Jan 26, 2017

The three-day meeting of the Central Councils of the Catholicosate of Cilicia concluded with recommendations on the items that were discussed that concern the different aspects of the mission of the Catholicosate. The Councils and Sub-Councils met separately, as well as jointly, and in plenary sessions. His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, presided.

After welcoming the members of the Councils, His Holiness introduced the agenda and asked the members to keep in mind the stated mission and vocation of the Catholicosate as they consider the work from a pan-Armenian perspective. He urged them to approach their work on the basis of accountability and responsibility.

Topics discussed included Christian Education, Youth Concerns, Ecumenical Relations, Interreligious Relations, the Seminary, Clergy Training, Bishops’ Conferences, Relationship between the two Catholicosates, Relationship with Catholic and Evangelical Churches, Translation of the Bible into Western Armenian, Spirituality, Constitutional Reform, Financial Reports, Construction and Renovation Projects, Specialized Educational Programs, Construction of Nor Giligia village in Artsakh,  Report on the Lawsuit for the return of the Sis Catholicosate, Reconstruction and Revival of Armenian Communities in Syria.

It was decided that the next meeting of the General Assembly of the Catholicosate will take place in Antelias, Lebanon, December 5 to 8, 2017.

  Ovsanna Bakalian Tatarian
Ovsanna Bakalian Tatarian, a long-time active member of the Prelacy’s Ladies Guild, who was always “on call” and available to assist the Prelacy whenever needed, died on Tuesday, January 24. A daughter of genocide survivors, Ovsanna was born in Aleppo, Syria on December 31, 1927.

The Wake will take place tonight from 7 to 9 pm at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, with services at 8 pm, with Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian officiating. The Funeral will take place tomorrow, Friday, January 27, 10 am, at the Cathedral followed by interment at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Flushing, New York.

Ovsanna devoted her life to the Armenian community as an active member of the Prelacy Ladies Guild for many years. She was also devoted to St. Illuminator Cathedral and its Ladies Guild and Choir.  Predeceased by her husband Garbis Tatarian, she is survived by her brother Stepan; sisters Rose, Araxie, and Azadouhi, and seven nephews.  May she rest in heavenly peace.


Bible Readings for Sunday, January 29, Third Sunday after Octave of the Nativity are: Isaiah 62:1-11; John 6:39-47; 2 Timothy 2:15-19.

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’? Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.” (John 6:39-47)


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2:15-19)

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


This Saturday (January 28) the Armenian Church celebrates the Feat of St. Gregory the Theologian, also known as Gregory of Nazianzus, who is considered to be one of the four great doctors of the Church during the fourth century, along with Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and Athanasius the Great. He served as Archbishop of Constantinople and he is noted for being an accomplished and eloquent speaker. His rhetorical skill and defense of the Nicene position, as shown in his five Theological Orations, earned him the title “the Theologian.” He is also known as one of the Cappadocian Fathers, along with Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa. Some of his sermons and poetry have survived.

By the light of the divine word you beatified the Church and dispelled the darkness of ignorance from the souls of men; O master holy Gregory, be our intercessor before the only-begotten Word of the Father. You revealed to the Church to confess as one the consubstantial nature of the undivided Trinity; O master Saint Gregory, be our intercessor before the only-begotten Word of the Father. You taught to confess the saving economy of him who became man for us as one Christ from two natures, a marvelous mixture; O master Saint Gregory, be our intercessor before the only-begotten Word of the Father.
Hymn (sharagan) to Saint Gregory the Theologian

Also remembered this week:

  • Sts. Eugene and Macarius, Thursday, January 26, 2017.
  • The Maccabees: Eleazar the Priest, Samona and her seven sons, Monday, January 30.
  • Twelve Holy Prophets: Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Odabiah, Nanum, Habakkuk, Jonah, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zecharia, and Malachi, Tuesday, January 31.


Last Thursday a candlelight vigil took place in front of the Turkish Consulate in New York City, in remembrance of Hrant Dink on the 10th anniversary of his assassination. The event was sponsored by the New York ARF Armen Garo Gomideh and the Armenian National Committee (ANC).

Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, led the singing of Hayr Mer, Der Voghormya, and Giligia. Speakers included Ms. Taleen Babayan and Mr. Naz Markarian.

Vigil in remembrance of Hrant Dink, the founding editor of the Turkish Armenian weekly Agos, took place at the Turkish Consulate in New York City. Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, and Dn. Shant Kazanjian led the singing.


Last Sunday (January 22), over 50 parishioners and guests gathered at St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York, for a panel discussion on mental health. Anahid Ugurlayan welcomed all in attendance and explained the importance of this lecture in light of long-standing reluctance in the Armenian community to discussing, or even acknowledging the existence of mental health and mental illness.  She also stressed that St. Sarkis Church was fortunate to have a pastor who is a licensed mental health counselor and a valuable resource to those who are hesitant about discussing mental health concerns with family or friends.  Speakers included: Dr. Hagop Gorgissian, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, St. George University who also has a private practice in Queens; Dr. Yeraz Meschian, a licensed clinical psychologist, Assistant Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai as well as a research scientist at Mount Sinai, and the founder and executive director of Healthy Mind NY, where she provides individual and group therapy, family counseling and parenting skills; and Dr. Carlo Bayrakdarian, a geriatric psychiatrist who has a private practice throughout Westchester and in New York City and was a Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at the Cornell University Medical Center.

Dr. Gorgissian discussed the myths and stigmas relating to mental health and mental illness, specifically that those who suffer from mental illness cannot function in a professional or non-professional capacity, the fear of seeking professional help, as well as the importance of mental health in one’s overall well-being.  Dr. Meschian explained that mental illness is often associated with psychopaths and criminals in movies but that in reality, very few people who suffer from mental illness pose a threat to themselves or others. She noted that many celebrities, as well as people we encounter in our daily lives, suffer from mental illness.  She gave a primer on what is entailed in talk therapy, expounding on her practice, which focuses on talk therapy, and how she assesses her patients.  Dr. Bayrakdarian’s presentation focused on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, its prevalence in the general population and ways to minimize the effects with a focus on cardiovascular health and mental stimulation. (Reported by Anahid Ugurlayan, Esq.)

Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian presenting the speakers of "Ways to Wellness".
Dr. Yeraz Meschian,  licensed clinical psychologist discussing facts about Psychotherapy.
Click here to take a look at the whole photo album and learn more about the "Ways to Wellness" event.


Last Sunday, some of the Sunday school students of St. Illuminator Cathedral and their teachers walked to the Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan to view the collection of Armenian illuminated manuscripts. A special workshop was prepared for the group by experts in the field, Sylvie Merian and Roger Wieck. They showed the students how the books were bound in a unique Armenian way; how the parchment made from animal hide became pages of the manuscripts; the way gold was embossed on certain pages; and how silver cover designs were made. The students got an up-close view of the manuscripts that they had been studying as a theme in Sunday school classes this year. After the workshop, the group explored the library and reading room of the financier Pierpont Morgan. They also browsed other current exhibits on display. Finally they relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company over an ice cream treat. This special trip was sponsored by Ms. Lucy Hayrabedian.

Sunday school students at the Morgan Library and Museum.

Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Birth of Paris Marie Pishmish (January 30, 1911)

Like her colleague Alenoush Terian in Iran, Marie Paris Pishmish played an instrumental role to establish the study of modern astronomy in Mexico.

She was born Marie Soukiassian in Constantinople on January 30, 1911. Her father Soukias was the grandson of Mikayel Pishmish, a member of the amira class that had an important role as the Armenian commercial and professional elite in the Ottoman Empire, who was Minister of Finance under Sultan Abdul-Aziz (1861-1876), and her mother Filomen was the niece of Mateos Izmirlian, Patriarch of Constantinople (1894-1896) and Catholicos of All Armenians (1908-1910). The high society environment where she was raised put high priority in education.

She first attended an Armenian elementary school and continued on to the Üsküdar American Academy for Girls, an elite private school in Constantinople, where she discovered her interest in mathematics. Pishmish became one of the first women to graduate in Mathematics and Classical Astronomy from the Science School of Istanbul University in 1933.

Pishmish taught mathematics and astronomy at the Getronagan High School in Istanbul, and worked as an assistant at the Observatory throughout her doctoral program in astronomy. She received her doctorate in 1937. Her advisor, the noted German astronomer Erwin Freundlich, arranged a postdoctoral fellowship for her at Harvard in 1938. After the beginning of World War II, she became an assistant astronomer at Harvard College Observatory (HCO), a position she held from 1939 to 1942. She also met Felix Recillas, a Mexican student of mathematics sent to study astronomy, whom she married in 1941. Mexico was building a modern astronomical observatory in Tonantzintla, near Puebla, inaugurated in 1942 with an international congress. Felix and Paris Pishmish-Recillas also attended. The thirty-one-year-old Armenian scientist, the first professional astronomer that Mexico had, was hired to work at the observatory, where she worked until 1946.

She had two children, Elsa Recillas Pishmish (an astrophysicist) and Sevin Recillas Pishmish (a mathematician, 1943-2005), and spent two years with internships in Princeton and in Chicago. In 1948 Pishmish accepted a position as an astronomer at the Tacubaya National Observatory, affiliated with the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, where she taught for over fifty years. The astrophysics program that she founded in 1955 has remained in place at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and her critical role in enriching the field of astronomy has helped to fashion Mexico into a center for astrophysical research.

Pishmish was involved in all stages of the development of astronomical studies in Mexico, from writing the first modern astronomy and astrophysics curricula to acquiring the best, state-of-the-art technology. She was also devoted to teaching and training new generations of scientists, some of whom went on to make great contributions to astronomy and other scientific disciplines. The university recognized her efforts with the award of a Ph.D. honoris causa and the Science Teaching Prize.

Many of her most notable accomplishments are in her research. Over the course of her career, she wrote over 120 scientific articles on various aspects of astrophysics and the study of galaxies. Twenty-two stellar clusters bear her name.

She also fostered the publication of Mexican astronomical journals. From 1966 to 1973 she edited Boletín de los Observatorios de Tonantzintla y Tacubaya. She was also founding editor of Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica since its inception in 1974.

Pishmish was also an active member of the International Astronomic Union, and headed the Mexican delegation to all its general assemblies from 1958 to 1994. Her career was also marked by research trips, conferences and visiting professorships at universities and research institutions around the world, including the Byurakan Observatory in Armenia, where she was invited by the eminent Soviet Armenian astronomer Viktor Hambardzumyan. In her memoir, Reminiscences in the Life of Paris Pişmiş: A Woman Astronomer (1998, co-written with her grandson Gabriel Cruz González), she recounted with particular enthusiasm her visits to Armenia where she delighted in being able to communicate in her native language.

Marie Paris Pishmish passed away on August 1, 1999. Her positive influence turned her into an effective role model, especially for young women. At the time of her death, 25 per cent of the eighty astronomers working at the Astronomy Institute of the National Autonomous University were women.

  Previous entries in “Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web page ( www.armenianprelacy. org ).

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Armenian Prelacy
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Thank you for your help.

Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
  How Did You Cut the Plate?

“I cut the plate?”

“What did you do?”

“I cut the plate.”

This is how you would understand the action if you literally translated «Ես պնակը կտրեցի» (Yes bunaguh gudretsee) from Armenian. So, what did your interlocutor do? Did he take a saw and cut the plate into halves? Answer:

“No, the plate fell on the floor.”

Now it becomes clear. This person did not cut the plate. He/she broke it!

The fault lies with the speaker, not with the language. The same as in English, there are two different words for “to cut” and “to break” in Armenian. If you get your facts straight, nobody will get confused:

a) “To cut” = կտրել (gudrel): «Ես պանիրը կտրեցի» (Yes baniruh gudretsee / “I cut the cheese”).

b) “To break” = կոտրել  (godrel): «Ես պնակը կոտրեցի (Yes bunaguh godretsee / “I broke the plate”).

Both verbs are, of course, related. Their root is the word կոտոր (godor), later turned into կտոր (gudor), which means “piece.”  

Interestingly, godor is not used as a single word anymore, but it has been kept in the noun կոտորած (godoradz “massacre”) and the verb կոտորել (godorel “to massacre”). The latter originally meant “to cut into pieces,” and its synonym ջարդել (chartel “to massacre”) has kept that meaning too.

Previous entries in “Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web page (www.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 22—“Ways to Wellness—A Panel Discussion on Mental Health,” following church services at St. Sarkis Church, 38-65 234th Street, Douglaston, New York. For more information: 718-224-2275.

March 31—Eastern Prelacy’s annual Musical Armenia concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, New York City at 8 pm. Featuring: Hasmik Vardanyan, cello; Karen Hakobyan, piano; Haik Kazazyan, violin; Hayk Arsenyan, piano. For tickets ($25) and information call Carnegie Hall Box Office (212-247-7800) or Prelacy Office (212-689-7810).

March 31- April 2 Armenian Relief Society Eastern USA is hosting an Art Exhibit at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 E. 27th Street, New York City, of works of Arthur Pinajian to benefit the ARS Education Fund. Opening ceremony and reception on Saturday, April 1, 7 to 10 pm. Additional viewing Friday March 31, 4 to 10 pm; Saturday April 1, Noon to 4 pm; Sunday April 2, 1 to 4 pm. Selling Exhibition. Free admission. For information: Sonia 917-679-6992.

May 18-20 —National Representative Assembly of the Eastern Prelacy hosted by All Saints Church, Glenview, Illinois.

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