July 11, 2019
Language, which is commonly thought of as only a means of communication, has played a far greater role for the Armenians. It is safe to say that the Armenian nation would not have survived with any semblance of ethnic identity if it had not been for two important factors: the Armenian Church and the Armenian language. The Armenian language as a factor in national survival is second only to the conversion of the Armenians to Christianity and the establishment of a national church. Thus, language has played a dual role for the Armenians: first, as a medium of communication; second and more important, as a cohesive force for national survival.

The invention of the Armenian alphabet in A.D. 406 by St. Mesrob produced a linguistic tool as remarkable as the language for which it was devised. The Armenian alphabet was invented and used for the Armenian language alone. It was designed to be a perfect phonetic representation of the spoken language.

It is even more amazing that a large and noteworthy body of literature grew immediately, using an alphabet that was a completely new invention and not an evolution of an earlier alphabet. If the Armenian alphabet had not been a perfect instrument for writing Armenian, it would have been impossible to use it to translate the Bible and the many other works that marked the early Golden Era of Armenian literature in the fifth century.

Today, July 11, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Saints Sahag Bartev and Mesrob Mashdotz, the Holy Translators. The feasts dedicated to the Holy Translators are among the most beloved commemorations for Armenians. Sahag and Mesrob are honored two times during the liturgical year: on the Thursday following the fourth Sunday after Pentecost, which is today, and on the second Saturday in October. The visionary leadership of these two men who recognized the necessity of an Armenian alphabet changed the course of Armenian history. The two saints, Sahag and Mesrob, are forever linked in the minds and hearts of the Armenian people.

His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan has been invited to open the United States House of Representatives with a prayer as the guest chaplain on Monday July 15, 2019, at 2 pm. The prayer will be broadcast live via C-SPAN or HouseLive.gov.

Arman Kirakossian

Arman Kirakossian, one of the best known and experienced diplomats following the independence of Armenia, died on July 6. He was 62 years old. He died in London where he was serving as Armenia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. The Armenian American community became familiar with the diplomat and scholar during the years he served as Armenia’s ambassador to the United States, from 1999 to 2005. He was also Permanent Observer of the Republic of Armenia to the Organization of American States since 2001. Before his diplomatic career he held several academic positions and he was the author of many articles and books. We extend our profound condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues at Armenia’s Foreign Ministry.
It was a fun-filled week of sports, fellowship and celebration as the Homenetmen 29 th Annual Navasartian Games kicked off in Long Island, NY, this Fourth of July weekend. Athletes, parents, friends and the general public gathered from various cities including, Albany, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Merrimack Valley, Watertown, Boston, Washington D.C., Charlotte, Montreal, and many more, to support the dedicated participants of the competitions.

The majority of games were held at Long Island University of Brookville NY, a beautiful college campus located near the shores of the iconic “Gold Coast.” The opening ceremonies took place on the morning of July 5 th . His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan delivered the invocation to the athletes and audience attending the games.

On Saturday evening, Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy attended the award ceremony banquet held at the Huntington Hilton in Melville, NY. Hayr Soorp delivered the opening address in the Grand Ballroom of the hotel to the vast crowd of athletes and attendees of the event.
Dr. Armen Derian, A member of the Central Executive Council of the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia and former chairman of the Executive Council of the Armenian Prelacy of Greece, visited the offices of the Eastern Prelacy on Friday, June 28, and met His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate. During the conversation that ensued, the visitor had the opportunity to get acquainted with the activities of the Eastern Prelacy.

The 2019 graduates of the Institute with His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, and Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of AREC (Left to right: Peter Agopian, Garo Minassian, and Lianna Isakhanian.
His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, flanked by the 2019 Datev Institute participants, instructors and staff.
The Eastern Prelacy’s St. Gregory of Datev Institute held its 33rd annual Summer Christian educational Program for youth ages 13-18 at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from June 30-July7, 2019, with the participation of 40 students from 12 parishes and 16 clergy and lay instructors and counselors.

Sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Institute offers a unique Christian educational program for our youth in a wholesome and nurturing environment, with three-pronged objectives: Christian education , prayer/worship , and fellowship and recreational activities . The program was directed by Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, vicar general of the Prelacy, and pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church of Ridgefield, New Jersey.

This year, three students graduated from the Datev Program, having completed four weeklong programs, one week each summer. The graduates are: Peter Agopian from St. Sarkis Armenian Church (Douglaston, New York), Lianna Isakhanian from Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church (Ridgefield, New Jersey), and Garo Minassian from Holy Cross Armenian Church (Troy, New York).

Bible readings for Sunday, July 14, Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Feast of the Discovery of the Box of the Theotokos are: Isaiah 2:5-11; Romans 9:30-10:4; Matthew 13:24-30.

What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written , “See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. (Romans 9:30-10:4)


He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from? He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30)

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

We can only imagine the joy of finding possessions of the Holy Mother. This Sunday, July 14, is the feast of the Discovery of the Belt of the Theotokos. Because there are no relics of the Holy Mother’s earthly body (she was assumed into Heaven), her personal belongings became the object of devotion and veneration. During the time of the early Church, when Christians were persecuted, her possessions were kept hidden and secret. Her belt was the first item to be discovered in Jerusalem in the fifth century. This discovery is the basis for one of the eight feast days in the Armenian liturgical calendar devoted to the Holy Mother.

This Saturday (July 13) the Armenian Church remembers King Drtad, Queen Ashkhen, and Princess Khosrovitoukht. After torturing and condemning St. Gregory to the pit, and after his cruel and fatal treatment of the Hripsimiantz nuns, King Drtad became inflicted with strange debilitating maladies. Queen Ashkhen and the king’s sister, Khosrovitoukht (who had secretly become a Christian) convinced the king that only Gregory could cure him. Thus, Gregory was released from the deep pit. With the king’s subsequent recovery, all three helped Gregory spread Christianity throughout Armenia. In their later years the queen and princess lived in the fortress of Garni and the king retired to St. Gregory’s retreat on Mt. Sepouh.

Also celebrated this week:
Monday, July 15: Kallistratos, and the 49 Martyrs and Lucian the Priest
Tuesday, July 16: St. Zechariah the Prophet
The Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program was established in 1993 and continues to be the central mission of the Prelacy’s programs 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 Tigran, a fourth grade students 8-year old Marine to her sponsor Lucy Papazian of Fredericksburg, Virginia. In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.

Dear Sponsor,

This year I finished fourth grade in school. I finished with good results, and now I am having the final exams. I already passed Armenian language and math.

My mom promised that during this summer she will take me to the capital. I want to go to the zoo, where I have never been, to the History Museum, and to Yerevan’s newly opened Park. During my summer vacation, I will also visit my grand-ma who lives in the village of Sevakar, one of the villages of Kapan region. It is a very beautiful village surrounded by mountains, fields, and woods. My relatives in the village have livestock and do farming.

I really want to climb one of the symbols of the Kapan region, Mt. Khoustoup. Its height is 3,206 meters, but my grandpa says that I am still too young to do that.

In my next letter I will tell you about my summer vacation.

Currently there are children on the waiting list for the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program. If you would like to sponsor a child please contact the Prelacy by email ( sophie@armenianprelacy.org ) or telephone (212-689-7810), ask for Sophie.
Death of Fréderic Macler (July 12, 1938)

Armenian Studies flourished in the West long before they did among Armenians. France was one of the main hubs, with the Armenian chair of the École des Langues Orientales (School of Oriental Languages) as the main center of activities. Fréderic Macler was one of the prolific names of French Armenology during the first third of the past century.

Macler was born on May 16, 1869, at Montdoré, in the department of Haut-Saône. He studied with Auguste Carriere, the holder of the chair at the École from 1881-1902, and learned Armenian, Syriac, and Hebrew with him. In 1895 he published his first article of Armenological interest, “Apocryphal Armenian Apocalypses of Daniel.”

This indefatigable scholar would go to write almost a hundred articles in French about issues of Armenian history, geography, folklore, music, architecture, and painting, and a string of books ( Armenian Miniatures, 1913; The Music in Armenia, 1917; Oriental Mosaic, 1917; Armenian Secular Decorative Art, 1924; Armenia and Crimea, 1930, among many others). His interest in Armenian issues was not simply attached to the past. He wrote works like Around Cilicia (1916) and The Armenian Nation: Its Past, Its Disgraces (1924), among others, where he expressed his deep sympathy to the Armenian plight and did not hesitate to express his solidarity in many opportunities, condemning the criminal actions of the Ottoman government.

Macler succeeded the great linguist Antoine Meillet at the chair of Armenian in 1911. He was one of the co-founders of the Société des études arméniennes in 1919, together with a group of scholars (Victor Berard, Charles Diehl, André-Ferdinand Herold, H. Lacroix, Meillet, Gabriel Millet, and Gustave Schlumberger). The following year he created one of the most important journals in the Armenian Studies field, the Revue des études arméniennes, which he co-directed with Meillet until its demise in 1933. Three decades later, in 1964, the journal was revived and continues its publication to this day.

As an avid scholar of things Armenian, Macler made many research trips throughout Europe (Holland, Spain, Italy, Austria, Poland, Denmark, Romania, Bulgaria) and the Middle East (Constantinople, Syria), and frequently published the results in books and articles. For instance, he visited Armenia during four months in 1909 and published his findings in the book Report on a Scientific Mission in Russian Armenia and Turkish Armenia (1911). He also compiled catalogs of Armenian manuscripts found in the libraries he had visited, including a catalog of Armenian manuscripts preserved at the National Library of France (1908). He translated the first part—whose author is actually unknown—of the History of Heraclius by Sebeos, an author of the seventh century (1905), and the Universal History of Stepanos Taronatsi (Asoghik), a historian of the tenth century (1917). He translated and compiled collections of Armenian modern literature (1905), popular tales (1915 and 1928), mythological accounts (1929), and a chrestomathy of modern language.

Macler retired from his chair in 1937 and was succeeded by Georges Dumezil, the famous Indo-Europeanist. Macler passed away on July 12, 1938, in Montbeliard (Doubs).

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
How not to Write Armenian Surnames

We all know about the feast of Hampartzoum ( Համբարձում  “Ascension”), which commemorates the Ascension of the Lord, and its folkloric component of fortune-telling for the young girls. Hampartzoum is also a proper name, and, like many proper names in Armenian, it has also generated the surname Hampartzoumian .

Probably we also remember the name of Victor Hampartzoumian ( Վիկտոր Համբարձումեան ), the eminent Soviet Armenian astrophysicist (1908-1996), who was also a world-known name in his field and the president of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia for many years. As a matter of fact, English readers may have seen his name written as Ambartsoumian, for the simple reason that Hampartzoumian was an Eastern Armenian and the letter բ sounds p in Western Armenian, but b in Eastern Armenian. Therefore, an Eastern Armenian named Համբարձում would write his name as Hambartzoum .
Where did the h go?, you will ask.

It disappeared in the passage from Armenian to English, courtesy of the language that served as middleman in those years: Russian. The fact is that the Russian language does not have the sound h, and whenever it comes across a foreign name with that sound, either eliminates it or replaces it with the closer sound possible, g . For instance, when a well-known poet of mid-twentieth century Soviet Armenian literature, Hrachia Hovhannisian (1919-1997), had his name translated into Russian and then into a language with Latin script (say, English or Spanish), the name became Rachia Oganesian.
The same happened with Victor Ambartsoumian, whose last name, transliterated from Russian, lost the h on its way.

However, nobody who translated into Armenian an article containing the names Ambartsoumian or Rachia Oganesian would render them as Ամբարձումեան or Րաչեայ Օկանէսեան , because that would have gone against the most elementary rules of the Armenian language . [1] If you knew the actual spelling of the name, you would use that and not an artificial spelling derived from an imperfect transliteration into a foreign language.
Unfortunately, nowadays we find people who legitimately write their last name in English as Ambartsoumian or Oganesian, because this is how it is written. However, they insist that their Armenian spelling should be Ամբարձումեան or Օկանէսեան , showing nothing but total lack of knowledge about the language they supposedly know.

Your name is your history. History is not written in only one language and one script.
[1] Incidentally, while the name Ohannes ( Օհաննէս ) is a dialectal variant of Hovhannes ( Յովհաննէս ), it is not the same case for the name Ovannes, which is nothing but the distortion of Hovhannes in a French passport. Both the name Ovannes and the surname Ovannesian, like Hovhannes and Hovhannesian, should be written Յովհաննէս and Յովհաննէսեան. 
Note from editor: Have something to say that you would like to share? Send to Crossroads@armenianprelacy.org .

( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
July 13 —“Hye Summer Night Dinner-Dance,” presented by Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Warwick, Rhode Island, 6 pm to 12:30 pm $60; dance only 8 pm to 12:30 pm, $35. Contact Joyce Bagdasarian, 401-434-4467.

August 4 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Picnic, under auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, at Camp Haiastan, Franklin, Massachusetts, 12 noon. Blessing of the Grapes and Madagh at 3:30 pm. All New England churches and communities are invited to attend. Rain or shine. For information: Church office (401) 831-6399.

August 11 —St. Stephen’s Armenian Church (Watertown, MA) welcomes all to its annual picnic at Camp Haiastan. Under the auspices of H.E. Archbishop Anoushavan. Blessing of the Grapes and Madagh at 3 pm. Rain or shine. For information: (617) 924-7562.

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

October 12 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, NJ continues celebration of 60 th anniversary with Elie Berberian and his band. Information: 201-943-2950.

October 19 —Armenian Friends of America Annual Hye Kef 5 Dance, featuring The Vosbikians, at Double Tree by Hilton, Andover, MA. For information: Sharke’ Der Apkarian at 978-808-0598; John Arzigian at 603-560-3826.

November 17 —The Eastern Prelacy's Thanksgiving Banquet at Terrace on the Park. Details to follow.
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