August 1, 2019
Today, Thursday, August 1, the Armenian Church commemorates the prophet Isaiah, who is best known for the longest prophetic book in the Old Testament (66 chapters) that bears his name. Isaiah foretells the birth of the Messiah by a virgin and describes the suffering of the Messiah’s church. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus refer to the book of Isaiah. Because of his clear foretelling about Christ the Savior, Isaiah is also recognized as an Old Testament evangelist. Although it is not recorded in the Bible, it is believed that Isaiah died a martyr’s death by order of the Hebrew king, Manasseh. Relics of the prophet are preserved at Mt. Athos in the Greek Orthodox Khilendaria Monastery in Greece.

Archbishop Anoushavan, who is concluding a visit to Lebanon, will return this weekend and on Sunday he will attend the annual picnic and Blessing of Grapes hosted by Sts. Vartanantz Church of Providence, Rhode Island, that will take place at Camp Haiastan in Franklin, Massachusetts. The Blessing of Grapes and Madagh will take place at 3:30 pm, presided by Archbishop Anoushavan. As in previous years the faithful from throughout the New England area are expected to attend.


The Prelate and the Religious and Executive Councils of the Eastern Prelacy received with great sorrow the news of the passing of the well-known and talented musicologist Krikor Pidedjian who died on July 30. Mr. Pidedjian was internationally recognized as one of the most talented musicologists, whose scholarly contributions in the study of Armenian national and sacred music include several books, many articles, and his founding and directorship of choirs and choruses throughout the world.

The Dahn Gark visitation will take place Thursday evening, August 1, at St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church in White Plains, New York, from 6 to 9 pm. Funeral services will take place Friday morning, August 2, at 11:00 am at St. Gregory Church, followed by interment at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Flushing, New York. Maestro Pidedjian is survived by his wife, Beatrice (Kachian), and sons Antovk and Datev and their families.

Krikor Pidedjian was born into a musical family in Alexandria, Egypt, on August 17, 1935. He studied at the Theological Seminary of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia, concurrent with studies at the Beirut Conservatory. He became immersed in national and church music at the Seminary where he studied with famed musicologist Hampartzoum Berberian. After graduating from the Seminary he served as the choirmaster at the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Antelias, Lebanon. Subsequently, he received a B.S. from the Mannes School of Music and M.A. from Hunter College. He is the founder of numerous choirs and ensembles that under his direction performed Armenian sacred and popular music throughout the world. He wrote scholarly monographs, as well as books in Armenian and English, including Anzink Nuviryalk (Devoted Persons); Armenian Songs of Exile; The Place of Armenian Revolutionary Songs in Armenian Music; Armenian Diction; The Chants of the Armenian Church; Was Krikor Narekatzi a Composer of Hymns?; and Kristapor Kara-Murza.
“The words sung in our churches, which rise up to heaven, are the most authentic form of prayer.”  Vasken I, Catholicos of All Armenians 
Bible readings for Sunday, August 4, Second Sunday of Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ , are: Isaiah 3:16-4:1; 1 Corinthians 1:25-30; Matthew 18:10-14).

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; therefore it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:25-30)

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“See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:10-14)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.

This Saturday, August 3, the Armenian Church commemorates Saint Thaddeus, one of two apostles who preached in Armenia, and Saint Sandukht, daughter of King Sanadrouk, and the first saint of the Armenian Church. It is not an exaggeration to say that these two—Thaddeus and Sandukht—were pioneer in bringing Christianity to Armenia in the first century.

Princess Sandukht was converted to Christianity by Thaddeus, and she in turn converted many others. Her father tried to have her renounce her conversion and finally gave her a choice of the crown or the sword. She chose the sword and became the first witness for Christianity in Armenia and the first saint of the Armenian Church. Shortly after her martyrdom, Thaddeus was martyred at Artaz (in present day northern Iran). The Armenian monastery of St. Thaddeus is built on the apostle’s tomb. During the early 20 th century the monastery was an important crossroads for travelers and pilgrims. A popular annual pilgrimage by Armenians from around the world takes place in July to coincide with this Feast day. During the four-day festival, thousands gather in tents pitched on the vast monastery grounds.

On Monday, August 5, the Armenian Church commemorates St. Cyprian ( Gibranos ), bishop of Carthage, and 45 martyrs. Cyprian was an important early Christian writer, and a major theologian of the early African church. Many of his works in Latin have survived. One of his best-known works is “On the Unity of the Church.” Many of his epistles, treatises, and pastoral letters are extant. He urged Christians to recite the Lord’s Prayer every day, meditating on each phrase. He wrote a commentary on the Lord’s Prayer showing how it is the model for prayer.

Born in the year 200, he was the son of wealthy parents and became a teacher of rhetoric and literature. He converted to Christianity in his middle years and was ordained a priest and elected to serve as bishop of Carthage. He was subject to persecution after his conversion and in the year 258 was beheaded along with forty-five martyrs.

When we pray, we should ensure that we understand the words we use. We should be humble, aware of our own weaknesses, and be eager to receive God’s grace. Our bodily posture and our tone of voice should reflect the fact that through prayer we enter God’s presence. To speak too loudly to God would be impudent; thus a quiet and modest manner is appropriate. The Lord has instructed us that we should usually pray in private, even in our own bedrooms. This reminds us that God is everywhere, that he hears and sees everything, and that he penetrates the deepest secrets of our hearts.
(From commentary “On the Lord’s Prayer,” by Cyprian of Carthage)

Also remembered this week:
Tuesday, August 6: Saint Athenogenes the Bishop, ten disciples, and five witnesses

Lillian Nedurian

We received with sorrow the news of the passing of Mrs. Lillian Nedurian who died on July 17 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. She and her late husband, Harry Nedurian, lived in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey for 50 years. The Nedurian family members were part of the original founding families of Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, and also a founder of the Armenian School of New Jersey (now named The Hovnanian School in New Milford, New Jersey).

Lillian was one of the original members of the Prelacy Ladies Guild (PLG) established by His Eminence Archbishop Karekin Sarkissian in 1974 when he was Prelate of the Prelacy. She remained an active member of the PLG for more than twenty years. She was also an active member of the Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church, the Armenian Relief Society, and the Friends of the Hovnanian School. She is survived by her children, Dr. Gregory Nedurian, Deborah Rodman, and Leslie Hayes; seven grandchildren, and sisters Marion Bazikian and Rose Torigian.

Asdvatz hokeen lousavoreh . May God illuminate her soul.
Death of Alexander Bekzadian (August 1, 1938)

Like many of his compatriots involved in communism, Alexander Bekzadian came to believe that socialism (morphed into communism) was the only salvation for Armenians, and did not view the issue of the Armenian liberation struggle as such. Led by the winds of world revolution, they called upon Armenians to fight against world imperialism along foreign socialists.

Bekzadian was born in 1879 in Shushi, the capital of Artsakh (Gharabagh), in the family of a judicial officer. Family well-being allowed him getting a brilliant education. In 1897 he graduated from the Royal School of Shushi, one of the best educational institutions in Transcaucasia at the time, and entered the School of Agriculture at the Polytechnic Institute of Kiev. In 1901 he became a member of the Social-Democratic organization of the University of Kiev, and two years later, the Bolshevik fraction of the Russian Social-Democratic Party. He was expelled from the university and the city for his political activities. He went straight to Baku, where his family had moved, and continued his activities within the local Bolshevik committee. His was a family of heightened political engagement; his sisters Mariam and Elena would later adopt the ideas of the Russian revolution, two of his brothers, Tigran and Hovsep, would be ARF members, and Ruben, member of the Social-Revolutionary party. 

In 1905 he was arrested and imprisoned. However, he escaped and became an exile in Switzerland from 1906-1914 with an active political life as a sort of linchpin between the Caucasian Bolsheviks and the leader of the party, Vladimir Lenin. He entered the Law School of the University of Zurich, where he defended his doctoral dissertation in 1912.
Bekzadian was allowed to return to Russia in 1915, but was arrested when he rushed to Baku and remained in jail until the Russian Revolution of February 1917. After being released, he went back to Baku, where he became president of the provincial Food Committee. In 1918 he moved to the northern Caucasus and the following year he was a member of the Caucasian Committee of the Bolshevik Party. He was actively engaged in the struggle against the “bourgeois” Republic of Armenia and became one of the organizers of the failed Communist uprising of May 1920.

Bekzadian was a member of the Revkom, the Bolshevik committee that proclaimed the Sovietization of Armenia, and Popular Commissar of Foreign Affairs and Supplies in the first government of Soviet Armenia. In December 1920 and January 1921 he demanded from the Kemalist government of Turkey to stop the atrocities against the Armenian population in the areas occupied by Turkey and start negotiations to return Kars and Alexandropol to Armenia. However, the Armenian delegation led by Bekzadian was excluded from the negotiations started in Moscow in February-March 1921 by Turkish demand, giving the rebellion of February 1921 as pretext. He was reinstated in his position after the end of the rebellion in April. However, he failed to obtain any meaningful result at the time of the Treaty of Kars, which consecrated the loss of Kars, Ardahan, Mount Ararat, and Ani to Turkey in October 1921.

In 1922 Bekzadian abandoned Armenia and took a secondary position at the commercial mission of the USSR in Berlin for the next four years. From 1926-1930 he was designated deputy president of the Council of Popular Commissars of the Transcaucasian Federation and Commissar of Commerce. Afterwards, he returned to foreign affairs: from 1930-1937 he was Soviet ambassador, first to Norway until 1934, and then to Hungary. He abandoned his diplomatic activities in 1937 and returned to Moscow.

Like many veteran Bolsheviks, Alexander Bekzadian was a victim of the Stalinist persecutions. In 1938 he was charged with being a Trotskyite and having engaged in anti-governmental activities. After months of trial, he was executed on August 1, 1938, at the infamous Communarka shooting ground of the NKVD (a predecessor of the KGB), which functioned from 1937 to 1941 with more than 10,000 people killed and buried there. Like millions of Stalin’s victims, he was posthumously rehabilitated.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 
St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City received a bequest of $25,000 from the estate of Leon Chutjian of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

Mr. Chutjian passed away on July 17, 2017. He was the oldest of three brothers born to Seeman (Simon) and Payloon Chutjian on August 25, 1927. His parents were survivors of the Armenian genocide, who settled in New York and established a grocery/deli store in Manhattan.

Leon was a wonderful brother, brother-in-law, uncle, and friend. He was extremely devoted to helping his family and friends in any way he could. He graduated from Adelphi University and worked as a stockbroker for Stifle Nicolaus. Upon hearing of Leon’s passing, a colleague said, “Of all the stock brokers I ever worked with, Leon was the most outstanding and honest—a rare quality in today’s investment markets.”

In his letter to Gary Chutjian, nephew of Leon, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian wrote: “May the All Merciful God accept Leon Chutjian’s soul in His Eternal Kingdom and give the comfort of His Holy Spirit to all family members,” and expressed his gratitude for this generous donation, which will help educate young generations of Armenian Americans. Der Mesrob added, “The continuity of the Armenian Church and community depends on individuals like Leon Chutjian, who had strong ties to the Armenian Church and heritage.”

The Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program was established in 1993 and continues to be the central mission of the Prelacy’s programs 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 four-year-old Erik (written by his mother) to his sponsors, Mr. and Mrs. Vahe and Hasmik Dombalagian of Glenview, Illinois. The Dombalagians deserve our special thanks and recognition for their continuous support of the Prelacy’s orphans program. Mr. & Mrs. Dombalagian began their sponsorship with ten children in 2010. Today they are sponsoring 150 children!
In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.
My name is …. I am four years old. I don’t go to kindergarten yet. I love to play with my toy zoo animals at home or go outside with my older brother Sarkis and play ball. When our mom takes us to the village, we ride our bicycles there. In the evenings, before going to sleep, we watch cartoons on the computer. When I go to bed, I always take my favorite animals with me. I love my family.

Note: Erik’s sentiments were written down by his mother. 
Currently there are children on the waiting list for the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program. If you would like to sponsor a child please contact the Prelacy by email ( ) or telephone (212-689-7810), ask for Sophie.
To read the latest online article (Where is Jesus?) written by Rev. Fr. Bedros Shetilian, pastor of St. Gregory Church of Indian Orchard, Massachusetts click here.
Please send your inquiries and comments (English or Armenian) to .

( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
August 4 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Picnic, under auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, at Camp Haiastan, Franklin, Massachusetts, 12 noon. Blessing of the Grapes and Madagh at 3:30 pm. All New England churches and communities are invited to attend. Rain or shine. For information: Church office (401) 831-6399.

August 4 —St. Paul Armenian Church, Waukegan, Illinois, annual Blessing of the Grapes and Shish Kebab Family Picnic, 12 noon to 4 pm. Rain or shine.

August 11 —St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, welcomes all to its annual picnic at Camp Haiastan. Under the auspices of H.E. Archbishop Anoushavan. Blessing of the Grapes and Madagh at 3 pm. Rain or shine. For information: (617) 924-7562.

August 11 —Annual picnic of Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Worcester, Massachusetts. Blessing of Grapes at 1 pm with Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian presiding.

August 16, 17, 18 —All Saints Armenian Church, Glenview, Illinois, Armenian Fest 2019. Friday, 6 pm to 10 pm; Saturday, 5 pm to 11 pm; Sunday, 12 noon to 7 pm. Grape blessing ceremony at 4 pm on Sunday. Free admission and parking. Children’s area with Inflatables.

September 8 - Saint Gregory Church, North Andover, Annual Picnic, Sunday, 12:00-5:30 P.M; Great Procession of the Holy Cross will take place at 2:30 P.M. under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate.

October 9-12 —On the occasion of the Feast of the Holy Translators a joint clergy conference of the Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies will convene in Montebello, California.

October 12 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, NJ continues celebration of 60 th anniversary with Elie Berberian and his band. Information: 201-943-2950.

October 19 —Armenian Friends of America Annual Hye Kef 5 Dance, featuring The Vosbikians, at Double Tree by Hilton, Andover, MA. For information: Sharke’ Der Apkarian at 978-808-0598; John Arzigian at 603-560-3826.

November 17 —SAVE THE DATE for Eastern Prelacy’s first annual Special Thanksgiving Banquet at Terrace on the Park. Details to follow.

May 13-16, 2020 —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy, hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Philadelphia. The Clergy Conference will begin on Wednesday, May 13; the full Assembly will convene on Thursday, May 14 and conclude on Saturday, May 16.
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