June 15, 2017
His Holiness Aram I welcomed the President of Cyprus to the Catholicosate. From left, Bishop Shahe Panossian, Archbishop Khoren Doghramajian, President Anastasiades, His Holiness Aram I, Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Archbishop Kegham Khatcherian, Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian.

Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus, paid a visit to His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, yesterday (June 14) in Antelias, Lebanon. President Anastasiades was accompanied by a number of high-level government ministers and dignitaries. Welcoming the President and his entourage alongside the Catholicos were Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan,  Archbishop Kegham Khatcherian, Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian, Archbishop Khoren Doghramajian, and Bishop Shahe Panossian.


His Holiness welcomed the President and noted the close relationship enjoyed by their respective churches and nations based on mutual values and principles. President Anastasiades expressed his joy visiting the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia and praised the friendship between the Greek and Armenian people and the increasing cordial relationship between Armenia and Cyprus.


The entourage visited the Martyrs Chapel where Catholicos Aram offered a prayer at the relics of the martyrs and noted that the Martyrs Chapel, erected in 1938, was the first Memorial and Chapel dedicated to the Armenian martyrs.

His Holiness leads a prayer in the Martyrs Chapel in Antelias.


The Armenian Prelacy of Canada hosted a seminar called “U-Turn” from June 9-11, in Kingston, Ontario. One hundred young adults from Montreal, Toronto, California attended, along with Ms. Nevair Oranjian, Mr. Christapor Megherian, and Mr. Shant Megherian, who represented the Eastern Prelacy and St. Sarkis Church of Douglaston, New York.  


As the theme of the seminar was making a U-Turn within the eyes of the church, throughout the weekend participants were given the opportunity to renew themselves in front of God. After morning service on Saturday, attendees were given a passage from 2 Corinthians 7:2-4 about warning systems to review and reflect upon. The day continued with lectures about our faith and the struggles we face that could result in a U-Turn back to God. Rev. Dr.  George Leylegian, from the Bahamas, discussed the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12. He defined the beatitudes and explained how each depicts levels of spiritual and physical suffering, and reviewed the relation between the beatitudes and the sins read during confession. The next lecture, by Reverend Father Paul Guirgis, a Coptic priest, was about addictions in our lives, and how God assists us to recover from addictions through prayer and faith.  Rev. Father Guirgis spoke about the types, causes, effects, and the cycles of addiction. The theme of U-Turn was depicted through a skit presented by members of AREC of Canada showing that even though we are tempted by many sources in our lives, we still can return back to the church, and God will help us renew ourselves.


Attendees did not only listen to lectures, they also engaged in fellowship hours and various recreational activities.  Evenings provided time for friendships to form during the barbeque, campfire, dance, and karaoke sessions. Fellowship hours were some of the best times spent over the course of the weekend, as Armenians from North America and Canada connected with not only each other, but with their spirituality and culture.


The weekend came to an end with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Rev. Fr. Vartan Tashjian and sermon delivered by Archbishop Papken Tcharian, Prelate of Canada.  Archbishop Tcharian spoke about renewal in our lives through our strong faith and connection with God. He said that the warning signals we receive from God are the ones that will help us live our lives as purely as we can, and that even if we stumble, we can make that U-Turn and renew ourselves in the eyes of the Lord. (Reported by Nevair Oranjian)


The annual Summer Camp for children enrolled in the Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship Program will take place for the eighth consecutive summer from July 8 to 15. The camp program is organized by the Prelacy’s charitable office in Yerevan, “The St. Nerses the Great Charitable Organization,” and is directed by Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, pastor of St. Stephen Church in Connecticut.


As in past years, Archbishop Oshagan has directed Prelacy parishes to pass a special plate collection on Sunday June 18 and Sunday June 25, to help defray the expenses of the camp.


Each year about fifty children are selected to attend the summer camp, where they receive daily instruction in Bible studies, Armenian Church history and rituals, along with recreational sports, games, and field trips.


Der Aram has indicated his willingness to visit any parish that wishes to have more details about the summer camp. Contact Der Aram by email (aramstep2@gmail.com).  Donations may also be sent directly to the Prelacy payable to “Armenian Apostolic Church of America,” with “Summer Camp” indicated in the memo area. Mail to 138 E. 39th Street, New York, NY 10016.


Bible readings for Sunday, June 18, Second Sunday after Pentecost; Feast of Holy Etchmiadzin are: Proverbs 9:1-6; Zechariah 3:7-4:9; Hebrews 9:1-10; John 10:22-30.

Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was constructed, the first one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of the Presence; this is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a tent called the Holy of Holies. In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot speak now in detail.

Such preparations having been made, the priests go continually into the first tent to carry out their ritual duties; but only the high priest goes into the second, and he but once a year, and not without taking the blood that he offers for himself and for the sins committed unintentionally by the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary has not yet been disclosed as long as the first tent is still standing. This is a symbol of the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various baptisms, regulations for the body imposed until the time comes to set things right. (Hebrews 9:1-10)


At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” (John 10:22-30)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings  Click Here.



This Saturday (June 17) is the Feast of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s deliverance from the pit (Khor Viraben Yelkuh). Gregory is revered as the patron saint of the Armenian Church. He is recognized and memorialized in both eastern and western hierarchical churches. The Armenian liturgical calendar reserves three feast days in his honor: Entrance into the pit; deliverance from the pit; and discovery of relics. In addition to these three days, there are several feast days to which he is closely connected, namely the feast days for Sts. Hripsimiantz, Sts. Gayaniantz, Shoghakat, Holy Etchmiadzin, and King Trdat. The Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox churches, and Oriental Orthodox churches have special days in their calendars for the veneration of St. Gregory, who is considered to be one of the Fathers of the early Christian church.


Gregory was condemned to the pit in 287 AD by King Trdat and the persecution of Christians began. After the martyrdom of a group of nuns who came to Armenia from Rome led by Hripsime and Gayane, Trdat was stricken with strange maladies. His sister, Khosrovidukht, had a dream that Gregory was the only person who could heal her brother. Miraculously, Gregory was still alive after many years in the pit, thanks to an angelic woman who lowered food and water into the pit each day. Gregory emerged from the pit; the king was healed and baptized, and he declared Christianity to be the official religion of Armenia.


Gregory was not the first to preach Christianity in Armenia. That distinction belongs to the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew who came to Armenia in the first century, and thus gave the Armenian Church its apostolic designation. Nevertheless, Gregory is revered and is considered by Armenians to be the father of their faith. Hundreds of churches have been built and named in his honor.


“The ancient calendars of the still undivided Church celebrated him [Gregory] on the same day in both the East and the West as a tireless apostle of truth and holiness. The father in faith of the whole Armenian people, St. Gregory still intercedes from heaven today, so that all the children of your great nation may at last gather round the one table prepared by Christ, the divine Shepherd of one flock.”

Pope John Paul II in his “Apostolic Letter for the 1700th Anniversary of the Baptism of the Armenian People,” issued February 2, 2001.

This Sunday (June 18) is the Feast of Holy Mother Etchmiadzin, the cathedral built by St. Gregory after his deliverance from the pit, to the specifications he saw in a vision, and on the place marked by the Lord with a golden hammer. This feast day commemorates the establishment of the Armenian Church and the end of paganism. Etchmiadzin is the oldest example of a four-altar, four-pillar, domes, cruciform church in Christian architecture. More than 1,700 years old, it is the oldest surviving Armenian Christian site. Relief sculptures on the exterior walls are some of the oldest examples of the Christian Armenian art of sculpting.


Also celebrated this coming week:

Monday, June 19: The Holy Children of Bethlehem.

Tuesday, June 20: Sts. Nooneh and Maneh the Virgins.

Thursday, June 22: Sts. Sahag and Hovsep the Princes and Sts. Sarkis and Pacchus the Martyrs.

Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian attended the 120 th anniversary banquet luncheon for the Armenian Evangelical Church of New York last Saturday at the Liberty House in Jersey City, New Jersey.


On Sunday June 11, St. Illuminator Cathedral's Sunday School students collaborated to present a synopsis of their year's study and work on Armenian illuminated manuscripts. Opening remarks were given by  co-director Sossi Essajanian who outlined the three parts of the curriculum (We Believe lessons; Bible Study; and Armenian Church-themed topic study) and shared how activities during the year are driven by the interests of the children in the curricular areas. She also mentioned that the presentation will be made completely by the students and will reflect their confidence and enthusiasm for the topics of study. Each student then took a turn at the podium to share a brief description and reflection on projects they did during the year about Armenian illuminated manuscripts including a skit, field trip, LED light closed-circuit projects, and a culminating piece of their own original illuminated manuscripts. Closing remarks were made by the newest teacher, Ani Parnagian, who thanked Der Hayr, Dn. Shant, Board of Trustees, and the community for their support. Der Mesrob thanked the teachers, Tamar Lakissian, Melineh Mesrobian, Ani Parnagian, and Sossi Essajanian, and also shared his pride in the students' achievements, encouraging others to join the group when they return to classes in September.
Siamanto Academy students with the director, Dr. Vartan Matiossian, and ANEC chairman Harout Misserlian.
Paul Tarakdjian received a certificate upon completion of the two-year course of study at the Siamanto Academy.

The Siamanto Academy completed the academic year 2016-2017 on Saturday, June 10. The last class took place with the presence of ANEC Chairman Mr. Harout Misserlian, ARS Eastern USA Board Chairwoman Ms. Talin Daghlian, and Board member Ms. Margaret Babikian.


ANEC Director Dr. Vartan Matiossian, who also directs the academy, thanked the nine students and their parents for their support. Throughout the year, classes were offered by Dr. Matiossian and Mr. Misserlian. This year, one student, Paul Tarakdjian, completed the two-year course of Armenian history, culture, and current affairs. The students attending the last class made presentations on different subjects of their choice, such as Armenians in Europe, Armenians in Turkey, the three Armenian Republics, and others.


The Academy will resume its activities on Saturday, September 9, 2017, at the Hovnanian School, in New Milford (New Jersey). Students from ages 13 to 17 are welcome to join the academy. The meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month, from September to June. For more information and registration, please email ANEC at anec@armenianprelacy.org or call at (212) 689-7231

Nareg Armenian School of Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, had its year-end hantes last Sunday after the Divine Liturgy. Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, pastor, along with teachers and administrators of the Nareg School are seen here with the students who presented an enjoyable and delightful program.
This past Sunday, following the Divine Liturgy, St. Sarkis Suzanne & Hovsep Hagopian Saturday School held their year end Hantes. These talented students wonderfully performed for their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles including for Anoushavan Serpazan and Hayr Zareh Sarkissian, in the church sanctuary.
Marine Petrossian, an Armenian poet and essayist, who was in St. Louis to participate in Poetry Scores, an international arts collective that translates the poetry of the world into other media, visited St. Gregory Church in Granite City, Illinois, where she read some of her Armenian and English poems after the Liturgy on a recent Sunday.

The 50th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan will be celebrated on Sunday, November 19, 2017. Please save the date and watch for the exciting details of this inspiring milestone.

The 31st annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute summer program for youth ages 13-18 is scheduled to be held at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from July 2-9, 2017. Sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the summer program offers a unique weeklong Christian educational program for youth. It aims to instill and nurture the Armenian Christian faith and identity in our youth through a variety of educational activities, coupled with daily church services and communal recreational activities. For information and registration, please visit the Prelacy’s website or contact the AREC office by email ( arec@armenianprelacy.org ) or telephone (212-689-7810). 
Click a picture below to visit the Datev Webpage
Birth of Kristapor Araratian (June 18, 1876)

A generation of Armenian professional soldiers who had distinguished themselves in the Russian army led the military of the first Republic of Armenia. General Kristapor Araratian was one of them.

Araratian was born on June 18, 1876, in the city of Mitzkhetha (province of Tiflis). His father Gerasim (Karapet) Araratov was a lieutenant general in the Russian army. He entered the կադետային կորպուս of Tiflis (1886-1893) and graduated as a sub-officer. Afterwards, he entered the artillery school of St. Petersburg, which he finished in 1896 among the top three of his class. He was permitted to serve at the place of his choice, and thus Araratian chose the Caucasian brigade of grenade artillery, seated near Tiflis. He was transferred to Siberia in 1904, and later, on his request, to the battlefront in the Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905. In 1906 he went to serve in European Russia, where he continued rising through the army ranks, and he received several medals for his services. He was married to Nina Eyubova, and they had two children, Konstantin and Elena.

He participated in World War I, first in the Russian front (1914-1915), and then in the Romanian front (1916-1917). After the October Revolution and the retreat of the Russian troops from the Caucasus, Colonel Araratian was aware that the Ottoman army would take advantage of the situation and attack Armenia. He moved to the Caucasus and entered the newly formed Armenian army. Its commander, General Tovmas Nazarbekian, designated Araratian commander of the second division of the artillery brigade in January 1918. The brigade was included in the army corps of Yerevan, commanded by Movses Silikian, and Araratian became commander of artillery. In this post, he participated in the battle of Sardarabad, and his division took prisoner a whole battalion of enemy troops, composed of Turkish and German soldiers.

After the proclamation of the republic, Araratian became commander of the Armenian artillery brigade. He participated in the short-lived Armenian-Georgian war in December 1918. In March 1919, after Prime Minister Hovhannes Kajaznuni resigned from his post, Alexander Khatisian replaced him. War Minister Hovhannes Hakhverdian had also resigned, and on March 27, 1919, Kristapor Araratian, ascended to the rank of major general, was named War Minister. He asked Hakhverdian to become an advisor, and designated Lieutenant General Silikian as his assistant. Araratian remained in his post until April 3, 1920, when he resigned and became director of the rifle company of the ministry.

He later became artillery commander until he was sent to Kars as military commander. Kars, the most important fortress of the region, fell to the enemy in the Armenian-Turkish war (October 30, 1920). Araratian fell prisoner, together with many Armenian soldiers. He would only return to Armenia at the end of 1921, and held the post of artillery commander until 1925. In 1925-1926 he went to Moscow, where he studied at the Frunze Military Academy for high-ranking officers. After his return, he was offered the direction of the military chairs at Yerevan State University and the Armenian Agricultural Institute.

Like many officers who had served the first Republic, Araratian was also a victim of the Stalinist purges. He was arrested on September 2, 1937. After three months in prison, the death sentence of November 16 was executed on December 10. Kristapor Araratian, along with Generals Movses Silikian and Dmitri Mirimanov, and four colonels, was transported to the gorge of Nork, outside Yerevan (currently the zoo of Yerevan), and shot by the secret police.

His wife took packages for years to the KGB to be delivered to her husband, without knowing that he was dead. A death certificate was given to his family in 1955, which stated that he had reportedly died on February 16, 1943, from a heart attack. However, on July 18, 1956, the Supreme Court of the Armenian Soviet Republic declared null and void the sentence of November 1937 against Araratian, which allowed learning the actual date of his death.

His daughter Elena Araratova was a talented ballet dancer, whose career was greatly affected by the fact that her father had been executed as an enemy of the people. She would never receive the coveted title of People’s Artist.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web page ( www.armenianprelacy. org ).

The crisis in Syria requires our financial assistance.
Please keep this community in your prayers, your hearts, and your pocketbooks.






Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Armenian Apostolic Church of America
(Memo: Syrian Armenian Relief)

Thank you for your help.

Assistant Communications Director

The Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America is seeking applicants for the position of Assistant Communications Director that will lead to the position of Communications Director.

The successful applicant will work with the Director of Communications and Publications to assist with all aspects of public relations and communications. Applicant must be able to manage multiple deadlines, be attentive to details, and respect and understand the religious culture and history of the Armenian people.

Duties include assisting the Director of Communications in, but not limited to, the following:

  • Write and/or edit press releases.

  • Write and/or edit articles for semi-annual magazine.

  • Help produce text for weekly electronic newsletter.

  • Work with Communications Officer on internet based programs, including web page and social media.

  • Edit and prepare projects (books, booklets, brochures) for printing.



  • Bachelor’s Degree in Communications or related field or Liberal Arts.

  • Minimum 3-5 years experience.

  • Strong writing skills.

  • Skill with social media channels and other communications mediums to showcase Prelacy projects and programs.

  • Knowledge of Armenian language and Armenian Church is a plus.


Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.


Please send a cover letter and CV to:

    Dr. Vazken Ghougassian, Executive Director


Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee
Dealing with In-Laws (1)

The English language has a very easy way to deal with relatives: it uses “in-law.” You have father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law. This shows, in fact, that the language actually lost, over time, the kinship terms that were common to Indo-European languages.

Some of those languages are more conservative than others. Armenian, for instance, mostly maintained all those terms, with the exception of “nephew” and “niece,” where we need to make recourse to artificial words (եղբօրորդի/yeghporortee “brother’s son” and եղբօր աղջիկ/yeghpor aghcheeg “brother’s daughter”) to denote them.

What does Armenian do with the in-laws? It has a collection of terms specifically for each of them, and on both sides!

This time we will only deal with father-in-law and mother-in-law. It turns out that, unlike English, if you are the groom, you call your wife’s parents in a certain way, and if you are the bride, you call your husband’s parents in a different way:


Father in law: աներ (aner)

Mother-in-law: զոքանչ (zokanch).


Father-in-law: կեսրայր (gesrayr) or սկեսրայր (usgesrayr)

Mother-in-law: կեսուր (gesoor) or սկեսուր (usgesoor)

Besides mixing one side and the other, there are also mistakes in the use of each term. The most common is the wrong use of aner. We may hear people calling their father-in-law աներ հայր (aner hayr). Since aner means “bride’s father,” then aner hayr would be… “father of the bride’s father”! Even worse, you can hear people using աներ մայր (aner mayr), which is an indescribable cocktail: “mother of the bride’s father”!

The same superfluous use of hayr (“father”) and mayr (“mother”) appears when we go to the bride’s side. We may come across կեսուր հայր (gesoor hayr), which is a corruption of gesrayr, and it would mean “father of the mother-in-law,” and կեսուր մայր (gesoor mayr), where people end saying “mother of the bride’s mother.”

Once you clean up the mess, you will see that is very easy: instead of having one word to designate a father-in-law and one a mother-in-law, you have two. We should assume that you can manage learning four words instead of two, right?


Last Sunday’s Reflection was offered by Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, pastor emeritus of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island. 

Click Here to watch.

Sunday is Fathers Day. And, yes, fathers like to hear from their children as much as mothers do. So don’t forget: Call your father!

June 18—St. Gregory Church, 135 Goodwin Street,  Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, Father’s Day Picnic; Armenian music and dancing featuring Leo Derderian, David Ansbigian, and Haig Aram Arakelian; Activities for young and young at heart. Shish Kebab and Losh Kebab Dinners; Shish Kebab & Losh Kebab Sandwiches; delicious homemade pastries and baked good.

October 2-6—Clergy Conference for Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies will take place in Montreal, hosted by the Prelacy of Canada.

October 7—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey presents “The Battle of the Bands.” Dance all night with two bands featuring Onnig Dinkjian and Kevork Artinian. Mezza and Dessert tables. For information and reservations contact: Bea Movsesian 201-445-6867; Lynn Mahlebjian 201-739-6217; Silva Kouyoumdjian 201-779-6744.

October 14—Armenian Friends of America, Inc., present “Hye Kef 5,” a five hour dance featuring Onnik Dinkjian with John Berberian (Oud); Mal Barsamian (Clarinet); Ara Dinkjian (keyboard); Ron Tutunjian (Dumbeg), at DoubleTree by Hilton, 123 Old River Road, Andover, Massachusetts. Tickets: $55 (before September 1); $65 (after September 1); $50 for students 21 and under. Continuous buffet 7:30 to 9:30 pm; coffee and dessert will follow. Advance tickets only. Proceeds will benefit five Armenian churches. For information: Sharke Der Apkarian 978-808-0598.

November 19SAVE THE DATE. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ordination of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan.

December 5-8—World General Assembly of the Great House of Cilicia, at the Catholicosate in Antelias, Lebanon.

The Armenian Prelacy 
Tel: 212-689-7810 ♦ Fax: 212-689-7168 ♦ Email: email@armenianprelacy.org

Visit the Catholicosate webpage at http://www.armenianorthodoxchurch.org/en/