January 17, 2019
The Religious and Executive Councils announced last weekend that Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian has been appointed Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy. Hayr Sahag has been serving the Eastern Prelacy since 2013 and currently serves as pastor of Holy Trinity Church of Worcester, Massachusetts. He will continue to serve in Worcester while also serving as Vicar of the Prelacy.

Hayr Sahag began his service to the Eastern Prelacy in August 2013. He was born in Yerevan, Armenia, in 1983. He studied at the Armenian Theological Seminary in Antelias, Lebanon, for nine years and was ordained a celibate priest in 2006. He served the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia for four years as director of the archives, director of the youth department, and lecturer at the Seminary. He also has served as pastor to the Armenian community in Salonika, Greece. In 2010 he received the rank of Vartabed (Doctor).

Upon his arrival to the United States, Hayr Sourp first served as an outreach priest for the Prelacy until his appointment as pastor of Worcester’s Holy Trinity Church, where he currently continues his service. In 2016 His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, elevated him to the degree of “ Dzayrakooyn Vartabed ” (Archimandrite Superior), which consists of the conferral of 10 advanced theological degrees on top of the four given at the time of elevation to the rank of Vartabed . This elevation ceremony took place at St. Stephen’s Church in Watertown, Massachusetts on May 29, 2016, officiated by Archbishop Oshagan during the Divine Liturgy that was celebrated by Bishop Anoushavan, who at the time was the Vicar of the Prelacy. During this time Hayr Sahag also successfully completed his advanced theological studies at Boston College and received a Master of Arts degree last year.
Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian celebrates his final Badarak as pastor of St. Stephen Church of New Britain and Hartford.
The Religious and Executive Councils of the Eastern Prelacy announced the retirement of Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, long time pastor of Soorp Asdvadzadzin Church of Whitinsville, and for the past several years pastor of St. Stephen Church of Connecticut. Der Aram will serve the Prelacy as an outreach priest and will continue his growing charitable endeavors in Armenia and Artsakh that include preaching the Gospel, organizing a summer camp for orphans, supporting local projects that increase jobs especially in rural areas, renovating schools, building homes, supporting orphanages, and providing educational opportunities, such as English classes for students who will be applying to colleges and universities where familiarity with English is necessary.
Aram Stepanian was born in Der el Zor, Syria. His family moved to Aleppo in 1945 where he received his elementary education and where he served as an acolyte in the local church. In 1957, he went to Lebanon, where he devoted himself to the study of Theology at the Theological Seminary from where he graduated in 1961. He continued his studies at the Bible College of Wales. In 1962 he came to the United States and settled in the Boston area where he retained close ties with the Armenian Church, most notably with St. Stephen Church and Sunday School of Watertown.

In 1967 he was ordained a deacon by the Prelate, Archbishop Hrant Khatchadourian of blessed memory. From that time on his duties and responsibilities in the religious life of the community increasingly grew. Der Aram was ordained to the priesthood twenty years ago on January 9, 1999 by the Prelate Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. Der Aram was a familiar face and voice, because for many years prior to his ordination he often served as a guest preacher and lecturer.

We wish Der Hayr and Yeretzgin Margaret continued success in their mission of service to the Armenian Church, the Eastern Prelacy, Armenia and Artsakh. For information about their charitable work in Armenia and Artsakh contact The Voice of the Armenian Church, Inc., P.O. Box 321, Sutton, Massachusetts 01590 or email to aramstep2@gmail.com

The Religious and Executive Councils announced that Deacon Vahan Kouyoumdjian will be ordained to the holy priesthood of the Armenian Church on February 8 and 9. The Calling Service will take place on Friday, February 8, at 8 pm at Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey. The ordination, officiated by the Prelate His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan will take place Saturday, February 9, beginning at 10:30 am at Sts. Vartanantz Church. Details will follow.

This morning the Consul General of Lebanon in New York, His Excellency Majdi Ramadan, visited Archbishop Anoushavan at the Prelacy offices. They exchanged cordial greetings and the Consul General congratulated the Prelate on his recent election and elevation. They spoke of their mutual concerns and issues that affect Lebanon and its diverse population of which the Armenians are an integral part.

Bible Readings for Sunday, January 20, First Sunday after Nativity are: Isaiah 54:1-14; 1 Timothy 1:1-11; John 2:1-11.

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:1-11)


Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my loyal child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I urge you, as I did when I was on my way to Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach any different doctrine, and not to occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies that promote speculations rather than the divine training that is known by faith. But the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith. Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately. This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. (1 Timothy 1:1-11)

Tuesday, January 22, the Armenian Church celebrates St. Vahan of Goghtn. He was the son of an Armenian prince and was abducted t age four by the Arabs. He grew up in the royal court in Damascus and received instruction in Islam. Catholicos John of Otzoon negotiated an agreement with the Arab emir for the repatriation of many Armenians who were held captive. Vahan, who was aware of his Christian heritage, wished to return to Armenia. He lived peacefully for about ten years. Subsequently there was a concerted attempt by the Arab royal family to bring him back. Vahan refused. After a period of peregrination, he was apprehended, imprisoned, tortured, and martyred in 737.
Also commemorated this week:
Thursday, January 17: St. Antony the Hermit.
Saturday, January 19: St. Theodosius the King.
Monday, January 21: St. Giragos and his mother Julita.
The Cathedral’s donation provided gifts to families in Armenia, Lebanon, and Syria.
St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York continued its tradition of spreading Christmas joy and hope to their brothers and sisters in Armenia, Lebanon, and Syria. With the support of the parishioners, the Cathedral continued its long tradition of helping fellow Armenians in need. This year’s donation of over five thousand dollars provided aid to more than 100 families during the holiday season. The distribution was made with the help of the Prelacy’s St. Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization in Armenia, the Christian Educational Department of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, the Aleppo Compatriotic Charitable Organization, and the Howard Karagheusian Foundation.

The Sunday school students presented a pageant on Christmas Eve at St. Hagop Church in Racine, Wisconsin.

On Christmas day, Archpriest Fr. Daron Stepanian celebrated the Divine Liturgy and the Blessing of Water service.

Archpriest Fr. Daron Stepanian celebrated Christmas and Blessing of Water service at St. Paul Church in Waukegan, Wisconsin. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Sahakian was a guest participant.
The clergymen and altar servers with parishioners.

Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, surrounded by altar servers, officiates over the Blessing of the Water service at St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Massachusetts on Christmas, January 6.

Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian offering a toast of appreciation for the parish’s deacons and choir members.
St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York, hosted its first Appreciation Luncheon for deacons, sub deacons, and choir members and their families last Sunday at Sevan Restaurant in Bayside, New York. The luncheon was underwritten by longtime St. Sarkis member Mrs. Mary Arslanian, and was under the auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian. Everyone enjoyed the delicious food and each other’s warm company. The heartfelt words of Anoushavan Srpazan and Der Nareg praised the deacons, sub-deacons, and choir for their dedicated service to the church, and noted that there would be no badarak without them. The attendees expressed their thanks and appreciation of being part of the St. Sarkis family.

Students of the Sunday School at St. Gregory Church of North Andover, Massachusetts presented a Christmas program on January 6. They are seen here with Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian and their teachers and administrators.
Students of the Sunday school and Nareg Armenian School at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, received Holy Communion on the occasion of the New Year and Christmas.

Sunday and Armenian school students with Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian and teachers and staff at Sts. Vartanantz Church.

Birth of Arno Babajanian
(January 22, 1921)
Arno Babajanian was one of the most important composers of Soviet Armenia, but also was very well-known in the Soviet Union, especially as a brilliant pianist.

He was born in Yerevan on January 22, 1921. His childhood friend, composer Alexander Harutiunian, recalled that at the age of five or six, the future musician attempted to play the old piano of the kindergarten. Babajanian himself used to tell about his first meeting with Aram Khachatourian: “When I was a kindergartener, a man once visited us and asked us to sing to get to know who had music ear among us. I was singing and kicking the floor at the same time. Listening to me, that man said that I should be engaged in music. In the future, I would learn that he was Aram Khachatourian.”

Afterwards, in 1929 Babajanian entered the musical school attached to the Conservatory of Yerevan (now called after Gomidas). In 1930 he wrote his first composition, the “March of the Pioneers,” which poet Yeghishe Charents helped publish. In 1947 he graduated from the Gomidas State Conservatory and the next year he also graduated from the class of piano of the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory of Moscow. Meanwhile, from 1946-1948 he perfected his studies at the studio attached to the House of Culture of Armenia in Moscow. He became a remarkable pianist, who was famous for the interpretations of his own works. Returning to Armenia, Babajanian taught at the Gomidas State Conservatory from 1950 to 1956. Afterwards, he settled in Moscow, where he would live and work until the end of his life.

His natural talent and his vivid musical images turned him into a well-known representative of Soviet music. Babajanian’s style in his formative years was influenced by Aram Khachatourian and Sergei Rachmaninoff, as reflected in his early compositions, the concerts for piano (1944) and violin with orchestra (1949). His monumental “Heroic Ballad” for piano and orchestra (1950) earned him the State Prize of the Soviet Union in 1951, when he was just thirty, showing the main lines of his creative personality along his trio for piano (1952). In 1950 he composed with A. Harutiunian the widely popular “Armenian Rhapsody.” Dramatic contrasts and dynamic musical language characterized his sonata for violin and piano (1959) and the concerto for cello (1962). Many of his piano compositions, such as “Elegy” and “Dance of Vagharshapat,” are frequently chosen by Armenian pianists throughout the world. In 1960 Babajanian received the title of People’s Artist of Armenia and eleven years later he became People’s Artist of the USSR. He won the State Prize of Armenia in 1966 for his innovative composition “Six Images” (1965).

The composer was a very eclectic artist, as he worked in various genres: classical, pop, and jazz. He collaborated with some of the most celebrated Russian poets at the time, like Evgeny Yevdushenko, Andrei Voznesensky, and Robert Rozhdestvensky, but he also composed pop and jazz songs in Armenian, which were very popular at the time. He wrote the music for William Saroyan’s play “My Heart is in the Highlands,” as well as for many celebrated Armenian films: “By the Path of the Storm” (1956), “I Know You Personally” (1957), “The Song of the First Love” (1958, with Ghazaros Sarian as coauthor), “The Bride from the North” (1975), “The Mechanics of Happiness” (1982, State Prize of Armenia in 1983), and others.

Arno Babajanian passed away in Moscow on November 11, 1983. A street in the Armenian capital remembers him, and his statue has been placed near Swan Lake, in central Yerevan.
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 Lookalike Sister

Did you know that the English word “daughter” has a lookalike sister in Armenian? Of course, if you are thinking of the word աղջիկ ( aghcheeg “girl”), think twice.

In more ancient times, the word for “daughter” in both languages had the same source. English “daughter” derived from Proto-Germanic *duhter, and the root was Proto-Indo-European dʰughter .

The same root originated the Classical Armenian word դուստր , which was pronounced dustr [ dooster ] originally—and also in Eastern Armenian today—and sounds as toosder in Western Armenian.

This word, incidentally, also had its male counterpart. The Classical Armenian word for “son” was ուստր ( oosder in Western Armenian, originally ooster ), which disappeared completely from daily usage in Modern Armenian, except when they want to combine son and daughter ( oosder and toosder ) in poetic language.

It is not the same in the case of toosder. It is used at times in Western Armenian, but in formal language, because in colloquial language it has been completely replaced by aghcheeg . It has generated a compound word, արքայադուստր ( arkayatoosder “princess,” literally “king’s daughter”), which you may see once in a while if the newspapers talk about British (or other) royalty. Toosder is somewhat more used in Eastern Armenian, where you can even find companies called Դուստր Մարիաննա ( Toosder Marianna ) or Դուստր Յասմիկ ( Toosder Hasmig ).

An interesting use of the word toosder came up in post-Soviet times. The word was used in Eastern Armenian to create the Armenian equivalent of “subsidiary company” (namely, those controlled by a holding company). This is how you speak today of դուստր ձեռնարկութիւն ( toosder tsernargootyoon ), which literally means “daughter company.”
Language is always in flow, and words that seem to have died or are in disuse sometimes come back to life in the most unexpected ways.
Monday, January 21, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday in honor of the Civil Rights leader who was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
“I hope you can find some consolation from Christianity’s affirmation that death is not the end. Death is not a period that ends the great sentence of life, but a comma that punctuates it to more lofty significance. Death is not a blind alley that leads the human race into a state of nothingness, but an open door which leads man into life eternal. Let this daring faith, this great invincible surmise, be your sustaining power these trying days.” (Eulogy by Dr. King for four little black girls, attending Sunday school in Birmingham, Alabama, who were killed by a bomb, set by the Ku Klux Klan). 
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.

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

February 16 —Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance, sponsored by Armenian Relief Society New Jersey Shakeh Chapter; 8 pm at Assyrian Orthodox Church of Virgin Mary, 644 Paramus Road, Paramus, New Jersey. Entertainment by: Zareh Kasbarian and his band from Washington, DC; Sako Tashjian from Montreal, Canada; Garo Torossian from New Jersey; Keyboard by Maestro Vicken Makoushian. Net proceeds will benefit ARS programs and Sts. Vartanantz Church. Donation: $75. Appetizers, Dinner (catering by Sultan Cuisine); BYOB. For information and reservations: Maral Kaprielian (201-289-6486); Seta Asadurian (201-320-2859).

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

October 9-12 —On the occasion of the Feast of the Holy Translators a clergy conference of the Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies will convene in Montebello, California. Details will follow.

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