April 9, 2020
Antelias, Easter 2020

His Eminence,
Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate
The Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church
New York

Dear Srpazan Hayr,

The voice of the resurrected Christ echoes again in a world ensnared in suffering and uncertainty: “Do not fear, only believe” (Mark 5:36).

Indeed, fear establishes its domination when God is absent from human life. It is faith that arms the life of people with the presence of God, to face the adversities and calamities of the world. The history of our people is an eloquent testament to the power of faith to defeat every kind of evil and crisis.

At this time of anguish for the world and our people, the message of the church is the same message of Jesus Christ: do not fear, “but take courage; I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33).

In these days of restlessness that we are living, we pray for the health and safety of our Armenian people and our families. May God Most High keep you, the clergy, the community leaders and the faithful of the Prelacy from all harm and evil. May Christ, who defeated death with death, keep the world from all kinds of evil with his miraculous resurrection.

With warm paternal love,

Aram I
Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ: a Feast of the fulfillment of Prophecies and Promises; a Feast of an eternal dawn of Faith and Hope; a Feast of undeniable and unchallengeable victory of Life over Death.

The road toward this universal celebration of Faith, Hope, and Life was paved, as predicted by our Lord Jesus Christ, with His Passion, Crucifixion and Entombment (Mt 16.21).

Let me ask you a simple question: Have you ever questioned yourself or your Pastor, why we call the Friday preceding Easter, a day of deepest sorrow and lament, disappointment and frustration, insecurity and uncertainty, “Good Friday”? Actually all these and more are valid questions, but from the Human perspective only. Yes, that Friday seemed to be the end of a new Era of goodness and of peace. That Friday seemed to be the day when the dream of the Evil power became true: that “I will ascend to the tops of the clouds / I will make myself like the Most High” (Is 14.14). This is, however, from the Human perspective only. From the Divine perspective, everything was running according to His plan of Redemption. As God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Is 55.8). Unlike those who cling to the Human perspective believe, God reminds us that, “My power,” His Power, “is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12.9). Therefore, that Friday was a good Friday, and every year we have a Good Friday, because it is the day that heralded the Resurrection and manifested the absolute truth that the final verdict belongs to God, who said, “Let there be light, and there was light”. It is indeed Good Friday for it ushered in the Resurrection and on it the mortal stings of death were swallowed up in the victory of our Lord (cf. I Cor. 15.55). It is indeed Good Friday because climaxed in the Resurrection, and on that day Mankind was granted eternal life through the unconditional love of the Sacrifice on the Cross. 
With this understanding, amid the universal distress, agony, and hopelessness caused by the coronavirus pandemic, let us all pray for Almighty God, Lord of Creation, to shower upon us His wisdom, so that our human perspective does not misguide and perplex us. Let us pray that His perspective will show us the way forward and help us conquer each and every Gethsemane and Golgotha experience in our lives and turn them into victory for His glory. Let us greet each other with the most invigorating and ever-victorious good news, “Christ is risen from the dead” Halleluiah! 

Archbishop Anoushavan
Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the United States

Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth .
(1 Corinthians 5:6-8)
It is hard to think of a more epochal moment in History to mourn the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and rejoice in his resurrection on the third day. With churches everywhere closed to all but celebrating priests, it is fair to assume that most Christians will be unable to commune in the Body and Blood of the paschal lamb.
Thus deprived of perhaps the most important communion of the year, that of His resurrection, we shall strive to relive his Passion in our own solitude and redeem ourselves in gratitude for His sacrifice to save us. With a majority of homes in the world turned into fortresses of isolation against the coronavirus pandemic, this celebration of Easter truly finds new meaning in its entwinement with the Passover, from the somber day of the Last Supper to His rising from the dead.
For in these days of despair we are praying for the deadly disease that has wormed its way into every corner of the world to pass over our homes—over every home—and disappear into thin air. Yet as Christians we know that in life as in death the Lord is watching over us with love, so much so that he sent his son to die for us all.
And confined into the silence of reflection, let us this year commune in Christ not at the Eucharist, for quarantines will likely make it impossible, but in prayer. Let us begin anew, for if anything this long period of forced recess is certainly showing us that we may have erred in many ways and may have taken for granted so many blessings that we now miss dearly. And let us this Sunday proclaim confidently and joyfully to each other at home and in our messages and calls with family and friends: Քրիստոս յարեաւ ի մեռելոց, օրհնեալ է Յարութիւնն Քրիստոսի (Christ is risen from the dead. Blessed is the resurrection of Christ).

On the initiative of the Ambassador of Armenia to the United States, Varuzhan Nersesyan, a videoconference was held on Wednesday, April 8, to discuss a number of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic. Armenian government officials joining in from Yerevan included Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan and Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, among others. Representatives of Armenian-American religious, political, charitable, medical, and legal organizations participated in the conference call, which also included representatives from pharmaceutical companies. Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, also took part in the videoconference.
After updates on the situation in Armenia and the U.S. following the coronavirus outbreak, the state of emergency services and the possibility of Armenia’s role in the U.S. efforts to combat the disease were discussed. The contributions of the Armenian-American community in this crisis were also highlighted. Participants also talked about the commemoration of the 105 anniversary of the Genocide. 

His Eminence, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian will preside the following ceremonies at St. Sarkis Church (Douglaston, New York). Those indicated with an asterisk (*) will be live-streamed on the Prelacy website ( www.armenianprelacy.org ) and our Facebook page (Armenian Prelacy of the United States).
Holy Thursday, April 9
5 ։ 00 pm: Divine Liturgy
6:00 pm: Washing of the Feet (*)
7:00 pm: Tenebrae (*)
As these ceremonies will take place behind closed doors, we advise our faithful who wish so to make their vows through prayer and tie the knots on the string during the readings of the Gospel in the Tenebrae ceremony.
Holy Friday, April 10
7:30 pm: Entombment Service (*)
Holy Saturday, April 11
6:00 pm: Easter Eve Liturgy
Archbishop Anoushavan will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City on Sunday, April 12, at 11:00 am. The Divine Liturgy will also be live-streamed.

Today is Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday. Maundy comes from the Latin mandatum meaning “command.” Holy Thursday commemorates several events including the Last Supper as described in the Gospels, and the Washing of the Feet ( Vodunlva ) that occurred when the disciples argued about which of them would be the greatest. Witnessing this sad behavior of his disciples, Jesus displayed a living example of “greatness,” by washing the feet of his disciples, showing true humility. The Great Thursday vigil flows into Great (or Good) Friday, with the Tenebrae (darkness) service where Jesus is arrested, tortured and sentenced. The Tenebrae service takes place with only 12 candles (representing the disciples), of which one, symbolizing Judas, is not lighted up, and one large candle, representing Jesus. During the service, which includes some of the most beautiful hymns ever written, the candles are extinguished gradually, leaving only the one large candle —the Light of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.
Bible readings for Sunday, April 12, Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ , are: Acts 1:15-26; Mark 16:2-8. Evening Readings : Acts 1:1-8; Luke 24:13-36; John 20:1-18; John 5:24-30; John 19:31-37; John 20:19-25.
Acts 1:15-26
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus—for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it’; and ‘Let another take his position of overseer.’ So one of the men who had accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
Mark 16:1-8

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. 
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
It is a long-standing tradition in the Armenian Church to give “ Yughakin ” donations, especially at Christmas and Easter. Yughakin literally means “price of oil.” Parishioners would donate money to purchase oil in order to keep the lanterns lit and the church illuminated. The tradition has continued throughout the centuries to modern times, although nowadays the money is not necessarily for oil for lanterns, but for utility bills that provide light, heat, and air conditioning. The concept is still very valid, especially these days, as we are faced with the unexpected hardships brought upon us by the health emergency. Your Yughakin donation will be most appreciated as it will help keep our sanctuaries properly cared for.

Last Thursday, April 2, the Armenian Prelacy launched a weekly educational series on Exploring Tools for Prayer, conducted by Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, the Prelacy’s Director of Christian Education. In the introductory session, Dn. Shant highlighted three essential tools for prayer that anyone can use: 1) The Lord’s Prayer, 2) the Book of Psalms, and 3) Prayers from the Book of Hours of the Armenian Church ( Zhamakeerk ). The first two are from the Bible while the third is inspired and patterned after biblical prayers. Dn. Shant provided two resources — (1) list of Psalms used in the daily cycle of services in the Armenian Church and (2) a number of prayers from Zhamakeerk . In the coming weeks, he will walk us through the Lord’s Prayer phrase by phrase.

The Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program was established in 1993 and continues to be the central mission of the Prelacy’s projects in Armenia and Artsakh. As part of the program, letters are received regularly from sponsored children addressed to their sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads .
This week’s letter is from Aren* who is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Bedrosian.  
Dear Sponsor,
This is Aren. I am in fourth grade in school. My family consists of two members: my mother and me. I am on the honor roll in school. My favorite pastimes are to play soccer and listen to songs.

I would like to go to music school. I want my homeland to live in peace and security. I dream of becoming a surgeon and for that I need to be a really good student.
* In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.
The St. Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization’s orphans’ sponsorship program now has two branches:
a.      Minors up to the age of 18.
b.     Orphans who upon turning 18 continue their studies at a higher education institution.
If you would like to sponsor a child on the waiting list of the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program, please click here for quick and easy online sponsorship. Alternatively, for the sponsorship of both minors and university students you may also contact the Prelacy by email ( sophie@armenianprelacy.org ) or telephone (212-689-7810). 
It’s a different world and so are the responses it calls for.
The Siamanto Academy postponed its March session and instead held a videoconference on ZOOM. On Saturday, April 4, at 10:30 am as always, the students got together on the screen.
As the topic had to be current, the guest speaker was Dr. Ara Chalian, who turned the gathering into a more personal conversation with the participants and proposed practical solutions to the issues discussed. 
“Naturally, it’s not the same as it would be if we were together under the same roof. The world has changed because of the coronavirus: not only yours, but also mine at the hospital as now we prioritize every precaution outside of urgent cases”, Dr. Chalian said. “Our focus now is on the coronavirus patients and their morale. We keep working while we are thinking if there are other people who are infected amidst us.”
While different, the students’ concerns were centered on the inconvenience isolation has created and could not conceive how it could be otherwise.

The guest speaker understood their concerns and invited them to consider the matter with a positive approach. If we follow the law, and laws may sometimes change, we shall be mostly safe, Dr. Chalian said. Therefore, we should avoid being too hard on ourselves, sticking to rigid schedules generally and especially in the current circumstances. We could consider isolation as an opportunity to get to know ourselves, he said, while acknowledging the importance of social life and how hard it can be to miss it.
He ended his conversation on a light note, joking that he wasn’t going to give the students homework…
The next session of the Siamanto Academy is scheduled for April 25. See you soon!
From now on, you will find this new feature twice a week, on Monday and Thursday afternoons, on the Prelacy Facebook page. There will be readings of Armenian children books by our schools' teachers, who will help our children during their forced stay at home, offering every time a different story to be listened to in Armenian. 

This is an opportunity to enjoy together with your children both the stories and their emotions and reactions, which you can also share with other children, since joy from giving joy is an enduring quality of happiness.

Today, St. Stephen's Armenian Elementary School's teacher Vicky Ashjian reads "Varak and Easter Week" by Zani Shahinian-Mesrobian, illustrated by Razmig Bertizlian.

Modern Armenia reviews Armenian politics and political thinking from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, and the evolution of Armenians from peoplehood to statehood. The chapters of this book analyze the internal dynamics of the revolutionary movement, the genocide, the Armenian Diaspora, its recovered statehood and recent independence, as well as the relationship of these developments to political processes in the Ottoman/Turkish, Russian, and Western states. It also explores current dilemmas and future choices independent Armenia faces today.

The book concludes with an overview of Armenia and Armenians in the first two decades of the second independence, including the rebirth of independent Armenia, its foreign and security policy options, its position within the region, and its relations with the Diaspora.
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore ( books@armenianprelacy.org   or 212-689-7810)
Birth of Arshile Gorky (April 15, 1904)
There are many cases in the history of arts and letters when an artist who has been engulfed by a tragic life becomes posthumously famous. Such has been the case of perhaps one of the most celebrated Armenian names in American and world painting: Arshile Gorky.

The future painter was born Vostanik Manoug Adoian in the village of Khorkom, in the district of Hayots Dzor (Van), on April 15, 1904. He received his elementary education in the village school and in Van. His father migrated to the United States in 1908 to avoid military service in the Ottoman army, leaving his family behind. In 1915, after the self-defense of Van and following the massive Armenian migration as a result of the retreat of the Russian army, young Vostanik followed his mother Shoushanig Der Mardirosian and his three sisters as refugees first in Echmiadzin and then in Yerevan. He continued his studies at the diocesan school of Yerevan, where he studied painting and wood engraving. His elder sisters left for the United States in 1916, and three years later his mother died of starvation in Yerevan. In 1920 Vostanik and his other sister moved to Tiflis (Tbilisi), and then to Batum, from where they embarked to the United States. He reunited with his father when in America, but they never got along.

In 1922 Vostanik Adoian entered the New School of Design in Boston, where he also became a part-time instructor. In 1924 he took the name Arshile Gorky, portraying himself as a Georgian noble (Arshile is a Georgian name) and even as a relative of Russian famous writer Maxim Gorky. In the same year he moved to New York, where he taught at the Grand Central School of Art from 1925-1931. In the 1920s he went from impressionism to post-impressionism and, after a cubist period, he finally found his way of expression through surrealism.

In 1933, during the days of the Great Depression, Gorky was one of the first artists employed by the Works Project Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project. He was commissioned to paint ten large panels with the theme of aviation at the Newark airport (New Jersey), which he completed between 1935 and 1937. In 1935 he married Marny George, whom he divorced the following year.

Gorky’s original paintings, suffused with an impressive use of color, later were hailed worldwide and considered among the pioneering works of abstract expressionism. Among them we can mention the series “Garden in Sochi” (1938), “How My Mother’s Embroidered Apron Unfolds in My Life” (1944), the series “The Plough and the Song (1944-1947), and many others. Perhaps the most famous and popular work is “The Artist with His Mother” (1926-1932). His childhood and the Armenian genocide are considered impactful events not only in his life, but on his creation.

In 1941 Gorky married again, this time to Agnes Magruder (whom he nicknamed with the Armenian term of endearment Moogooch ), and they had two daughters, Maro and Natasha.   They moved to Roxbury (Connecticut) in 1945, but in 1946 he had to confront several tragic events: first his studio, 36 paintings, and library were devoured by a fire; then, he had a colostomy for cancer, and finally his wife had an affair with Roberto Matta, a prominent Chilean painter. The crisis in his life continued unabated.

Following a car accident in 1948, Gorky’s neck was damaged and he was temporarily incapacitated to use his painting arm. His wife abandoned him, taking his daughters with her. The painter could not endure so many calamities in his life, and on July 21, 1948 he committed suicide in Sherman (Connecticut). He was buried in the local North Cemetery. It would take decades until he was hailed as one of the most prominent names of twentieth century American painting and an iconic name in Armenian reality.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
More than 100 years ago, Armenians were nearly annihilated by genocide. Today, often unrecognized, it remains defining – but the long shadow of the genocide creates a burden for young Armenian Americans that discourages them from taking up their culture. “What Will Become of Us” follows six Armenian Americans – famous and otherwise – as they navigate the 100th anniversary of the genocide, forging identities for the next hundred years. How can Armenian Americans honor their past, while unshackling themselves from its trauma?
“What Will Become of Us” moves past outdated notions of what it means to be a “good Armenian.” In three dramatic acts, the characters in “What Will Become of Us” travel through the American landscape while grappling with their identities and the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Their interwoven stories build on one-another to create a cohesive narrative where the past and future are in constant tension. 
This is a story relatable to all immigrant communities who have faced past horrors. How can a culture pay respect to its past without being limited by it? How can a culture give individuals the freedom to define their own identities and collectively forge a hopeful future? This is not a film about genocide, but about how to thrive despite it.
This feature documentary, produced by Stephanie Ayanian, will be on Rhode Island PBS on April 22, but will have different broadcast times in different PBS locations.
Please check the website https://whatwillbecomeofus.com/ for broadcasts across the country.
You may contact your local PBS station through their Member Services and request that they broadcast the film during a primetime time slot or favorable weekend time.
Please remember that the deadline for submitting items for Crossroads is on Tuesday evenings.
All parish news, photographs, and calendar items should be emailed to crossroads@armenianprelacy.org . Please send also your inquiries and comments (English and/or Armenian) to the same email address.

 ( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
April 25  —Due to the health emergency, the Siamanto Academy will hold its class online on Saturday at 10:30 am. For information, contact ANEC Director Ms. Mary Gulumian at anec@armenianprelacy.org or call 212-689-7810. .
May 13-16  — POSTPONED —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of Philadelphia..
May 17  — CANCELED —Following Divine Liturgy, St. Illuminator’s Cathedral will host a talk by academic and author Rubina Peroomian.
May 31  — POSTPONED —Save the date. St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, Douglaston, New York, 30th Anniversary Banquet.
June 28—July 5  —St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program: the 34th annual Datev Summer Program for youth ages 13-18 will take place at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). For information, please click  here  or contact the AREC office—212-689-7810 or  arec@armenianprelacy.org  .
October 4 —Save the date. St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church of New Britain, CT, 95th Anniversary Banquet.
October 17 —Hye Kef 5 Annual Dance, presented by the Armenian Friends of America, Inc.. Featuring: Steve Vosbikian Jr., Mal Barsamian, John Berberian, Ara Dinkjian and Jason Naroian. At the DoubleTree Hotel in Andover, MA. For details, visit ArmenianFriendsofAmerica.org or call Sharke at 978-808-0598
November 15  —Save the date. The Eastern Prelacy's Annual Thanksgiving Banquet.
November 28  —Save the date. Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church 80th Anniversary Celebration. Under the Auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian. Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, Cranston, Rhode Island. More details to follow.
Follow us on Social Media
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/