is also recognized as an Old Testament evangelist. Although it is not recorded in the Bible, it is believed that Isaiah died a martyr’s death by order of the Hebrew king, Manasseh. Relics of the prophet are preserved at Mt. Athos in the Greek Orthodox Khilendaria Monastery in Greece.

This Saturday, July 13, the Armenian Church commemorates Saint Thaddeus, one of two apostles who preached in Armenia, and Saint Santookht, daughter of King Sandadrook, and the first saint of the Armenian Church.
Princess Santookht was converted to Christianity by Thaddeus. Her father tried to have her renounce her conversion and finally gave her a choice of the crown or the sword. She chose the sword and became the first witness for Christianity in Armenia and the first saint of the Armenian Church. Shortly after her martyrdom, Thaddeus was also martyred.

On Monday, July 15, the Armenian Church commemorates St. Cyprian (Gibrianos), who was bishop of Carthage, an important early Christian writer, and a major theologian of the early African church. Many of his works in Latin have survived.  One of his best known works is, On the Unity of the Church. Many of his epistles, treatises, and pastoral letters are extant.
Born in the year 200, he was the son of wealthy parents and became a teacher of rhetoric and literature. He converted to Christianity in his middle years and was ordained a priest and elected to serve as bishop of Carthage. He was subject to persecution after his conversion and in the year 258 was beheaded along with forty-five martyrs.
Prepared by the Armenian Nationa Education Committee (ANEC)
July 10, 1921: End of the Republic of Mountainous Armenia
Historical circumstances have created the existence of two independent Armenian republics, one fully recognized (Armenia) and the other unrecognized (Mountainous Karabagh), since 1991. However, there was another time in the past century when two Armenian republics coexisted, although under completely different circumstances.
The first Republic of Armenia existed from May 28, 1918 to December 2, 1920. The southern part of the Republic, the territory of Zangezur or Siunik, confronted the assault of Turkish, Azerbaijani, and Soviet Russian forces at one time or another during the two years, under the leadership of Garegin Nezhdeh. The area remained unoccupied after the establishment of the Soviet regime in Armenia.
The anti-popular measures exerted by the Revolutionary Committee that had seized power in late 1920 triggered a revolt, and the Bolshevik regime was temporarily ousted on February 18, 1921. Armenia briefly restored its independence under the authority of the Committee for the Salvation of the Fatherland (C.S.F.), led by the A.R.F.
In mid-February, the forces of Autonomous Siunik occupied the area of Vayots Dzor, which constituted the nexus of the region with the rest of the country. The Armenian resistance lasted until April 2, when some 12,000 refugees, including 4,000 members of the military, left Yerevan before the occupation by the Red Army. Vayots Dzor became the door to enter Siunik and be free of Communist persecution. On April 26, 1921, the second congress of Zangezur proclaimed the Republic of Mountainous Armenia, with Nezhdeh as prime minister. Resistance was aimed at ensuring the escape of the refugees from Communist rule towards Persia and maintaining the region within the borders of Soviet Armenia.
Meanwhile, the internal crisis in Soviet Armenia continued, and to solve it, Moscow sent an influential and well-regarded Bolshevik, Alexander Miasnikian (1886-1925). His take was that the errors committed by the Revolutionary Committee should be rectified at once. On May 18 he was designated President of the Soviet of Commissars (Ministers) and War commissar. Negotiations between Soviet Armenia and Mountainous Armenia started, with Nezhdeh’s number one condition being: “Zangezur must be totally part of Armenia.”
As the Soviet Armenian government could not guarantee the achievement of that condition, the negotiations failed, and hostilities began again. The morale of the Armenians of Siunik was lowered by the stance of the refugees, many of which, rather than fighting, were just interested in fleeing to Iran as soon as possible.
The Soviet Armenian government finally received a positive answer from Moscow and declared that Zangezur would be part of the Soviet Armenian republic. The main towns of Siunik fell one after the other between June 22 and July 5. Nezhdeh conceded defeat and crossed into Iran on July 10.
In hindsight, there is no doubt that the heroic resistance of the short-lived Republic of Mountainous Armenia had not only ensured the physical safety of its population against the Azerbaijani advance, but also of thousands of politicians, intellectuals, military, and others from the Bolshevik persecution. Above all, Zangezur was kept in Armenia, and the Turko-Azerbaijani project of a geographic union failed.  The fate of the two other contested areas, Karabagh and Nakhichevan, during the decades of existence of the Soviet Union, and the strategic position that Zangezur maintains today in the geopolitical map of the area are proof that the Armenian sacrifice, this time, was not in vain.
You will soon be receiving the 2013 Prelacy membership dues brochure. Under the general theme “Gifts That Add Up,” Archbishop Oshagan’s message offers thanks to past supporters of the Prelacy National Membership Dues program (Azkayin Dourk).  His Eminence writes, “Gifts to the Prelacy dues program are truly gifts that add up. The support for this program comes from the very grass roots of our community. The gifts come from the hearts of the faithful in amounts both small and large.”
The National Membership Dues program makes possible many of the Prelacy’s religious, educational, can cultural programs.
These beautiful snow-white luxurious baptismal towels are lovely to use during an infant’s baptism and remains as a keepsake memento and family heirloom. Both styles are embroidered in gold in Armenian with the baptismal appeal: Havadk, Houys, Ser, yev Mkrdoutyoun. (Faith, Hope, Love, and Baptism).
$75.00 each plus shipping and handling.
Compiled by Mark Nishanian
Written in Armenian, this bibliography contains essays, articles, literature, and literary studies and criticism by Hagop Oshagan, one of the greatest Armenian writers of modern times. It also includes articles written about the writer. The collection encompasses his publications that appeared in the Armenian press from 1902-1998 followed by bibliographical commentaries by Mark Nishanian.
197 pages, softcover, $16.00 plus shipping and handling.
To order contact the Prelacy Bookstore by email at bookstore@armenianprelacy.org or telephone, 212-689-7810.
July 8-19—8th Annual Summer Camp program at St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.
July 13—“A Hye Summer Night VII” Dinner Dance sponsored by Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church and Armenian Relief Society “Ani” Chapter of Providence, Rhode Island, at the Providence Marriott Hotel, One Orms Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02904, 6 pm to 1 am. Featuring: Joe Kouyoumjian (oud), Brian Ansbigian (oud), David Ansbigian (oud), Leon Janikian (clarinet), Ken Kalajian (guitar), Jason Naroian (dumbeg), Armen Janigian (Daf). For tickets ($50 per person) and information: Joyce Bagdasarian (401-434-4467); Joyce Yeremian (401-354-8770).
July 21—St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, will present FOUND, a play by Ms. Anoush Baghdassarian, about a woman’s experience through the Genocide. Presented following the Divine Liturgy. Open discussion will take place after the presentation with the director and the cast. Contact the church office for information: 718-224-2275.
July 27—Mid-West Regional Conference organized by the Religious and Executive Councils of the Eastern Prelacy and hosted by All Saints Church, Glenview, Illinois, 10 am to 4 pm.
August 4—Annual picnic of St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, at Camp Haiastan, 722 Summer Street, Franklin, Massachusetts 02038. Delicious food, music and more from 12 noon to 5 pm. For information, 617-924-7562, visit online at www.soorpstepanos.org or on Facebook.
August 11—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Picnic at Camp Haiastan from noon to 6 pm. Blessing of Madagh and Grapes will take place at 3:30 pm with His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan presiding and with the participation of the pastors of the New England area churches. Enjoy delicious shish, losh, and chicken kebab dinners, Armenian pastry, and our famous choreg. Music by the Michael Gregian Ensemble. Our patrons may use the Lower Camp Pool, Basketball Courts, and Canoes from 1 to 4 pm. Activities for children. Come and enjoy a day with friends and family.
August 11—Annual Church Picnic and Blessing of Grapes at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, 635 Grove Street, Worcester, Massachusetts. Join us for a fun-filled day and enjoy delicious food, music by DJ Shaheen, backgammon tournament, children’s activities and more. Begins at noon. Blessing of Grapes at 2:45 pm. Admission is free. For more information: htaacw@verizon.net or 508-852-2414.
August 18—Annual Picnic of Soorp Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, 12 noon on the church grounds, 315 Church Street, Whitinsville, immediately following the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian who will also officiate the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony with the participation of New England clergy. Delicious Armenian food, homemade baked goods. Listen and dance to traditional live Armenian music by the Mugrditchian Band. For information: 508-234-3677.
August 18—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Blessing of the Grapes and Family Fun Picnic, at Lakeshore Park, 601 South Lake Drive, Novi, Michigan. Food, music, dancing, magic show, volleyball, soccer, tavlou tournament, mountain biking, swimming.
August 18—Sts. Vartanantz Church, New Jersey, Annual Picnic and Blessing of the Grapes, 1-5 pm at Saddle River County Parki, Wild Duck Pond area. Music, delicious Armenian food and desserts, arts and crafts and playground for children, cards, and tavloo, and more.
September 5 to October 3—“A Brief Introduction to Modern Armenian Literature,” a series of five seminars presented on Thursdays, 7 pm to 8:30 pm, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. Sponsored by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) and the Cathedral. Presented by Vartan Matiossian, Ph.D.
September 7—Teachers’ Seminar sponsored by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) at the Prelacy offices, 138 E. 39th Street, New York City, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Details will follow.
September 8—Picnic Festival, St. Gregory Church, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts, 12:30 to 5:30 pm, featuring Armenian music by Leon Janikian, Jason Naroian, Joe Kouyoumjian, John Arzigian, along with Siroun Dance Group. Armenian food and pastries. For details www.saintgregory.org
September 15—Book Presentation at Pashalian Hall, St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, New York, of “One Church One Nation” by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian.
October 5—Symposium “Armenian Women as Artists and Mothers,” 2-6 pm, sponsored by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) at St. Illuminator Cathedral Pashalian Hall, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, in celebration of the Year of the Mother of the Armenian Family. Lecturers: Melissa Bilal (Columbia University), Jennifer Manoukian (Columbia University), and Vartan Matiossian (ANEC).
October 19—Armenian Friends of America presents “Hye Kef 5” featuring musicians Leon Janikian, Joe Kouyoumjian, Greg Takvorian, Ken Kalajian, Ron Raphaelian, and Jay Baronian, 7:30-12:30, Michael’s Function Hall, 12 Alpha Street, Haverhill, Massachusetts. Proceeds to benefit all Armenian churches in Merrimack Valley and New Hampshire. Tickets: $40 adults; $30 students; includes individually-served mezza platters. For information/reservations: John Arzigian 603-560-3826; Sandy Boroyan 978-251-8687; Scott Sahagian 617-699-3581; Peter Gulezian 978-375-1616.
November 15-16-17—Annual Bazaar, Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey.
Web pages of the parishes can be accessed through the Prelacy’s web site.
To ensure the timely arrival of Crossroads in your electronic mailbox, add email@armenianprelacy.org to your address book.
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
138 East 39th Street | New York, NY 10016 US
Subscribe to our email list.