January 2, 2020
In Faith I Confess 16th Prayer - English

Read by Siran Sahakian, Sunday School Student of
Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church of Providence, RI. 

Dear compatriots,
I praise the Almighty, who made it possible for the whole of mankind and the Armenian people to welcome the year 2020. In general, years and feasts seem a calendar repetition. Yet for us, rational beings, they are a wonderful opportunity for both a renewal and a reassessment of life with a different understanding.

With this understanding, I want to contemplate the year 2020 through the lens of the three magi who are headed to Bethlehem: the three magi, who represent their contemporary society’s religious and royal class as well as that of those who studied the movements of celestial bodies. In other words, our days’ astronomers and scientists are a wonderful example of hope for mankind, with their consistent and conscious labor of research.

It was no coincidence that the star headed to the manger was revealed to the three magi. They were conducting long studies, which were crowned with their gift of the celestial mystery. And once they revealed that heavenly gift, they dutifully set out for a long and treacherous journey, full of hope, which was finally rewarded—oh, miracle!—with the message of the highest reverence, kneeling before the manger and presenting their loving gifts to the king of kings, the lord of lords, the infant Jesus Christ.

This is what serious and thoughtful research and examination means, dear compatriots, with persistence and unshakable hope in mankind. And I believe that, under this light, 2019 was indeed a promising year. 

Following long decades of joint work by all our community organizations—ecclesiastical, lay, political—what a great news it was that the House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States unanimously accepted and recognized the Armenian Genocide as an unobjectionable and indisputable truth. 

Who believed that a few years after the Genocide the first Armenian republic would be founded? Who believed that the Soviet order would collapse and that our current republic would be established? This is, dear compatriots, what living with engagement and hope means. 

I want the year 2020 to be flooded with this truth, because we, as we remind you in our diary, this year we will observe the centenary of the Treaty of Sèvres, steeped in the spirit of the second centenary of the birth of Khrimian Hayrig. Yes, we must never surrender before the difficulties of daily life. On the contrary, as I said, with our gaze fixed on the celestial star headed to Bethlehem, that is, with persistence and hope and diligent collective work, we will surely fulfill our dreams.

With this belief, this hope and this love, as Paul the Apostle says, when you put your hands to the plough, always look forward. We too, along with the three magi, let us head towards the realization of our first call to Jesus Christ and let us say to each other on Jan. 6, “Christ is born and revealed!”. And with that spirit of renewal in the year 2020, let us be able as Armenians, as Christian Armenians, renovate ourselves in our pilgrimage from life to the eternal life.  

One more time, I wish you all a Happy New Year and Merry Christmas. Christ is born and revealed! Blessed is the revelation of Christ!

Archbishop Anoushvan
Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the United States

In his New Year message from the monastery of Antelias, Lebanon, Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, highlighted the importance of introspection and self-examination in order “to pick the road leading to the maximum strengthening of our nation and homeland.” He noted that we are facing a decisive moment in our contemporary history, when Artsakh is always subject to the threat of war, Armenia needs to fortify its state structures and the rule of law, as well as to develop its economy, and the Diaspora, despite its daily struggle to keep its identity, is losing momentum, faced with an array of challenges.

“Before this situation, we do not have the right to despair or be indifferent,” said the Catholicos. “We have to reject any defeatist thought or approach. We have to struggle, as it has been throughout our entire history. We have to struggle, armed with faith, spurred by hope, and empowered by unity. This is a solid defense shield for our nation. This is the road to victory for our nation.”

On the eve of the New Year, His Holiness emphasized, we need “firstly, to reaffirm our unbreakable fidelity to our moral, spiritual, and national values, and the supreme wishes of our nation; secondly, to remain far from ways of thinking and action that generate internal polarizations, and to convert the imperative of mutual love and respect into the steadfast principle of our life; thirdly, to devote ourselves to the urgent task of reorganizing and reactivating the Diaspora to further strengthen Armenia and Artsakh, and recover our violated rights.”

These three priorities have to become the focal point for our people, noted Aram I, calling to live and work with this spirit, this ideal, and this commitment: “I pray to God Most High to keep our nation and homeland exempt from peril, heal those who are ill and give success in work, and make flourish the life of our children with celestial goodness.”

In line with the tradition he has established, Catholicos Aram I has proclaimed 2020 the “Year of Armenians with Special Needs.”

The proclamation of the Catholicos regarding persons with special needs will be read in all the churches of the Eastern Prelacy on Sunday, January 12.

Since 2003, the Catholicos has exposed a particular situation or trait of our national life by dedicating the year to it.

Under these proclamations, these issues have been examined by church and community organizations, as well as during events throughout any given year. As a reminder, please see the list below of the proclamations of the last 16 years:

  • 2003, Year of the Bible 

  • 2004, Year of the Armenian Family  

  • 2005, Year of the National Demand for Justice

  • 2006, Year of the Armenian School

  • 2007, Year of the Armenian Language

  • 2008, Year of the Christian Education 

  • 2009, Year of the Youth 

  • 2010, Year of the Armenian Woman 

  • 2011, Year of the Armenian Child 

  • 2012, Year of the Armenian Book

  • 2013, Year of the Armenian Mother 

  • 2014, Year of the Elderly 

  • 2015, Centennial of the Armenian Genocide (Encyclical)

  • 2016, The Year of Service

  • 2017, The Year of Renewal 

  • 2018, Centennial of the Armenian Republic

  • 2019, Year of the Armenian Press 
On Sunday, January 5, Archbishop Anoushavan will participate in the morning service at St. Stephen’s Church (New Britain, Connecticut). In the evening, he will preside over the Christmas Eve service at St. Sarkis Church (Douglaston, New York). On Monday, January 6, the Prelate will officiate Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral (New York).
On the morning of Sunday, December 29, Archbishop Anoushavan presided over the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. During Badarak, the Prelate ordained 5 altar servers, Aram Kouyoumdjian, Antranik Esendir, Armand Charkhutian, Shaunt Doghramadjian and Arthur Kesenci to the rank of subdiaconate.
Following the Divine Liturgy, a luncheon took place in the Church's hall where the subdeacons were given ordination certificates. Afterwards, Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education of the Eastern Prelacy delivered a presentation of the newly published book “Praying with the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church.”
Clergy standing with the newly elevated Subdeacons. (From left to right: Arthur Kesenci, Aram Kouyoumdjian, Shaunt Doghramadjian, Archbishop Anoushavan, Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Armand Charkhutian and Antranik Esendir).
Bible Readings for Christmas Eve Divine Liturgy, Saturday, January 5 are: Titus 2:11-15; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 2:8-14.

Bible Readings for Christmas and Epiphany, Sunday, January 6 are: Titus 2:1-15; Matthew 1:18-25; 1 Corinthians 10:1-4; Matthew 3:1-17.
Blessing of Water : 1 Corinthians 10:1-4; Matthew 3:1-17.

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)


Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus . (Matthew 1:18-25)


“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”  (Matthew 3:1-17)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here .
Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church Sunday School, of Ridgefield, New Jersey celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on Sunday, December 22, 2019. Festivities began with prayers by Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian and continued with the students’ presentation and the arrival of Santa Claus.  
The community of St. Paul Armenian Apostolic Church in Waukegan, IL, enjoyed a Nativity Pageant performed by many of their parishioners following the morning service on Sunday, December 15. In addition to the pageant, which told the story of the Nativity of Jesus, the parishioners sang Christmas carols and were serenaded by festive songs played by the church's organist.  
You may now reserve your tickets for the 2020 Musical Armenia Concert, which will take place on Sunday, March 15, 2020, at 2:00 pm at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. This is the 37 th edition of the much-loved series that began in 1982. Our 2020 event showcases three outstanding artists who will present a stimulating and inspiring program: pianist Tatev Amiryan, v ocalist Anna Hayrapetyan, and cellist Laura Navasardian .

Musical Armenia, established by Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian and the Prelacy Ladies Guild, is dedicated to promoting young Armenian artists and to the performance of music by Armenian composers. Over the past 38 years, many of our performers have established solid professional careers. The Prelacy thanks Musical Armenia’s devoted supporters for their contributions to the artists’ development. 

As in the past, Musical Armenia’s sponsors and supporters can make a key contribution to the development of these artists. Prospective sponsors may join any of these categories: diamond ($1,000 donation), platinum ($500), gold ($300), or silver ($200). Diamond, platinum, and gold sponsors will receive two complimentary tickets.

Tickets for the concert cost $25. For further information or to purchase tickets, please contact the Prelacy at 212-689-7810 or via e-mail at sophie@armenianprelacy.org.

The Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program was established in 1993 and continues to be the central mission of the Prelacy’s projects in Armenia and Artsakh. As part of the program, letters are received regularly from sponsored children addressed to their sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads .
This week’s letter is from Tina* who is sponsored by Arthur Bedrosian.
Dear Sponsor,

This is Tina from Gyumri. I was born on August 10, 2005. I go to Gyumri’s public school #8 and I am in 9th grade. I am on the honor roll. I am studying hard for the final exams. My favorite subjects in school are Biology, Armenian History and Geometry. I am only 14 years old and I have a long road ahead of me – I will graduate from high school in 4 years and then will continue my education in a university. I haven’t decided yet which field of studies to follow, but I want to get higher education and become a worthy person. I like to read, and I read a lot. I like to draw pictures. I am also a dancer – 3 times a week I go to dance classes in Gyumri’s Hayordats Charitable Organization. We learn classical, Armenian folk, Russian and Georgian dances as well as those of other nationalities. I love to dance, and it has been already five years that I go there.

Dear Friend, I want to finish my letter by expressing my gratitude for helping my mother financially, and for making my mom’s burden lighter. When I see my mother smile, it is priceless for me. I am grateful to you to the moon and back for your kindness.

With lots of love,


* In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.

Currently there are children on the waiting list for the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program. If you would like to sponsor a child please click here for quick and easy online sponsorship. You may also contact the Prelacy by email ( sophie@armenianprelacy.org ) or telephone (212-689-7810), ask for Sophie. 
The St. Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization (Medsn Nerses) will soon begin supporting its beneficiaries who pursue college education: now the young who reach the age limit of 18 will receive aid that may be vital for their careers.

The College Sponsorship Program is being implemented in 2020. An annual stipend of $250 will help defray some of the costs for the young men and women who have enrolled in an institution of higher education.

This marks the latest evolution of a program that then-Prelate Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, of blessed memory, urgently put together right after the 1988 catastrophic earthquake. Back then, the priority was to provide immediate help for earthquake survivors. Soon thereafter, the Orphan Sponsorship Program emerged as a priority benefitting thousands of children.

The programs have grown and blossomed greatly, and now also include aid to orphanages, schools, students, the elderly, disabled servicemen, and a summer camp. Now, former members of the Orphan Sponsorship Program have become college students and will be needing new sponsors. With the highest standards observed since its inception, the St. Nerses the Great Charitable Organization will continue to track down potential candidates and bringing them to your attention.

Those sponsors, who have generously ensured a stipend for the children under their care, may continue to do so as they mature into young professionals.

If you would like to sponsor a young student in the College Sponsorship Program օr a young child in the Orphans Sponsorship Program, you may contact the Prelacy by email (sophie@armenianprelacy.org) or telephone (212-689-7810).
Sato Moughalian
Along the cobbled streets and golden walls of Jerusalem, brilliantly glazed tiles catch the light and beckon the eye. These colorful wares—known as Armenian ceramics—are iconic features of the Holy City. “Feast of Ashes” tells the story of David Ohannessian, the renowned ceramicist who in 1919 founded the art of Armenian pottery in Jerusalem, where his work and that of his followers is now celebrated as a local treasure. Ohannessian’s life encompassed some of the most tumultuous upheavals of the modern Middle East. Born in an isolated Anatolian mountain village, he witnessed the rise of violent nationalism in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire, endured arrest and deportation in the Armenian Genocide, founded a new ceramics tradition in Jerusalem under the British Mandate, and spent his final years, uprooted, in Cairo and Beirut. Ohannessian’s life story is revealed by his granddaughter Sato Moughalian, weaving together family narratives with newly unearthed archival findings.
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore ( books@armenianprelacy.org  or 212-689-7810)
Sembat Shahaziz (Shahazizian) was born on September 17, 1840, in the village of Ashtarak. His father was a priest, and he was the younger of six brothers. He studied until the age of ten at the local school, and in 1851 his father sent him to study at the Lazarian Lyceum in Moscow. He graduated in 1862, and for the next thirty-five years he remained at his alma mater as teacher of Armenian language and literature. In 1867 he received the degree of “candidate in Oriental languages” by resolution of the scientific council of the University of St. Petersburg.
Shahaziz started publishing poetry in 1859 and his first book, Hours of Freedom, appeared in 1860 in Moscow. He gathered poems in classical and modern Armenian about nature, love, patriotism, and historical heroes. He was closely associated with the monthly Husisapayl, a progressive publication edited by Stepanos Nazariantz—one of his teachers—and Mikayel Nalbandian until 1866. Shahaziz was also an active commentator, and later in his life he would progressively abandon poetry and dedicate himself to expound his views in the press and in various books, such as Summer Letters (1897).
In 1865, he published his second volume of poetry, Levon’s Sadness, in which he was clearly influenced by Lord Byron. It contained the homonymous poem, considered his masterpiece, and poetry with a very ostensible social and political content. A little lyrical poem, “Dream,” written in 1864 and included in this book, became his most well-known work and was turned into a popular song.
The thirtieth anniversary of the poet’s literary and pedagogical activity was celebrated in 1892. A collection featuring speeches and articles on the occasion, as well as seven poems published in the 1870s was printed in 1893. Shahaziz destined the sums obtained from the book’s sales to a fund called “Abovian-Nazarian,” which assisted Armenian needy writers from 1893 on. He created and headed a committee founded in Moscow (1898-99) to organize care and education for Armenian orphans from the Hamidian massacres.
Sembat Shahaziz passed away in Moscow on January 5, 1908, and was buried in the local Armenian pantheon.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
It is the time of the “good tidings,” as we all know. The good tidings of the birth of Jesus are news that are more than two-thousand-year-old, renewing itself every year and, with it, our hope for a better world.

You would think that the word has to do with “tide,” but actually “tidings” (always plural) is thought to come from Old English tidan (“to happen”).

Interestingly, we have the Armenian parallel for the good tidings: աւետիս (avedis). This word, meaning “joyful news,” is the colloquial form of Classical Armenian աւետիք (“joyful news; promise of award”). The root, as you can bet, is the word աւետ (aved “joyful news”). From here, we have the word Աւետարան (Avedaran), the Armenian correspondence for the English word “Gospel,” which is an adaptation of Greek Euaggelion, meaning literally “good news.” It is an adaptation, indeed, because the Armenian word adds the suffix արան (aran), used for places (e.g. դասարան/tasaran “classroom”). Hence, Avedaran means “the place of the joyful news.”

Incidentally, the expression “Promised Land” is translated into Armenian as Աւետեաց Երկիր (Avediats Yergir, “Land of the Joyful News”).

If you know Arabic or Turkish, you should not be fooled into thinking that the Armenian word avedis comes from Arabic hawadis or Turkish havadis (“news”), or vice versa. (The Bible was translated in the fifth century A.D., long before Arabs or Turks and their languages showed up in the Armenian Highland.) The real fact is that aved is a purely Armenian word, derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *aveid (“to talk”).

Christian influence can be detected in the fact that aved, avedis, and avedik (pronounced with t instead of d in Eastern Armenian) are also personal names. In recent history, we have the example of three famous Eastern Armenians: writer and public figure Avetis Aharonian (1866-1948), poet Avetik Isahakian (1875-1957), and composer Avet Terterian (1929-1991). But you will also find plenty of Western and Diasporan Armenians who carry the names Avedis and Avedik.

After more than two millennia, the joyful news will never cease to be popular.

Previous entries in “Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
In 1983, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia during an extensive visit to the Eastern Prelacy elevated the Prelate Mesrob Ashjian to the rank of Archbishop. The community honored Srpazan on his elevation with a celebratory banquet at New York’s St. Regis Hotel on January 22, 1984. The keynote speaker on this occasion was Ms. Pamela Ilott, Vice President of Cultural and Religious Broadcasts at CBS. Ms. Ilott, a good friend of the Prelate and the Prelacy, presented light-hearted stories about their friendship, eliciting a burst of laughter from Archbishop Mesrob. Sitting next to the Prelate is Rev. Fr. Moushegh Der Kaloustian, pastor of Saint Illuminator Cathedral in New York.

During Ms. Ilott’s long tenure at CBS she was very inclusive of Christian denominations for the allotted time for religious programming and produced many programs about the Armenian Church and the Prelacy’s mission and activities especially through the weekly half-hour television show, “Lamp Unto My Feet” that was broadcast Sunday mornings for more than thirty years.

We also remember that tomorrow, January 3, would have been the late Archbishop’s 79th birthday.

Please send your inquiries and comments (English and/or Armenian) to crossroads@armenianprelacy.org . Please remember that the deadline for submitting items for Crossroads is on Wednesdays at noon.

All parish news, photographs, and calendar items should also be emailed to crossroads@armenianprelacy.org .

Comments received may be shared from time to time. We are looking forward to yours.

( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
January 11, 2020 —The next Siamanto Academy class at the Prelacy office on Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM. For more information, contact Mary Gulumian, director of the Armenian National Education Committee by email (anec@armenianprelacy.org) or phone (212-689-7231).

March 15, 2020 —Save the date and watch for details for the Eastern Prelacy’s 37 th annual Musical Armenia concert, 2 pm at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, West 57 th Street at Seventh Avenue, New York City.

March 28, 2020 —“Faith Building Women 2020 Symposium,” a daylong conference to heighten awareness of women in the Bible, organized by the Adult Christian Education department of St. Peter Armenian Church. The Symposium will take place at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Keynote speakers Dr. Roberta Ervine and Arpi Nakashian.

May 13-16, 2020 —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Philadelphia. The Clergy Conference will begin on Wednesday, May 13; the full Assembly will convene on Thursday, May 14 and conclude on Saturday, May 16.

May 31, 2020 —Save the Date. St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, 30 th Anniversary Banquet.

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