June 27, 2013


By order of the Prelate, parishes of the Eastern Prelacy will offer Pontifical Prayers and Blessings this Sunday, June 30, on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the election and consecration of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.
His Holiness was consecrated Catholicos on July 1, 1995, after serving as Prelate of the Armenian Orthodox community in Lebanon for fifteen years.
Catholicos Aram was ordained a celibate priest in 1968 and earned the title “Vartabed” (Doctor of the Armenian Church) in 1970. He received his Episcopal ordination in 1980. Born in Beirut in 1947, His Holiness studied at the Holy See’s Theological Seminary in Antelias, Lebanon, and the Near East School of Theology before attending the American University of Beirut. He pursued his graduate education at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, Oxford University, and Fordham University, earning two Master’s degrees and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D).
During the past 18 years, His Holiness has enriched the legacy of the Holy See especially through its Seminary which has produced outstanding clerical and lay leaders for the Armenian Church. The Catholicosate’s prolific printing press has produced an impressive list of books on theology, history, biography, music, and literature.


Sixty-eight students (ages 13-18) and twenty clergymen and lay leaders will gather at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from June 30 to July 7, 2013, for a week of fellowship, prayer, and instruction in the elements of our Christian faith and traditions, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, the Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America.
Sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Summer Program offers a unique opportunity for our teenagers to learn some of the basic elements of the Christian faith in general and how that faith is expressed in the Armenian Apostolic Church in particular. Each day, the program begins with a Morning Service at 7:15 am; classes are held from 8:30am to 12:30pm. In the afternoons, the students enjoy recreational activities, such as volleyball, soccer, basketball, and swimming. In the evenings, the students engage in a panel discussion, followed by three concurrent Bible studies for different age groups. The day comes to a close with the Compline Service (Husgoom) at 9:45 pm.
The Instructors and the leaders of the Institute this year are: His Grace Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian (Vicar General), Rev. Fr. Khoren Habeshian, Rev. Fr. Antranig Baljian, Rev. Fr. Nerses Manoogian, Rev. Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian, Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian (Institute Director), Rev. Hovnan Bozoian, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Dn. Harout Takvorian, Dn. Bedros Kalajian, Dn. James Haddad, Yn. Joanna Baghsarian, Mrs. Maral Doghramadjian, Mrs. Maggie Kouyoumdjian, Ms. Tamar Lakissian and Ms. Jeanette Nazarian. The Institute will have three guest lecturers: Fr. Paul Tarazi, Professor of Biblical Studies at St. Valdimir’s Theological Seminary, S. Peter Cowe, Professor of Armenian Studies at UCLA, and Siobhan Nash-Marshall, Professor of Philosophy at Manhattanville College.
For information about the Datev Institute, please visit the Prelacy website at or contact the AREC office at 212 689 4481.
Datevatsies from the New York-New Jersey area came to the Prelacy yesterday to assemble program materials for the participants of the Datev Summer Program that will begin this Sunday.


The 4th annual summer camp for orphans will take place in Dzaghgatzor, Armenia, next week, July 4 to 11. Sponsored by the Eastern Prelacy, each year more than fifty orphans enrolled in the Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship Program (ages 13 to 16) attend the camp where they learn about the Armenian Church, attend worship services, share in Christian fellowship, and enjoy recreational activities and field trips. The camp is directed by Archpriest Fr. Aram  Stepanian, pastor of St. Asdvadzadzin Church, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, with the help of the Prelacy’s Armenia office, the St. Nerses the Great Charitable Organization.
Two photographs from last year’s camp session showing daily activities that include outdoor exercise and Bible studies.


The closing hantes and graduation ceremonies of the Nareg Armenian School took place last Sunday following the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey.
Archbishop Oshagan presided over the Divine Liturgy and the Nareg School’s graduation and hantes. His Eminence offered the opening and closing prayers, as well as words of encouragement and praise for Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, the students, teachers and administrators. He stressed the importance of learning the Armenian language and literature by upcoming generations. In this respect he noted the important role played by the Nareg Armenian School.
Students of lower grades perform at the Nareg Armenian School’s closing hantes.
Graduates of the Nareg School.
Archbishop Oshagan, Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, with the graduates of the upper grade with principal and teachers.


Bible readings for Sunday, June 30, Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, (Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration), are: Isaiah 3:1-11; Romans 11:13-24; Matthew 14:13-21
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.


Today, Thursday, June 27, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Elisha the Prophet, whose life and works are recorded in 1 and 2 Kings. Elisha (“God is Salvation”), was a disciple of the Prophet Elijah, who at God’s command anointed Elisha to be his successor much like Jesus later did in calling his disciples in Galilee.
Elisha performs miracles, healing the sick and reviving the dead. His message to his followers was that they should return to traditional religious practices and acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all aspects of life. When he healed the sick it was to demonstrate God’s power over life and death; when he helped in battle, it was to demonstrate God’s power over nations.


This Saturday, June 29, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Twelve Apostles of Christ and Saint Paul, who is considered the thirteenth apostle.
Jesus selected twelve apostles to carry on His work and instructed them to preach and to baptize converts all over the world (Mt. 28:19-20). He gave the title “apostle” to the twelve (Luke 6:13; Mark 3:14). The word apostle derives from the Greek word apostellein (arakyal in Armenian). The apostles dedicated their lives to spreading the Word and fulfilling the sacred mission entrusted to them. Their mission was not just to transmit the message, but to put it into practice.
Paul was initially an enemy of Christians and persecuted them. He had a vision on the road to Damascus and became a fervent Christian convert and was subsequently responsible in large measure for the rapid spread of the new religion. Most of the New Testament (aside from the four Gospels) is from the writings of Paul.
The Armenian Church has its roots in the apostolic ministry and succession (Thaddeus and Bartholomew) and is therefore known as “apostolic,” (arakelagan). The apostles and their immediate successors (including the Armenian Church) defended the Orthodox faith and kept it pure.


This Sunday, June 30, the sixth Sunday after Pentecost, is the Paregentan of the Fast of the Transfiguration—the five-day (Monday to Friday) period of fasting prior to the Feast of the Transfiguration (Aylagerboutyan / Vartavar), which is next Sunday, July 7.


The committee appointed by His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II and His Holiness Catholicos Aram I convened a two-day meeting at the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon. The committee is reviewing current ritual ceremonies of the Armenian Church and will propose changes to the Conference of Bishops scheduled to take place in Etchmiadzin in the autumn.
The representatives from the Holy See of Etchmiadzin are: Bishop Michael Atchabahyan, Bishop Arshag Khachatourian, Bishop Vahan Hovhannessian, and V. Rev. Fr. Zakaria Paghoumian. The representatives from the Holy See of Cilicia are: Archbishop Gomitas Ohanian, Archbishop Kegham Khacherian, and V. Rev. Krikor Chiftjian. Guest clergy attendees included Archbishop Varoujan Herkelian and Archbishop Nareg Alemezian from the Catholicosate of Cilicia, and V. Rev. Fr. Tatoul Anoushian from the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Catholicos Aram hosted the committee members at a luncheon on the first day. In his welcoming remarks, His Holiness emphasized the importance and urgency of their task.


Three new celibate priests were ordained last weekend at the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Antelias, Lebanon.
The ordination ceremonies began Saturday evening when Deacons Sepastia Tarkhanian, Hampartsoum Balekjian, and Antranig Dalkourgian took the oath according to the canons of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, in the presence of His Holiness Aram I, the members of the Cilician Brotherhood, and the faithful gathered in the Cathedral. The new priests were renamed Vahrich, Vatche, Vigen, respectively
On Sunday, His Holiness presided over the Holy Liturgy and Bishop Shahe Panossian, Pontifical Delegate to the Gulf countries, officiated over the ordination ceremony. Bishop Shahe chose Matthew 19:16-30, the parable of the Rich Young Man and the Kingdom of God, as the lesson of the day. At the end of his sermon, Bishop Shahe congratulated the director and staff of the Seminary and expressed thanks to the Catholicos for his pastoral care.
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.
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)

Death of Hovhannes Abelian (July 1, 1936)

The three Abelian brothers, originally from Shamakha (current Azerbaijan), became noteworthy personalities in different aspects of Armenian culture and history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The elder brother, Nerses (1855-1933), an engineer by trade, was among the students who founded the Union of Patriots (1882) in Moscow, one of the first Armenian political groups in the Russian Empire. The middle brother, Alexander (1858-1940), was a prolific playwright, and the younger one, Hovhannes, turned to be one of the stars of Armenian theater for more than fifty years.
Hovhannes Abelian was born in 1865 in Shamakha. After the violent earthquake of 1872, most of the Armenian population of the city started to move to Baku, which was coincidental to the development of this city as a world-known oil center.  The young Hovhannes gave his first steps on the stage in 1882, in a Russian group. He moved to Tiflis (Tbilisi), the main Armenian cultural center of the Caucasus, in 1886 and entered the playgroup of the Armenian Dramatic Club. He lived and played between Tiflis and Baku for the next two decades, and became an unsurpassed interpreter of the works of famous playwright Shirvanzade (Alexander Movsisian, 1858-1935), who incidentally was his cousin. He played some 300 roles in his long career, including plays by Gabriel Sundukian, Levon Shant, and Hagop Baronian, but also works by Russian and European playwrights, from Nikolai Gogol to William Shakespeare.
In 1908 Abelian joined forces with another famous Armenian actor, Armen Armenian (1871-1965), brother of theater director and playwright Kaspar Ipekian (the founder of the Hamazkayin theater group in Lebanon, 1883-1952). The Abelian-Armenian Theater Group, with several very important names in the cast, started a three-year long tour of Armenian cities and communities in Eastern Armenia, the Caucasus, Western Armenia, Iran, and Turkey. In 1909 it went to Constantinople and another famous actor, Hovhannes Zarifian (1879-1936), joined them.  After several performances in the Ottoman capital, following the cultural revival brought by the restoration of the Ottoman Constitution in 1908, the Abelian-Armenian-Zarifian Theater Group divided into three branches, which performed in Smyrna (Izmir), Anatolia, and the third one, led by Abelian and Zarifian, in Izmit, Bardizag, Adapazar, Eskishehir, and Rodosto (Tekirdag). They ended their run in 1911, with performances in Baku, Nor Nakhichevan, and Moscow.
During the 1910s, Abelian—who was equally qualified to play in Armenian and Russian productions—continued his professional activities and performed in the Caucasus, but also in Moscow and Petersburg, as well as Iran and Central Asia. He left the Caucasus in September 1920 and moved abroad with his family. For the next three years, he performed in Constantinople, Smyrna, Cairo, Alexandria, Berlin, (where he played “Othello” with a German group, performing his signature role of Othello in Armenian), Paris, Brussels, and London. He arrived in the United States in 1923 and performed in many communities on the East Coast and the Midwest (New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago) for the next two years.
However, Abelian’s aim was not to stay abroad. In 1925 he accepted an invitation of the government of Soviet Armenia and settled in Yerevan. He was conferred with the title of Popular Artist of the Republic in 1925 and entered the First Theater (now the Sundukian Theater). He would continue to play with the same enthusiasm and talent of his younger years until his death on the stage, in Yerevan, at the age of 71. The dramatic theater of Vanadzor, the third city of Armenia, bears his name.


Messiah is a graphic story of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection in Western Armenian, printed in Japan and illustrated in the Japanese Manga comic style.
Messiah, 287 pages, softcover, $18.00, plus shipping & handling.

Letters from Syria 1921-1923:A Response to the Armenian Tragedy

By Nellie Miller-Mann
Transcribed and Edited by David M. Mann
Foreword by Shant Mardirossian, chairman of Near East Foundation
Letters from Syria 1921-1923, is a compilation of letters, reports, and photographs by Nellie Miller-Mann, who served as secretary for the Near East Relief offices in Beirut, Lebanon. The book chronicles the suffering of the refugees and the aid provided by the Near East Relief.
Letters from Syria 1921-1923: A response to the Armenian Tragedy, 228 pages, softcover, $16.00, plus shipping & handling.

To order this book or for information about any other book contact the Prelacy Bookstore by email ( or by telephone (212-689-7810).
A radiant rainbow embraced St. Stephen’s Church inWatertown, Massachusetts last week. 
May 2 to June 30—“History of Armenia: Past, Present, Future,” a series of eight 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 Cathedral and the UN Armenian Mission. Facilitator: Artur Martirosyan, Ph.D.
June 30—Brunch and Talent Show, organized and hosted by the Ladies Guild of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, New York, at 1 pm, under the auspices of Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian. Adults $15.00; Children $10.00. For information: 212-689-5880.
July 7—St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Outdoor Family Event, following church services on the Feast of Transfiguration, Vartivar. Everyone, especially the youth, is invited to join in water games on the lawn next to the church.
June 30-July 7—27th Annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute, at St. Mary of Providence Center, Elverson, Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Cou8ncil (AREC). For information contact the AREC office3 by email ( or phone (212-689-7810).
June 30—Brunch and Talent Show with guest performers “Hayer” Band, at St. Illuminator’s John Pashalian Hall, under the auspices of Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian. Organized and prepared by the Cathedral Ladies Guild. Admission $15.00; for information/reservations: 212-689-5880.
July 4-11—4th Annual Summer Camp for Orphans will take place in Dzaghgztazor, Armenia, sponsored by the Eastern Prelacy. Orphans ages 13 to 16 who are enrolled in the Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program are eligible to attend to learn about the Armenian Church and history. The week long program includes Bible study and prayers and meditation combined with summer fun activities and fellowship with other campers. For more information contact Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian by email ( or by phone (508-865-2454).
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.
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 or on Facebook.
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 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.
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