January 10, 2019
Last Sunday, January 6, the Armenian Church observed the Feast of the Nativity and Baptism of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and presided over the Blessing of the Water Ceremony at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. The Godfather of the Blessing of Water ceremony was Vahan Chaglasian, son of Mr. & Mrs. Vahe and Talyn Chaglasian.

After the Divine Liturgy, the faithful gathered in John Pashalian Hall, where they were treated to a light lunch. The St. Illuminator's Sunday school performed a classic Christmas skit, but with a modern twist. While still relaying the message of the Christmas story, the new play included superheroes who thought that Jesus was going to take their jobs by saving everyone! The students and community loved this version of the story, and the students had so much fun during the weeks of rehearsing. 
The Sunday school class also created Christmas ornaments and presented their handwork to Anoushavan Srpazan, Der Mesrob, and community members who watched the play. This festive day concluded with a dedication service and the 2018 Family of the Year award presentation. By decision of the Pastor and Board of Trustees, the Cathedral's kitchen was dedicated in honor of the Ladies' Guild for their dedication and hard work for the well-being of the Mayr Yegeghetsi. 

The Prelate’s traditional Christmas reception took place on Sunday evening, January 6. Guests filled the Vahakn and Hasmig Hovnanian reception hall beyond capacity at the Prelacy offices in New York City. The traditional Blessing of the Home service was offered by Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. During the ceremony the officiating priest blesses bread, water, and salt—all considered to be essential to life. It is customary to burn incense, echoing the words of the psalmist, “Let my prayers be counted as incense before you.” (Psalm 141)
During the reception Dr. Helen C. Evans, curator of the “Armenia!” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was presented with the Prelacy’s 2019 “Spirit of Armenia” award for her scholarship and life-long advocacy of Armenian history and culture. In presenting the award, Archbishop Anoushavan explained that normally this award is presented at the National Representative Assembly in May. However, because Dr. Evans will be leading a group of travelers to Armenia on a Met sponsored trip in May, the presentation was moved up earlier. The Prelate praised Dr. Evans for her many years of scholarship and advocacy that led to her most recent triumph of the “Armenia!” exhibit. Bishop Anoushavan noted one simple sentence in a recent review by Professor Peter Brown of the exhibit and the accompanying splendid catalogue: After noting the previous exhibits Dr. Evans curated, Professor Brown notes, “In her latest exhibition, ‘Armenia!’ she has outdone herself.”

His Eminence read the inscription set within a beautiful colorful border reminiscent of Armenian art: “The Spirit of Armenia Award presented to Helen C. Evans, with gratitude and appreciation for many years of devoted and inspiring service to the Armenian nation. Your scholarship and advocacy for the history and culture of the Armenian people have enlightened the world about this ancient culture that continues to exist and thrive. Thank you for your genuine friendship and for teaching us the value and significance of our rich history.”

Accepting the award Dr. Evans graciously praised the community for its support and generous acknowledgement. Since the exhibit opened in late September, more than 200,000 people have viewed the exhibit, with one more week left before the exhibit ends. Dr. Evans has previously been honored by His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, with the Mesrob Mashdotz Medal in 2007, and by Archbishop Oshagan with the Prelacy’s Queen Zabel Award in 2018.

The Prelate’s Christmas reception was sponsored by Michael and Barbara Mirakian of New Jersey for the second year. Archbishop Anoushavan acknowledged and thanked the Mirakians for their donation and said, “Very often we go to people asking for their support for certain occasions and events. In this case Michael and Barbara came to us asking to please allow them to sponsor the reception again this year. We are very grateful for their generous gesture of giving.

His Eminence also introduced the presence of Deacon Haig Utidjian, PhD, who last Friday led the performances of Armenian Christmas chants and carols by the international ensemble Axion Estin Foundation Chanters, at the Metropolitan Museum in conjunction with the “Armenia!” exhibit. Deacon Haig offered a vocal selection on this occasion.

Also introduced was Mr. Haykak Arshamyan, Executive Director of the Hayastan All
Armenia Fund, and his assistant Mr. Karen Hakobyan. Mr. Arshamyan briefly spoke about the All Armenia Fund. 
Members of the “Shakeh” chapter of the ARS with Archbishop Anoushavan during the Christmas reception.
During the Christmas reception, members of the New Jersey “Shakeh” chapter of the Armenian Relief Society congratulated Archbishop Anoushavan on his election as Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy. They thanked him for his years of support to the ARS and on this occasion presented him with a plate designed by Michael Aram and produced in a limited edition especially for the ARS.

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia, has named 2019 as “The Year of the Armenian Press.” His Holiness writes that after a recent meeting with representatives of the Armenian Press in Lebanon, he deemed it appropriate to declare 2019 in honor of the Armenian Press. While acknowledging that the “Press” in modern times has a more expansive definition, the Catholicos emphasizes that he is speaking primarily about the print media that includes daily, weekly, and monthly newspapers and magazines. His Holiness gives an overview of the very earliest modes of print communication, and then focuses specifically on the very first Armenian newspaper (in India) and the subsequent growth of the Armenian Press in all parts of the world.

His Holiness directs the dioceses under the jurisdiction of the Cilician See to take this opportunity and during 2019 feature the history and role of the Armenian Press through various events including seminars, conferences, lectures, exhibits, and publication of books that focus on the importance of the Armenian Press in the life of the Armenian people.

Bible Readings for Sunday, January 13, Eighth Day of the Nativity, Feast of the Naming of our Lord Jesus Christ are: Colossians 2:8-15; Luke 2:21.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the4 cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:8-15)


After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21)

A large number of parishioners gathered at St. Sarkis Church last Sunday to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity and Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, who also delivered the sermon.

Following the Divine Liturgy, the Blessing of Water service, symbolizing the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan took place celebrated by Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. The Godfather of the Cross was Alexander Demirdjan, son of Drs. Edmond and Nyeree Demidjan. Alexander is a Saturday school student, a Salt & Light Youth Group member, and an altar server at St. Sarkis Church. As the service concluded parishioners received their blessed water and then preceded downstairs to the main hall for a Saturday school Christmas hantes.
Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian performs the Blessing of Water Ceremony at Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island.
The Godfather of the Cross, John Varin with his family and Der Kapriel.

MOURAD ARMENIAN SCHOOL, Providence, Rhode Island
The upper class and the ASL students of Mourad Armenian School of Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence, Rhode Island, participated in a church service on the morning of January 5 when students and parents attended pre-badarak, confession and Holy communion services. The pastor, Der Kapriel Nazarian gave a mini lesson about the birth of Jesus and the meaning of Christmas. Students read from the gospel of Luke in Armenian and English.
STS. VARTANANTZ CHURCH, Ridgefield, New Jersey
Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian with Sunday school students at Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield New Jersey, during a Christmas presentation on December 16.

Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian with teachers and students of the Nareg Armenian School at Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey during Christmas hantes on December 23.

Archbishop Oshagan praises Saturday school students at St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, after a Christmas Hantes.
In celebration of Christmas, family members and parishioners were treated to a heartwarming afternoon of Armenian songs, poetry, and prayer performed by the students of St. Sarkis Suzanne and Hovsep Hagopian Saturday school. The children’s angelic voices echoed in the sanctuary bringing smiles and tears to everyone’s eyes. The Hantes was the perfect way to follow the joyous badarak and blessing of the water service celebrating Christ’s birth and baptism.

Birth of Serovpe Dervishian
 (January 10, 1846)
Very Rev. Fr. Serovpe Dervishian, a forgotten name today, was a pioneer of Armenian linguistics in the nineteenth century, at a time when Armenian had barely found its place as a branch of the Indo-European languages and professional linguists were pretty scarce in Armenian scholarship.

There is not much information about Dervishian’s life. He was born in Constantinople on January 10, 1846, and sent to the Mekhitarist monastery in Vienna, where he received his education and joined the order in 1864 as he took his vows of celibacy. Two years later, he was anointed vartabed.

He first published several books on moral and religious issues, such as The Life of the Saints (1870) in Armeno-Turkish and the translation into Classical Armenian of the Apologies of Justin Martyr (1872). Meanwhile, he also tried his hand at a dramatic piece in Modern Armenian, The Widow Mother and the Only Son (1871).
However, Dervishian soon left his literary endeavors to turn to his actual love: languages. At the monastery, he was an avid student of Armenian, classic (Greek and Latin), and modern (German and French) languages. Afterwards, he continued his education at the University of Vienna, where he studied the old languages of Iran (Pahlavi) and India (Sanskrit). Besides them, he was familiar with Ottoman Turkish and Old Persian.

He published his first linguistic work in German, The Old Armenian Ք, in 1877. This book, which was the first in a series of linguistic studies entitled Armeniaca, included an examination of the Armenian letter ք (an aspirated k, as in Քրիստոս/Krisdos “Christ”), the etymology of all words containing this letter, and the transformation this letter underwent in those words in comparison with other languages.

In the 1880s Dervishian moved to Constantinople, where in 1883 he published a series of articles on the Armenian numerals in the journal Yergrakunt, published by writer Yeghia Demirjibashian, examining in detail the origin of Armenian numerical nouns, from “one” to “ten thousand.” Two years later, he published his masterpiece in Armenian, The Indo-European Protolanguage . Here he summarized the most important achievements of Indo-European studies, explained away the issues related to the Indo-European mother language, and referred to the ancient Indo-European civilization and the issue of the localization of its homeland, as well as the history of Indo-European linguistics. In 1887 Dervishian founded the first Armenian linguistics journal, appropriately called Lezoo (“Language”), which he filled from cover to cover, publishing fifteen articles with his signature, and lasted a year. He contributed to the newly founded journal of the Viennese Mekhitarists, Handes Amsorya, where he published a lengthy study on the cuneiforms inscriptions of Persepolis (Iran) in 1888-1889. He still published a few more articles in Armenian newspapers of Constantinople and in Handes Amsorya before his untimely death on January 1, 1892, at the age of forty-six.

Dervishian did not produce a fundamental study that explained a scholarly problem, but mostly minor articles. However, he provided the accurate etymology for a number of Armenian words, and he practically introduced Indo-European studies to the Armenian public. The great linguist Hrachia Ajarian wrote in 1913 that “a concise, portable, accessible, and simple book such as The Indo-European Protolanguage, which summarizes the whole erudition of Indo-European linguistics within it, did not exist then not only in our, but even in all of European literature.” He added that, in his own case, “Dervishian’s book has made a great impression on me; there I took my first steps, there I received my first knowledge of linguistics. Therefore, I do not hesitate to call Dervishian my first teacher.”
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s website ( www.armenianprelacy.org ).
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 last of the special events coordinated with the exhibit will take place tomorrow, Friday, January 11 at 6:30 pm in the museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium—a screening of Sergei Parajanov’s influential 1969 film The Color of Pomegranates , a poetic biography of 18 th century Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova, accompanied by a new live score by composer Mary Kouyoumdjian. A panel discussion follows the film that will be shown in The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium.

For ticket availability, visit www.metmuseum.org/tickets , call 212-570-3949, or stop by the Great Hall Box Office at The Met Fifth Avenue. On Monday the dismantling and packing of the exhibited works will begin and before the end of the month will be shipped to their respective homes.

First came the news that Armenia was selected “Country of the Year” by The Economist, and now Forbes Magazine has named Armenia among the best budget travel destinations for 2019. “Set in the Caucasus Mountains, Armenia is a hidden gem that’s still untouched by mass tourism, and yet has so much to offer: rich history, wineries, impressive landscapes, ancient monasteries and breathtaking mountains as far as your eyes can see. The capital, Yerevan , is a lively city with wide avenues, delicious restaurants, museums and street markets selling local handicrafts,” says the writer of the article, Alexandra Talty.
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 crossroads@armenianprelacy.org .
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.

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.

January 16 —St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, dinner 6 pm; Adult Bible Study 6:45 pm.

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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