July 2, 2015
INDEPENDENCE DAY—JULY 4, 1776

239th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”


PONTIFICAL PRAYERS AND BLESSINGS
Last Sunday parishes of the Eastern Prelacy offered Pontifical Prayers and Blessings on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the election and consecration of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia.

Archbishop Oshagan presided over the Liturgy and Pontifical Prayers and delivered the sermon at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York.
Archbishop Oshagan and Father Mesrob Lakissian and altar servers during the Pontifical Prayers and Blessings offered in honor of the 20th anniversary of the enthronement of His Holiness Aram I.
PRELATE WILL ATTEND HOMENETMEN GAMES
Archbishop Oshagan will attend the Homenetmen Eastern Region’s Annual Athletic Games that will take place in Boston this weekend. His Eminence will deliver the invocation at the banquet Friday evening and at the closing ceremonies on Sunday.


DATEV INSTITUTE IN FULL SWING
The 2015 St. Gregory of Datev Summer Institute began last Sunday at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, for a week of fellowship, prayer, and instruction in the Armenian Christian faith and traditions. Sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the summer program offers a unique opportunity for teenagers to learn some of the basic elements of the Christian faith and how that faith is expressed in the Armenian Apostolic Church. Each day then program begins with a Morning Service at 7:15 am; classes are held from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. In the afternoon the students enjoy recreational activities such as volleyball, soccer, basketball, and swimming. In the evening the students engage in panel discussions followed by Bible studies before the day comes to an end with Compline Service at 9:45 pm. The week-long summer studies will conclude this Sunday, July 5, with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Philadelphia. This week’s Podcast with Fr. Nareg comes from Datev. See last item for the link.
BIBLE READINGS
Bible readings for Sunday, July 5, 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.
ELISHA THE PROPHET
Today, Thursday, July 2, 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.
TWELVE APOSTLES OF CHRIST AND SAINT PAUL, THE THIRTEENTH APOSTLE
This Saturday, July 4, 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.


PAREGENTAN OF THE FAST OF TRANSFIGURATION
This Sunday, July 5, 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 27.
NEWS FROM THE CATHOLICOSATE
COMMENCEMENT AT SEMINARY
The 2015 commencement of the Cilician See’s Seminary took place June 23, in Bikfaya in the presence of members of the brotherhood, family, and friends. Very Rev. Fr. Shenorhk Ashekian, Director of Students Affairs, welcomed the guests to the recently renovated monastery. The Seminary’s Dean, V. Rev. Fr. Torkom Donoyan, presented the Seminary’s 85th annual report and invited the student speaker, Rev. Fr. Hovaguim Panjarjian, to address the gathering. 

His Holiness Aram distributed the diplomas to the graduates. In his message, His Holiness spoke about the knowledge and qualifications the graduates had gained while preparing for their ministry. He paid tribute to the late Catholicos Sahak II Khabayan, the visionary Catholicos who established the seminary 85 years ago, soon after the Genocide. His Holiness noted that since its establishment, the seminary has not only responded to the spiritual needs of the survivors, but has also helped them overcome temporal issues of survival. He described the Seminary as the temple of hope, the path to discovering God, the means to studying the Bible, and entering into communion with the saints, and the place where students are educated and formed to serve.


PROFESSOR TANER AKÇAM LECTURES IN ANTELIAS
Professor Taner Akçam, professor of history and the Robert Aram, Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University, spoke about “The Armenian Genocide research, findings and current challenges.” The event, presided by His Holiness Aram I, took place at the Cilician Museum Hall in Antelias, and was attended by a large number of clergy, academics, students, and members of the community.

V. Rev. Fr. Sipan Kechedjian introduced Professor Akçam. In his lecture, Professor Akçam spoke about the contribution that Armenian and non-Armenian scholars have made to the study of the Armenian Genocide, and spoke about his extensive research in the Ottoman archives. He stated that the Armenian genocide was premeditated and well planned by the Turkish authorities of the time and that the First World War provided the appropriate context and time for the Turkish authorities to execute their plan. He emphasized that there is need for new research on the Armenian Genocide, and encouraged Armenian youth to become actively involved in this research.

After a question/answer period, His Holiness concluded the evening by thanking Professor Akçam for his courage and commitment to the Armenian Genocide and also for accepting to join the team of experts who filed the lawsuit with the Constitutional Court of Turkey for the return of the property of the See of Cilicia in Sis.
HUYSER MUSIC ENSEMBLE AT ST. VARTAN CATHEDRAL
Kavoukjian Hall at the Diocesan Center in New York was alive with music last Friday, June 26, as the Huyser Music Ensemble took the stae before an enthusiastic audience. The event was hosted by St. Vartan Cathedral.

“Huyser,” which means “hopes” was founded in 2010 by its artistic director Harout Barsoumian under the auspices of St. Illuminator Armenian Cathedral and its pastor Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian.
V. Rev. Fr. Mamigon Kiledjian, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, and Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan with members of the Huyser Music Ensemble: Karine Barsoumian, Maria Barsoumian, Harout Barsoumian, Diana Vasilyan, Diran Jebejian, Ara Yegoryan, Dr. George Barsoumian, and young participants.
THIS WEEK IN ARMENIAN HISTORY
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Death of Sirarpie Der Nersessian (July 6, 1989)
Sirarpie Der Nersessian, an art historian, and specialist in Armenian and Byzantine studies, became a pioneer in the field of Armenian art history.

She was born in Constantinople on September 5, 1896, in the family of a businessman. Her maternal uncle was the renowned ecclesiastic and scholar, Archbishop Maghakia Ormanian, who two months later would become Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople (1896-1908). Her mother passed away in 1905, and her father, in 1914). Sirarpie Der Nersessian received her elementary education at the Esayan School, followed by studies at the English High School for Girls (1908-1913). In July 1915, upon the advice of friends, she left for Europe with her maternal aunt and her sister. They initially settled in Geneva, where Der Nersessian studied at the college and the university from 1916-1919.

The Der Nersessian sisters, Araxie (Arax) and Sirarpie, moved to Paris in 1919. Sirarpie Der Nersessian was admitted to the École Pratique des Hautes Études, where she studied under noted Byzantinist Gabriel Millet, and also followed the courses of another Byzantinist, Charles Diehl, and art historian Henri Focillon at the Sorbonne. She graduated in 1926. Encouraged by Millet, in 1927 she extended her field of research to Armenian manuscripts, which were still little known.  
Sirarpie Der Nersessian with His Holiness Vazken I during his visit to the United States in 1960.
In 1930 Sirarpie Der Nersessian accepted an offer from Wellesley College, in Massachusetts, to give courses on ancient and medieval art, as well as seminars on Byzantine art. She also became a lecturer of Fine Arts at New York University in 1931. In 1936 she gave a series of fifteen lectures at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, with the subject “Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts.” This was the first course on Armenian art ever given in the United States. At the end of the same year, she defended her two theses to obtain her Ph.D. from the Sorbonne. In 1937 she became chair of the Art Department at Wellesley, and in 1944, the first woman to be invited to Dumbarton Oaks as senior scholar. In 1946 she was named Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology for life at the same institution, as well as member of the School of Art and Sciences at Harvard University, and moved to Washington D.C. She would retire in 1963 and return to Paris, where she lived for the rest of her life. She was the first woman to be decorated with the St. Gregory the Illuminator medal by Catholicos of All Armenians Vazken I in 1960, the year of her first visit to Armenia. In 1965 she was elected corresponding member of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, and would also become member of the British Academy (1975) and the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (1978).

Sirarpie Der Nersessian, a pioneer of Armenian Studies in the United States and an authority on Armenian art during her lifetime and afterwards, passed away on July 6, 1989 in Paris. Her studies of church architecture, illuminated manuscripts, miniatures, and sculpture, included a score of articles and books such as Armenia and the Byzantine Empire (1945), Aght'amar: Church of the Holy Cross (1964), L’art arménien (1965), The Armenians (1969), Armenian Manuscripts in the Walters Art Gallery (1973), Byzantine and Armenian Studies (1973), Armenian Miniatures from Isfahan (1986), Miniature Painting in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia from the Twelfth to the Fourteenth Century (1993), etcetera.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org)
SYRIAN ARMENIAN COMMUNITY NEEDS OUR HELP MORE THAN EVER
The crisis in Syria requires our financial assistance.
Please keep this community in your prayers, your hearts, and your pocketbooks.

PLEASE DO NOT FORGET OUR ONGOING RELIEF EFFORTS FOR THE ARMENIAN COMMUNITY IN SYRIA WHERE CONDITIONS ARE BECOMING INCREASINGLY MORE DIFFICULT.
THE NEED IS REAL.
THE NEED IS GREAT.

DONATIONS TO THE FUND FOR SYRIAN ARMENIAN RELIEF CAN BE MADE ON LINE. TO DONATE NOW CLICK HERE AND SELECT SYRIAN ARMENIAN RELIEF IN THE MENU. OR IF YOU PREFER YOU MAY MAIL YOUR DONATION TO:
Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief

Thank you for your help
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST WITH FATHER NAREG
(Pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York)

Episode 44: This week’s Podcast comes from the Datev Summer Institute currently taking place in Pennsylvania. Click here or the image above to link.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
June 28-July 5—29th annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program for youth ages 13-18 at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). For information and registration, please visit the Prelacy’s website at armenianprelacy.org/arec/datev or contact the AREC office at 212-689-7810 or arec@armenianprelacy.org.

July 11—St. Stephen’s Church Ladies Guild, Hartford-New Britain, Connecticut, “Elizabeth Park Brunch.” Come see the roses and 100 acres of formal gardens, and enjoy offsite brunch and meeting at Pond House in the park. For reservations contact Sue Shabazian or Suzanne Midinian. For information: church office, 860-229-8322.

July 11—60th anniversary of Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, at Alpine Country Club, Cranston, Rhode Island, 6 pm, featuring Hachig Kazarian, John Berberian, Ken Kalajian, Jason Naroian. Dinner/Dance $50.00 per person; Dance only (8 pm) $25.00 per person. For information and reservations contact Joyce Bagdasarian, 401-434-4467.

July 18—Blessing of the Holy Muron (Oil) by His Holiness Aram I, at the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon.

August 9—“Pizza, Popcorn, and a Movie,” St. Stephen’s Church Hall, New Britain, Connecticut, hosted by Ladies Guild. Lunch and movie, $10.

August 27-30—Hamazkayin ArtLinks 2015, educational workshops for 21 to 30 age group. Speakers and workshop leaders include: Eric Bogosian, Eric Nazarian, Aline Ohanesian, Scout Tufenkjian; program director Khatchig Mouradian. Participation fee of $150 includes all workshops, three nights of lodging, and meals. For information: artlinks@hamazkayin.com. 

September 13—St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain and Hartford, Annual Church Picnic at Winding Trails in Farmington. Family and Friends Day; Bring a Friend. New spectacular venue for our picnic this year. Lots of sporting activities for the children and young adults and Holiday Boutique “Trinkets and Treasures.” Pavilion next to hall with lots of room in case of inclement weather.

October 5-9—Clergy gathering of Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies.

October 18—Presentation of the Album “Retrospective” by well-known Canadian photographer Kaloust Babian, at Pashalian Hall, St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, at 1 pm. Organized by St. Illuminator’s Cathedral and Hamazkayin of New York.

October 24—Concert dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide featuring singers Nune Yesayan and Sibil, with participation of the Hamazkayin NJ Nayiri Dance Ensemble and Arekag Chorus, 7:30 pm at BergenPac, 30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey. Tickets: $85, $65. $45. For information: Ani Mouradian 973-224-2741.

October 25—Breakfast in the church hall ($10) after the Liturgy, St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, sponsored by the Ladies Guild.

November 1—Arminstring Ensemble, St. Illuminator Cathedral’s John Pashalian Hall.

November 15—“Remembering the Past, Embracing the Future, 1925-2015,” St. Stephen’s Church, New Britain, Connecticut, 90th Anniversary celebration. His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, Prelate, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and preside over the banquet at Farmington Club, 162 Town Farm Road, Farmington, Connecticut. Details to follow.

December 6—ARS Holiday Dinner, St. Stephen’s Church Hall, New Britain, Connecticut, after church services. Save the date. Details to follow.

December 20—“Soup, Sandwiches, and Bingo,” St. Stephen’s Church Hall, New Britain, Connecticut, following church services, sponsored by Ladies Guild.
Web pages of the parishes can be accessed through the Prelacy’s web site.
 
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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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