December 26, 2019
May this season bring joy, health and peace to everyone in the spirit of our Savior, whose birth and baptism we will celebrate on Monday, January 6. Happy New Year!

In Faith I Confess 15th Prayer - English

Read by Rosila Eleyjian, Sunday School Student/Assistant of
Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Church of Troy, NY. 
Start off your Eastern Prelacy' Crossroads experience with a Prayer
 read by youth members of our Eastern Prelacy Parishes!

This Sunday, December 29, his Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, will preside over the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. During the Badarak, the Prelate will ordain to the rank of sub-deacons altar servers Aram Kouyoumdjian, Antranik Esendir, Armand Charkhutian, Shaunt Doghramadjian and Arthur Kesenci. Following the service, Archbishop Anoushavan will attend the presentation of the newly published book “Praying with the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church,” by Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education of the Eastern Prelacy, at the parish hall.

Archbishop Anoushavan last Sunday presided over the Divine Liturgy, officiated by Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. The Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr and first deacon of the Christian Church, was celebrated at the end of the Badarak. On this occasion, the deacons of the Armenian Church are given the honor of wearing the priestly crown (սաղաւարտ/saghavard) during the service.

At the conclusion, the Prelate blessed the deacons of the Cathedral, wishing them many years of service to God and the Armenian Apostolic Church. In the photo are featured Archbishop Anoushavan and Der Mesrob with Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian and Deacons Hagop Haddad, Krikor Esayan, and Dickran Kabarajian.
Also last Sunday, St. Illuminator's Armenian Cathedral celebrated its first annual Christmas concert in the Sanctuary. The special afternoon of music, sacred and secular, featured a program of vocal works by Charles Gounod, C.W. Von Gluck, Richard Rogers, Konstantin Petrossian, Khoren Mekhanejian, and other great composers, performed beautifully by the Cathedral's choirmaster, the talented operatic soprano Anahit Zakaryan, and the up-and-coming young soprano Anahit Indzhigulyan.

Accompanying Ms. Zakaryan and Ms. Indzhigulyan was noted pianist and composer Hayk Arsenyan. Mr. Arsenyan also served up commanding performances of piano works by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Franz Schubert, and Enrique Granados. The event was held under the auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan. Joining the Prelate and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian as a special guest was Maestro Khoren Mekhanejian, two of whose works were performed by Ms. Zakaryan, who also premiered another of his works out of program. A reception followed. 
The Eastern Prelacy last Thursday hosted a presentation by Prof. Michael Papazian (Berry College, Georgia) of his newly published book “The Doctor of Mercy: The Sacred Treasures of St. Gregory of Narek.”

After an introduction by Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Executive Director of the Prelacy, Dr. Papazian spoke about the genesis of his interest in the life of this Armenian poet and theologian, especially after Pope Francis named him a Doctor of the Church in 2015. Gregory of Narek has the distinction of being the only Doctor among thirty-six who was never connected to the Catholic Church.

“The Doctor of Mercy” provides an introduction to his literary works, theology, and spirituality, and shows the contemporary relevance of his writings. The speaker gave an overview of Gregory’s life and times, and noted three main features of his worldview, highlighting him as a reformer or revivalist, a traditionalist, and a universalist.

The event included a performance by singer Anahit Zakaryan, who delighted the audience with her interpretation of “Ode to the Virgin” and “Ode to Resurrection”, authored by Gregory of Narek.

An animated Q & A session followed the presentation. Archbishop Anoushavan offered closing remarks with timely reflections about Gregory of Narek and the relevance of his thoughts in everyone’s life journey.

Copies of Dr. Papazian’s new book, and previous books, are available for purchase through the Eastern Prelacy bookstore. Visit to order.
The St. Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization (Medsn Nerses) will soon begin supporting its beneficiaries who pursue college education: now the young who reach the age limit of 18 will receive aid that may be vital for their careers.

The College Sponsorship Program is being implemented in 2020. An annual stipend of $250 will help defray some of the costs for the young men and women who have enrolled in an institution of higher education.

This marks the latest evolution of a program that then-Prelate Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, of blessed memory, urgently put together right after the 1988 catastrophic earthquake. Back then, the priority was to provide immediate help for earthquake survivors. Soon thereafter, the Orphan Sponsorship Program emerged as a priority benefitting thousands of children.

The programs have grown and blossomed greatly, and now also include aid to orphanages, schools, students, the elderly, disabled servicemen, and a summer camp. Now, former members of the Orphan Sponsorship Program have become college students and will be needing new sponsors. With the highest standards observed since its inception, the St. Nerses the Great Charitable Organization will continue to track down potential candidates and bringing them to your attention.

Those sponsors, who have generously ensured a stipend for the children under their care, may continue to do so as they mature into young professionals.

If you would like to sponsor a young student in the College Sponsorship Program օr a young child in the Orphans Sponsorship Program, you may contact the Prelacy by email ( or telephone (212-689-7810).

Volunteers box food staples for needy families. Volunteers administer this program so all donations are used for the distribution of food and goods.
The Christian Education department of the Holy See of Cilicia, under the patronage of His Holiness, Aram I, is planning to provide aid to around 200 Lebanese Armenian families in need as the country is going through a period of turmoil.

The department is seeking to hand out canned food, vegetables, meat and cleaning supplies, among other necessity goods. The aid will be distributed during the Holidays as we share our joy with our brothers and sisters.

Just like last year, the chair of the Christian Education Department of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian, has appealed to the Eastern Prelacy to ask our parishioners to support this humanitarian initiative, showing solidarity with the Lebanese Armenian community in these trying days. A $100 donation will provide the package of basic items described above to an entire family. You may also contribute other amounts.
This donation on occasion of the Holidays will be greatly appreciated.

Please send your checks to the following address:

Armenian Prelacy, 138 East 39 th   Street, New York, NY 10016։
Please make checks payable to the Armenian Apostolic Church of America,
writing “Gift for the Needy” in the memo line.

Your donation is tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

You may now reserve your tickets for the 2020 Musical Armenia Concert, which will take place on Sunday, March 15, 2020, at 2:00 pm at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. This is the 37 th edition of the much-loved series that began in 1982. Our 2020 event showcases three outstanding artists who will present a stimulating and inspiring program: pianist Tatev Amiryan, v ocalist Anna Hayrapetyan, and cellist Laura Navasardian .

Musical Armenia, established by Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian and the Prelacy Ladies Guild, is dedicated to promoting young Armenian artists and to the performance of music by Armenian composers. Over the past 38 years, many of our performers have established solid professional careers. The Prelacy thanks Musical Armenia’s devoted supporters for their contributions to the artists’ development. 

As in the past, Musical Armenia’s sponsors and supporters can make a key contribution to the development of these artists. Prospective sponsors may join any of these categories: diamond ($1,000 donation), platinum ($500), gold ($300), or silver ($200). Diamond, platinum, and gold sponsors will receive two complimentary tickets.

Tickets for the concert cost $25. For further information or to purchase tickets, please contact the Prelacy at 212-689-7810 or via e-mail at
Bible Readings for Sunday, December 29, Sixth Sunday of Advent and first day of the Fast of the Nativity are: Isaiah 51:15-52:3; Hebrews 13:18-25; Luke 22:24-30.

A dispute also arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves.

“You are those who have continued with me in my trials; as my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:24-30)


Pray for us; we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you very soon.

Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been set free, and if he comes in time, he will be with me when I see you. Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy send you greetings. Grace be with all of you. (Hebrews 13:18-25)

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

Saturday, December 28, the Armenian Church commemorates the Holy Apostle James and John the Evangelist, “Sons of Thunder.” Both held prominent positions among the twelve apostles, and they were called “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus (Mark 3:17) probably because they were impetuous and quick tempered as suggested in Luke 9:54 and Mark 10:35-41. James was a Galilean fisherman, who was called along with his brother John, to be two of the twelve apostles. They, together with Peter, formed the inner core among the twelve who were present at the raising of the daughter of Jarius, the Transfiguration, and the agony of Gethsemane. James was the first of the apostles to be martyred by order of Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:1-2). He is the patron saint of Spain and according to tradition his body was brought from Jerusalem to Santiago de Compostela, which became and continues to be a popular destination for pilgrims. John is also known as “The Divine.” It was to John that Jesus on the cross entrusted the care of his mother. Paul names Peter, John, and James as the “pillars” of the Church (Galatians 2:9).

Sunday, December 29, is the Paregentan or Eve of the Fast of the Nativity that leads us to the celebration of the birth and baptism of our Lord and Savior on January 6.
Women from all parishes are invited to attend the first ever Faith Building Women 2020 Symposium on March 20, 2020, at Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Keynote speakers include Dr. Roberta Ervine and Arpi Nakashian. Registration for the daylong conference opens January 15th with limited seating. Lenten lunch will be served.

A block of rooms at the Freepoint Hotel (Cambridge, Massachusetts) have been reserved under “Faith Building Women” at a group rate. To receive the group rate, reservations must be made before February 27th. 

For any questions, contact Rhonda Boyajian at 518-727-3311 or at
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 sponsored children addressed to their sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads .

This week’s letter is from Louiza* who is sponsored by Vahe and Hasmik Dombalagian.
Dear Sponsor,

This is Louiza. I am already a second grader in school. I love going to school and learning things. I also like to dance and want to become a dancer when I grow up. I like candy very much.

My favorite holiday is my birthday. I will soon be 7 years old. My mom, brothers and sisters make that day very joyful to me.

Thank you for helping us.

* In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.

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. 

In 1916, unhappy about watching World War I silently from the sidelines, many Armenian volunteers joined the Legion d’Orient. They were trained in Cyprus and fought courageously in Palestine alongside Allied commander General Allenby, eventually playing a crucial role in defeating German and Ottoman forces in Palestine at the Battle of Arara in September 1918.

The Armenian legionnaires signed up on the understanding that they would be fighting in Syria and Turkey, and, should the Allies be successful, they would be part of an occupying army in their old homelands, laying the foundation for a self-governing Armenian state.

In a book complete with eyewitness accounts, letters, and photographs, Susan Pattie describes the motivations and dreams of the Armenian legionnaires and their ultimate betrayal as the French and the British shifted priorities, leaving the ancestral Armenian homelands to the emerging Republic of Turkey.

Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore (  or 212-689-7810)
Death of Georgi Yakulov  (December 28, 1928)
Avant-garde painter and scenographer Georgi Yakulov lived most of his life in Moscow, but did not lose his connections to Armenian culture.

He was born Gevorg Yakulian in Tiflis, Russian Empire (now Tbilisi, Georgia) on January 14, 1884, and moved to Moscow in 1893, where he studied at the Lazarian Institute (1893-1900) and then at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (1901-1903). After finishing his studies, in 1903 he joined the Caucasian regiment of the Russian army as a volunteer and took part in the Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905.

Some of his first works, like “Horse Race” (1905) and “Roosters” (1907) were showed in Moscow exhibitions. In 1908, he became a scenographer for the Summer Theater of Moscow. In 1908 and then in 1911-1912 he visited Italy, France and Germany, met the great artists of the time, and studied the history of art. He summarized his theoretical conclusions in the essay “Blue Sun” (1914). From 1911-1921, he participated regularly in the exhibitions of the Mir Iskusstva (World of Art) association.

In his paintings, Yakulov combined Eastern and Western cultural traditions. His theory of the connection of light and line, the movement in colors, and the origin of styles was widely used in theaters. His stage design for the plays “Exchange” (Paul Claudel, 1918) and “Princess Brambilla” (E.T.A. Hoffmann, 1920), and the opera-bouffe “Giroflé-Girofla” (Charles Lecocq, 1922) were highly appreciated in Paris. He took the opposite view to that of the artists of Mir Iskusstva and defined new principles, highlighting the need for combining architectural decorations and fine arts in stage deign, seeing it as part of the constructivist style. A romantic spirit and a pathetic, monumental style are typical of his designs.

In 1914, Yakulov, along with Alexander Miasnikian (future First Secretary of the Communist Party in Armenia) and Alexey Jivelegov, a Moscow-based Armenian historian, repudiated the acts of vandalism against Armenian culture. In 1917, he showcased five paintings in the exhibition organized by the Union of Armenian Artists in Tiflis.

Yakulov was one of the founders of the Moscow Armenian Dramatic Studio, becoming head of the department of stage design. He designed the mise-en-scene of such performances as Hagop Baronian’s “Honorable Beggars” (1924) and Gabriel Sundukian’s “Pepo” (1925). Together with poets Sergei Esenin, Anatoly Marienhof, and Vadim Shershenevich, in 1918 Yakulov wrote and signed the first manifest of the imaginists, a literary group that sought to distance itself from the futurists but broke up in 1925. He designed the staging of William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” (1926) and Alexander Shirvanzade’s “Morgan’s In-Laws” (1927) at the First Theatre of Yerevan (now Sundukian Theatre), as well as Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet “The Steel Step” (1927), commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev for Les Ballets Russes.

The artist passed away in Moscow on December 28, 1928, and was buried in the Novodevich cemetery. He had posthumous exhibitions in Yerevan (1959, 1967, 1975, 1984) and Moscow (1975). Many of his paintings remained in France and did not return to the Soviet Union until the 1970s. His works are mainly in the Armenian National Gallery in Yerevan, as well as in some Russian galleries.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 
Please send your inquiries and comments (English and/or Armenian) to . Please remember that the deadline for submitting items for Crossroads is on Wednesdays at noon.

All parish news, photographs, and calendar items should also be emailed to .

Comments received may be shared from time to time. We are looking forward to yours.

( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
December 29 — Presentation of a new publication: “Praying with the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church” by Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy), immediately after the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church of Ridgefield, New Jersey.

December 31 —Save the date. Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, New Year’s Eve dinner/dance.

January 11, 2020 —The next Siamanto Academy class at the Prelacy office on Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM. For more information, contact Mary Gulumian, director of the Armenian National Education Committee by email ( or phone (212-689-7231).

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.

March 28, 2020 —“Faith Building Women 2020 Symposium,” a daylong conference to heighten awareness of women in the Bible, organized by the Adult Christian Education department of St. Peter Armenian Church. The Symposium will take place at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Keynote speakers Dr. Roberta Ervine and Arpi Nakashian.

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.

May 31, 2020 —Save the Date. St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, 30 th Anniversary Banquet.
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