December 28, 2017
As we prepare to welcome the New Year this Sunday evening, we wish everyone a happy and healthy 2018 graced with the peace and brotherhood of our Lord and Savior whose birth we will celebrate next Saturday, January 6, 2018. 

Archbishop Oshagan’s Christmas message was printed in full in Armenian and English in last week’s edition of Crossroads. Under the title “The Liberator Savior” His Eminence envisions the miraculous event of the birth of Jesus and the joy of his parents Joseph and Mary. The Prelate notes that “As children of the Armenian Church we accepted Christ into our faith believing in the salvation of humankind as well as salvation of individuals. For centuries we prayed to Him, turning His sermons and commandments into the strength and purpose of our everyday lives and we forged the principles of Christianity on our national character. As individuals we beseeched and prayed for our own salvation filled with the hope of eternal life. But at the same time, individual salvation in our faith also became collective—the hope of salvation for our entire nation.”

The Prelate concludes his message with a reminder that “during these days of remembrance of the birth of Jesus, our message is that we, as a nation, must be dedicated to the truths of our faith, and live with Jesus our Savior, and as a nation be dedicated to the strength and immortality of our fatherland.”

Read the entire message in Armenian or English

St. Illuminator’s Cathedral:
St. Illuminator's Cathedral celebrated the Feast of St. Stephen, the protodeacon last Sunday. Shant Kazanjian, Hagop Haddad, Ryan Tellalian, Krikor Esayan and Dickran Kabarajian, the Cathedral deacons, were granted the right to wear the liturgical crowns ( սաղաւարտ /saghavard).
Archbishop Oshagan and Der Mesrob with the Deacons serving the Cathedral, Shant Kazanjian, Hagop Haddad, Ryan Tellalian, Krikor Esayan, and Dickran Kabarajian.
St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York:
The Feast of St. Stephen, the first deacon and proto-martyr was celebrated last Sunday at St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York. Deacons serving on the altar at St. Sarkis wore crowns in honor of this special day and offered incense to the holy altar and received the blessings of Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General of the Prelacy. On this occasion Archbishop Oshagan awarded a Certificate of Merit to Deacon Thomas Thomasian, honoring his long years of service to the Armenian Church and the Armenian community of New York.
Bishop Anoushavan and Rev. Fr. Nareg surrounded by the deacons, altar servers, and choir.
Bishop Anoushavan presented a Certificate of Merit on behalf of Archbishop Oshagan to Deacon Thomas Thomasian in appreciation of his many years of service.

Boghos Ghougassian

We announce with sorrow the passing of Mr. Boghos Ghougassian, brother of Dr. Vazken Ghougassian, Executive Director of the Eastern Prelacy. Boghos died yesterday suddenly in Lebanon at age 71. Funeral services will take place in Lebanon on Saturday, December 30. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Ghougassian family and pray for the soul of the deceased. Asdvatz hokeen lousavoreh.
Bible Readings for Sunday, December 31, Sixth Sunday of Advent and second 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.

Today, December 28, we commemorate 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 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).

Tomorrow, 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.

This Saturday, December 30, we commemorate the Holy Fathers Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Sylvester of Rome, and Ephrem the Syrian.

St. Basil , called the “Great,” was an exceptional leader who helped spread Christianity. At the age of 26 he gave up his wealth and became a monk and dedicated his life to serve the people by establishing hospitals, hostels, and public kitchens to feed the needy. He was a talented writer and many of his prayers are used in the Armenian Church and other eastern churches. At a time when a solitary life of a hermit was considered to be spiritual, he instead urged monastic communities believing that no one is totally self-sufficient.

St. Gregory of Nyssa was the younger brother of Basil, and friend of Gregory of Nazianus. He was educated in Athens and influenced by the writings of Origen and Plato. He was a professor of rhetoric, but became disillusioned with his life as a teacher and became a priest. He served as Bishop of Nyssa and Archbishop of Sebastia.

St. Sylvester served as the Bishop of Rome during the era of Constantine for more than twenty years. During the time of his service many great churches were built. He took part in the negotiations concerning Arianism at the Council of Nicaea.

St. Ephrem the Syrian lived in Mesopotamia (Syria) during his entire life. He was baptized at age 18 and he served under St. James of Nisibis. He is credited for introducing hymns in public worship services. He visited St. Basil in Caesarea and upon his return he helped ease the famine during the winter of 372-73 by distributing food and money to the poor and needy. He was a prolific writer and his work, written in Syriac, was immediately translated into Greek, Armenian, and Latin.

Stepan Lisitsian was a pioneering name in several fields at the turn of the twentieth century. He is particularly remembered for his work as an educator and ethnographer.

He was born on September 22, 1865, in Tiflis, in a doctor’s family. After graduating from the Russian gymnasium (high school) in 1884 with highest grades, he entered the school of History and Philology of Odessa University (Crimea) the following year. After a year, he moved to the University of Warsaw and graduated in 1889. From 1889-1891 he taught Russian literature at the Gevorgian Lyceum of Holy Etchmiadzin, but he was fired by an order from Catholicos Makar I for leading student agitations against the administration.

Lisitsian moved back to Tiflis. He contributed to the journal Taraz, and was its de facto editor in 1892-1893, when editor in chief Tigran Nazarian was abroad. In 1894 he was hired as teacher at the Nersessian School, where he taught Armenian history, general history, and Russian geography at different times until 1915.

Meanwhile, in 1904 his request to the authorities to publish a magazine for children was refused due to his questionable background. In the end, a year later Hasker appeared, formally under the editorship of Lisitsian’s wife Ekaterina. The magazine gathered the best Armenian writers, illustrators, and scientists, including names like Hovhannes Toumanian, Avetik Isahakian, or Atabek Khenkoyan, and actually the first true magazine for children in the Armenian press. Stepan Lisitsian became the editor in 1913 and continued the magazine until 1917 (it had a short revival in 1922).

Lisitsian worked in the pedagogical field for almost 60 years. Besides the publication of Hasker, he wrote textbooks, curricula, and specialized studies. The textbook Lusabats (“Daybreak”), which he authored with Toumanian and Levon Shant, was particularly popular. He also traveled to Russia, Switzerland, France, and Germany to study new teaching methods. In 1911 he turned his wife’s elementary school into a middle school and then a high school, of which he became its principal in 1924, when the school was dissolved. He moved to Yerevan in 1924 and became a university professor, and from 1938 he also taught at the Pedagogical Institute.

Lisitsian, who knew several Western languages, was also an accomplished and prolific translator, literary scholar, and polemicist. Among his many works, he translated Henrik Sienkiewicz famous novel Quo Vadis ? from the Polish original. He is also particularly remembered for his extensive work in the field of ethnography, especially since the 1920s, and geography. He gathered much material during fieldwork and wrote pioneering studies on different ethnographic areas of Armenia. In 1928 he became the head of the section of Ethnography in the State Museum of History. He wrote an important textbook on physical geography of Armenia in 1940 and was the author of an “ethnographic questionnaire,” published in 1946, that became a guide for scholars in the field for many decades. In 1945 he was honored with the title of Emeritus Worker of Science of Soviet Armenia and decorated with the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.

Lisitsian passed away on January 4, 1947. A school in Yerevan carries his name, as well as the ethnographic section of the Museum of History of Armenia. 

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.
(Prepared by Armenian National Education Committee)

Walking Around the Lyceum

Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher, allegedly used to walk while lecturing. Since he was not a citizen of Athens, he could not own property. Like another famous philosopher, Socrates, he and his colleagues used the grounds of the Lykeion (Latin Lyceum ), the name of a gymnasium dedicated to Apollo Lyceus (the term lyceus was applied to the type of statue that represented Apollo with his arm resting on his head).

This happened around 335 B.C. and the Lyceum actually became an informal institution where Aristotle’s followers conducted philosophical and scientific inquiries, rather than being a formal school. Nevertheless, those followers were known as the Peripatetic school (the Greek word περιπατητικός [ peripatêtikos ] meant “given to walking about”), and Aristotle’s school came to be named Peripatos because of the peripatoi (“covered walkways”) of the Lyceum.

The word lyceum entered many languages, like English and Armenian, where sometimes the word Լիկէոն ( likeon ), used to translate Aristotle’s Lyceum, has been used to denote the high school section of a school. This happened, for instance, in the case of a famous Mekhitarist school, the Mourad-Raphael school of Venice, which existed from 1836 to the 1990s.

However, the Armenian language found a way to give the concept of “lyceum” (or “Academy,” as Aristotle’s teacher Plato called his own school) with a word of its own. Following the idea of the peripatetic school, it used the root ճեմ ( jemel “walk”), derived from an Iranian source, from which derived ճեմարան ( jemaran “walking place”). In the eleventh century, the word was also used to call the schools founded by another important writer, Grigor Magistros, in Ani, Sanahin, and Bjni. Later on, the school of the monastery of the Holy Cross, in Crimea (fourteenth-seventeenth centuries) received the name of jemaran .

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, several important educational institutions took the name of jemaran, meaning “academy” or “lyceum,” such as the Lazarian Academy of Moscow (1814-1918), the Scutari Lyceum in Constantinople (from 1838), the Gevorgian Lyceum in Etchmiadzin (1874-1917), the Academy of Marash (1891-1915), the Cilician Lyceum of Aintab (1891-1915), and others. The name was continued in Armenia when the Seminary ( հոգեւոր ճեմարան/hokevor jemaran ) of Etchmiadzin was reopened in 1945. However, it was more consistently used in the Diaspora. For many decades, the name Jemaran became synonymous with the school founded in Beirut (1930) by the Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural and Education Society, first known as “Armenian College,” then as “Nshan Palanjian College,” and currently as “Melanchton and Haig Arslanian College” (the word college is used in the French and not the American sense of the word). Nevertheless, other jemarans had existed before, such as the Mesrobian Academy in Sofia (1921), and later, such as the Karen Jeppe College (1947) and the Cilician College (1960), both in Aleppo, for instance.

On a side note: for decades, the Armenian American community did not have a daily school of its own, thinking that it was not important for its survival. It used to think that it was more important to do fundraisers to benefit “the” Jemaran, the one in Beirut. This went on and on until the 1960s, when a new generation arrived in this country, conscious of the importance of Armenian daily schools to ensure not only the future of the Armenian language in the United States, but also of the community. Then, the fundraisers continued, but with a different goal.

SIAMANTO ACADEMY— Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: or 212-689-7810.

January 20 —St. Stephen Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, 60 th Anniversary Celebration.

February 5-7 —Eastern Prelacy’s Annual Ghevontiantz Clergy Gathering hosted by Holy Trinity Church, Worcester, Massachusetts. This year’s theme is “Freedom,” in accordance with the encyclical issued by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.

March 17 —“Sirusho in Concert” presented by Hamazkayin NJ and ARS Agnouni Chapter, dedicated to the 100 th anniversary of the Armenian Republic and the 90 th anniversary of Hamazkayin. With participation of Nayiri Dance Ensemble. Felician University, Breslin Theater, 262 South Main Street, Lodi, New Jersey, 7:30 pm. Tickets: $85, $65, $45. Purchase online: or email

March 18 —35 th Musical Armenia Concert presented by Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Prelacy Ladies Guild. Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, 57 th Street at 7 th Avenue, Sunday, March 18 at 2 pm.

May 9-12 —Eastern Prelacy’s National Representative Assembly, hosted by St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Massachusetts. The one-day clergy conference will take place on Wednesday, May 9. The full Assembly will convene on Thursday, May 10, at 11 am and will conclude on Saturday, May 12, at noon.

October 20 —Armenian Friends America, Inc., Sixth Annual HYE KEF 5, featuring world famous Onnik Dinkjian and the All Stars. Double Tree Hotel, Andover, Massachusetts. Details to follow. .
The Armenian Prelacy 
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