December 8, 2016
Andrew Hagopian

The Prelate and Executive Council received the news of the passing of Andrew Hagopian on December 6 at age 93 in Granite City, Illinois with sorrow. Mr. Hagopian was a dedicated and faithful member of St. Gregory Church in Granite City, Illinois, where he volunteered much time to the church and community center and where he has served as a member and chairman of the board of trustees and a delegate to the National Representative Assembly. He served as a bombardier with the U.S. Air Force during World War II and received a number of medals and recognition for his service. 

Visitation will be at St. Gregory Church, 1014 West Pontoon Road, Granite City, Illinois, on Sunday December 11 from 4 pm to 8 pm with a wake service at 7 pm with Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar of the Prelacy, presiding, and Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian officiating. The funeral service will take place on Monday, December 12 at 10 am followed by interment with full military honors at Sunset Hill Memorial Estates in Glen Carbon.

In recognition of his service to the Armenian Church, Mr. Hagopian was decorated with the Prince of Cilicia medal by His Holiness Aram I in 1997. He was awarded the Eagle of the Prelacy by Archbishop Oshagan in 2005. 

His first wife Angeline passed away in 1973. He married Annette Der Bedrosian in 1974 who survives him. Survivors also include two sons and daughters-in-law, Stephen and Susan Hagopian and Jeffrey and Lynne Hagopian, daughter-in-law Karen Hagopian, eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son, Michael A. Hagopian, and three sisters. 

May his memory be forever blessed.


The Prelate’s annual appeal letter will be arriving at your homes within the next week. In his letter Archbishop Oshagan writes about the task of providing spiritual and cultural guidance and nourishment to the Armenian American community. “The Prelacy has always been committed to introducing programs that promote new initiatives to transmit our ancient faith and rich cultural heritage within a modern setting. In a time when traditional values are at risk, the Prelacy is devoted to fostering the Christian faith within the Armenian family as a whole… Whatever we do, whatever success we achieve is because of the kind and generous support of our faithful people—that’s you and others like you,” the Prelate wrote in his appeal.

Last week before traveling to Lebanon, Archbishop Oshagan recorded a short video message about the Prelate’s Appeal. You can view it by clicking below


Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy, has the following upcoming visits: 

On Friday (December 8), Bishop Anoushavan will preside at the funeral services for Karnig Nercessian, a faithful and creative member of St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York. 

On Saturday (December 9) Bishop Anoushavan will represent the Eastern Prelacy at the 13th Annual Holiday Gala of the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) in New York. 

On Sunday (December 11) His Grace will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at St. Gregory Church, Granite City, Illinois and ordain altar servers. Following the Liturgy he will preside over the parish’s 62nd Anniversary. 

On Monday (December 12) Bishop Anoushavan will preside over the funeral service for Andrew Hagopian at St. Gregory Church, Granite City, Illinois. 


Bible readings for Sunday, December 11, Third Sunday of Advent (Eve of the fast of St. Hagop) 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 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)

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


Tomorrow, Friday, 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 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 11) 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 Saturday. Traditionally the entire fifty-day period of Advent was a period of fasting, similar to Great Lent. In modern times, three week-long 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 Saturday (December 10) the Armenian Church commemorates St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, a fourth century Bishop of Myra, Lycia in Asia Minor (now in Turkey). Nicholas was a defender of orthodoxy and because of many miracles attributed to his intercession he is called “the wonderworker.” He was a secret gift-giver and is believed to be the model for Santa Claus, often called St. Nick.


This Sunday (December 11) 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).


The 2017 color poster of the Liturgical Calendar of the Armenian Apostolic Church is now available at the Prelacy. At a glance, one can see the complete cycle of feasts and fasts and seasons.  

This 27x36 inch poster should be displayed in our Church halls and classrooms, particularly in our Sunday School classrooms.  

To order copies of the Liturgical Calendar poster, please contact the Prelacy at 212-689-7810 or The cost of the poster is $5.00 plus shipping and handling.


Archbishop Oshagan, Bishop Anoushavan, Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian, and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, attended a celebration marking the 73rd anniversary of Lebanon on November 18 in New York City. Congratulations were extended on behalf of the Eastern Prelacy to the Lebanese Consul General, H.E. Majdi Ramadan and his wife Vanessa. Archbishop Oshagan also offered congratulations on the election of General Michel Aoun as the new president of Lebanon.

Prelacy representatives at the celebration of the 73rd anniversary of Lebanon’s independence at the Lebanese Consulate in New York.


Last Saturday (December 3), children and parents gathered at Sts. Vartanantz Church Hall in Ridgefield, New Jersey, for a special Christmas concert with Armenian singer/performer Maggie from California, with a special guest appearance by Santa Claus. The concert was jointly sponsored by Sts. Vartanantz Church Nareg Armenian School and St. Illuminator’s Saturday School. Among the guests in attendance were Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastors of the two parishes. 

The large number of children in attendance enjoyed the event that included lots of singing, dancing, and fun. Maggie performed Armenian Christmas and New Year songs along with her most popular selections. Members of the New Jersey Hamazkayin “Nayiri” Dance Group also participated in the performance. Santa Clause concluded the event with the distribution of gifts.

Christmas with Maggie—Oh what fun it was!


Last Sunday Bishop Anoushavan presided over the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at Soorp Khatch Church, Bethesda, Maryland.

Bishop Anoushavan and Rev. Sarkis Aktavoukian with students and staff of Hamasdegh School.

Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)

Independence Referendum of Karabagh (December 10, 1991)

The Karabagh movement started in 1988 with the goal of reuniting the region of Mountainous Karabagh (an autonomous enclave artificially created in Azerbaijan) to Armenia by legal means. The joint statement of reunification, issued on December 1, 1989, seemed to be the culmination of that process. However, the opposition of Azerbaijan, with the consent of the Soviet central power, became the main obstacle for its realization.  

Another process, the collapse of the Soviet Union, was playing simultaneously. As a result, the Soviet republics prepared to break away, especially after the failed coup d’état in Moscow on August 19-21, 1991.  On August 30, 1991, Azerbaijan adopted the Declaration on the Restoration of the State Independence (a document similar to the Declaration on Independence adopted by Armenia on August 23, 1990), declaring itself the successor of the independent Republic of Azerbaijan of 1918-1920.

The first Azerbaijani Republic did not include Mountainous Karabagh, which was recognized as a disputed territory by the League of Nations. The legislature of Karabagh enjoyed the right to take advantage of existent Soviet legislation, particularly the Soviet law of April 3, 1990 “On the Procedure for Secession of a Soviet Republic from the USSR.” According to this law, in the case of a Soviet republic withdrawing from the Soviet Union, autonomous entities and densely settled minorities in that republic had the right to independently determine their political-administrative status. Azerbaijani repression against the Armenian population, which would take the shape of ethnic cleansing, led to the joint session of the Regional Councils of Mountainous Karabagh and Shahumian, which declared the establishment of the Republic of Mountainous (Nagorno in Russian) Karabagh on September 2, 1991, within the borders of the former Autonomous Region of Mountains Karabagh and the Shahumian region.

The declaration was consolidated with a referendum held on December 10, 1991, days before the official dissolution of the Soviet Union. The question asked to the voters was: “Do you agree that the proclaimed Republic of Mountainous Karabagh becomes an independent state, which will determine the ways of cooperation with other states and unions by its own will?” A total of 132,328 people were eligible to vote. The participation was 82.20% (108,736) of the voters, with the Azeri population of Karabagh boycotting the referendum. The “yes” had a resounding 98.89% (108,615 votes), with 95 votes annulled. 

Azerbaijan, which would not recognize the result of the referendum, did not stop shelling the capital Stepanakert and other towns. Ten people died on the referendum day and another eleven were wounded.

After parliamentary elections held later in the month, the Supreme Council of the new republic was formed. The first session of the Supreme Council in January 1992 ratified the proclamation of the independence and elected its president, Artur Mkrtchyan. The Council of Ministers was also created, with Oleg Yesayan as first prime minister. Soon the republic would have its own flag, coat-of-arms, and anthem. 

The Constitution of the Republic of Mountainous Karabagh, however, was not ready until 2006. The project was also put to referendum on December 10, 2006. Of 90,077 people eligible to vote, 77,279 voted to approve the Constitution (85.79%). There were 554 votes against. After 2006, December 10 became a holiday in Karabagh.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site( 


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.


Youth Ministry Coordinator
Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America
Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate

The Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America is seeking a Youth Ministry Coordinator for immediate employment. The youth ministry coordinator will be solely accountable for growing a prosperous youth ministry within the Eastern Prelacy. He or she will work to establish a youth ministry at each of the 20 parishes within the Eastern Prelacy by identifying and leading youth ministers within each respective parish. The youth ministry coordinator will be responsible for coordinating with other church and community leaders to address the needs of the youth and maximize opportunities so that the ministry grows in participants, Armenian Apostolic Christian faith, and spiritual leadership within each parish. Useful skills for the coordinator are the ability to listen to and communicate with people of all ages and the ability to work with the Prelate, Vicar General, Clergy, Executive and Religious Councils, parents of the youth, youth ministry leaders in each parish, and youth. The youth ministry coordinator will report to the Executive Council and work closely with the Religious Council to establish the program.

For a detailed job description click here.

Please send a cover letter and CV to:

          Dr. Vazken Ghougassian, Executive Director             



Assistant Communications Director
Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America
Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate

The Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America is seeking applicants for the position of Assistant Communications Director, who will work with the Director of Communications and Publications to assist with all aspects of public relations and communications. Must be able to manage multiple deadlines, be attentive to details, and respect and understand the religious culture and history of the Armenian people.
Duties include assisting the Director of Communications in, but not limited to, the following:
  • Write and/or edit press releases.
  • Write and/or edit articles for semi-annual magazine.
  • Help produce text for weekly electronic newsletter.
  • Work with Communications Officer on internet based programs, including web page and social media.
  • Edit and prepare projects (books, booklets, brochures) for printing.

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Communications or related field or Liberal Arts.
  • Minimum 5 years experience.
  • Strong writing skills.
  • Skill with social media and other communications channels to showcase Prelacy projects and programs.
  • Knowledge of Armenian language and Armenian Church is a plus.

Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. Work hours can be flexible.
Please send a cover letter and CV to:
            Dr. Vazken Ghougassian, Executive Director

Periodic Table Adds Four New Names and first Armenian:

According to news items, Chemistry’s highest gatekeepers have accepted the newly proposed names for elements 113, 115, 117 and 118. Number 118 is named Oganesson, for the Armenian physicist Yuri Oganessyan, the first Armenian to have this honor. 

Chris Bohjalian Op-Ed in New York Times:

The New York edition of yesterday’s New York Times carried an op-ed article by Chris Bohjalian titled “My Proud Pilgrimage to My Homeland,” about his trip to Nagorno-Karabakh. To read the article click here. 

John Glenn, last of the “right stuff” Dies at 95:

John Glenn, who became one of the 20th century’s greatest heroes as the first American to orbit the Earth and later a U.S. Senator, died today at age 95 in Ohio. He was the last surviving member of the original seven “Right Stuff” Mercury astronauts.

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. NEW TERM BEGINS SEPTEMBER 10.

December 11—Celebration of the 62nd Anniversary of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Granite City, Illinois. Episcopal Divine Liturgy, ordinations, and banquet.

December 11—St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church of Douglaston's annual Simply Christmas Concert will take place following church services! This year features Zulal Trio singing contemporary and classical Christmas tunes in the elegant and festively decorated St. Sarkis Church Sanctuary.

December 11—Holiday Dinner of Chicken Shish Kebab, Pilaf, Mixed Vegetables in Tomato Sauce, Salad, Bread, Dessert and Beverages, sponsored by the ARS Havadk Chapter, following church services, St. Stephen’s Church Hall, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain, Connecticut. Christmas Carols and Bingo. Adults: $10; Children 12 and under: $10.

December 15 & 22—Two-part Bible study led by Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Director of the Armenian Religious Education Council, will explore biblical imagery used in the baptismal ritual prayers of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Sponsored by St. Illuminator Cathedral and the Eastern Prelacy. From 7:15 pm to 8:45 pm at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City. Registration is required; RSVP by email ( or telephone (212-689-5880).

December 18—Armenian Cultural Concert at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Granite City, Illinois.

December 18—Annual Christmas Bake Sale, organized by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church’s Ladies Guild, Granite City, Illinois.

December 18—St. Stephen Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, ordinations of deacons, sub-deacons, and conferring of Stole, by Archbishop Oshagan will take place during the Divine Liturgy. Following the services a celebratory banquet in honor of the ordinations will take place in the church hall. Donation: $30 adults; $15 children 12 and under. For reservations contact the church office by email ( or telephone (617-924-7562).

March 31—Eastern Prelacy’s annual Musical Armenia concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, New York City.

The Armenian Prelacy 
Tel: 212-689-7810 ♦ Fax: 212-689-7168 ♦ Email: