August 29, 2019
In accordance with the Armenian Liturgical calendar, today the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of St. Jeremiah, one of the major prophets of the Bible. Jeremiah received his calling during a period of spiritual renewal among the Hebrew people. But, the death of King Josiah and the weak policies of his successors resulted in the conquest of their holy city, Jerusalem, and the exile of their nation. The Old Testament book of Jeremiah, as well as the book of Lamentations, chronicles this story. Although full of sorrow (he is known as the “weeping prophet”), Jeremiah’s words are Godly and hopeful. A timely lesson for all of us.

Archbishop Anoushavan will travel to the Midwest this coming holiday weekend where on Sunday, September 1 he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at All Saints Church in Glenview, Illinois. Later he will deliver the opening prayer and remarks at the 86 th annual Olympic Track and Field Games of the Armenian Youth Federation that is being hosted by the Chicago chapter of the AYF. In keeping with a decades-old tradition, the Prelate will not only preside over the official opening of the Olympic games, but will enjoy visiting with current and former members of the AYF in what has become one of the most-beloved and best-attended events for the Armenian American community.

The Summer Youth Academy organized by the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, came to a successful conclusion. The participants were student and young professionals from the Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies. The program included lectures, religious services, intimate encounters with His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, Q&A Roundtables, and sightseeing.

Participants from the Eastern Prelacy were: Shant Eghian, Taleen Donoyan, Anahid Donoyan, Lorie Simonian, Michele Colangelo, Anoush Krafian, Ani Chobanian, Isabel Hagobian, Juliet Hagobian, Mari Bijimenian, Vrej Dawli, Knar Topouzian, and Violette Dekirmenjian.
During the next several weeks we will share some impressions about the Academy written by participants from the Eastern Prelacy. Below are excerpts from impressions written by Juliet Hagobian.
“I would like to express my deep appreciation and thanks for providing me with the opportunity to participate in such an impactful program that has broadened my perspective in many aspects. I can wholeheartedly say that this experience has changed me for the better—spiritually, religiously, and culturally. Not only was I able to meet respectable clergy, but I was also able to interact with them on a daily basis, along with all of the other amazing participants. I woke up every day eager to attend and engage in the captivating lectures, and I was also able to bond with the participants from the east coast, west coast, and Canada. Altogether, the opportunity to live at the Vank (monastery) for two weeks is like no other.

“In terms of the lectures, I loved how we were able to not only listen to the Hayr Soorps but also listen to several esteemed professors. All of the speakers insightfully covered topics regarding history, identity, the environment, music, etc. . . .
“In terms of our excursions, I loved being immersed into the Armenian neighborhood of Bourj Hammoud. Being able to hear almost everyone speak Armenian on every corner was so unique. . . My ultimate favorite was the pilgrimage to celebrate Asdvadzadzin. It was a beautiful experience that will always resonate with me. From the peaceful music, to holding torches and candles, and walking with many fellow Armenians, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Once we arrived in Bikfaya, I experienced my first outdoor church service celebrated at the outside altar and had the privilege of hearing His Holiness Aram I’s sermon.

“Not only were we able to have lunch with His Holiness our first day, but we were able to listen to his discussion about identity and its association with culture and language. His Holiness discussed how the family is sacred, how the Church itself is a holy family, and how it has its own mission. He also said the Church must keep in touch with contemporary social issues. He continuously emphasized that we all must take back with us what we have learned and share it with the rest of our community.” (Juliet Hagobian)
Bible readings for Sunday, September 1, Second Sunday after the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, Feast of the Discovery of the Belt of the Theotokos are: Isaiah 9:8-19; 2 Corinthians 1:1-12; Mark 4:35-41.

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:35-41)


Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To the church of God that is in Corinth, including all the saints throughout Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again, as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the world with frankness and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God—and all the more toward you. ( 2 Corinthians 1:1-12)

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

We can only imagine the joy of finding possessions of the Holy Mother. This Sunday, September 1, the second Sunday after Assumption, is the feast of the Discovery of the Belt of the Theotokos. Because there are no relics of the Holy Mother’s earthly body (she was assumed into Heaven), her personal belongings became the object of devotion and veneration. During the time of the early Church, when Christians were persecuted, her possessions were kept hidden and secret. Her belt was the first item to be discovered in Jerusalem in the fifth century. This discovery is the basis for one of the eight feast days in the Armenian liturgical calendar devoted to the Holy Mother.

Next Tuesday, September 3, the Armenian Church commemorates the Holy Prophets Ezekiel, Ezra, and Zechariah, father of John the Baptist. Ezekiel prophesied for about 28 years. The Book of Ezekiel, composed of 48 chapters, is ranked third among the great prophets. It is full of rich imagery, prophetic visions, and allegories. Ezra was a learned and pious priest in Babylon. The Book of Ezra describes the return to Zion following the Babylonian captivity. Zechariah , is the father of John the Baptist. He was married to Elizabeth, and John was born to them in their old age. The promise of a son was conveyed to Zechariah by an angel.

Next Thursday, September 5, the Armenian Church commemorates St. John the Forerunner and Job the Righteous. St. John the Forerunner , also known as John the Baptist ( Hovhaness Mkrtich ), is an important figure in the Gospels. He is recognized as the “forerunner” ( Garapet ) to the Messiah. He lived as a hermit in the desert of Judea. At the age of 30 he began to preach against the evils of the times and called for penance and baptism because “the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.”

Job is a good and righteous person who experiences and endures catastrophe after catastrophe. Thus, the phrase “the patience of Job” has entered the English lexicon as a popular cliché. The Book of Job is one of the five books classified as the “poetical books” of the Bible. The central theme is the mystery of suffering. Ultimately, Job is rewarded because “the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning,” and “After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.” (Job, Chapter 42).

Also remembered this week are the following saints:
Saturday, August 31: The Holy Apostles Thomas, James, and Simon.
Friday, September 2: St. Stepanos Ulnia, Koharinos, Radigos, Dzamitos, Dookigos.
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 eight-year-old Alex* who does not have a sponsor yet but is being temporarily sponsored through the Prelacy’s Paula Hart Fund. 
*In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.
Dear Unknown Friend,

My name is Alex. I live in Yerevan. I am 8 years old and go to the 3 rd grade in elementary school. I live with my mom and my brother. I would like to meet you one day.
Greetings from our Yerevan city.
(signed) Alex

Currently there are children on the waiting list for the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program. If you would like to sponsor a child please click here for quick and easy online sponsorship. You may also contact the Prelacy by email ( ) or telephone (212-689-7810), ask for Sophie. 

Over the years our readers have enjoyed the language columns prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee and published in Crossroads . The writer of those columns, Dr. Vartan Matiossian, former director of ANEC and newly appointed Executive Director of the Eastern Prelacy, recently collected a selection of those columns for an anthology collection entitled Armenian Language Matters. This publication was made possible from a generous donation by Dr. Aram and Seta Semerdjian.

The soft-cover book includes 51 essays published between May 2013 and July 2018, which deal with issues of grammar and vocabulary. The revised essays are grouped by subject. In the Foreword, the author writes: “The essays have been written with the general reader and two basic goals in mind: to deal with Armenian language matters, trying to give straightforward and clear answers to frequently asked questions, and to show that the Armenian language . . . matters.”

The author notes that the essays about the etymology of Armenian words will be the focus of a future publication. In the meantime, if you are interested in having a source of reference to improve your knowledge of the language, you may order a copy of Armenian Language Matters from the Prelacy Bookstore at or calling Rita at 212-689-7810.
Birth of Robert Sahakiants (August 30, 1950)
Robert Sahakiants was one of the stars of Armenian animation films both in Soviet and post-Soviet times.

He was born on August 30, 1950, in Baku (Azerbaijan). He moved to Yerevan in 1964 with his family. He finished high school there and entered the Khachatur Abovian Pedagogical Institute (now University). He was twenty-years-old when in 1970 he started working at the Armenfilm studios as an illustrator and animator. Two years later, he directed his first animation film, Lilit. Around that time, he was forced to abandon his studies for low assistance to classes. His fifth animation film, The Book of the Fox (1975), for which he also wrote the scenario based on the proverbs of Armenian medieval authors Vardan Aygektsi and Mekhitar Gosh, was the first Soviet rock-opera. He would write the scenarios for most of his films. In 1987 he earned the title of Artist Emeritus of Soviet Armenia and, in 2008 he became Popular Artist of the Republic of Armenia.

From 1972-2009 Sahakiants would direct fifty-four movies and write forty-eight scenarios. He also co-authored other animation movies produced by Armenfilm. He produced some of his most popular movies in the 1980s, such as Three Mulberry-Colored, Deep Blue Lakes (1981), Who Says Such a Lie (1982), The Talking Fish (1983), In the Blue Sea, in the White Foam… (1984), The Carnival (1985). His movies obtained awards in festivals held in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, as well as Ukraine, Russia, and Estonia.

Several of his movies were based on the tales of Hovhannes Toumanian, such as Kikos’ Death, Nazar the Brave, Three Mulberry-Colored, Deep Blue Lakes, Who Says Such a Lie, The Talking Fish, and The Carnival. Sahakiants did not just revive the classical tales but modernized them and gave them a contemporary sound for children. He created characters bound to be remembered, introduced with colorful “fireworks” and offered with his own interpretation.

Robert Sahakiants passed on September 24, 2009, in Yerevan, after a long illness and a complex heart surgery. Robert Sahakiants Production, headed by his son Davit, continues his legacy in the field of animated films.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 
Please send your inquiries and comments (English or Armenian) to .

Please remember that the deadline for submitting items for Crossroads is on Wednesdays at noon.

Earlier this year the Prelacy embarked on a long overdue process of digitizing photographs and important documents. From time to time we will be sharing some interesting historical photos found in our archives.
This week’s archive photo goes back to October 1997 when His Holiness Catholicos Aram I made his first Pontifical Visit to the Eastern Prelacy which at that time included the Eastern United States and Canada. His Holiness had been elected in July 1995, succeeding His Holiness Karekin II, who in April 1995 was elected and enthroned as Catholicos of All Armenians in Etchmiadzin. Prelacy clergy gathered in New York to greet his Holiness Aram. This photo was taken in the Prelacy’s reception hall. The Pontifical Visit to the Eastern Prelacy extended from October 1 to November 12, 1997.

Standing, left to right : Rev. Fr. Khoren Habeshian, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Tashjian, Rev. Fr. Moushegh Der Kaloustian, Rev. Fr. Vahrich Shirinian, Very Rev. Fr. Meghrig Parikian, Very Rev. Fr. Shahe Panossian, Bishop Khajag Hagopian, Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, Archbishop Souren Kataroian, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Very Rev. Fr. Anoushavan Tanielian, Very Rev. Fr. Nareg Alemezian, Very Rev. Fr. Khoren Doghramajian, Rev. Fr. Arshag Daghlian, Rev. Fr. Antranig Baljian.

Kneeling, left to right : Rev. Fr. Khatchadour Boghossian, Rev. Fr. Khatchig Megerdichian, Rev. Fr. Krikoris Keshishian, Rev. Fr. Nerses Manoogian, Rev. Fr. Armen Ishkanian, Rev. Fr. Vazgen Bekiarian, Rev. Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, Rev. Fr. Daron Stepanian, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Vartanian.

This Monday, September 2, is Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer. Always celebrated on the first Monday in September, Labor Day was created by the labor movement more than 130 years ago. Theoretically it is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers and their contributions to the strength, prosperity, and well being of their country. Through the years it has become the unofficial end of summer (with Memorial Day being the unofficial beginning), and celebrated with family gatherings, picnics, and of course, for the past 86 years, the crowd-pleasing magnet—the Olympics of the Armenian Youth Federation hosted by Chicago this year. Enjoy.

( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
September 7 —The Newark Museum of Art presents a concert-performance of “Gorky’s Dream Garden,” a musical-theater opera of love, courage and modern art, at the Museum, 49 Washington Street, Newark, New Jersey, at 1:00 pm. Based on the life of Arshile Gorky by composer Michelle Ekizian. Admission is included with Newark Museum admission. For information: or 973-596-6550.

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.

September 22 —St. Stephen’s Church of Hartford-New Britain Annual Picnic and surprise celebration for Centenarian (Col. Charles Alex). In church hall and grounds, 12 noon to 4 pm. Rain or shine. Hot dinners, bake sale, raffle.

September 28 —New Jersey chapter of Hamazkayin Armenian Educational & Cultural Society presents Lilit Hovhannisyan with special performance by Nayri Dance Ensemble, 8 pm, Felician University, Breslin Hall, Lodi, New Jersey. Tickets online only:

October 7-10 —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.

October 19 —Herand Markarian’s Jubilee Celebration: 65 th anniversary of cultural achievements and 80 th birthday. Theatre in the Park, Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York, at 7:05 pm. Watch for details.a

November 9 and 10 —Armenian Fest 2019, Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Food Festival at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, 60 Rhodes Place, Cranston. Saturday noon to 9 pm; Sunday noon to 7 pm. Free admission and parking. Valet parking available. For information: 401-831-6399. 

November 17 —Eastern Prelacy’s first annual Special Thanksgiving Banquet at Terrace on the Park, Flushing, New York, at 2 pm. Honoring the 25 th + 1 anniversary of the charitable work of the Prelacy’s St. Nerses the Great Charity Program: 26 Years of Charitable Giving in Armenia and Artsakh.

March 15, 2020 —Save the date and watch for details for the Eastern Prelacy’s 37 th annual Musical Armenia concert, 2 pm at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, West 57 th Street at Seventh Avenue, New York City.

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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