February 22, 2018
Archbishop Oshagan announced that Prelacy parishes will offer requiem services this Sunday, February 25, in memory of Armenians who were massacred between February 26-28, 1988, by Azerbaijan in the towns of Sumgait, Baku, and Kirovabad, that resulted in hundreds dead and more than 400,000 forcefully deported from their homes thirty years ago. Archbishop Oshagan also directed parishes to circulate a second plate offering that will benefit the families of fallen heroes.
Archbishop Oshagan announced that this Sunday, February 25, Prelacy parishes will observe Remembrance Day for the Armenian Relief Society. Requiem service for all deceased members and benefactors will be offered following the Liturgy.

Remembered specifically will be the founder of the ARS, Agnouni (Khatchadour Maloomian), on the occasion of the 103 rd anniversary of his death, and benefactors George and Beatrice Lazarian, Levon and Sophia Hagopian, Karekin and Virginia Siroonian, Samuel and Agnes Yeremian, Araxie Proodian, Haiganoush Garabedian, Doris Norian Lentzi, Alice Norian, Arpkes Kelerchian, Hagop Jacques Mouradian, Alice Haigazian Berman, Genevieve Yekeshian, Yervant and Helen Terzian, Albert and Takouhi Bagian, Giragos Vaporsiyan, Kourken Assaturian, and Margaret Assaturian.

“This is a day for us to honor those who served the Armenian people for many decades in the field of education and humanitarian and social welfare. It is also an opportunity for us to express appreciation of the Armenian Relief Society’s noble service for more than 100 years,” said the Prelate.

Bible readings for Sunday, February 25 , Third Sunday of Great Lent, Sunday of the Prodigal Son, are: Isaiah 54:11-55:13; 2 Corinthians 6:1-7; Luke 15:1-32.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to make merry.

“Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf! And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” (Luke 15:1-32)


As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.

Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, and I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and of spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 6:1-7:1)

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

This Saturday (February 24) the Armenian Church commemorates St. Cyril (315-386) of Jerusalem, a doctor of the church. St. Cyril had a pleasant and conciliatory disposition, however he lived at a time when bishops were embroiled in bitter controversies and were quick to condemn any attempts at compromise, even calling such attempts as treason. Sixteen years of his thirty-five years as a bishop were spent in exile. When a famine hit Jerusalem, he sold some of the possessions of the church to raise money for the poor starving people. He was condemned for selling church property and banished. His best known work that has survived, “The Catechetical Lectures,” is believed to be one of the earliest systematic accounts of Christian theology. The lectures consist of an introductory lecture, followed by eighteen lectures on the Christian faith that were used during Lent for those preparing to be baptized on Easter, and five lectures on the sacraments to be used after Easter. The lectures have been translated into many languages, including English and Armenian, and are noted for their presentation of the Christian faith in a positive light and maintaining a balance between correct belief and holy action.

Thousands of pilgrims would come to Jerusalem for Holy Week. Cyril instituted the liturgical forms for that week as they were observed in Jerusalem. A detailed account of Holy Week observances in Jerusalem in the fourth century is available thanks to a woman named Egeria (Etheria), believed to be a Spanish nun, who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and kept a journal describing the liturgical practices at the various holy sites. Her pilgrimage is believed to have taken place in the early 380s. She provides a first-hand account of practices and implementation of liturgical seasons as they existed at the time of her visit.

Our journey through Great Lent continues. This Sunday, February 25, is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. The parable of the prodigal son shows God’s fatherly love and eagerness to forgive those who repent (See the Gospel reading above).

Light from light, generation and down, you came to seek out the wondering sheep of our nature which you carried together with the cross on your shoulder; purify us also from our sins.

Holiest of the holy, purifier of those who exist, you swept your house, purified the world from sins and having found your image in it you renewed it, renew us also from our ancient sins.

With the prodigal son we cry out to you, tender-hearted Father, we have sinned against heaven and before you, the purifier from sins; come out with love to meet us, embrace us with a kiss and purify us from our sins.

Holy Mother of God, fountain of life which flowed from the heavenly Eden, which watered the thirsting earth with the Spirit’s wisdom, pray that we may be given a fountain of tears for the cleansing of our sins.
(From the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church for the Third Sunday of Lent, Sunday of the Prodigal Son)

The Chalice of 1860 from the Church of St. John the Baptist in Yalova.
In the years following the Genocide of 1915, much effort was spent rescuing orphans who would later become the foundation of the Armenian nation. Others rescued precious artistic and religious treasures, also orphaned, that constitute the heritage of the Armenian people. Last summer, two ornate 19th Century Armenian liturgical chalices, once in danger of being lost, became available from a non-Armenian antique dealer, and were returned to the nation through the efforts of two Armenians from Wisconsin, Dr. Chuck Hajinian and Dr. Levon Saryan. 

In a gesture of unity for the Armenians of Racine, the two chalices were used simultaneously to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of Sourp Asdvadzadzin. At St. Hagop Armenian Apostolic Church, Rev. Fr. Daron Stepanian had the honor of celebrating Divine Liturgy and distributing Communion to the faithful using an inscribed chalice dated 1860 and decorated with the images of the four evangelists, originating from the Church of Sourp Hovannes Garabed (St. John the Baptist) of Yalova, Asia Minor. At St. Mesrob Armenian Church, the companion chalice from the Monastery of Armash (dated 1820) was likewise used by Rev. Fr. Avedis Kalayjian. For perhaps for the first time in a century, these two chalices returned to serve their original sacred purpose.  Following the services, the chalices served an educational function; they were exhibited to parishioners and brief explanations of their historical and artistic background were provided. Dr. Saryan hopes to donate the 1860 chalice to the Museum of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon. 

Rev. Fr. Daron Stepanian celebrated the Divine Liturgy and distributing Communion using the 1860 chalice at St. Hagop Church in Racine, Wisconsin.

Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian spoke yesterday at the second of six Lenten programs.
The second of a six-part Lenten Program took place last night, February 21, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City, presided by His Grace Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General. The Prelacy’s Lenten Program has three components—a church service at 7 pm, a short lecture at 7:30 pm, followed by a table fellowship at 8 pm.

The lecturer last night was Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, Pastor Emeritus of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, who spoke about A Life of Holiness . Fr. Gomidas first defined the notion of holiness. He then highlighted five aspects of a life of holiness: repentance and obedience, forgiveness, focusing our eyes on Jesus, prayer and worship, and love for one another.

Next Wednesday, February 28, the speaker is Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, Pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, who will present From “The War Within” to Independence: A Reflection on Romans 7:15.

The Lenten Program is sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Prelacy Ladies Guild (PLG), and the Ladies’ Guild of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. For details about the upcoming Lenten program, please click here.
Since 1982 the Eastern Prelacy has presented the annual Musical Armenia concert bringing to the forefront many talented artists of Armenian descent. This year’s concert is number 35 in the series that began 36 years ago and is renowned as a venue for talented young artists. Established by the late Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian and the Prelacy Ladies Guild, Musical Armenia is dedicated to promoting young Armenian artists and to the performance music by Armenian composers. The Prelacy is able to present this annual concert series as a contribution to the artistic achievements of the community thanks in large part to a group of dedicated patrons who offer their financial support each year in order to cover the cost and keep the price of tickets affordable for all.

This year’s concert will take place on SUNDAY, MARCH 18, at 2 pm , at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City. The cost of admission is only twenty-five dollars. Featured artists at the 2018 Musical Armenia concert are composer Mary Kouyoumdjian and pianist Hrant Bagrazyan.

Mary Kouyoumdjian’s artistic projects range from concert works to multimedia collaborations and film scores. She is inspired by her Lebanese-Armenian heritage, her interest in Ethnomusicology, and her explorations of folk instrumentation. She is currently completing her doctor of musical arts degree in composition at Columbia University. Ms. Kouyoumdjian’s compositions will be performed by the ensemble Hotel Elefant, a contemporary group that focuses on the music of living composers, featuring guest pianist Timo Andres.

Hrant Bagrazyan is a prize-winner in multiple international competitions, including Third Prize and Bronze Medal at the Aram Khatchaturian International Piano Competition (2007) and Outstanding Performance Award at the NTD International Piano Competition in New York (2016). Mr. Bagrazyan has performed in the United States, Armenia, Belgium, and Poland. His U.S. orchestral debut took place in 2014 with a performance of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra (Illinois). Mr. Bagrazyan is currently a doctoral student in piano performance at Michigan State University.
Plans are under way for the 32 nd annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program, a unique Armenian Christian educational program for youth ages 13-18 to enrich their knowledge of the Christian faith in a wholesome and nurturing environment, with recreational activities and daily church services.

Sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Program is scheduled to be held at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from July 1-8, 2018.

For information and registration, please visit our website at http://www.armenianprelacy.org/datev-homepage.html or contact the AREC office ( arec@armenianprelacy.org , 212-689-7810).

Birth of Vardges Sureniants (February 27, 1860)
A multifaceted artist and intellectual, Vardges Sureniants is considered the founder of Armenian historical painting. He was born in Akhaltskha (Akhaltsikhe), in modern-day Georgia, on February 27, 1860. His father Hakop was a priest who taught religious history. After their family moved to Simferopol, in Crimea, in 1868, his father was appointed to the Armenian diocese in Moscow. This gave young Sureniants an opportunity to study at the prestigious Lazarian School from 1870-1875.
From early on, the future artist showed his interest and aptitude for the arts. He furthered his education at the department of Architecture of the Moscow Art School (1875-1878). He went to Munich (Germany), and after a year at the department of Architecture of the Academy of Fine Arts (1879), he made a crucial shift and studied at the department of Painting for the next five years until 1885.
Sureniants became interested in caricatures and sketches during his years at the Lazarian School. In Munich, some of his caricatures were published in the Fliegende Blätter magazine.
The painter traveled to Italy in 1881 and visited Venice, including the island of San Lazzaro. In the library of the Mekhitarist Congregation he studied Armenian fine arts and manuscripts. In 1883 he published his first article, about Armenian architecture, in the daily Meghu Hayastani of Tiflis.
After his return to Russia, in 1885–87 he traveled to Persia as a member of the scientific expedition led by Valentin Zhukovski, a professor of Oriental Studies at the University of Saint Petersburg. They visited the cities of Tabriz, Tehran, and Shiraz, and Sureniants spent several months in Ispahan. Afterwards, he translated William Shakespeare’s play Richard III and sent it to the celebrated Shakespearean actor Bedros Atamian (1849-1891), in Constantinople, to have it produced there. He would later translate Midsummer’s Night Dream and some of Shakespeare’s sonnets. He taught painting and general art history at the Gevorgian Seminary of Holy Echmiadzin in 1890-1891.
After 1892 Sureniants participated actively in the artistic, theatrical, and social life of Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Tiflis, and Baku. He visited Ani and Lake Sevan, and became familiar with historical monuments and everyday customs of Armenian rural life. He also studied the Armenian illustrated manuscripts in the repository of the monastery of Holy Echmiadzin. He traveled to France and Spain in 1897-1898.
He has been categorized as a realist painter in his representations of landscapes and historical events, and played an important role in the revival of the Armenian past through art. His paintings would reflect the aesthetic knowledge acquired during his studies and his travels. In 1901 he held a solo exhibition of his works in Baku, which would be his only exhibition in his lifetime. Afterwards, he moved to St. Petersburg, where he worked as a stage decorator until 1915.

Sureniants was also known for his illustrations of famous literary works, such as Ferdowsi’s Shahname, Alexander Pushkin’s The Fountain of Bakhchisaray, Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales, and works by Belgian poet Georges Rodenbach and Armenian poets Smbat Shahaziz and Alexander Tzaturian.
His famous painting “Salome” was included in the exhibition dedicated to the 100 th anniversary of the Academy of Fine Arts of Munich (1912). In 1915 he returned to the Caucasus, and in 1916 he founded the Armenian Artists’ Society, together with Yeghishe Tateosian, Martiros Sarian, and Panos Terlemezian. He also made many paintings of survivors of the Armenian Genocide.
In 1917 Sureniants moved to Yalta, in Crimea, where he was commissioned to draw the decorations for the newly built Armenian cathedral. He decorated the altar, walls, and dome of the church. However, he suffered a grave illness during his task. He passed away on April 6, 1921, and was buried in the courtyard of the cathedral he had contributed to decorate

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This coming Sunday is the third Sunday of Great Lent, otherwise known as the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. This week on the Prelacy Reflection Series, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian of St. Illuminators Armenian Cathedral reflects upon this Sunday's parable, Luke 15:1-32

Click the link above to watch Der Mesrob's reflection now.






These wonderful Armenian Educational Products developed by the LA Based company TootHoot are now available at the Armenian Prelacy Bookstore!

Call 212 689 7810 or email Books@Armenianprelacy.org to order these wonderful Armenian Educational Items! Soon to be available online through www.PrelacyBooks.com

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

March 7 —Ladies Guild Michink luncheon following Lenten church service, 11:45 am, St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan.

March 9 —Mark Kyrkostas Remember Me with Music Concert, 6:30 pm, The Home of Mark Kyrkostas, 5710 Hewlett Street, Little Neck, New York 11362. The concert includes a dinner buffet and the concert for $30 per person, or 2 for $50. This year’s show included a stand-up comedian, and a dance sequence besides the music and singing. Call 718-428-5650 to order tickets. Space is limited.

March 10 —Documentary film by Near East Foundation sponsored by the four Metro Detroit Armenian Churches. Details to follow.

March 11 —Annual General Membership meeting of St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, North Andover, Massachusetts; Sunday of the Judge, 12:30 pm in Jaffarian Hall; light luncheon will be served.

March 11 —“Armenia’s Constitutional Reforms: Pitfalls and Possibilities,” presented by the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, 2 pm at Sky Room at the Hilton, 650 Terrace Avenue, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Featured panelists: Hagop Der-Khatchadourian, ARF Bureau member (Montreal); Sevag Hagopian, Editor, Zartonk Daily (Beirut); Vicken Cheterian, Independent Journalist & Political Scientist (Geneva); Moderated by Vartan Abdo, Founding Director, Armenian Radio Hour of New Jersey. Admission free. Reception to follow.

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 here or email sirushonj@gmail.com .

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.

March 25 —Ladies Guild Palm Sunday buffet luncheon at 1 pm after church services followed by special activities for children, St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan.

April 22 —Remembering the Armenian Genocide, Annual Gathering at Times Square, 2 pm, 43 rd Street and Broadway, New York City. Free bus transportation to and from Times Square. Sponsored by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan; co-sponsored by Armenian General Benevolent Union, Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian National Committee of America, ADL-Ramagavars, Armenian National Council, and with the participation of community-wide churches and organizations. Contacts: New York , Sam Melkonian 516-352-2587; Brooklyn , Tigran Sahakyan 347-291-7765; New Jersey , Leo Manuelian 917-418-3940 or 201-746-0409.

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. www.ArmenianFriendsofAmerica.org .
The Armenian Prelacy 
Tel: 212-689-7810 ♦ Fax: 212-689-7168 ♦ Email: email@armenianprelacy.org

Visit the Catholicosate webpage at  http://www.armenianorthodoxchurch.org/en/