August 16, 2018
The Prelate will travel to Whitinsville, Massachusetts, where on Sunday he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Asdvadzadzin Church. His Eminence will preside over the parish’s annual picnic and blessing of grapes that will take place following the Liturgy on the church grounds at 315 Church Street.

Archbishop Oshagan with New England area clergymen during the Blessing of Grapes.
Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence, Rhode Island, held its Annual Picnic last Sunday under the auspices of Archbishop Oshagan at Camp Haiastan in Franklin, Massachusetts. His Eminence conducted the Blessing of the Grapes with the participation of clergymen from the New England area. The picnic took place indoors because of rain. Everyone who attended enjoyed delicious food, wonderful music, and a special performance by the Rhode Island Hamazkayin Artsakh Dance Group.
Bishop Anoushavan attended the 98 th Convention of the Armenian Relief Society that took place in Boca Raton, Florida. His Grace offered the opening prayer.
Armenia’s Minister of Diaspora, Mr. Mkhitar Hayrapetyan with Bishop Anoushavan and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian.

Armenia’s Minister of the Diaspora, Mr. Mkhitar Hayrapetyan, visited St. Illuminator’s Cathedral on Friday, August 3, where a round table discussion with the community took place. The event, which took place at noon, was co-hosted by the Cathedral and the Armenian Wounded Heroes Fund. Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of the Cathedral, introduced the Diaspora Minister and welcomed him, wishing him the best of luck in his new and arduous journey. Mr. Razmig Arzoumanian, chairman of the Armenian Wounded Heroes Fund, spoke about the Fund and its activities to help soldiers wounded in the battlefield, and then engaged in a dialogue with the Minister, who spoke about the importance of supporting the army, in particular its medical needs, and answered questions from the audience about future plans and its relationship with the Diaspora.

Bishop Anoushavan with Deacons Shant Kazanjian, James Haddad, and Dickran Kabarajian.
Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar of the Prelacy, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and conducted the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City last Sunday. Following the service, the blessed grapes were distributed to the parishioners, who also enjoyed a luncheon prepared by the Ladies Guild. 

Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian conducts the Blessing of Grapes at St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley in North Andover, Massachusetts.
Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian conducts Blessing of Grapes ceremony at Holy Trinity Church in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Bible readings for Sunday, August 19, First Sunday after the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, are, Proverbs 11:30-12:4; Zechariah 2:10-13; 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1; Luke 1:39-56.

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” 

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.  (Luke 1:39-56)


What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, and I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and of spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1)

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

On Tuesday, August 21, the Armenian Church commemorates Saints Joachim and Anna, parents of Mary, the mother of Christ. Joachim, son of Barpathir, was a descendant of King David, to whom God had revealed that the Savior of the world would be born through his descendants. Anna was a descendant of the tribe of Levi through her father and the tribe of Judah through her mother. Joachim and Anna were childless through years of marriage. Joachim fasted for forty days in the desert and both of them prayed for a child, ultimately placing their trust in God’s will. An angel appeared to each of them telling them that in spite of their old age they would be the parents of a daughter. 

On the same day the Church remembers the oil-bearing women ( Myrophores ). These are the eight women who are identified as the oil- or myrrh-bearers in the four Gospels who had different roles during Christ’s ministry, at the Cross, and the tomb on Easter morning. The eight women are: Mary Magdalene, Mary ( Theotokos ), Joanna, Salome, Mary (wife of Cleopas), Susanna, Mary of Bethany, and Martha of Bethany.

Frankincense and Myrrh were the “gifts of kings,” more valuable than gold. Myrrh is mentioned frequently in both the Old and New Testaments. Gold, frankincense and myrrh were the precious offerings of thanks to Mary by the three Wise Men for bringing forth the Son of God. Myrrh is mentioned occasionally throughout the life of Jesus of Nazareth: “And they offered him wine mingled with myrrh,” (Mark 15:23); after his death, “Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound weight,” which was used to prepare the Body for burial (John 19:39).

O God, by wise foreknowledge you established the mystery of the holy church, having laid down the assembly of the righteous as its deep and firm foundation; through their prayers, have mercy on us. The blessing given by you to husband and wife, the pair created by God, buds forth today in Joachim and Anna like a splendid flower; through their prayers, have mercy on us. Today you manifested from Anna the promise given to Abraham, our patriarch according to the Spirit, in the union of staffs both priestly and kingly; through their prayers, have mercy on us. O God, without beginning, unspeakable, boundless might, from the beginning of the ages you have cared for the sons of Adam, today by grace from above, you have designated by her birth the mother of your chosen and only-begotten Son. Through her prayers, have mercy on us.

(Canon to Saints Joachim and Anna from the liturgical canons of the Armenian Church)

On Thursday, August 23, the Armenian Church remembers Jeremiah, one of the major prophets of the Old Testament. His writings are collected in the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah, in I and II Kings, and the Book of Lamentations. God appointed Jeremiah to confront Judah and Jerusalem for the worship of idols and other violations of the covenant (described in the Book of Deuteronomy). Jeremiah had the task of explaining the reason for the impending disaster—the destruction by the Babylonian army and captivity: “And when your people say, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.’”

The third in the “Let’s Chat” series has just been released by the Armenian National Education Committee. As the preceding booklets, “Let’s Chat 3” introduces to the learner dialogues about various subjects of daily interest. The dialogues are presented in Armenian, both in Armenian and Latin-script, with their corresponding English translation. This format is useful both for learners who know and do not know the Armenian alphabet. “Let’s Chat 3” departs from the basics introduced in the first two installments and presents the reader with new vocabulary from different areas, including the Internet. While this series is essentially directed to beginners, it may be helpful for all sorts of students. To purchase copies, please contact the Prelacy bookstore at or by phone at 212-689-7810. 

Death of Catholicos Mateos I
(August 22, 1865)
The Armenian Church had two Catholicoi called Mateos in the nineteenth and twentieth century, who also were Patriarchs of Constantinople at first, and lived and worked in difficult circumstances both in the Ottoman and the Russian empires.

Mateos Chuhadjian was born in Constantinople in 1802 and consecrated archimandrite in 1826. He was one of the best prepared and well-versed ecclesiastics of his time. Following instructions of Patriarch Stepanos Aghavni (1831-1839 and 1840-1841), he collaborated with writer Krikor Peshdimaljian and published a voluminous Synaxarion in 1831. (The Synaxarion-- in Armenian, Haysmavurk --is the compilation of the lives of saints arranged by the order of their anniversaries.) During his life, he would publish a dozen works of religious studies and theology, some of them polemical. 

He was named primate of the diocese of Brusa in 1835 and consecrated bishop three years later. In 1841 he became primate of Smyrna and in July 1844, at the age of forty-two, he became Patriarch of Constantinople. 

The relations between the Catholicosate of All Armenians and the Patriarchate had become frozen in 1828, when the dioceses under jurisdiction of the latter had stopped remembering the name of the Catholicos. In his first Holy Mass, celebrated on July 23, 1844, he remembered the name of Catholics Nerses V Ashtaraketsi. Patriarch Mateos worked towards restoring the relations between both sees. By mutual agreement, the two sees decided to maintain direct relations. The Patriarch of Constantinople was recognized as vicar, legate, and treasurer of Holy Etchmiadzin, that is, the only representative, and the activities and fundraising by other legates was forbidden. The boundaries of the diocesan divisions were also established and clarified.

During the four-year mandate of Patriarch Mateos, the simmering conflict between the Armenian Church and the few hundred followers of Protestantism exploded. Despite the assurances of Protestant leadership, as James L. Barton wrote in 1908, that the American missionaries’ “supreme endeavor was to help the Armenians and the Greeks work out a quiet but genuine reform in their respective churches,” their mission was characterized as an attack on the “Mother Church.” On June 21, 1846 the Patriarch issued an encyclical of perpetual excommunication and anathema against all Protestants, and four days later, a constitution was drawn up for the forthcoming Armenian Evangelical Church, which began on July 1.  

The Patriarch reopened the Lyceum of Scutari (1845), which had been converted into a military hospital by decision of the Ottoman government four years before. He also founded schools in Samatia, Smyrna, and other places. During his tenure, 25 schools and many printing houses functioned in Constantinople, several periodicals appeared, and various cultural societies were founded. He also ensured that promising young people were sent to Europe to pursue higher education.

He also formed the two administrative bodies of self-government for Western Armenians, the Religious Assembly (14 members) and the Supreme Assembly (20 members), which became the grounds for the preparation of the National Constitution fifteen years later. However, his activities were met with resistance by the amiras (the upper class magnates), and their pressure forced him to resign from his position in September 1848. It is interesting that, after his resignation from the highest position of the Armenian Church in the Ottoman Empire, he became the primate of the diocese of Nicomedia (Ismit) in 1853-1854, and abbot of the convent of Armash in 1855, when he was also designated chairman of the Religious Assembly.

After the death of Nerses V, the National Representative Assembly gathered in Holy Etchmiadzin decided to strengthen the links between Etchmiadzin and Constantinople and elect any Western Armenian ecclesiastic. The election fell on Archbishop Mateos Chuhajian, who was elected on May 17, 1858, and consecrated on August 15, 1859. 

During his six-year tenure, Catholicos Mateos I was again in conflict with Protestantism, this time in the diocese of Shamakha (current Azerbaijan), and his confrontational position ended with the incorporation of the few hundred Armenian Protestants to the Lutheran Church, the only one recognized in the Russian Empire, in 1866.

He tried to reform the Holy See and regulate monastic life. He paid attention to education and in 1861 he approved the statutes of the Nersisian School of Tiflis (founded by his predecessor Nerses V in 1824), and established the programs and organizational rules of the parochial and diocesan schools, and at the same time incorporated many laymen in the school boards. He put in order the library of the Holy See and the first complete catalogue of manuscripts appeared in 1863. 

Catholicos Mateos I passed away on August 22, 1865 in Vagharshapat, and was interred in the narthex ( gavit ) of the nearby monastery of Surp Gayane.

Tombstone of Catholicos Mateos I
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s website ( ).

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.
“Armenia!” the major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is set to open on September 22. Dr. Helen C. Evans, curator of the exhibit, describes the exhibition as “The first major exhibition to explore the remarkable artistic and cultural achievements of the Armenian people in a global context.” The exhibit features 14 centuries of Armenian history from the 4 th century to the 17 th century.

A short video about the exhibit is on the Museum’s website. To view it click here.
SIAMANTO ACADEMY— Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey.
New term begins on September 22, 2018. For information: or 212-689-7810.

August 19 —Annual Church Picnic and Blessing of Grapes, Soorp Asdvadzadzin Church, 315 Church Street, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, with the participation of pastors of the New England area churches. Full menu of shish kebab, chicken kebab, losh kebab, kheyma, desserts, and choreg sale, all beginning at 12 noon. Dance to the live music of the John Berberian Ensemble, rain or shine. For more information (508) 234-3677.

September 8 —Special session of the Eastern Prelacy’s National Representative Assembly for election of Prelate, will take place at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27 th Street, New York City. Meeting will begin at 1 pm sharp.

September 9 —St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, Picnic-Festival on the church grounds, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts, 12 noon to 5:30 pm. Featuring Armenian music by Leon Janikian (clarinet); John Berberian (oud); Jason Naroian (dumbeg, vocals); John Arzigian (accordion, vocals). Lamb shish kebab, losh kebab, chicken kebab dinners, vegetarian dinners, Armenian pastries. Great Procession of the Holy Cross to take place around the church premises. Games and activities for all. Free parking and admission. For information (978-685-5038).

September 22, 2018 to January 13, 2019 —“Armenia!” a large exhibition dedicated to the medieval period of Armenian history and culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. The exhibit is the first at the Met dedicated solely to Armenia. Curated by Dr. Helen C. Evans.

October 20 —Armenian Friends America, Inc., Sixth Annual HYE KEF 5, featuring Onnik Dinkjian, John Berberian, Ara Dinkjian, Mal Barsamian, and Jason Naroian. Double Tree Hotel, Andover, Massachusetts. For information: .

Follow us on Social Media
The Armenian Prelacy 
Tel: 212-689-7810 ♦ Fax: 212-689-7168 ♦ Email:

Visit the Catholicosate webpage at