January 9, 2020
In Faith I Confess 17th Prayer - English

Read by Victoria Penenian, student of Hamasdegh Armenian School of
Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church of Bethesda, MD. 

The Eastern Prelacy hosted its annual Prelate's Christmas Reception and Blessing of the Home service on the evening of Monday, January 6 in the Vahakn and Hasmig Hovnanian Hall at the Prelacy offices in New York.

The Prelacy halls were packed with congregants and friends, ready for another year of faith and parish activity. The reception opened with an annual tradition: the Home Blessing ceremony offered by Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor of St. Illuminator's Cathedral. During this ceremony, the officiating Priest blesses bread, water, and salt—all considered to be essential to life in our Church customs.

Following the service, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, greeted the guests, discussing his ambitions and hopes for the start of a new decade, thanking various guests for their contributions and devotion to the Prelacy and respective parishes. The Prelate introduced the newly appointed advisor to the representative of the Permanent Mission of Armenian to the UN, Albert Gevorgyan and made a number of announcements, including an upcoming visit by Catholicos Aram I to the United States.

“The year 2020 will surely be a crucial year for all of us,” Archbishop Anoushavan said. “We will mark the 105 th anniversary of the resurrection of our nation from the Genocide… we were doomed to be reduced to bones and then ashes and dust, and yet, by the providence of God, with the spirit of Ezekiel, the bones came back to life and we are here.”

The Prelate also announced the establishment of a pilgrimage to St. Illuminator’s Cathedral as part of an effort to restore a Christian tradition that has been overlooked lately.

He also said that in 2020 the Church would mark the 25 th anniversary of the election of Catholicos Aram, who will be coming to the U.S. this year in a pastoral visit that is planned to include his celebration of Badarak at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral.

To conclude the program, Anahit Indzighulyan, a young, rising vocalist performed a short set of touching songs for the attentive attendees. Her performances of “Ave Maria,” “Qele Qele - Gomidas,” and her final song “Krisdos Dznav yev Haydnetsav” (“Christ is Born and Revealed”) resolved beautifully in unison with a gradual crescendo of all the guests’ voices filling the room alongside Ms. Indzighulyan and piano accompanist Vagharshak Ohanyan.

Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian performs the "Blessing of the Water" ceremony.

Vocalist Anahit Indzighulyan entertains the guests during the reception.
Guests gathered during the "Blessing of the Home" ceremony.

On Monday, January 6, the Armenian Church observed the Feast of the Nativity and Baptism of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Archbishop Anoushavan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and presided over the Blessing of the Water Ceremony with Godfather Hagop Ari Makhoulian, son of Mr. & Mrs. Raffi and Hera Makhoulian, at St. Illuminator's Armenian Apostolic Cathedral.

After the Divine Liturgy, the faithful gathered at the John Pashalian Hall, where they were treated to a light lunch.

Salvation is the central theme His Holiness Catholicos Aram I has chosen for his annual Christmas message, urging us not to deviate from the righteous path. Aram quotes from Paul the Apostle’s second letter to the Hebrews warning to the newly converted Christians not to “drift away from it.”

The Catholicos urges us to heed Paul’s advice especially in these days in which with deep spiritual exultation we have welcomed the birth of our Savior. 

“On each page of the Bible and even in every sentence, salvation, as the gift from God to man, is the prevailing presence,” Aram I says. “Salvation is even the goal of the revelation of God.”

Paying lip service to the message of salvation will not be enough, the Catholicos says. We must put our faith into practice. 

“Through several parables, the Son of God reminded his followers that to earn the grace of salvation, it is fundamental to express and practice faith and loyalty, love and service in our life”, says the head of the Great House of Cilicia in his message.

He calls on the church to set the example for the believers with its words and deeds, warning about the challenges that beset man in our days.

“The modern world has opened before such roads to splendor and status, money and pleasure, that they have obscured with darkness the road to salvation,” the message says. “Let us not forget that road to salvation is the road to Bethlehem opened before the world: we must take this road.”

The Eastern Prelacy responded once again to an appeal from Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian, Director of the Christian Education Department of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia to help provide food and gifts to needy families during the recent Christmas and New Year season. The Prelacy immediately agreed to help and issued appeals in Crossroads and through social media and parishes near and far. There were special collections and sizable donations, while many of our readers responded by sending generous amounts for this purpose. Volunteer workers in Lebanon purchased the food and gifts, and prepared the bags for personal delivery to more than 175 families out of work, the elderly, the sick and handicapped.
This week, Archbishop Anoushavan received a letter from Hayr Zareh thanking the Prelacy and donors with the following message:
“Once again, I search for the appropriate words to convey my true gratitude for the incomparable generosity and love of the Eastern Prelacy and its parishioners for the needy and the less fortunate. Especially during these trying days in Lebanon, you have touched all of us once more with your latest contributions, supplying incredibly generous donations for our yearly project of helping the poor. Individuals like you give us the inspiration for an even brighter future, because the gesture of our brothers and sisters in America is a true indicator of their commitment to the word of God.
I speak for my entire department, when I gratefully offer you our deepest and most heartfelt thanks. Thanking you from the depths of my heart, I pray that Christ will bestow His blessings and strength upon you and your families.

Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian
Director General
Christian Education Department
Newly appointed advisor to the representative of the Permanent Mission of Armenian to the UN, Albert Gevorgyan, attended the Christmas liturgy on Monday, January 6, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. Mr. Gevorgyan had arrived in New York a few days earlier to take up his post. As we have mentioned, he also attended the Christmas reception at the Prelacy last Monday. 
Albert Gevorgyan praying in front of the Armenian Genocide Memorial at St. Illuminator's Cathedral.

Archbishop Anoushavan joined by the newly appointed advisor to the representative of the Permanent Mission of Armenian to the UN, Albert Gevorgyan.

Archbishop Anoushavan, accompanied by Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, this Thursday paid a visit to the newly appointed general consul of Lebanon, Abir Taha Audi. A productive meeting ensued, which lasted an hour and a half, during which religious issues and the current situation in Lebanon were discussed. 

On Sunday, January 5, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan travelled to New Britain, CT, to preside over the morning service and conduct the Christmas Vigil at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church. Following the services, the community members gathered for a lunch in the church hall, followed by a presentation by Archbishop Anoushavan.

A check for the needy families of Lebanon was presented to the Prelate. In the photo, from left to right, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Louise Kanian, Bishop Anoushavan, Armen Morian, Esq., Dn. Shant Kazanjian, and Movses Musaelian. 
Trustees of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral presented a check of $5,000 to Archbishop Anoushavan for the needy families in Lebanon. The money was raised by the Cathedral through fundraising efforts and special plate offerings during the month of December.

Fr. Lakissian, expressed the Cathedral’s sincere gratitude to parishioners and friends for their generous donations.

Archbishop Anoushavan will take part in the Armenian Heritage Cruise on January 12-19 organized by the Armenian Cultural Association of America. The popular cruise, which now has become a tradition, tours the Caribbean, offering a program that fulfills everybody’s preferences. 

The Prelate will perform daily services and meditations. He will also speak about the Christian Armenian identity in the course of history. Archbishop Anoushavan will be accompanied by the Rev. Fr. Vahan Kouyoumdjian, who will also share his reflections with the public.

On Sunday, January 5, Rev. Fr. Taniel Manjikian celebrated his first Badarak in the United States at St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Boston. Rev. Fr. Manjikian, who recently arrived with Yeretsgin Vana Tanialiyan, is passing a  period of internship at St. Stephen's before being assigned his own parish.

Bible Readings for Sunday, January 12, First Sunday after Nativity are:

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(Romans 1:1-7)

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
(Luke 2:1-7)
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
Monday, January 13, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Naming of our Lord Jesus Christ, in accordance with the Hebrew tradition. The commemoration of this event (Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 1:30-32; Luke 2:21) comes seven days after the Feast of the Nativity (the eighth day of the octave of Nativity). This event of the naming and circumcision of our Lord is the basis for the tradition of baptizing children eight days after birth—a tradition that is rarely followed now. “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)

On Tuesday, January 14, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Forerunner (also known as St. John the Baptist). The elderly couple Zechariah and Elizabeth welcomed with great joy the birth of their son who they named John just as the angel Gabriel had instructed. Neighbors and relatives, who had gathered to celebrate the birth of this special child, pondered about his future asking, “What then will this child become?”

Having gained his voice after months of silence, Zechariah said, “And you, child will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:76-79)

Hasten to our help from on high, Saint John, apostle and prophet and forerunner and baptizer of the Son of God and intercede for us before Christ. O Saint John, self-devoted priest, offer our supplications to Christ the High Priest who was crucified on the cross that he may grant forgiveness to us who celebrate your memory. O Saint John, intercede to Christ for us.

(Canon for the Nativity of John the Baptist according to the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)
As we enter a New Year, the Eastern Prelacy resumes the Prelacy Reflection Series. This week, Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy welcomes us after our New Year and Feast of Nativity Celebration by meditating on this Sunday's bible reading from the book of Luke 2:1-7.

The Armenian National Educational Committee introduces “Sticky Alphabet,” a colorful and fun learning tool developed for new learners to have a hands-on experience with Armenian letters. By looking at the illustrations, the user will try to make out the letters, putting them together to form words and, why not, phrases.

It is a useful resource to learn the language while playing. The game comes with seven sheets (six sheets of "Sticky Alphabet" + one sheet of the illustration key).

"Sticky Alphabet" can be purchased from the Prelacy bookstore for $9.99.

The Saint Sarkis Suzanne & Hovsep Hagopian Saturday School celebrated the Christmas Party in the parish hall on Saturday, January 5, with the blessing and the presence of Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, Pastor and the attendance of congregants as well as the parents of students and guests. Following the entrance in the hall of the schoolchildren led by their teachers, school principal Nairy Zohrabian delivered the opening remarks, welcoming everyone and congratulating the New Year and Christmas. She introduced the teaching staff and the PTA to the public, offering words of praise for their indefatigable work.

Mrs. Zohrabian said one of their students had won the first prize in an essay writing competition organized by the ARS, in which students from 14 schools took part. The principal invited the winner, Eddie Hazarian, to take a present in recognition for his achievement.

The event began with a prayer and the singing of Christmas carols under the conduction of Zepyur Ardzivian to the accompaniment of Hayguhi Megerian on the piano. Students from kindergarten to 4 th grade then recited poems with a Christmas theme, whereas the sixth- and seventh-graders reenacted the birth of Jesus, to the enthusiastic applause of the audience. The Christmas celebration concluded with a reception organized by the school’s parents’ association. 

The children of Hamasdegh Armenian School welcomed the nativity of Christ Child with a living manger planned with the help of 8 th grade teacher Mrs. Lena Damirjian Tatarian. It was a memorable day, including the blessing of the water, with Kevork Garabet Tatarian as Godfather. And to top it all, schoolchildren received their Christmas gifts donated by the school’s PTA, whereas the school staff prepared and donated the food, desserts, beverages and decorations. More than 200 guests attended the event. 

St. Illuminator's Armenian Cathedral, New York, NY

Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church, Ridgefield, NJ

St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church, Watertown, MA

St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, Dearborn, MI

St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church, North Andover, MA

Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Church, Troy, NY

Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, Worcester, MA

St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church, Granite City, IL

Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church, Providence, RI

St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, Douglaston, NY

St. Paul Armenian Apostolic Church, Waukegan, IL
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 Gor* who is sponsored by Arthur Bedrosian.

Dear Sponsor,

This is the first letter that I write to you in my own hand. I am now a second grader in school. I learned Armenian alphabet, and I can read, write, and recite. My mom or my sister help me to do my homework. I still can’t do it all by myself.

My favorite subjects are Russian and Armenian languages. Every morning, my sister and I go to school. After school, I return home, eat lunch, do the homework, and then go outside to play soccer with my friends. I like soccer a lot.

My mother promised me that if I do well in school and behave, she will buy me presents. I want to thank you for helping us. I wish that no children in the world were sad and that they always had their parents.

* 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).

Matthew Karanian
This groundbreaking guide to the ancient lands of Western Armenia, the first-ever of its kind, provides “a fresh view on ancient Armenia,” as Los Angeles Times wrote. You can chart your journey, real or imaginary, to the ancient Armenian lands of Kharpert, Van, Erzerum, Sebastia, Diyarbakir, Bitlis, Ani, and Kars with this authoritative and lavishly illustrated book, which contains 176 pages of detailed coverage and 125 color photos and maps. The text describes the history and culture of the Armenian monuments and artifacts that are still present. The photography documents the current condition of these ancient sites. In many cases, historic images from 100 years ago are included.

Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore ( books@armenianprelacy.org  or 212-689-7810)
Birth of Vartan Vartanov (January 12, 1853)
“Pavlovian conditioning,” “Pavlovian theory,” “Pavlov’s dog.” These are expressions that are quite current in English vocabulary, one way or another. The biography of Pavlov’s first Armenian assistant, named Vartan Vartanov (indeed, Vartanian), is not as current.

Vartanov was born in Tiflis (Georgia, nowadays Tbilisi) on January 12, 1853. He graduated from the Russian gymnasium in 1871 and entered the Medical and Chirurgical Academy of St. Petersburg. He graduated in 1876 and served on the Balkan front during the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878.

In 1892 he defended his doctoral dissertation on the subject of “Galvanic phenomena in the frog’s skin.” His scientific works dealt with the relation of the depressor and the vagus nerve (the nerve responsible for such varied tasks as heart rate, sweating, and speech), the exchanges of gases and the thermoregulation of the organism.

Vartanov would become the first Armenian professor in medical schools of St. Petersburg. He taught physiology from 1898 at the Women’s Medical University of St. Petersburg, where he founded the chair of physiology and the laboratory, and became ordinary professor at the same university in 1904. In his last years, he was the deputy rector of scientific issues. 

In 1890 he started working at the Military-Medical Academy of St. Petersburg, and became Ivan Pavlov’s assistant from 1895 until the end of his life. He also taught physiology at the University of Neuropsychiatry, the Pedagogical Academy, and other educational institutions.

He published the manuals Course of Physiology (1906) and Notes about Physiology (1915). In 1908 Vartanov was elected full member of the Society of Russian Physicians, and three years later, honorary member of the Society of Experimental Pedagogy. In March 1916 he joined Pavlov and fellow physiologists Nikolai Vvedenskii and Nikolai Likhachev to found the I. M. Sechenov Society of Russian Physiologists.

After the Soviet revolution of 1917, a deep social and economic crisis involved the country, fueled by the breakdown of authority. A wave of crime swept through Petrograd (as St. Petersburg was renamed in 1914-24), and Vartanov was one of its victims. On January 20, 1919, he was murdered during a street robbery, at the age of sixty-eight.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
January 9, 2020

In April 1969 His Holiness Khoren I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, embarked on an extended pontifical visit to the United States and Canada. On Sunday, April 13, 1969, His Holiness celebrated the Divine Liturgy at New York’s Riverside Church with an attendance of more than 3,000 of the faithful and representatives of sister Christian churches in America. In his sermon, His Holiness said, “It is our message that the generations born and grown in this country, who enjoy all the blessings of modern education, should acquire a deep knowledge of the past of the Armenian people, their language and culture, so that Armenianism does not become merely a name and a memory but a living, breathing spirit and a way of life. The plan of our people in North America to strengthen and centralize the structure of their church is the tool of this great task. We give glory to God, and credit to our people who chose not death, but life. We bless you all and pray from the whole heart to the Creator and Giver of life to grant you well-being and infinite happiness.” At the left of the photo is a partial view of His Eminence Archbishop Sahag Aivazian, who accompanied the Catholicos throughout the pontifical visit and at the right is Rev. Fr. Asoghik Kelejian.

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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