August 20, 2020
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Dear Fellow Brothers and Sisters,

Two weeks have passed since the devastating explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. Each and every day, when I receive and hear individual stories of tragedy, my heart continues to bleed. Two days ago, a lady buried her husband, brother, and cousin. All three of them were firefighters. It reminded me of the tragedy of the Twin Towers in 2001 and reopened that wound in my heart, when firefighters, and men and women from all walks of life, instantly became the victims of an unparalleled tragedy.

On the other hand, I am stunned by seeing the incredible spirit of renewal to conquer this tragedy. Just look at this gentleman in his wheelchair who is doing his best to bring positive change in a world affected by evil.

I am also tremendously comforted by witnessing the genuine response of our people with their generous donations to bring relief in the process of healing. As of today, we have received a total of $ 136,300 in donations, and we have made the second transfer in the legally allowed amount of $50,000. For clarification, I would like to say that, according to banking rules and regulations, each transaction is limited to a maximum amount of $50,000. We will continue our transfers accordingly.


Prelate, Eastern Prelacy of the United States
The Lebanese Armenian Community Reconstruction Committee, presided by Archbishop Shahe Panossian, Prelate of the Armenian Church of Lebanon, held its second meeting on Wednesday, August 12, during which it determined the next steps, two weeks after the deadly blast in the port of Beirut.

The meeting was attended by representatives of community organizations, including Karnig Mgrditchian, of the Armenian Apostolic community; Aram Karadaghlian, of the Armenian Catholic community; Nerses Baghdoyan, of the Armenian Evangelical community; Hagop Havatian, of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation; Vanig Dakessian, of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party; Silva Libarian, of the Armenian General Benevolent Union; Nazely Avakian, of the Armenian Relief Cross of Lebanon, and Aram Malian, of the Armenian Educational Benevolent Union.

In its first meeting, the committee elected Karnig Mgrditchian chairman; Nazeli Avakian, secretary, and Aram Malian, treasurer.

Upon the priorities determined by Catholicos Aram I, preference will be given during the reconstruction efforts to damaged homes, shops and other buildings, which will be done under the supervision of experts. The committee will also ensure that donations be made through its own channels and evenly distributed among the needy of our people.
The Committee has set up its offices in a specially allocated space in the former building of the Forty Holy Martyrs School. 

Syrian Al-Azmenah newspaper has published an exclusive interview with Armenian President Armen Sarkissian. In his response to the interviewer’s comment that “the treaty has remained on paper,” Mr. Sarkissian said:

“I would rather say that the Treaty of Sèvres was not fully ratified, which means it remains unfulfilled, and it is true that when it comes to Armenia, its decisions were not implemented, because the international political situation had changed but, at the same time, it was never denounced either.

“The Treaty of Sèvres is a legal, interstate agreement which is de facto still in force, because this document became the basis for other documents, which derived from it, for determining the status of a number of Middle East countries for a period of time after World War I or their current status (…)”

Mr. Sarkissian pointed out that Armenia and Armenians all over the world own a millennia-long history and civilization. “No matter what was done or what they do, no matter that they deny obvious facts, no matter that they destroy monuments of Armenian history and civilization and erase Armenians’ traces on the territory of historical Armenia, they cannot destroy the memory of the Armenian people.”

In his response to another widespread point of view, according to which the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 came to annul the Treaty of Sèvres, Mr. Sarkissian said: “It is simply not true and cannot be true. The Treaty of Lausanne does not contain such an annulment; moreover, it does not contain any reference to the Treaty of Sèvres. The Republic of Armenia did not sign the Treaty of Lausanne, thus we are not a party of the Treaty of Lausanne. Thus, it does not create any obligation for the Republic of Armenia. The Res inter alios acta (if you are not a party to it you have no obligation) principle of international law applies in this situation. The Treaty of Sèvres and the Treaty of Lausanne are two different legal documents.”

Separately, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalyan released a statement in response to a statement by Turkey’s Foreign Ministry about Armenia’s marking of the centennial of the Treaty of Sèvres.

“The statement by the Foreign Ministry of Turkey once again comes to prove that country’s inability to come to terms with its past,” said Ms. Naghdalyan, adding that, “surprisingly, the current authorities of Turkey, who never miss an opportunity to praise their Ottoman heritage, are nervously reacting to the reference of the Treaty of Sèvres, which the very Ottoman Empire signed with a number of states, including the Republic of Armenia.”

She said that “the Treaty of Sèvres has been and will remain a historical fact, which cannot be edited or wiped away.” Ms. Naghdalyan also added: “While refusing to face its past and urging others to ‘take lessons from history instead of animosity,’ Turkey continues its traditional policy of justifying the Armenian Genocide and threatening the Armenian people with new atrocities,” which is “part of the expansionist policy of the Turkish government, which is aimed at destabilizing its neighboring regions.”

She urged Turkey to be able to face the past, which will pave the way for genuine reconciliation among the peoples of our region.” 
The Prelate and the Executive and Religious Councils have learned with great sadness and heavy hearts the passing of Nartuhi (Nora) Selverian, a pillar of St.Gregory the Illuminator Church of Philadelphia, on August 14, 2020. Nartuhi was born on November 25, 1939 in Philadelphia, PA. to Yeprad and Louise Selverian. She was predeceased by her brothers, Sarkis and Nazareth. Nartuhi is survived by her nieces and nephews, Adam (Sarah), Eddie (Diana), Kevin (Jody), Denise and Stacey. She was blessed with her great nieces and nephews, Christian, Simon, Tiffany, Alexander, Andrew, Nicholas, Stephanie, Kirynn and Samantha.

All her adult life Nora gave to her church nonstop and gave nicely, selflessly and continuously.

She was very much involved in the Ladies Guild. Especially in the months leading to church bazaar, she was unstoppable,.

She served for years at the national level as well with the same unique style. As a delegate, she represented her church at National Representative Assemblies in different cities, . She was a proud ambassador and a vocal representative of the Philadelphia Church.

But amongst many things, Sunday School was closest to her heart. For fifty long years, Nora became a motherly figure in Sunday School classrooms. Lately she would refer to her students as her children and dealt with them indeed as her children.

On behalf of the Executive Council, the Prelate has sent a letter to Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, Pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church. Evoking Ms. Selverian, in his message the Prelate said, “I admire her for her zeal, when she was the first to arrive in church on Sunday, in transmitting to Sunday school students the paramount values of the Christian Armenian faith.” 

May she rest in peace and may God console all those who survive her and the family of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Philadelphia.

On Sunday, August 23, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, will preside over the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Our faithful may follow the ceremony via live streaming.

This Sunday, August 23, following Divine Liturgy a special Requiem Service will be held in every church of the Eastern Prelacy for the repose of the souls of the brave Armenian soldiers of Tavush: Garush Hambardzumyan, Sos Elbakyan, Smbat Gabrielyan, Grisha Matevosyan, Artur Muradyan and Ashot Mikaelyan, who faced with heroism the massive attack undertaken against our homeland. An enemy armed with technologically advanced weaponry retreated thanks to the Armenian Army that, with love for the homeland and military genius, achieved another landmark victory in our modern era, beginning with 1918, through 1994 and 2016.
May God bless the Armenian soldier and keep the memory of his honorable conduct always alive, may He grant eternal peace to their souls and give consolation to their families.  

On Sunday, August 16, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, presided over and celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Soorp Asdvadzadzin Church in Whitinsville (Massachusetts). You can read the Prelate’s sermon below:

Today the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary, the Birth Giver of God. According to tradition, when Mary entered into Eternal Rest, Saint Bartholomew the Apostle was not in Jerusalem. Upon his return, he wished to pay his final respects to her. The other apostles acceded to his request, and made the arrangements to open her tomb. And lo! They found the tomb empty! Surely they were surprised and were filled with awesome fear; yet based upon their unprecedented experience of witnessing the Empty Tomb of their Great Teacher, Jesus Christ, the apostles thanked and glorified the Almighty Lord for transferring Mary from her earthly sepulcher into the heavenly sanctuary. They thanked the Lord for this magnificent sign of carrying the earthly Angel of Nazareth, the intercessor of Cana in Galilee, the praying heart at the Cross, the Holy Virgin Mary, to the celestial abode. Thus she became the universal mother, intercessor and prayer for all believers.

The Assumption of St. Mary is indeed a unique privilege and most superb reward which transcends human comprehension and imagination. Through this marvelous action of love, God granted a tangible sign to her contemporaries, as well as to the generations to come, that this humble and obedient maiden—who loved God with all her heart with all her soul and with all her might (Deut 6:5)—deserves to be honored by Celestials and earthlings alike. Also, in various countries and in different times, through many appearances of the Holy Virgin Mary to believers, God granted us the assurance that there is a mystic interconnection between the Triumphant Church (the believers who lived and passed) and the Militant Church (the believers who are in this world), thus all believers constituting one entity in God.

By virtue of carrying the incarnated Son of God in her womb, Mary salutes mankind, saved through the sacred Blood of her Son, as her spiritual children. She wishes for every single person to acknowledge and to enjoy the free and unconditional, the visible and invisible, the timely and surprising benefits and blessings of the Almighty Lord, thus becoming the heir of heavenly glory.

As the universal mother, St. Mary intercedes to her Son and our Lord on behalf of all those who consciously or unconsciously need to fulfill their short comings, just like those at the wedding reception at Cana in Galilee.

She prays with us and for us by comforting and strengthening all broken hearts, and encourages us to trust and to never abandon our hope in God, to change the valleys of hopelessness, failure and sorrow into verdant fields of hope, success, and joy.

The Holy Virgin Mary, the “Asdvadzadzin”, the Birth Giver of God, just as she nourished the Baby Jesus with her milk, nourishes us with the milk of her pure faith, hope and love, with the milk of wholehearted commitment to God to navigate with the compass of the Cross from life to Life.

Every day and every hour—but today more than at any other time—mankind is witnessing the malevolence of evil spirits of disrespect, carelessness, disobedience, rebellions, and the deterioration of those values which uphold our families, our nation and the society at large, the mass destruction of human lives and Mother Nature as a whole.

Let us revitalize our bond with Soorp Asdvadzadzin –the Holy Birth Giver of God, the role model of purity and obedience, the symbol of a broken but not crushed heart, the earthly Bride whose unconditional commitment pleased God. And as St. Gregory of Nareg, a saint of the Armenian Church, recently proclaimed Doctor of Faith in the Roman Catholic Church, has prayed, “O Holy Mother of God the tree of life giving fruit, interweave my bitter lamentations to your pleasant and incense-like supplications”, let us wholeheartedly beseech her to intercede on our behalf with the Almighty and Compassionate Lord to increase the spirit of humility, mutual understanding, tolerance, respect among humans, to build up justice, stability and peace on earth, and gratefully to praise the Lord of lords now and forever. Amen.  

Prelate, Eastern Prelacy of the United States

“Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work”. (2 Corinthians 9:7-8)

Your support in this initial period of our membership campaign is exceeding by far our best expectations and encourages us to persevere in our commitment to serving our parishes and our faithful as we adjust to life during the pandemic. We at the Prelacy are humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude by the generous response of so many members and friends as we still deal with the unprecedented health emergency. In the words of a donor who wrote to us: “Thank you for all you do to help us keep the faith and be hopeful for the future.”
Bible readings for Sunday, August 23, 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.
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.


2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1
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.
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.

On Tuesday, August 25, 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 to Jesus by the three Wise Men (Matthew 2:11). 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)
The Siamanto Academy is now open for enrollment for the 2020-21 school year. Classes begin remotely (via videoconference by Zoom) on September 26, 2020.

The course is organized by the Armenian National Education Committee for the teenagers of ages 14-18 in the communities under ANEC’s jurisdiction.

The 2-hour classes, including a break, are every Saturday

In addition to an Armenian education and other benefits, Siamanto Academy also offers students the opportunity to meet peers from other communities.

The deadline for registration is August 31. To register, please visit
Last Summer Class Tomorrow
The next Siamanto summer class, the last one of the season, is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, August 21, at 4:00 pm.

On Friday, August 7, the third Siamanto summer class of the 2019-2020 school year took place via Zoom, with the participation of the three teachers who developed the Armenian as Second Language program, or ASL: Silva Bedian, Narineh Abrimian and Sossi Essajanian. The ASL program is already available to Armenian schools on Hye Teachers’ Hub ( for the teachers of the Armenian National Educational Council as well as on the Prelacy’s website for the benefit of the public.

The students participated with enthusiasm in Ms. Essajanian’s group lesson on Armenian dances. After Ms. Essajanian’s presentation, students went to their separate online classrooms: they had all done their homework. The third Siamanto summer class concluded with a second group session, in which students had lively conversations with the three teachers, and with some of them sharing their enthusiastic reactions right away.
Last Sunday Prelacy parishes celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God and the Blessing of the Grapes. It was a welcome opportunity to get together in the spirit of celebration in a year that has seen so many changes in our lives.
Last Sunday Archbishop Anoushavan traveled to St. Asdvadzadzin Armenian Apostolic Church of Whitinsville, Massachusetts, where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy, delivered the sermon, and presided over the Blessing of Grapes ceremony that took place following the Badarak. This year due to COVID-19, the annual picnic was canceled. Srpazan Hayr, Der Aram Stepanian, Der Mikael and the members of the Board of Trustees shared an Agape meal in lieu of the picnic.  
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and conducted the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony at the St. Illuminator's Cathedral in New York: “Blessed and sanctified be these clusters of grapes with the sign of the holy Cross and with this Holy Gospel and with the grace of this day, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
A tradition St. Sarkis Church, of Douglaston, New York, has on the Sunday of the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God is to serve harissa at its fellowship hour. Things were a little different this year because of COVID. First, due to the rain, the grapes and the harissa were blessed by Der Nareg Terterian in the sanctuary. The parish tried something new and had its first curbside pickup event. Parishioners were asked to call the church office in advance with their pre-order requests. A tent was set up outside on the sidewalk. The parishioners were able to pick up their orders after church service or just drive by and have it placed in their cars. It allowed them to go home and share the blessed food with their family. All in all the parishioners were happy the tradition continued.
The coronavirus pandemic could not dampen the enthusiasm of the Sts. Vartanantz Church community in Providence, Rhode Island, last Sunday. And neither could the rain that fell as the day progressed. Along with celebrating the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian conducted the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony in the church parking lot following the Divine Liturgy in the sanctuary. Of course, pandemic protocols were followed with all parishioners wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing guidelines. Dedicated volunteers prepared the almost 350 delicious shish and losh kebab dinners which were distributed in drive-thru fashion. “Although we could not be together in the traditional way for our annual picnic, I witnessed the joy on the faces of the faithful as they came to pick up their dinners,” encouraged Der Kapriel after the event. “I heard the joy in their voices as they had the opportunity to greet our volunteers and express their appreciation for the opportunity to share in this meal.” In a follow-up message to those who helped make the “picnic” possible, Der Kapriel stressed the important role they played in helping the community to feel united through God’s grace despite the physical distance necessary due to the pandemic.
The Blessing of the Grapes ceremony conducted by Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian and assisted by Rev. Fr. Vahan Kouyoumdjian and the deacons of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey.
In the photo, Archpriest Daron Stepanian blesses the grapes at St. Hagop Armenian Apostolic Church in Racine, Wisconsin, accompanied by Deacons Stepan Fronjian and Levon Saryan.
The blessing of the grapes ceremony at St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church of Dearborn, Michigan conducted by Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian.
Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church, of Bethesda, Maryland, celebrated the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God followed by the traditional Blessing of the Grapes and Madagh by Archpriest Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian. The service was live streamed on Soorp Khatch Facebook page.
Blessing of Grapes and Antasdan at Saint Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts; Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, Pastor, assisted by Dns. Arek Kalaydjian and John Saryan.
Very Rev. Fr. Ghevont Pentezian blesses the grapes at All Saints Armenian Apostolic Church, in Glenview, Illinois.
The blessing of the grapes at St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian.
Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian blesses the grapes at the altar of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown, Massachusetts.
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 children addressed to their actual or potential sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads.
This week’s letter is from the mother of Alexander and David Hambartsoumyan, who are sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. David Ambartsoumian.
Dear Sponsor,

I, Anna Hakobyan, widow of Major Garoush Hambartsoumyan, killed in the line of duty in the month of July in Karabagh, learned with profound gratitude that within one day my children found a sponsor, Mr. and Mrs. David Ambartsoumian, thanks to the efforts of Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian.

Dear Sponsor, Alexander was born on August 17, 2013 and he goes to school.
[Note from Alexander] Dear Sponsor, My name is Alexander. I was promoted to 2nd grade in school. I love to read and to draw pictures.

[The mother, Anna, resumes the writing]. David was born on March 23, 2020. He is 4 months-old.

We just had a terribly painful loss in our family. Major Garoush Hambartsoumyan was a patriot. He studied at the Vazgen Sargsyan Military Academy. After graduation, he started his job in the Army. In 2017, he was transferred to serve in the front line in the Tavush region, where he moved with his family. In July 2020, this event happened. He was posthumously awarded a 2nd degree Medal for Bravery.

I will write you letters often. Thank you very much for including my children in this program.
The program of the St. Nerses the Great Organization includes both orphans up to the age of 18 and orphans who become students at a higher education institution upon turning 18. There are children of all ages in the waiting list of the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program. Now we also have orphans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider sponsoring a child. For quick and easy online sponsorship of minors up to the age of 18, please click here. Alternatively, for the sponsorship of both minors and university students you may also contact the Prelacy by email ( or telephone (212-689-7810).
The drawing of the Prelacy’s annual raffle is on September 12, 2020. The top prize is $5,000; second prize is $2,000; and third, fourth, and fifth prizes are $1,000.

We always like to point out that in this raffle there are no losers, because all the money raised benefits the Prelacy’s educational and religious programs.

Tickets cost $100 each. For information, please contact your local parish or the Prelacy office ( or 212-689-7810).
Sargis (Sergius) Hasan-Jalaliants was the last Catholicos of the church of Aghvank (1794-1815), the region encompassing in his time the khanates of Karabagh and Ganje (ancient Artsakh and Utik) in Eastern Armenia. He picks up the history of this region from the end of the reign of his grandfather’s cousin, Yesai Hasan-Jalaliants (1702-1728), and carries the story down to the final triumph of the Russians over the Persian Empire just over a century later.

This work is an important primary source for the period and the history of the region, and confirms the presence of the Armenians in Karabagh long before the Russian occupation, while providing many useful details of a hundred-year history. It was discovered by Robert H. Hewsen—who edited the translation and wrote an introduction—in a manuscript in the library of the University of Tubingen, Germany, in 1984, and translated into English by Karen V. Ketendjian.
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore ( or 212-689-7810)


Death of Perch Zeytuntsian (August 21, 2017)
Perch Zeytuntsian was an Armenian playwright, screenwriter, and novelist who served as the first Minister of Culture of Armenia in post-Soviet times.

Zeytuntsian was born in Alexandria, Egypt in on July 18, 1938. During the repatriation of Armenians in the aftermath of World War II (1946-1948), he moved to Soviet Armenia with his family in 1948. He attended the Ghazaros Aghayan School in Yerevan, from where he graduated in 1956 with a gold medal. He was still a high school student when he published his first short story in 1953. At the age of eighteen, he published his first collection of short stories, His First Companion, followed by a steady flow of narrative (short stories, novellas, and novels), including Sounds of Our Neighborhood (1959), After Us (1963), For Paris (1965), Claude Robert Eatherly or a Twentieth-Century Legend (1968), Arshak the Second (1977), The Last Dawn (1989), and The Stolen Snow (1995). He also translated works of Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway, among others.

He first graduated from the remote courses of the Institute of Foreign Languages in Piatigorsk (Russia) in 1963 and then followed advanced screenwriting courses in Moscow in 1963-1964. Upon his return to Yerevan, Zeytuntsian worked at the Armenfilm cinema studio from 1965-1968, later becoming the senior editor of the art film section of the Yerevan studio for television films from 1968-1975. Frunze Dovlatian’s movie, Chronicle of Yerevan Days (1973), was based on his screenplay.

Between 1975 and 1986, Perch Zeytuntsian was secretary of the board of the Writers Union of Armenia. He wrote his first theatrical work, The Saddest Man, in 1974. The work was a tragicomedy staged in Yerevan, and since then, eleven of his plays were produced and later published in Armenia. Those included The Legend of the Ruined City (1975), The Call of the Gods (1981), Unfinished Monologue (1981), The Great Silence (1984), All Rise, The Court is in Session (1988), Born and Died (1995), Khor Virap (1999), among others.

The relationship between the individual, the society, and the exercise of authority has been a recurrent theme in Zeytuntsian’s novels. Many of his plays draw their subject matter from episodes of Armenian history that are relevant to contemporary issues. His novel The Last Dawn and four of his plays, including All Rise, The Court Is In Session and The Great Silence, explored themes of the Armenian Genocide.

He was editor-in-chief of the monthly Pioner in 1986-1990 and received the title of Emeritus Worker of Culture of Armenia in 1989. He became the first Minister of Culture of the Republic of Armenia after the independence (1991-1992). He received myriads of accolades, including the State Prize of Armenia (1999), several decorations, and the title of honorary citizen of Yerevan in 2005. A prolific writer, he also published two collections of essays on social and political issues.

Zeytuntsian passed away in Yerevan on August 21, 2017.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( 

His Holiness Karekin II’s first trip outside of Lebanon following his consecration as coadjutor catholicos was in July 1977, when he went to Geneva for a meeting of the executive council of the World Council of Churches. In this photo he is being welcomed by the Rev. Dr. Edward Scott, head of the Anglican Church of Canada and moderator of the World Council of Churches. Since 1962 the Armenian Church has taken an active part in the international ecumenical movement. Catholicos Karekin II participated in various capacities, culminating with his election as vice-moderator of the World Council of Churches in 1975. This active support continued under the leadership of the current Catholicos of Cilicia, His Holiness Aram I, who served the WCC as moderator for two unprecedented terms and continues his support of the international ecumenical movement.
Crossroads welcomes your inquiries and comments (English and/or Armenian), as well as parish news, photographs, and calendar items. Remember that the deadline for submitting items is Tuesday evenings. Please write to

(Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style)
August 21 —Last summer class of the Siamanto Academy at 4:00 pm. For further information, please contact ANEC Director Mary Gulumian at or 212-689-7810.

August 24 —Second session of a 3-part Bible Study via Zoom on St. Paul’s Letter to Philemon, Monday evenings from 8:00-9:00 pm (EST), conducted by Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy). To register, please email your name, email address, and phone number to .
September 12 —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy to meet by videoconference, hosted by the Prelacy.
October 4 —Save the date. St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church of New Britain, CT, 95th Anniversary Banquet.
November 28 —Save the date. Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church 80th Anniversary Celebration, under the auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate. Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, Cranston, Rhode Island.

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