December 6, 2018
His Holiness Vasgen I, Catholicos of All Armenians and His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, arrived in New York on February 3, 1989, to coordinate earthquake relief. This photo was taken during Hrashapar Services at St. Vartan Cathedral.  (Photo by Harry L. Koundakjian)
Tomorrow is the 30 th anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Armenia that captured the humanitarian instincts of the entire world.

History by its very nature is what we look back on. It is time past and events gone. Yet there are moments or days in our lives when we know that we are living through a historic period. The period from February 1988 to February 1989 was surely such a time, a historical time for all Armenians. Indeed, those of us who lived through that era can attest that the events of that period had significant effect in overall east-west relations.

Those historic events began in February 1988 with massive demonstrations in Yerevan over the issue of Karabagh, pollution, and self-expression. Then on December 7, 1988, the earth literally shook with the earthquake in and around Leninakan, bringing death and destruction to the Armenian people. It was a year of deep emotion, soaring pride, crushing disappointment, and serious introspection.

But this period of mourning was capped by faith, hope, and love as our two catholicoses, Vasgen I, Catholicos of All Armenians, and Karekin II, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, made their momentous and crucial joint trip to the United States in February of 1989. The catholicoses joined their voices, their words, and their efforts in a pledge to bring together a church and a people. Theirs was a courageous act, an act of true leadership that the Armenian people so desperately needed. Most of all there were the unforgettable, serious and forceful messages of both Catholicos Vasgen and Catholicos Karekin admonishing their people to re-evaluate the past, to destroy the psychological barriers that divide them, and to act as one church, one nation, one people.

The hierarchy of the Armenian Church meet in New York with community-wide leaders in February 1989 in the aftermath of the earthquake. From left, Archbishop Shahe Ajemian, from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem; Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese; His Holiness Vasgen I, Catholicos of All Armenians; His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy. (Photo by Harry L. Koundakjian)

During the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, December 2, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian read the encyclical issued by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia that conferred the honor and rank of Archbishop to Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy.
Following the Divine Liturgy a joyful celebration took place at Terrace on the Park in Queens, New York, with a sold-out attendance that celebrated both the election and elevation.
Next week’s issue of Crossroads will feature complete coverage and photographs of the events.
A scene of the celebration at the Terrace on the Park.
Archbishop Anoushavan made a concerted effort to greet each table in the packed hall.

Continuing his visits to every parish, Archbishop Anoushavan will travel to Philadelphia this weekend where on Sunday he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the Sermon at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church.

Archbishop Anoushavan travelled to Washington, DC yesterday, to attend the fifth annual In Defense of Christians (IDC) Solidarity Dinner. Since its founding, IDC has been advocating for the protection and preservation of Christians and Christianity in the Middle East.
His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian discusses Congressional Armenian Genocide reaffirmation and efforts to strengthen U.S.-Armenia economic ties with House Foreign Affairs Committee Senior Democrat, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA).
Archbishop Anoushavan congratulates Mr. Robert Destro on his recent nomination as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Mr. Destro is a prominent civil rights attorney and a law professor at Catholic University, who has been an outspoken defender of the rights of Christians and other minority communities in the Middle East
Archbishop Anoushavan and Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian with His Excellency Bishop Elias Zaidan, Bishop of the Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles, IDC Chairman Toufic Baaklini, the ANCA’s Raffi Karakashian, Aram Hamparian, Tereza Yerimyan and ANCA/IDC supporter Dean Shahinian, Esq.

Bible readings for Sunday, December 9, Third Sunday of Advent (Eve of the fast of St. Hagop); Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary are: Isaiah 37:14-38; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12; Luke 14:12-24.

He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” Then Jesus said to him, “Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets. Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’
So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.’ Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’” (Luke 14:12-24)


Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, as is fitting, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore, we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you are enduring.
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering—since indeed God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant rest with us to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfil every good resolve and work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:1-12)

Sunday, December 9, is the Feast of the Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary. This is one of the eight feast days devoted to the Holy Virgin in the Armenian Church’s liturgical calendar. This feast is always celebrated on December 9, and is part of the Church’s preparation for Christmas. The faithful rejoice in the event that celebrates Mary’s conception in fulfillment of the prayers of her parents and who was nurtured to become the mother of the Messiah. Bible readings for this Feast are: Song of Songs 6:3-8; Malachi 3:1-2; Galatians 3:24-29; Luke 1:39-56.

This Sunday (December 9) is the eve ( paregentan ) of the Fast of St. James ( Hagop ) of Nisibus. This five-day fast, Monday to Friday, leads us to the Feast of St. James, which is next Sunday. Traditionally the entire fifty-day period of Advent was a period of fasting, similar to Great Lent. In modern times, three week-long (Monday to Friday) fasts are observed during Advent: Fast of Advent ( Hisnagats Bahk); Fast of St. James ( Sourp Hagopeh Bahk ), and the Fast of the Nativity ( Dznuntyan Bahk ).

This Sunday (December 9) is the third Sunday of Advent, a season of anticipation for the coming of Christ that gives us purpose to live in hope regardless of the many challenges and vicissitudes that face us. John the Baptist is the greatest Advent figure (read Matthew, Chapter 3 and Luke, Chapter 3). In the Armenian Church tradition this period of waiting is known as Hisnag —the fifty day period that leads to the celebration of Christ’s Nativity and Epiphany on January 6.

This Saturday (December 8) the Armenian Church remembers St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, a fourth century Bishop of Myra, Lycia in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). He was a defender of orthodoxy and because of many miracles attributed to his intercession he is called “the Wonderworker.” He was a secret and generous giver of gifts and some believe him to be the model for Santa Clause.
Also remembered this week:
St. Minas, Monday, December 10
Sts. Cornelius the Centurion and Polycarp of Smyrna, Tuesday, December 11
St. Eustratius the Martyr, Thursday, December 13

The Christian Education Department of the Catholicosate of Cilicia is continuing a program of Christmas giving for more than 100 needy families in Lebanon that it started several years ago. A recent letter from Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian, Director of the Christian Education Department, is requesting gifts from the faithful of the Eastern Prelacy to help fund this year’s initiative. Archbishop Anoushavan has assured Hayr Sourp of the Eastern Prelacy’s full support. Many of you will remember that Hayr Zareh served the Prelacy during the time he was pursuing higher education. A $100 donation will provide provisions for a family, or you may make a donation in any amount you wish. Excerpts from Hayr Zareh’s letter to the Prelacy follows:
               “I greet each of you with Christian love, as the holy apostle wishes us to do. Traditionally, the Christmas season has served as a time for us to share our joy with others through the giving of gifts. With that in mind, the Christian Education Department of the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia, during the past years has worked very hard to reach the underprivileged.
               “I wanted to take this opportunity to wish the Armenian Prelacy of the Eastern United States a blessed new year filled with great accomplishments, service, happiness, and all of the Lord’s bountiful blessings. It was with sentiments of deep thankfulness that I received your promise for sponsoring this year’s Christmas project that extends help to more than 100 Armenian families in Lebanon. I am writing to you to express my deep gratitude for your generosity, which will benefit the meaningful work being undertaken by our department... I pray that the blessed light of our Lord’s countenance and the gift of the Holy Spirit fill your hearts and souls always. Thanking you beforehand for your holiday generosity, and wishing you the best during this holy time.”

Donations for this very worthy project during this Christmas season are very appropriate and will be appreciated. As noted above a $100 donation will provide provisions for a family, or you may donate any amount you wish. Please send your donations to the Armenian Prelacy, 138 East 39 th Street, New York, NY 10016. Checks should be payable to “Armenian Apostolic Church of America,” with notation in the memo area “Gift for the Needy.” Your donation is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
Volunteers prepare packets of food for needy families. Volunteers administer this program so all donations are used for the distribution of food and goods.

Students from the parish’s Armenian School offered entertainment during the 80 th anniversary celebration.
The Belle City Magazine, Racine’s Hometown Magazine) published a nice article with photographs about St. Hagop Church’s 80 th anniversary that was recently celebrated. The article gives interesting historical background about the Armenian community of Racine, Wisconsin, and the 80 th anniversary of St. Hagop Church. Anoushavan Srpazan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and presided over the 80 th anniversary celebration that followed.
Dr. Levon Saryan, vice chairman of the Board of Trustees, reflected on the church’s history during the 80 th celebration and was quoted in the article, written by Katie Matteson.
Dr. Saryan noted in the article: “In 1934, a group of Armenians in Racine came together to lay the groundwork for what would become St. Hagop Armenian Apostolic Church. In the summer of 1937, Wergeland Hall was donated to the Armenians by Mr. J. J. Biggert, President of the J. I. Case Company, and then moved on wheels to its new home on LaSalle Street in Racine. On October 16, 1938, after hard work from all generations of the community, St. Hagop Armenian Apostolic Church was consecrated. The St. Hagop community continued to grow and thrive, and in 1976 we erected a new church and community hall at our current location.” 

The Sunday School children of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Granite City are anticipating the forthcoming Christmas holiday. The School’s giving tree is up and decorated and, as they have been doing every year, ready to be filled with hats, gloves, and socks that will be sent to the orphans at Vanadzor Orphanage.

The director, teachers, and interns of the Sunday School at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, came before the altar on November 4 to take the annual oath to undertake the ministry of teaching the students the life and the works of Jesus Christ. The Dedication Service was officiated by Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, Pastor, with the participation of the Deacons. 

Teachers and Third grade students with their Bibles at Sts. Vartanantz Church. 
It is customary for the third grade students to receive their own Bibles to use during the course of their studies at New Jersey’s Sts. Vartanantz Church Sunday School. The Bible used in the school is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) as suggested by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC).

Students pack the boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Tenth grade Sunday school students of St. Stephen’s Church in Watertown, Massachusetts, got into the true spirit of Christmas as they collected new toys, clothing, and supplies to fill 32 boxes for Operation Christmas Child, which ships these Christmas boxes to nee4dy children around the world.
The students who helped collect and pack the boxes for needy children
Students of the Nareg Armenian School of Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and toured the Armenia! exhibit on November 24.
Death of Amirdovlat of Amasia 
(December 8, 1496 )
After Mekhitar Heratsi, the first important author of Armenian medicine, Amirdovlat of Amasiatsi was his remarkable successor in the late Middle Ages. The particular character of their work is that it was written in Middle Armenian, the spoken language of the time, and not in Classical Armenia, the language of learned people.

Amirdovlat was born in Amasia around 1420. He attended schools in Amasia and Sebastia, and wandered as a traveling physician in the Near East and Iran, collecting plant samples. It is believed that he learned medicine in Mesopotamia. He was fluent in Armenian, Greek, Latin, Persian, Turkish, and Arabic. In the late 1450s he moved to Constantinople, where he continued his studies of medicine, natural sciences, and philosophy. In 1459 he wrote The Study of Medicine , dedicated to anatomy, hygiene, pathology, and pharmacology. The first part is about anatomy and the second about pharmacology. In the same year, he also wrote his first Akhrabadin (an extensive treatise on pharmacology; the word akrabadin means “pharmacology” in Arabic, the language of medicine par excellence at the time).

The former capital of the Byzantine Empire had been conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 by Sultan Mehmed II (1451-1481). In the 1460s Amirdovlat was selected as chief physician to the sultan and received the honorary title of physician-ophthalmologist. Afterwards, for unknown reasons, he spent ten years in exile, wandering throughout the Balkans. During these years, between 1466 and 1469, he wrote his major work on clinical medicine, The Benefits of Medicine, where he offered a description of the structure and importance of all organs, in the city of Philipopolis (now Plovdiv), in Bulgaria.

In the 1470s the Armenian physician returned to Constantinople and regained his position in the court of Mehmed II, enjoying the Ottoman sultan’s confidence until the latter’s death in 1481. In this period he produced Folk Medicine (1474) , a work that included elements of magic medicine and astrology, and his second Akhrabadin (1481).

It was in the period 1478-1492 that Amirdovlat produced Useless for Ignoramuses, his major compendium of over 3,000 plants and plant names with their medical uses.

Mehmed II’s son Ahmed became a ruler of Amasia and Amirdovlat was invited by him to return to his birthplace, which he did. In the 1490s he journeyed to the city of Brusa for treatment with mineral waters and passed away on December 8, 1496, either in Amasia or, as other sources suggest, Brusa.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s website ( ).
You Do Not Own Time
We have insisted many times in this column on the importance of thinking in Armenian when speaking Armenian. For that matter, whatever language you speak other than English, you have to think in that particular language. Why? First of all, because you may want to show that you are the owner of that language, instead of the language owning you! Second, because if you start copying English structures when talking in, say, Spanish, you can just become the butt of all jokes by speakers of that language. (If you text message “ Mi casa es no su casa,” mirroring “My house is not your house,” rest assured that you may get as many “rolling on the floor laughing” emojis as your interlocutor(s) can type.)

A few examples may be helpful not only to American-born speakers of Armenian or learners of Armenian as a second language, but also to native speakers of Armenian who have lived in an English-speaking milieu for a long time. Phrases calqued from English may come naturally to the former, while the same calques enter the oral language of the latter with the same speed.

We have chosen three most common phrases:

1) Take your time

You take your time to have breakfast, to do your homework, to write a letter, or to mow the lawn. So, you’re doing things at your own pace, right? Right.
Of course, you understood that when someone—born in Boston, in Istanbul, in Paris, or in Beirut—politely suggested to “take your time” and said « Ժամանակ առ » ( Jamanagut arr ). You understood correctly, but that someone said it wrong. If s/he were really talking in Armenian, the recommendation would have been:

Մի՛ աճապարեր ( Mi ajabarer ), that is, “Don’t rush!”

While sometimes two unrelated languages may use the same structure to express the same idea, many other times they are both very different one from the other. The Armenian language is not poorer because it uses “Don’t rush” instead of “Take your time.” It simply did not create a second expression to say the same thing. Why? Because you do not own time to take it…

2) I had a good time

In a previous column we have discussed how the verb “to have” has many meanings in English, while its Armenian counterpart ունենալ has exactly one meaning: “to own, to become owner, to receive.” Again, it is hard to believe that you think that you own time. However, this is exactly the impression that you leave when you walk to your car after a party while saying: « Ես լաւ ժամանակ ունեցայ » (Yes lav jamanag oonetsa “I had a good time” ). If your interlocutor knows proper Armenian, he might snipe: « Չէ , չունեցար » ( Che, choonetsar “No, you didn’t”). The reason is that you do not “have” a good time when going to a party or doing anything else you can imagine related to this sentence. You actually spend a good time. This is how the Armenian speaker thinks: « Ես լաւ ժամանակ անցուցի » ( Yes lav jamanag antsootsi ). This literally means “I spent a good time.” If it does not sound right, it is only because you are under the charm of the English when trying to speak Armenian.

3) Have a nice day

How many times a day do you say this? Again, the problem that we have is that, since you do not own time in Armenian, you cannot own a day. Therefore, to say « Լաւ օր ունեցէք » (Lav or oonetsek) is pointless, because the concept does not exist in Armenian thinking. You simply wish a good day, and then you say « Լաւ օր ձեզի »   ( Lav or tsezi), which literally means “Good day to you” (of course, if it is good, it is nice too). Of course, if you are talking to a friend or family member, it goes without saying that you will say « Լաւ օր քեզի » ( Lav or kezi ), now using second person in the singular. 
Previous entries in “Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s website ( ).
The fighting and bombs have stopped. Now the difficult process of rebuilding has started.
Please continue to keep the Armenian community in Syria in your prayers and pocket books.


Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39 th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Armenian Apostolic Church of America
(Memo: Syrian Armenian Relief)

Thank you for your help.
The “Armenia!” exhibit continues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until January 13, 2019. If you have not seen it yet, we encourage you to make plans to see this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit.

There have been a number of special events in conjunction with the exhibit. Tomorrow, Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8, from 5 to 8 pm Ara Dinkjian (oud), Ismail Lumanovski (clarinet), and Tamer Pinarbasi (kanun) will perform Armenian and world chamber music in the Balcony Bar of the Museum’s majestic Great Hall.
We would love to know your thoughts about and suggestions for our weekly Crossroads electronic publication, and we have set up a special e-mail address for your comments. Write to us at .
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.

Now through 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.

October 25 through December 13 (Thursdays) —Seven-part Bible Study on The Book of Revelation, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27 th Street, New York City, presented by Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy). For information please contact the church office by email ( ) or telephone (212-689-5880).

December 9 —“What’s in a Name? The Etymology of Armenian Surnames,” a lecture by writer and editor C. K. Garabed, 1 pm in Pashalian Hall at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27 th Street, New York City, sponsored by Hamazkayin Armenian Educational & Cultural Society—Regional Executive and St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. Light refreshments; free admission.

December 9 —64 th anniversary of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Granite City, Illinois. Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian will celebrate the Divine Liturgy, followed by a luncheon and special cultural program.

December 16 —St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Sunday School Christmas Pageant in Arakelian Fellowship Hall, following church services.

December 23 —Annual Ladies Guild Christmas Bake Sale at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Granite City, Illinois.

December 31 —New Year’s Eve Dinner Dance (BYOB) sponsored by Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey to welcome year 2019. Celebration begins at 8 pm, with Champagne celebration at midnight. Entertainment by Jaq Hagopian, Vicken Makoushian and Paul Maksoud. Adults $85; Children 7-15, $35; under 7 free. For more information and reservations contact church office: 201-943-2950.

January 5 —St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, Family Worship, Armenian Christmas Eve.

January 26 —Screening of the Armenian movie, “The Line,” about the Artsakh War, Community Center of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Granite City, Illinois.

March 17 —Annual Musical Armenia concert sponsored by Eastern Prelacy, 2 pm, at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. Watch for details.

May 5 —60 th anniversary of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey. SAVE THE DATE.
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