March 30, 2017

PRELATE’S EASTER MESSAGE

Holy Resurrection—New Life
“Where, O death, is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

As we welcome spring, we joyfully greet the Feast of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is not a remembrance of an ordinary event, but rather it is the foundation and raison d’être of Christian life. It was the most momentous event given to all Humankind forming the Christian faith’s strongest rock – twenty centuries ago, today and in the future. It is  the  Christian faith, because, “without the faith of the Resurrection our preaching has been in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

Christ’s resurrection is the assurance given to Humankind, to all of us without discrimination, of a new life—a resurrected life that awaits all of us when we depart from this world. That time is not death, but new life because, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Christ’s resurrection is also  our  resurrection, providing the life we live in this world genuinely reflects His commandments.

And we contemplate. . .

Death is an inevitable reality that comes later or sooner to every living being. If the life given to us is devoid of Christian faith, then death becomes a loss. If we follow the direction given to us by our Savior, with Christ’s resurrection as a model, instead of loss we find salvation. This salvation, given by Christ’s resurrection, is a reward—even a right—that is grace freely given, whose price our Lord Jesus paid with his passion and crucifixion. The victory is the promise that Jesus gave us through His resurrection, with the condition that we remain on the road of truth, following and fulfilling biblical principles and teachings. It is with this faith and assurance that the Apostle Paul declares, “Where, O death, is your victory?” because he knows full well that the true and lasting victory belongs to Christ, and in our case this victory is gained by following Christ and implementing His commandments.

As Christians, we cannot ignore the resurrection’s non-negotiable demands that are obligatory by our faith. If universal or family values are ignored, then loss is waiting for us; a resurrected life faces us if we firmly protect those values. Jesus very clearly stated human values saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and adds, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). This is the Godly law that becomes viable when we heartily accept our Lord’s other commandment, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Denying ourselves and loving our fellow human beings, the needy, the weak, the helpless, is the purpose of Christian doctrine.

We must live with a new life; with renewed life we must look beyond our own self, to the world around us, to our fellow humans, and the entirety of God’s creation.

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, proclaimed 2017 as “The Year of Renewal.” Renewal by honoring the biblical truths, keeping alive our Armenian Church’s true faith bequeathed to us—our holy heritage, our pure and clean national identity that has been carved in our souls by the sacrifice and martyrdom of our forefathers. Christ’s resurrection is the source of this national renewal, the value and meaning of loyal and faithful lives of our martyrs, whose inspiring last message is: “Through Christ, with Christ to the resurrection of our nation.”

The Feast of the Holy Resurrection is the best opportunity to arm ourselves with the weapons of Christian principles, live our days with the biblical messages, become spiritually cleansed and be model examples for our community, strengthened with Christ’s love and with a tranquil and clean conscience wait for our reunion with Him. Our just reward.

And when this faith becomes an unshakeable rock, our worthy children of the Armenian Church will see the inevitable miracle of our nation’s survival and will say, “Where, O death, is your victory?”
 
“Christ is risen from death; with his death he destroyed death” (Book of Hours).

ARCHBISHOP OSHAGAN
Prelate
Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern Prelacy) 
Easter 2017

ՍՈՒՐԲ ՅԱՐՈՒԹԻՒՆ – ՆՈՐ ԿԵԱՆՔ
“Ո՞ւր է, մա՛հ, յաղթանակդ”։ (Ա. Կր 15.55)

Գարնանամուտի այս օրերուն, ահաւասիկ հոգեկան ուրախութեամբ կը դիմաւորենք մեր Տիրոջ՝ Յիսուս Քրիստոսի Սուրբ Յարութեան տօնը: Սովորական դէպքի մը յիշատակումը չէ ան, այլ քրիստոնէական կեանքի հիմնաքարը եւ գոյութեան պատճառը հանդիսացող այն կենսական պահն է, որ ամբողջ մարդկութեան տրուեցաւ –քսան դար առաջ, այսօր եւ ապագային– կազմելով քրիստոնէական հաւատքի ամենակուռ ժայռը: Նոյնինքն քրիստոնէական հաւատքը: Որովհետեւ առանց յարութեան հաւատքին, «ընդունայն է» քրիստոնէական քարոզութիւնը (Ա. Կր 15.14):

Քրիստոսի յարութիւնը ուրիշ բան չէ, եթէ ոչ մարդկութեան տրուած այն երաշխիքը, որ բաժինն է բոլորիս անխտիր, նոր կեանքի մը, յարուցեալ կեանքի մը, որ բոլորիս կը սպասէ՝ այս աշխարհէն մեկնումի մեր պահուն: Այդ պահը մահը չէ, այլ նոր կեանքը, որովհետեւ «ինչպէս Ադամէ ծնածները բոլորն ալ կը մեռնին, այնպէս ալ Քրիստոսէ ծնածները բոլորն ալ պիտի կենդանանան» (Ա. Կր 15.22): Քրիստոսի յարութիւնը մեր ալ յարութիւնն է, եթէ այս աշխարհի վրայ մեր ապրած օրերը հարազատութեամբ կþարտացոլացնեն իր կողմէ տրուած պատուիրաններուն գործադրութիւնը:

Եւ կը մտածենք...

Մահը անխուսափելի իրականութիւն է, որ ուշ կամ կանուխ կու գայ ոեւէ ապրող էակի: Եթէ մեզի տրուած կեանքը պարպուած ըլլայ քրիստոնէական հաւատքի պարունակէն, այն ատեն մահը կը դառնայ կորուստ, մինչդեռ երբ կը հետեւինք մեր Փրկչին մեզի տուած կեանքի ուղեցոյցին, Քրիստոսի յարութեան օրինակով, փոխան կորուստի կը գտնենք փրկութիւնը: Այս փրկութիւնը Քրիստոսի յարութեամբ մեզի տրուած վարձատրութիւնն է, նոյնիսկ իրաւունքը, որ ձրի շնորհք է, որուն գինը մեր Տէրը՝ Յիսուս, վճարեց իր չարչարանքներով եւ խաչի մահով: Յաղթանակն է, որ Յիսուս իր յարութեամբ խոստացաւ մեզի, պայմանաւ որ մնանք ճշմարտութեան ճամբուն մէջ, հետեւելով եւ գործադրելով աւետարանական սկզբունքներն ու հրահանգները: Պօղոս Առաքեալ այս հաւատքով ու վստահութեամբ կը յայտարարէ՝ «Ո՞ւր է, մա՛հ, յաղթանակդ», որովհետեւ լաւապէս գիտէ, որ ճշմարիտ եւ մնայուն յաղթանակը կը պատկանի Քրիստոսի, իսկ մեր պարագային այս յաղթանակը կը շահուի Քրիստոսի հետեւելով եւ անոր պատուիրաններուն գործադրութեամբ:

Որպէս քրիստոնեաներ, չենք կրնար անտեսել յարութեան անսակարկելի պահանջքները, որոնք կը պարտադրուին մեզի մեր հաւատքին կողմէ: Եթէ համամարդկային կամ ընտանեկան կեանքի արժէքները կþանտեսենք, այն ատեն կորուստը կը սպասէ մեզի, մինչ այդ արժէքներու պինդ պահպանումով, յարութեան կեանքը կը դիմաւորէ մեզ: Յիսուս շատ յստակ կերպով բանաձեւեց համամարդկային արժէքները, ըսելով. «Սիրէ քու Տէր Աստուածդ ամբողջ սրտովդ, ամբողջ հոգիովդ եւ ամբողջ միտքովդ», նաեւ կþաւելցնէ,– «Սիրէ ընկերդ քու անձիդ պէս» (Մտ 22.37,39): Աստուածային օրէնքն է ասիկա, որ գործադրութեան կը դրուի, երբ սրտանց ընդունինք մեր Տիրոջ միւս պահանջքը՝ «ինչ որ կþուզէք որ մարդիկ ընեն ձեզի, նոյնը ըրէք դուք անոնց» (Մտ 7.12): Անձնուրացութեամբ, մեր նմանը՝ կարիքաւորը, տկարը, անօգնականը սիրելուն մէջ է իմաստը քրիստոնէական վարդապետութեան: Նոր կեանքով պէտք է ապրինք, նորոգուած կեանքով պէտք է դիտենք մեր անձէն դուրս գտնուող աշխարհը, մեր նմանն ու Աստուծոյ ամբողջ ստեղծագործութիւնը:

Նորին Սուրբ Օծութիւն Տ. Տ. Արամ Ա. Մեծի Տանն Կիլիկիոյ Վեհափառ Հայրապետը 2017 տարին հռչակեց «Վերանորոգումի Տարի»: Վերանորոգուիլ՝ յարգելով աստուածաշնչական ճշմարտութիւնները, կենդանի պահելով մեր ազգին մեզի ժառանգ ձգած Հայ Եկեղեցւոյ հարազատ հաւատքը, մեր սրբութիւնները, ազգային վճիտ ու մաքրամաքուր նկարագիրը, որ քանդակուած է մեր հոգիներուն մէջ մեր հայրերուն զոհողութեամբ եւ նահատակութեամբ: Քրիստոսի յարութիւնը աղբիւրն է ազգային այս վերանորոգումին, արժէքը եւ իմաստը մեր նախնիներուն հաւատալից ու հաւատարիմ կեանքին, որուն վախճանը միշտ եղած է ներշնչող պատգամ՝ Քրիստոսի միջոցաւ Քրիստոսի հետ մեր ազգին յարութեան:

Սուրբ Յարութեան տօնը յիշեցումի լաւագոյն առիթն է, մենք զմեզ զինելու քրիստոնէական սկզբունքներու զէնքերով, մեր օրերը ապրելու աստուածաշնչական պատգամներով եւ, հոգեպէս մաքրուած, դառնալու տիպար օրինակ մեր շրջապատին, Քրիստոսի սիրով զօրանալու եւ հանգիստ ու մաքուր խղճմտանքով սպասելու իրեն հետ միութեան: Ճշմարիտ վարձատրութեան:

Եւ երբ մեր այս հաւատքը անխախտելի ժայռ դառնայ, մենք՝ Հայ Եկեղեցւոյ արժանաւոր զաւակներս, անխուսափելիօրէն պիտի տեսնենք ազգին գոյատեւումի հրաշքը եւ ըսենք.
«Ո՞ւր է, մահ, յաղթանակդ»:
«Քրիստոս յարեա՜ւ ի մեռելոց, իր մահով մահը սպաննեց» (Ժամագիրք): 

               
Սուրբ Յարութիւն,                        
ՕՇԱԿԱՆ ԱՐՔԵՊԻՍԿՈՊՈՍ
Առաջնորդ Ամերիկայի Արեւելեան Թեմին
16 Մարտ, 2017

REQUIEM SERVICE THIS SUNDAY

Archbishop Oshagan has instructed Prelacy parishes to offer a requiem service this Sunday, April 2 in memory of the brave soldiers who lost their lives defending Artsakh’s freedom during and after the four-day war on April 2 to 6, 2016. Special plate offering will be collected to benefit the families of the fallen heroes. Donations may also be sent directly to the Prelacy. Checks should be payable to the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; indicate “Artsakh heroes” in the memo area, and mail to the Armenian Prelacy, 138 East 39th Street, New York, New York 10016.

VICAR AT THE CATHEDRAL

Bishop Anoushavan will be at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, New York City, this Sunday, April 2, where he will preside over the Divine Liturgy and Requiem Service for the souls of the soldiers who defended Artsakh during the war in April 2016.

On Saturday evening, April 1, His Grace will preside over the opening ceremony and reception of the Art Exhibit at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, sponsored by the Armenian Relief Society Eastern USA, featuring the works of Arthur Pinajian. See Calendar of Events for more details.

VICAR WILL OFFER MESSAGE FOR “WORLD DAY OF PRAYER”

Bishop Anoushavan will deliver a message on the occasion of “World Day of Prayer,” on Sunday, April 2, organized by St. Thomas Ecumenical Federation of North America.

YOUTH MINISTRY COORDINATOR APPOINTED

It is with great pleasure that we announce the assignment of Annie Ovanessian as the Prelacy’s Youth Ministry Coordinator. The position was recently created as part of a 2016 National Representative Assembly resolution aimed at engaging youth to be active parish members. In her new role, Annie will be working toward establishing youth ministers within each parish and coordinating with other church and community leaders to address the needs of the youth. Her efforts will be aimed toward maximizing opportunities so that the ministry grows in participants, Armenian Apostolic Church faith, and spiritual leadership within each parish. 

Annie was born and raised in New Jersey where she and her family served within the Sts. Vartanantz Church community. She has been a member of the Armenian Religious Education Council’s advisory board and is a graduate of the Nareg Saturday School, Siamanto Academy, and St. Gregory of Datev Summer Institute. With a background in sociology, Annie worked in sales and customer service for Fortune 500 and direct sales companies. Annie has over 25 years of experience teaching middle and high school aged students in Sunday School classes.  She remains passionate about youth and service within the Armenian Apostolic Church. She currently resides in Brookfield, Connecticut with her husband Simon Ovanessian and their three children.

COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU:

“THE PROMISE”: PREMIERE ON APRIL 21

The film “The Promise,” produced by Survival Pictures and financed by the late Kirk Kerkorian, will be premiering in theater locations across North America on Friday, April 21. Check your local schedules to see if it will be shown at a theatre near you. The film is set with the backdrop of the Armenian Genocide. It is the first time a wide release film will feature the story of the Armenian genocide in nearly 1,500 theaters in the United States and Canada. The opening weekend’s box office sales are critical in securing a long theatrical run for the film. We encourage everyone to mobilize their friends, family and community members to see the film in theaters on April 21, 22 and  23, because the distributors will decide on the scope of further investments, publicity, advertising, etc., based on the actual turnout of these first three days. “The Promise,” is directed by Academy Award winner Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), and features Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, and Christian Bale.

PLEASE NOTE THIS NEW UPDATE ABOUT “THE PROMISE

We received information this week from Mr. Haig Boyadjian who has been brought on board by the AGBU and is working closely with the film’s PR agencies and distributors, to ensure everyone is aware of the necessity to see the film in local theaters on its opening weekend, April 21-23. Many organizations are joining Mr. Boyadjian’s initiative. To read Mr. Boyadjian’s letter, action plan, suggestions, and links for promotional materials that can be reproduced and distributed please click here.

Spread the word about the premiere weekend:

April 21, 22, and 23.

Watch The Promise Trailer right below

NEAR EAST FOUNDATION FILM PREMIERE

“They Shall Not Perish: The Story of Near East Relief,” will have its official premiere on Saturday, April 8 at The Times Center, 242 41st Street, New York City. Produced by NEF Board Member Shant Mardirossian and award-winning producer, writer, and director George Billard, the film details the historic events that led to the Armenian Genocide and the consequent rescue that provided assistance to hundreds of thousands of displaced men, women, and children. The feature-length documentary makes extensive use of never before seen footage of orphans who were in Near East Relief’s care. There will be an afternoon and evening showing, both followed by a panel discussion with notable documentary contributors. For more information and see the trailer, visit www.theyshallnotperish.com

There will be two screenings at The Times Center on April 8:

  • Matinee (2 pm ): $20 per person. Group rate of $15 per person available for ten or more.
  • Evening/Reception (5 pm): $50 per person, includes cocktail reception catered by Great Performances. A panel discussion and Q&A with the filmmakers and historians Taner Akcam, Peter Balakian, and Susan Harper will follow both screenings.

  The film has an all-star cast; narrator Victor Garber; Voice-overs: Andrea Martin, Tony Shalhoub, Ron Rifkin, Kathleen Chalfont, and a powerful group of expert testimonies  including Peter Balakian, Keith David Watenpaugh, John Cooper, and Susan Harper.
Shant Mardirosian, the producer of the film, reports that the National Education Telecommunications Association (NETA) has agreed to distribute the film to public television affiliates across the country and possibly local stations will also show the film in April and the months to follow.

BIBLE READINGS

Bible readings for Sunday, April 2, Sixth Sunday of Great Lent, Sunday of Advent are: Isaiah 66:1-24; Colossians 2:8-3:17; Matthew 22:34-23:39.  

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or Sabbaths. These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”? All these regulations refer to thinks that perish with use; they are simply human commands and teachings. These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-imposed piety, humility, and severe treatment of the body, but they are of no value in checking self-indulgence.

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 2:8-3:17)

***  

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. Teacher, which commandments in the law is the greatest? He said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he? They said to him, The son of David. He said to them, How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son? No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the market places, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father, the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 22:34-23:12)

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

SUNDAY OF ADVENT

This Sunday, April 2, is the sixth and final Sunday of Great Lent, known as Sunday of Advent (Galstyan Kiraki). On Advent Sunday we are asked to ponder the mystery of the first coming of Christ and especially his second coming which is a fundamental tenet of our Christian faith, and which is mentioned in the prayers read this Sunday. Christ came to the world for the salvation of humanity. We are told to be ready at all times because He will come again for the judgment of sinners, and when the righteous will become worthy of entering the Kingdom of God. “Then people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. He will send out his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.” (Mark 13:26-27)

Advent Sunday has its own special hymn, which proclaims that the apostles knew the mystery of the advent of Christ. The story of the expulsion from paradise is repeated and an appeal is made to Christ to ask the Heavenly Father to establish peace on earth. Sunday of Advent is in preparation for next Sunday, Palm Sunday, which is the celebration of the glorious entry of our Lord into Jerusalem and the beginning of Holy Week.

The terrible manifestation of your glory which will be in your second coming David foresaw and announced beforehand by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, God will come openly, fire will burn before him. Then, O Jesus, spare us, have compassion, O Christ and have mercy.

Mother of God unwedded, bride of heaven on earth, when in the sight of light you sit at the right hand of your only-begotten beseech him for us to deliver us from the awful flame, to number us with the righteous that we also may sing glory with the heavenly ones.

(Canon for the Sixth Sunday of Great Lent from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)

ST. GREGORY’S COMMITMENT TO THE PIT
During Great Lent, saint days are commemorated only on Saturdays. During the remainder of the year saints can be honored on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Saturdays.

This Saturday, April 1, the Armenian Church celebrates one of the three days in its liturgical calendar devoted to St. Gregory the Illuminator, the patron saint of the Armenian Church. The three days are: Descend into the Pit, Emergence from the Pit, and Discovery of his remains. This Saturday is the commemoration of his commitment to the Deep Pit (Khor Virab).

Gregory maintained his faith and refused to renounce Christ. As a result he endured many tortures and his final punishment was banishment into a deep pit where he remained for a period of thirteen or more years. Miraculously he survived, thanks to his faith and according to tradition a woman (identity unknown) who lowered food and water into the pit.

The Monastery of Khor Virab is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims who visit Armenia. The monastery was built on the exact location where St. Gregory was imprisoned. The pit is accessible and it is possible for visitors to climb down the ladder (27 steep steps) into the pit. The church, named Sourp Asdvadzadzin, dates to the 17th century. The area is one of the most beautiful in Armenia and provides stunning views of Ararat. The area surrounding Khor Virab is the site of the ancient Armenian capital, Artashat, founded by King Artashes I about 180 BC.

Come, let us exalt on this day the spreader of the spiritual light to us who sat in darkness, the holy patriarch Gregory. Come, you children instructed by him, exalt on this day the distributor to the sons of Torkom of the undefiled gifts of the Holy Spirit who gave us a new birth as sons of the light. Come, you children instructed by him, exalt on this day the interpreter of the divine word in the land of Armenia. On this day the Church and her children sing with the angels, on this day of memory of the enlightener ascribing glory to God in the highest.
(Canon to St. Gregory the Illuminator, Commitment to the Pit, from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)

LENTEN LECTURE SERIES 

This week’s Lenten lecture was given by Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian, pastor of Holy Cross Church (NY) and Outreach Clergy, whose topic was “The Legacy of the 1915 Martyrs as a Source of Renewal.”  
Next Wednesday (April 5) the final Lenten Lecture will be offered by Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, pastor of St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, North Andover, Massachusetts, whose topic is “Armenian Church Traditions and Renewal.”


The evening begins with church service from 7 pm to 7:25 pm, followed by the lecture and discussion, and table fellowship at 8 pm. The Lenten program is sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Prelacy Ladies Guild, and the Ladies Guild of St. Illuminator Cathedral. For information: Prelacy office 212-689-7810 or arec@armenianprelacy.org; Cathedral office 212-689-5880 or office@stilluminators.org

Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian spoke last night about the legacy of the 1915 Martyrs as a source of renewal.

REGIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS’ SEMINAR ON SATURDAY

This Saturday, April 1, a regional Sunday School teachers’ seminar will take place at Sts.Vartanantz Armenian Church of Providence, Rhode Island, from 10am to 3pm, sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), with the participation of teachers from St. Stephen’s Church (Watertown, MA), Holy Trinity Church (Worcester, MA), St. Asdvadzadzin Church (Whitinsville, MA) and Sts. Vartanantz Church (Providence, RI).  

The seminar will be conducted by Dn. Shant Kazanjian, AREC Director, and Ms. Sossi Essajanian, Early Childhood Educator and co-director of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral Sunday School. Dn. Shant will first give a brief overview of Baptism-Chrismation. Sossi will talk about “The Art of Teaching” and the after workshop will focus on enhancing our curriculum on baptism-chrismation, conducted by Dn. Shant and Sossi. 

MUSICAL ARMENIA SOLD-OUT

The Prelacy’s 34th Musical Armenia concert is tomorrow evening, Friday, March 31. We are pleased to announce that the concert is sold-out. There are no more tickets available at the Prelacy office or the Carnegie Hall box office.  Since 1982 the Eastern Prelacy has presented the annual Musical Armenia concert bringing to the forefront many talented artists of Armenian descent. This year’s concert is expected to be one of the best in Musical Armenia history that is recognized for its outstanding quality of artists. Featured this year are two outstanding artists: cellist Hasmik Vardanyan and violinist Haik Kazazyan. Accompanying them are two accomplished musicians: Hayk Arsenyan and Karen Hakobyan.

DEACON SHANT LECTURES IN CONNECTICUT

Yesterday evening, March 29, at the invitation of Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, pastor of St. Stephen’s Armenian Church of New Britain, Connecticut, Deacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), presented a Lenten reflection during the church service focusing on “Renewal in Christ.” Present was also Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral (New York City).

Deacon Shant presents lecture at St. Stephen’s Church, Connecticut.
From left to right: Dn. Shant, Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, and Dn. Edward Varjabedian.

LECTURE AT HAMASDEGH SCHOOL

Hamasdegh School of Soorp Khatch Church in Bethesda, Maryland, in collaboration with Hamazkayin Educational and Cultural Society (DC Chapter), initiated the first of a series of educational lectures presented by members of the community. The first lecture was presented by Dr. Zareh Soghomonian on March 26. Dr. Soghomonian is Subject Matter Expert for the US Navy on the various facets of electrical, electronics, electromagnetic and systems engineering. Introductory remarks were given by Mr. Hovsep Avakian, Principal of the Hamasdegh School, and Ms. Galin Tanashian, followed by the presentation by Dr. Soghomonian that included various open source videos and on-line materials on different engineering disciplines with real application examples. The aim of the presentation was to explain how the students can take part in various Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs and get involved in different exciting engineering disciplines.

Dr. Zareh Soghomonian presented the first of a series of lectures to students of the Hamasdegh School in Bethesda, Maryland.
THIS WEEK IN ARMENIAN HISTORY
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)

Death of Arshavir Shahkhatouni (April 4, 1957)

Arshavir (Asho) Shahkhatouni went down in history as both a star of Russian and French silent films in the 1910s and 1920s, and as the military commander of Yerevan during the first Republic of Armenia.  

One would say that it was a genetic trait: his father Vagharshak Shahkhatuni (1843-1892) was a colonel in the Russian army, and also the founder of the theater hall of Alexandropol (nowadays Gumri). Arshavir was born in Alexandropol on February 19, 1885. He spent his childhood in Alexandropol, Nor Bayazed (Gavar), Gandzak (Ganja), and Yerevan. He studied at the Mikhailov military school of Tiflis (Tbilisi) and served in Baku in 1905. After the Armeno-Tatar clashes of 1905, he was expelled from the army for refusing to fire over Armenians who had found refuge in a church, as it had been ordered to the battalion he commanded. He went to work in an office and started developing his love for theater as an amateur actor in the local Armenian groups. Over the next seven years (1905-1912), he would gradually become a sought-after name in Armenian theater, both in Baku and in Tiflis. The first Romeo on the Armenian stage, Shahkhatouni was considered, together with Hovhannes Abelian, the preeminent representative of realism in Armenian acting. 

In 1913 Shahkhatouni was offered an important role in “Bela,” a movie by Alexander Gromov. For the next five years, he would live in Moscow, where he studied at the Artistic Theater and followed the classes of famous theater theoretician Konstantin Stanislavski. Meanwhile, he continued his cinematographic career, starring mostly in films with Caucasian themes, such as Alexander Volkov’s “The Conquest of the Caucasus,” “The Fugitive,” “Khaz bulad,” as well as others like “Jealousy,” “Storm,” “Venus’ Fur,” etcetera. He was highlighted as one of the well-regarded names of pre-Soviet cinema, becoming also one of the first Armenian actors to appear in Russian cinematography, along with Hamo Bek-Nazarian and Vahram Papazian.  

In the crucial year 1918, Shahkhatouni left Moscow and returned to the Caucasus. His former military experience would lead him to participate in the battles of Sardarabad and Pash-Abaran, and after the foundation of the Republic of Armenia, he was designated military commander of Yerevan, receiving the rank of colonel. 

After two years of service, in 1920 Shahkhatouni left Armenia and returned to his old love, theater, this time in Constantinople. He became one of the prominent names in local Armenian theater, until he left the city in late 1922, following the nearing occupation by Kemalist forces. He went to Bulgaria, where he played Hamlet and Othello in Russian with Bulgarian companies in Sofia and Varna. After a year, in 1924 he moved to Paris with America in his sight, but he eventually stayed in the City of Lights, where he became one of the stars of local Armenian theater during the 1920s and 1930s.

Meanwhile, Shahkhatouni developed the second phase of his cinematographic career. In 1926 he was cast in “Michael Strogoff,” a movie by Russian emigré filmmaker Vsevolod Turzhansky, who knew Shahkhatouni from Moscow. A more important achievement was his participation in Abel Gance’s monumental film, “Napoleon” (1927), where he played the role of Napoleon’s childhood friend and later mortal enemy Pozzo di Borgo. He would become friends with such famous names as French filmmaker René Clair and British actor Sir Laurence Olivier. He also participated in five films from 1927-1929.

Armenian national hero Antranig passed away in Fresno in August 1928. In the same year, Shahkhatouni directed and played in “Antranig,” the first Armenian feature movie filmed in the Diaspora with Armenian subject and by an Armenian studio (“Armena-Film”). The film was distributed in several European countries, from Portugal to Sweden, with Turkey protesting against its exhibition. For this reason, it was never shown in the United States, except for one showing in Philadelphia in 1938, in a sound version.  

After sound movies made their appearance, Shahkhatouni’s movie career took a radical turn. Although he participated in a few films at the beginning, he could not continue acting, due to his insufficient knowledge of French. He continued appearing in Russian and Armenian theatrical performances, and wrote two plays, which were performed in the 1940s. However, he did not want to sever his relations with cinematography. He became a make-up expert, and he was credited in many movies of the 1930s, to the point that he was named “a leading professional cosmetician in the world” by the French Journal de la femme (1939). By 1953, forty out of sixty make-up experts working in French cinema had been Shahkhatouni’s students.  

Shahkhatouni, who always lived with nostalgia for his faraway homeland (he would have probably shared the fate of so many people who were victims of the Stalin purges for their participation in the first Republic of Armenia), suffered a fatal blow after the death of his wife Nina in 1950. He had a stroke, and for the next seven years he lived in poverty, practically confined to his home. The fiftieth anniversary of his theatrical career was commemorated in New York, in 1956. He passed away on April 4, 1957. 

Arshavir Shahkhatouni and a poster of the Yerevan exhibition of one of his Russian films, "Khaz Bulat," in 1914

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web page ( www.armenianprelacy. org ).
PLEASE DO NOT FORGET:

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: Armenian Apostolic Church of America
(Memo: Syrian Armenian Relief)

Thank you for your help.

OUTREACH IS BACK

Outreach, the Prelacy’s official publication, was inaugurated in 1978 by Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, of blessed memory, shortly after he was elected Prelate of the Prelacy of the Eastern United States and Canada. Outreach continued its tabloid-format monthly schedule faithfully until 2002 when it was changed to a bimonthly publication in magazine format. This continued until 2008 when budgetary and other considerations, as well as the increased use of internet communications, halted publication. We are pleased to report that an issue of Outreach was published in February that was devoted primarily to the 20th anniversary of the election and consecration of His Holiness Aram I as Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia. If you did not receive Outreach and would like to receive future issues please send an email to info@armenianprelacy.org providing your current mailing address. In the meantime, the current issue can be seen on the Prelacy’s web page.

CLICK THE COVER OF THE LATEST ISSUE TO READ NOW

WEEKLY REFLECTIONS

This week’s Reflection is offered by Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor of St. Illuminator Cathedral, New York City.

THE PODCAST WITH REV. FR. NAREG

Click to listen to The Podcast with Father Nareg.
PLEASE SAVE THE DATE: NOVEMBER 19, 2017

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.
FROM THE BOOKSTORE...

GREAT CATASTROPHE:

Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide

By Thomas De Waal

In Great Catastrophe, Thomas De Waal explores the aftershock of the Armenian Genocide, focusing on the politics and how some Armenians, Turks, and Kurds have come to terms with this historical event. De Waal explores how different generations in the last century have dealt with the Genocide aftermath. Using reportage, archives, and personal story sources, the author presents an analysis of Armenian-Turkish relations and broadens to an understanding of how mass tragedy can influence future politics. 

Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide

298 pages, hardcover, $20.00 plus shipping & handling.

FIFTY YEARS OF ARMENIAN LITERATURE IN FRANCE

By Krikor Beledian; translated by Christopher Atamian

Fifty Years of Armenian Literature offers an analysis of influences and challenges encountered by French-Armenian authors. Beledian explores the work and lives of these authors who survived the Armenian Genocide, considering issues such as the use of Armenian language over French to compose their work and influences in general resulting from their relation to French society.

Fifty Years of Armenian Literature in France

589 pages, softcover, $20.00 plus shipping & handling

PERSPECTIVES FROM EXILE

By Lucine Kasbarian

Perspectives from Exile is a collection of political cartoons created by author and journalist Lucine Kasbarian. Originally part of the “Kiss the Ground” exhibition, the cartoons explore themes such as the Armenian Genocide, identity, culture, and justice. The volume also includes Kasbarian’s interview with Thompson Gallery curator Todd Bartel; some of her writings on genocide and denial; and color photographs of the actual images as they were displayed during the exhibition. Each cartoon is accompanied by commentary and context.

Perspectives from Exile,

110 pages, softcover, $24.00 plus shipping & handling


To order these or any other book, contact the Prelacy Bookstore by email (books@armenianprelacy.org) or telephone (212-689-7810).

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

SIAMANTO ACADEMY—Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: anec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810.

Prelacy Lenten Program at St. Illuminator Cathedral, New York City at 7 pm.
April 5, Armenian Church Traditions and Renewal, by Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, pastor of St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts.

March 31—Eastern Prelacy’s annual Musical Armenia concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, New York City at 8 pm. Featuring: Hasmik Vardanyan, cello; Karen Hakobyan, piano; Haik Kazazyan, violin; Hayk Arsenyan, piano. For tickets ($25) and information call Carnegie Hall Box Office (212-247-7800) or Prelacy Office (212-689-7810). SOLD OUT.

March 31-April 2—Armenian Relief Society Eastern USA is hosting an Art Exhibit at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 E. 27th Street, New York City, of works of Arthur Pinajian to benefit the ARS Education Fund. Opening ceremony and reception on Saturday, April 1, 7 to 10 pm. Additional viewing Friday March 31, 4 to 10 pm; Saturday April 1, Noon to 4 pm; Sunday April 2, 1 to 4 pm. Selling Exhibition. Free admission. For information: Sonia 917-679-6992.

April 6—St. Gregory Church, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts, Avak Luncheon at 12 noon in Jaffarian Hall. Speaker: P. Richard Shahtanian, Esq., will present a seminar and answer questions regarding estate planning and asset protection.

April 8—Premiere of the documentary “They Shall Not Perish: The Story of Near East Relief,” at The Times Center, New York City.

April 9—Annual Palm Sunday Dinner, ARS Merrimack Valley "Arax" Chapter, St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church Jaffarian Hall, 158 Main St., North Andover, Massachusetts 01845; dinner & program; Guest speaker: Mr. Robert Megerdichian, presenting the Metal Artworks of Abraham Megerdichian; Adults $15, Children 12 & under $8; to reserve tickets contact Sharke' Der Apkarian (978) 808-0598.

April 22.  Connecticut Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. Connecticut State Capitol, House Chamber.  11:00 a.m. Keynote speaker will be The Hon. John Marshall Evans, former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia. Reception in the Hall of Flags, following the commemoration.

April 23—Remembering the Armenian Genocide, Gathering at Times Square, 2 pm (43rd and Broadway, New York City). Sponsored by Knights and Daughters of Vartan; co-sponsored and with the participation of all major Armenian organizations. Free bus transportation to and from Times Square. For information: www.KOFV.ORG/MAIN/APRIL232017.

May 18-20—National Representative Assembly of the Eastern Prelacy hosted by All Saints Church, Glenview, Illinois.

May 21—St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, North Andover, Massachusetts, 47th anniversary celebration and year-end hantes of church schools. Archbishop Oshagan will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and preside over the dedication of the Tom M. Vartabedian Library and anniversary/hantes.

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/