August 30, 2018
Archbishop Oshagan will travel to Philadelphia, where on Sunday, September 2 he will deliver the opening prayer and remarks at the 85 th Annual Olympic Games of the Armenian Youth Federation.

During his twenty-year tenure as Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, His Eminence has opened the Olympics and addressed the youth every Labor Day weekend. Looking back further, during the years when he was attending Princeton Theological Seminary for advanced degrees, he served as a counselor and lecturer at Camp Haiastan. He often speaks fondly of his experiences at the AYF camp and the opportunity it gave him to know, appreciate and understand the community’s younger generations.

His Holiness Aram I with participants of the intensive summer course that took place at the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon in August.
The Zarukian Fund of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, was a sponsor of the intensive summer course of study for young adults that took place at the Catholicosate in Antelias, Lebanon. The Cathedral recently announced a five thousand dollar donation allocated through the Cathedral’s Zarukian Fund. The Summer Youth Academy took place from July 30 to August 12 and was attended by young adults from the three North American Prelacies. The course included study of Armenian Church history, discussion on contemporary issues and challenges, an intimate encounter with His Holiness Aram I, a round table discussion, participation in the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother in Bikfaya, as well as a number of sightseeing trips.

Younger students happily perform for an appreciative audience.
Parishioners and friends of St. Hagop Church in Racine, Wisconsin, enjoyed a program presented by students of the ARS Marzbed Armenian School last Sunday, August 28. The well-attended program was an “Armenian School Showcase,” to highlight and celebrate the achievements and advancements of the students.

Performances included recitations and songs.

Bible readings for Sunday, September 2, Third Sunday after the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, are: Isaiah 10:12-19; 2 Corinthians 2:12-3:3; Mark 6:30-44.

When I came to Troas to proclaim the good news of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord; but my mind could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said farewell to them and went on to Macedonia.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many; but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 2:12-13:3)


The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” When they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men. (Mark 6:30-44)

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

Today, August 30, 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” ( Karapet ) 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. 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:
Sts. Andrew the Commander and his Soldiers, Tuesday, September 4.
Sts. Abraham and Khoren, Thursday, September 6.
It was quite an auspicious gathering. It was called to convene by Emperor Constantine the Great upon the recommendation of church leaders. Constantine invited 1,800 bishops of the Christian Church within the vast Roman Empire. The number attending (counted by three attendees) varies. The number 318 has come to be the official agreed number of delegates. Since each delegate could bring with him two priests and three deacons, the total attendance was much more. A number of controversial topics were discussed including the Arian question, the date of Easter, organization and structure of the church, the question of kneeling, to mention a few. Perhaps the most important result was the creation of a Creed—a declaration and summary of the Christian faith. It is this event—the First Ecumenical Council—that we celebrate this Saturday, September 2, that took place in Nicaea in the year 325. Aristakes, son of Gregory the Illuminator, represented the Armenian Church. The Council is mentioned in the writings of Moses of Khoren and Agathangelos. In later centuries, in all their doctrinal writings, the Fathers of the Armenian Church refer to the Council of Nicaea with reverence and the Nicene Creed ( Havatamk ) was incorporated into the Armenian Liturgy. The Council condemned Arianism that denied the full divinity of Christ, and proclaimed that the orthodox position is the belief in “one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of God and Father, Only Begotten, of the substance of the Father. God from God, light from light, true God, begotten and not made,” (from the Nicene Creed recited during the Armenian Divine Liturgy).

Prior to the council’s conclusion, the delegates celebrated the 20 th anniversary of Emperor Constantine, who in his closing remarks spoke of his aversion to dogmatic controversy and his desire for the Church to live in harmony, peace, and unity.

Death of Valerian Madatov 
(September 4, 1782)
The Russian army had a string of Armenian generals, both during the imperial period and its successor, the Soviet Union. One of the most remarkable was Prince Valerian Madatov, who was also involved in the campaigns leading to the incorporation of Eastern Armenia into the Russian Empire.

Madatov was born Rostom Madatian in 1782 in the village of Chanakhchi (nowadays Avetaranots), which was part of the historical district of Varanda in the khanate of Karabagh, then under Persian rule. He belonged to a family of minor nobles or meliks. He left his birthplace at the age of fourteen with his uncle, in 1797, along with a delegation of Armenian meliks seeking Russian support in their efforts to liberate the region from Muslim rule.

Non-Russian names and last names were usually turned into Russian ones as part of a trend to blend into the majority. Madatian’s first and last name became Valerian Madatov. He joined the Russian army at the rank of junior officer , and spent the next ten years training and serving in lower officer ranks. Madatov entered military action for the first time in 1808 during the Napoleonic wars. He joined a regiment of hussars in 1810 as a captain and then rose to the rank of major. He distinguished himself in Moldavia and Valachia during the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-1812, which earned him the Order of St. George of fourth degree in 1811. He was granted the rank of colonel for his feats during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. In 1813 he was seriously injured in Leipzig, but, even not fully recovered from his wound, he commanded his men in a march over Paris. He was granted the rank of major-general at the age of thirty-one. He remained in France as one of the commanders of the forces of occupation after the defeat of Napoleon in 1814.

He was called back in 1815 to serve in the Caucasus, given his familiarity with the region and his knowledge of most of the major languages spoken there. He brokered peace with local regional rulers and helped consolidate Russian power in the area. In 1816 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Russian forces in the khanate of Karabagh.

Persia tried to retake the territories lost in the first quarter of the century to Russia and attacked Karabagh in 1826, thus starting a new Russo-Persian war that would last until 1828 and end with a conclusive victory of Russia. Madatov hurried to Tiflis, where he took command of Russian forces. Leading a force of 2,000 men, they routed the 10,000-strong Persian army on the banks of the Shamkhor River and retook Elizavetpol/Gandzak (nowadays Ganja) on September 5. After defeating a Persian attempt to occupy the city again together with General Ivan Paskevich, Madatov was made lieutenant general in late September.

However, due to Paskevich’s intrigues to have his predecessors removed from the area, Madatov was ordered to move to Tiflis and later to Petersburg.

He went back to the battlefront during the Russo-Turkish war of 1828-1829, where he fought the enemy in the European front and won several significant victories. On September 4, 1829, two days after the war ended with the signature of a peace treaty, Prince Valerian Madatov died near the village of Shumla, from a pulmonary disease, sharply aggravated by the burdens of marching during the war. He was buried in the yard of the Alexander Nevsky monastery in St. Petersburg.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s website ( ).

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Tomorrow, August 31, would have been the 110 th birthday of William Saroyan. The famous author of The Human Comedy , among many other works, was born in Fresno, California, on August 31, 1908. His early literary voice was one of unabashed optimism, which was appreciated by his grateful readers during the Great Depression. In his preface to The Time of Your Life , which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, he urged: “In the time of your life, live—so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and where it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed.”

“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.
This Monday, September 3, is Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer. Always 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 85 years, the crowd-pleasing magnet—the Olympics of the Armenian Youth Federation hosted by Philadelphia this year.
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.

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 16 —St. Stephen’s Church of Hartford-New Britain, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain. Annual Picnic, 12:30 pm in church hall and backyard tent. Shish & Lu-lu Kebab, Roasted Chicken, Hot Dogs, Pilaf, Salad and Pastry table. Raffle and Armenian music. Rain or shine.

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.

September 29 —Special Live Concert featuring Arsen Grigoryan, sponsored by Philadelphia’s Artemis Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society, at 7:30 pm in Founders Hall of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, 8701 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia. The concert will benefit the ARS’s “Sponsor a Birth” program in Gyumri, Armenia. Donation $50 (includes hors d’oeuvres and desserts). For tickets: Elizabeth Dramgotchian (215) 920-6054; Madonna Kzirian (215) 760-4106; Rima Chapanian (856) 981-8203.

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: .

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