December 19, 2013
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For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have
prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles.

(Luke 2:30-32)
With these words Simeon the Elder praised the Lord, when Jesus’ parents brought Him to the Temple, eight days after His birth.
With his strong will and God’s help, Simeon the Elder knew that he would not die until he saw the Savior. He lived to see the Savior. He lived to receive the Savior.
A series of miraculous events were tied to the birth of Jesus and told by the Evangelists. Beginning with the Annunciation of the Holy Virgin Mary and the virgin birth, to the appearance of the angels to the shepherds in the field, singing “Glory to God in the highest,” the visit and adoration of the Magi, and Simeon’s song of praise upon the presentation of Jesus to the Temple. These are miracles that fill the soul of true believers with the budding seeds of faith and the expectation of salvation, just like the example set by Simeon the Elder.
Jesus came to the world as LIGHT for the heathens. Light is what is sought by those living in darkness. It is the quest of the blind. The impetus to find the light is very simply not to lose hope of forthcoming good days. The light in our mind is necessary in order to give our life meaning. The light in our soul is our journey to unite with the Savior and to be worthy of salvation.
If the miraculous events surrounding the birth of Jesus revealed the blissful condition of new life, our people were among the fortunate who made the supreme light the center of their existence, purpose and meaning and with the illumination of their souls and minds they gave their lives to God’s plan of salvation.
During these days when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we must not turn it into a plain and ordinary celebration—with food and drink, and an occasion to exchange gifts. Jesus visits us again with love and peace, and with the same message of compassion and charity. All who continue their pious lives with the hope of a brighter life remain on the same road to salvation. But, beware. There are dark forces within our environment, driven and incited by evil that turn today’s world into a materialistic world where self-worship, greed, egoism, and immorality tend to plunge bright souls into darkness. In that darkness, in the midst of indecision, they no longer see the Savior, no longer wait for Him. God’s message and commandments are exchanged with new commandments to their own liking. It is unfortunate because many faithful followers accept the new decisions and thus provide the opportunity for the escalation of immorality. Self-worship, greed, war, destruction, and loss of human life, are all against the will of God, and we must fully understand that the forces of evil use these in order to create economic and political superpowers.
During these holy days, instead of conforming to these evil forces, we must resist and invite each other to be subject to God’s will, to see the Savior as Simeon the Elder did, receiving Him into our lives for the rest of our days. In the face of current world circumstances of chaos and danger, and especially the known situation of the people in Syria, let us beseech the Mother of God, who is Mother of all of us, to in the words of the hymnist “silence wars, end enemy attacks, and establish love and justice on earth,” so that we will see and receive the Savior with illuminated minds and souls and greater conviction, and glorify His resplendent birth.
I wish you a Happy New Year and a Blessed Nativity.
Eastern Prelacy of the
Armenian Apostolic Church of America
Christmas, January 6, 2014
Archbishop Oshagan and Bishop Anoushavan attended the “Simply Christmas” concert that took place last Sunday at St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York.
Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis opened the concert with these words: “Simply Christmas is the way that St. Sarkis thanks parishioners for their devoted and ongoing support throughout the year. Simply Christmas is about the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. We read in the Nativity narratives about Emanuel, God is with us. We want God to be with us and we are here today to say, Come to us, Oh Divine Child, come to a world full of suffering, because only You can understand.”  He then introduced the talented, classically trained artists, Elie Berberian and Anna Aidinian.
Performing one exceptional piece after another, Elie and Anna received enthusiastic applause and admiration from the audience for an exceptional performance.  Saturday School students as well as post-graduate students performed various poem and readings that reflected on the spirit of Christmas.
In the second part of the program, the featured artists performed pieces dedicated to the Christmas season in a variety of languages, and once again thrilled the audience that had filled the Sanctuary to capacity.
The featured performers, Elie Berberian and Anna Aidinian, with Archbishop Oshagan, Bishop Anoushavan, and Rev. Fr. Nareg.
St. Illuminator’s Cathedral transformed its John Pashalian Hall into an art gallery for last Sunday’s opening of, “Lost and Found: The Pinajian Discovery.” This special exhibition, on view through December 22, introduced guests and parishioners to the works of Arthur Pinajian, a recluse artist who created over 7,000 works of art during his lifetime. With over 50 paintings and dozens of prints for sale, the Chief Registrar Thomas V. Schultz of Gallery 125, and Chief Curator Peter Hastings Falk, showed various collectibles and mementos from the artist’s life, including colored pencils, eyeglasses, medals of honor he earned from his service in the war, handwritten notebooks, graphite sketches, and cartoons that served as his primary livelihood.
Guests perused the artist’s works while enjoying the refreshments provided by the Exhibition Committee. The afternoon reception began with a welcoming introduction by the Cathedral’s pastor, Rev.  Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, followed by remarks by the Prelate, Archbishop Oshagan. Emceeing the event was Antranig Gharibian, who introduced Mr. Schultz, who described how he discovered Pinajian’s artwork and his determination to preserve his work and legacy. Mr. Falk followed with a presentation of Pinajian’s role in art history.
The exhibition will be on display through this Sunday, December 22.
Archbishop Oshagan presided over the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas luncheon at St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, in honor of the Police from the 111th Precinct, and local Fire Department. The event was also attended by Bishop Anoushavan,  Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, Pastor, and members of the St. Sarkis Church Senior Citizens Group.
The day began with a worship service and a homily led by the Prelate. A luncheon, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Mary Arslanian, followed the service with the help of the organizing committee members of the St. Sarkis Church Senior Citizens Group. Der Nareg greeted all those present and thanked the police and fire fighters for keeping the community safe. A certificate of appreciation was presented to Officer Gary Poggiali acknowledging his ten years of dedicated service to the St. Sarkis community.
The annual Thanksgiving and Christmas luncheon in honor of local police and fire fighters took place yesterday, December 18.
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian and Dn. Shant Kazanjian attended the ordination service of Haig Kherlopian as minister of the Word by the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America. The Ordination Service took place last Sunday at the Armenian Evangelical Church of New York in Manhattan where Rev. Kherlopian was installed as pastor. We wish Rev. Haig Kherlopian a fruitful ministry in the vineyard of the Lord.
Rev. Fr. Mesrob and Dn. Shant with Rev. Haig Kherlopian.
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York, represented Archbishop Oshagan last Saturday at the Artists Gala that took place at St. Thomas Armenian Church in Tenafly, New Jersey. The event was organized by the Voice of Armenians TV and the Cultural Committee of St. Thomas Church.
Bible readings for Sunday, December 22, Fifth Sunday of Advent, are: Isaiah 40:18-31; Hebrews 4:16-5:10; Luke 18:9-14.
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt. “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
This Monday, December 23, the Armenian Church commemorates David the Prophet King and James the Brother of the Lord.
David was the youngest of eight brothers and was brought up to be a shepherd where he learned courage, tenderness, and caring. David became the second King of Israel. In the Bible, the name David belongs solely to him, which indicates the unique place he had as an ancestor and forerunner of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the New Testament there are more than 50 references to David, including the title given to Jesus—Son of David. David was a poet and the author of some of the Psalms.
James the Apostle, called “Brother of the Lord,” probably because of his close relationship with Jesus, was granted a special appearance of the Lord after the Resurrection. He is believed to have been a first cousin of the Lord, or as some biblical scholars have suggested, a son of Joseph. After the Resurrection and the Ascension, while the other apostles scattered all over the world, James remained in Jerusalem where he served as the Bishop and became a leading spokesman of the early church.

This Tuesday, December 24, the Armenian Church commemorates St. Stephen, the first deacon and proto-martyr. After Christ’s ascension, the apostles went about spreading the Word. It soon became apparent that more people were needed to serve the growing church community. Seven worthy individuals were called upon to serve the Holy Altar and called “deacons” (sarkavag). The most noteworthy of the seven was Stephen, described as a “man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). The Feast of St. Stephen is a popular and important commemoration in the Armenian Church. It is also a day to honor all deacons of the church. St. Stephen became the first martyr of the Christian church and is therefore called the “proto-martyr.” The only information about his life and death is in the Book of Acts of the Apostles (Acts 6:8 and 8:2).

Next Thursday, December 26, the Armenian Church commemorates the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, perhaps the two individuals who had the greatest role in the growth of Christianity. It is, therefore, appropriate that the Church honors them together.
After the Crucifixion and Resurrection, Jesus came to Peter and asked him to tell the other apostles of His appearance and to give them His message (Luke 24:34-35). Peter was renowned for his oratory skills, and he used his talent to spread the Word. He preached in Rome and founded the church there. He is considered to be the first Bishop of Rome. According to tradition, Peter was crucified in Rome upside down because he declared himself unworthy to die in the same manner as the Lord. He was buried in Rome and his relics are enshrined under the high altar of the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica.
Paul (Saul) was born in Tarsus in Cilicia. He was an oppressor of the early Christians until on the road to Damascus he converted when a brilliant light blinded him and he heard, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Enter the City and you will be told what to do,” (Acts 9:4-6; 26:12-16). Saul was baptized and renamed Paul and he went on to become the greatest preacher of the new religion, traveling and writing extensively. Many theologians credit him for shaping the future of the Church. His fourteen epistles comprise more than one-third of the New Testament, not including the Book of Acts, which although written by Luke, primarily is an account of Paul’s preaching.

Next Wednesday, December 25, is Christmas for most of the Christian world.  Originally all of Christendom celebrated the birth, baptism, visit of the Magi, and the First Miracle at Cana, on January 6. Rome adopted December 25 in the year 336, and this date gradually became popular; December 25 was officially adopted as the birthday of Christ at the Council of Chalcedon (451)—a Council the Armenian Church did not attend and never accepted. Therefore, the Armenian Church to this day has remained faithful to the original date of January 6.
His Holiness Aram I presided over a round table discussion at the Cilicia Museum of the Catholicosate to discuss the problems, concerns and challenges facing the Armenian family today. The event was organized by the Armenian Church University Students Association (ACUSA) Alumni.
The panel brought together a team of experts that included Ms. Ani Ourfalian-Pakradouni, an educator, Garo Hovhannessian, literary critic, Dr. Varoujan Bedirian, medical doctor, and Yeretsgin Christine Sarkissian, social worker.
After the welcome and introduction by Hagop Mandian, president of the Association, the panelists addressed the question from their own professional background and experience. A lively discussion followed, with the participation of the audience, on the challenges to the dignity and human rights of the Armenian woman today and her role in the family and society. The panelists and the audience also commented on their expectations from the Armenian family today.
His Holiness Aram thanked ACUSA for organizing the panel. He urged the members of ACUSA to take an active role in the community in Lebanon and communicate their experiences to the Armenian communities in the Diaspora. The Catholicos said that the problems and issues highlighted during the round table discussion challenged all Armenians because “globalization has created societies without fences, thus minimizing the impact of our spiritual and moral values.” He concluded by saying, “As Armenians, we must protect the essence of our values and safeguard our institutions.”
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
Birth of Arpiar Arpiarian (December 21, 1852)
Arpiar Arpiarian was not only an influential Armenian writer of the nineteenth century, but also the pioneer of realism in Armenian literature, and, as many of his pioneer, a political activist, to which he ultimately sacrificed his life.
Arpiarian was born aboard a ship. His parents, who were originally from Akn (an Armenian town near the Euphrates River where noted poets like Siamanto and Misak Medzarents were born), were traveling from the Black Sea port of Samsun to Constantinople. The family settled in the suburb of Ortakiugh (Ortaköy), where Arpiarian attended the local Tarkmanchats Armenian School. At the age of fifteen, he was sent to Venice, where he attended the Murat-Raphaelian school of the Mekhitarist Congregation. He studied Armenian language and history with the famous Mekhitarist poet and scholar Ghevont Alishan, and he also became familiar with French and Italian literature.
After his graduation from the school, he returned to Constantinople, where he worked as a bookkeeper and then was offered a secretarial position at the Armenian Patriarchate. However, his true call was journalism and literature.
He started contributing to the newspapers Masis, in Constantinople, and Mshak, in Tiflis. He wrote articles flavored with satire in the latter, under a pen name, about various aspects of Armenian life in Constantinople. He visited the Caucasus in 1884 on the election of Catholicos Makar I and met Grigor Artzruni, the influential editor of Mshak, as well as several famous writers, like Raffi, Perch Proshian, Ghazaros Aghayan, and others. This visit left a lasting impact on his life and outlook. He later became an editor of Masis, along with famous writer and politician Krikor Zohrab. Simultaneously, he launched a daily called Arevelk with the aim of promoting closer links between Western and Eastern Armenians.
Arevelk attracted many writers who became the core of literary realism among Armenians. Arpiarian is considered the founder of that literary movement, which revolutionized Armenian literature. He was the mentor of a generation of Armenian realist writers, such as Dikran Gamsaragan (1866-1940), Levon Pashalian (1868-1943), and, later, Yerukhan (1870-1915).
Politics had already attracted Arpiarian since the early 1880s, and in 1889 he joined the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, of which he would become one of its main leaders. He was among the chief organizers of the Kum Kapu demonstration in light of Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s treatment of Armenians. Arrested as a revolutionary, he was released in 1891. In that year, he founded and edited a new and very influential daily, Hairenik, which was suppressed by the sultan in 1896.
Arpiarian fled the Hamidian massacres in 1896 to London, where he published two monthly reviews, Mard and Nor Gyank, in the next few years. In the same year, the fracture of the Hunchakian Party began as a result of ideological dissent. He led one of the split factions, the Reorganized Hunchakians (Veragazmial Hunchakian), which rejected the socialist ideology of the party and eventually left it. Bitter partisan quarrels would continue over the next years and Arpiarian would make many enemies among his former comrades.
He traveled to Paris and then to Venice in 1901-1902. In the Italian city, he wrote his most successful and popular work, the novella The Crimson Offering (Կարմիր ժամուց), where he depicted the opposition between the revolutionary youth of the provinces, symbolized by a priest, Der Housig, and the conservative stance of the Armenians of Constantinople, represented by Hairabed Efendi, a trustee of the church where the priest had been called to serve. Arpiarian settled in Cairo three years later, where he edited the literary monthly Shirag.
On February 12, 1908, his political enemies assassinated him while Arpiarian was returning home from the market. His last words were “I am Armenian.” Writing after his death, poet and political activist Vahan Tekeyan (1878-1945) noted: “There were two people inside him, the patriot and the skeptic. The first killed him.”
However, Arpiarian’s name has continued to resonate in Armenian literature more than a hundred years after his death.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee[ANEC])
A Comic Word
For those of our readers who are into comics, particularly the series X-Men, there is a female character called Jubilee in them, whose actual name is Jubilation Lee. How do the English words jubilee and jubilation relate?
We do not know for sure. Jubilation comes from the Latin verb iūbilō (“shout for joy”). Hebrew yovel (= English jubilee) marked the year at the end of seven cycles of sabbatical years, which had a special impact on the regulations of property and management of land in the land of Israel, according to the Bible. The Latin translation of the Bible (Vulgata) translated the word as iobeleus, while the Greek translation (Septuaginta) rendered it as “a trumpet-blast of liberty.” The reason for the latter was that the Jubilee year was announced by a blast on a shofar (Armenian շեփոր, shepor), an instrument made from a ram’s horn (Hebrew yobhel “ram”).
The Armenian word յոբելեան (hopelian), which today means “birthday” or “anniversary feast,” is used to mark an anniversary of any kind (for instance, 2013 was the 95th hopelian of the creation of the Republic of Armenia on May 28, 1918), whereas the English jubilee is most commonly used to mark a twenty-fifth (“silver”) or a fiftieth (“golden”) anniversary. The Armenian word derives from Greek yobelos, where the Greek suffix –os was replaced by the Armenian եան (ian), which means “belonging to.”
However, there is an alternative explanation, after all. It has been suggested that Latin jubilo and Ancient Greek iuzo (“shout”) both come from a common Indo-European root *yu- (shout for joy) that predates the Bible. (There is also the Modern English word yowl.) If such were the case, then the Hebrew word yovel would be a borrowing from a neighboring Indo-European language rather than a derivation from another Hebrew word. And then the Greek yobelos, Armenian hopelian, and English jubilee would have an ultimate Indo-European origin, even if kept by the Bible.
Words can be fun and mysterious.
Previous entries in “The Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web site (
These small books for young children (ages 3 to 5) are gift-wrapped and ready to give for any occasion. Easy to handle by small hands to be read and colored.
Package of three books, $10.00 plus shipping & handling
Package of six books, $20.00 plus shipping & handling
To order these or other books, contact the Prelacy Bookstore by email ( or telephone (212-689-7810).
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
December 12 to 22—“Lost and Found: The Pinajian Discovery,” a special exhibition from the extraordinary discovery of paintings by Arthur Pinajian that were rescued and preserved are exhibited at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. The limited run exhibition features the artist’s lyrical landscapes and mid-century abstractions. Exhibition ends this Sunday. Contact the Cathedral for exhibit hours, 212-689-5880.
January 5, 2014—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Christmas Eve Concert following the Jerakalouyts Badarak. Concert features Farmington Community Chorus. Reception follows.
January 6, 2014—Ladies Guild of St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, presents Annual Christmas Luncheon and Program in Lillian Arakelian Fellowship Hall.
January 6, 2014—Christmas celebration at St. Gregory Church, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts. Special program, “First-time Impressions of Armenia,” presented by students Victoria Kulungian and Nairi Hovsepian, following Badarak and luncheon. All are invited.
February 1, 2014—Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance, St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.
February 2, 2014—St. Sarkis Men’s Club, Dearborn, Michigan, presents Super Bowl Party, at Lillian Arakelian Hall.
February 9, 2014—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Book Presentation by Deacon Shant Kazanjian following the Divine Liturgy at Lillian Arakelian Hall.
February 24-26, 2014—Annual Clergy Ghevontiantz Gathering hosted by Holy Cross Church, 255 Spring Avenue, Troy, New York.
March 1, 2014—St. Sarkis Sunday School, Dearborn, Michigan, Poon Paregentan Costume Party for everyone, at Lillian Arakelian Hall.
March 26, 2014—St. Sarkis Ladies Guild, Dearborn, Michigan, Mid-Lenten Luncheon following the Lenten morning service, Lillian Arakelian Hall.
March 28, 2014—Musical Armenia Concert presented by Eastern Prelacy and Prelacy Ladies Guild, at Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, 8 pm.
May 13-17, 2014—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, 2014—Ladies Guild Annual Brunch, St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.
June 1, 2014—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Toronto Children’s Choir concert in the church sanctuary.
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