July 18, 2019
Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian was the guest chaplain and offered the opening prayer at the United States House of Representatives on Monday July 15, 2019. The prayer was broadcast live on C-SPAN and HouseLive.gov. His Eminence was invited to be the guest chaplain by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA 14 th District). Watch a video here.
The Prelate offered the following prayer:

“Heavenly Father, Your children gathered here in this sanctuary of democracy and freedom, thank Thee for Your Providential care of visible and invisible blessings. Lead this august Assembly in Your Spirit to accomplish the mission vested upon her. Grant Your wisdom and love upon the members of this Assembly to follow Thy will, and fulfill their awesome responsibility toward the land of the free and the world at large. May justice and peace be forthcoming from their decisions, as well as prosperity and joy to prevail among Mankind. Let this and every day be marked as a “masterpiece” in the lives of all those who serve the people for Your glory, so that they may be worthy of hearing Your calling. “Come you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Amen. (Matthew 25:34)

Archbishop Anoushavan, Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian and Mrs. Susan Chitjian Erickson, Secretary of the Eastern Prelacy's Executive Council, with IDC and ANCA representatives in the office of Congresswoman Jackie Speier prior to the prayer.

On the steps of the Capitol with ANCA summer interns.

Also on Monday, July 15, by the invitation of “In Defense of Christians,” Archbishop Anoushavan joined with Christian leaders from the Middle East and American faith leaders at the Capitol for a nonpartisan prayer service for Christians in the Middle East who continue to suffer “persecution and prejudice.” Also participating in the service were His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy and Very Rev. Father Sahag Yemishian, Vicar of the Eastern Prelacy. The service described as, “The Early Christian Church: An Ecumenical Prayer in the Languages of the Middle East,” featured prayers in Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Coptic, and Greek.

In Defense of Christians (IDC) was founded in 2014 to advocate the fact that Christianity is endangered in the Middle East and that the survival of historic Christian communities is imperative and in the interests of all nations and peoples. The goal of IDC is the unity of Christians across the Middle East as well as unity among U.S. Christians in defense of their Middle Eastern co-religionists.

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia, has verbally stated and written many times that Christians are not newcomers or outsiders to the region, nor should they be considered second class citizens, as their history is deeply rooted in the Middle East.

Archbishop Anoushavan together with His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy, Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar of the Eastern Prelacy, Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian, pastor of Soorp Khatch Armenian Church of Bethesda, MD, members of the Eastern Prelacy’s Executive Council, members of the ANCA, and the Leo Sarkisian Summer Interns in the Capitol building in Washington D.C.

On Monday, July 15, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, paid a visit to the Armenian embassy in Washington D.C. together with Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy; Dr. Dertad Mangigian, member of the Central Executive Council of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, and Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian, pastor of the Sourp Khatch Church of Bethesda, Maryland. They met Mr. Ararat Mirzoyan, Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia, and Mr. Varuzhan Nersesyan, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in the United States.

The visitors expressed their condolences on the untimely passing of Ambassador Arman Kirakossian, former diplomatic representative of Armenia in the U.S.

On July 15, the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations, in the framework of Armenia’s Chairmanship of the Eurasian Economic Union, hosted a side-event entitled “Investing into Climate Smart Economies: Energy Efficiency for Sustainable Development Goals” at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The event, which featured H.E. Mr. Tigran Avinyan, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia, as keynote speaker, was organized on the margins of the High-level Political Forum on sustainable Development, being held in New York. Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Executive Director of the Eastern Prelacy, attended the event.

The panel discussion was chaired by the Permanent Representative of Armenia to the UN Mher Margaryan. The panelists included representatives from the UNDP, Eurasian Economic Commission, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

Mr. Tigran Avinyan in his statement reflected on global and regional trends in energy sector, emphasizing that Armenia has gained considerable practical experience in improving energy efficiency, by developing new technologies, as well as by initiating new national programs. The Permanent Representative of Armenia in his remarks mentioned the steps undertaken by Armenia aimed at ensuring compatibility and coherence of the national priorities of Armenia with Energy Efficiency.
His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan received special guests from government agencies of the Republic of Armenia yesterday morning at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. The visiting guests included Tigran Avinyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, who was accompanied by Mr. Mher Margaryan, Permanent Representative of Armenia at the United Nations; Mr. Varak Siserian, chief of staff; Mr. Stepan Margaryan, chief of the Armenian National Innovation SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Lab; and Ms. Zarouhi Matevosyan, adviser to the deputy prime minister. The guests met with the Prelate at the Cathedral. Joining His Eminence in welcoming the guests were: Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral; Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, NY; Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Executive Director of the Prelacy; Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, vice-chairman of the Cathedral’s Board of Trustees; and other board members. After a brief visit and a prayer at the Cathedral, the visitors were served breakfast in John Pashalian Hall. Archbishop Anoushavan welcomed the visitors and made the introductions, referring to the role of the Church in support of Armenia and the Armenian people. Deputy Prime Minister Avinyan introduced the delegation and spoke about the importance of enhancing the relations between Armenia and the Diaspora. He later answered various questions that prompted an interesting exchange of comments.
St. Gregory of Datev Institute held its 33rd annual Summer Christian studies Program for youth ages 13-18 at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvanian, from June 30 to July 7, 2019, with the participation of 40 students from 12 parishes. Here are impressions from some of the students about the program:

Going to Datev has changed my life and has made me want to open my heart to God. The classes are very inspirational, and learning about virtues and vices makes you realize what kind of vices or virtues you have and what kind of person you are.
— Garo Minassian (fourth year student)

The classes were interesting and had great topics. The priests let us ask many questions that they answered. The activities involved everyone and were fun.
— Anna Tekeyan (third year student)

Datev was a nice experience. I learned a lot of new stuff that I haven’t learned in Sunday School. I met Armenian Christians from all over the country. But most importantly, this week has strengthened my faith.
— Mary Ashbahian (second year student)

Datev has changed my life for the better. For the past two years, I have learned a lot about Christianity and the Armenian apostolic Church. Also, I have made many friends and have met priests from different parts of the country. Datev has made a great impact on my life and I can’t wait for next year!
— Micheal Simmonian (second year student)

Datev has the perfect balance of classes, prayer, free time and other activities. I am so glad I decided to attend Datev this year and I hope to be back next year.
— Arpi Donoyan (first year student)

Datev was a good place to make friends and learn more about the Christian values.
— Antranig Tatarian (first year student)

For more Datev impressions click here .

Bible readings for Sunday, July 21, Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, (Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration), are: Isaiah 3:1-11; Romans 11:13-24; Matthew 14:13-21.

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry in order to make my own people jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree, do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in. That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And even those of Israel, if they do not persist in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree. (Romans 11:13-24)


Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21)

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

On Saturday (July 20) the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Twelve Apostles of Christ and Saint Paul, who is considered to be the “thirteenth apostle.”

Jesus selected twelve apostles to carry on His work and instructed them to preach and to baptize converts all over the world (Mt. 28:19-20). He gave the title “apostle” to the twelve (Luke 6:13; Mark 3:14). The word apostle derives from the Greek word apostellein ( arakyal in Armenian). The apostles dedicated their lives to spreading the Word and fulfilling the sacred mission entrusted to them. Their mission was not just to transmit the message but to put it into practice.

Paul was initially an enemy of Christians and persecuted them. He had a vision on the road to Damascus and became a fervent Christian convert and was subsequently responsible in large measure for the rapid spread of the new religion. Most of the New Testament (aside from the four Gospels) is from the writings of Paul.

The Armenian Church has its roots in the apostolic ministry and succession (Thaddeus and Bartholomew) and is therefore known as “apostolic,” ( arakelagan ). The apostles and immediate successors (including the Armenian Church) defended the Orthodox faith and kept it pure.

“You received your sight, you saw the unspeakable paradise and the third heaven, you contemplated the higher things, interpreter of profound mysteries, thirteenth holy Apostle Paul, father of all, intercede for us before the Lord.”
From the Sharagan (hymn) of the Twelve Apostles

Today the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Elisha the Prophet, whose life and works are recorded in 1 and 2 Kings. Elisha (“God is Salvation”) was a disciple of the Prophet Elijah, who at God’s command anointed Elisha, a simple farmer, to be his successor much like Jesus later did in calling his disciples in Galilee. Elisha performs miracles, healing the sick and reviving the dead, a harbinger of the Gospel miracles. His message to his followers was that they should return to traditional religious practices and acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all aspects of life. When he healed the sick it was to demonstrate God’s power over life and death: when he helped in battle, it was to demonstrate God’s power over nations.

This Sunday, the sixth Sunday after Pentecost, is the Paregentan of the Fast of the Transfiguration—the five-day (Monday to Friday) period of fasting prior to the Feast of the Transfiguration ( Aylagerboutyan / Vartavar ) that we will celebrate next Sunday, July 28.
Death of Armen Armenian (July 20, 1965)

There was a constellation of names in the history of the Armenian theater at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth, and Armen Armenian was one of the stars of that constellation.

Armen Ipekian, his actual name, was the elder brother of Kaspar Ipekian (1883-1952), who would also become an important figure of Armenian theater and public life in the Diaspora. He was born in Constantinople, where he received his education, on September 10, 1871. He apparently jumped from one school to the other: from the Armenian elementary school in the neighborhood of Pera (Beyoglu) he went to a German school in the same area, then became a boarding student of the Mekhitarist Congregation in Kadikeuy, a student of the school of Ortakeuy, and finally, he graduated from the newly open Central (Getronagan) School.

Newly graduated, he was mesmerized by the great actor Bedros Atamian in 1889-1890, and deeply impacted by his death in 1891. He had to fight against the wishes of his family, which opposed to his theatrical interests, and finally had their consent to perform on the condition of never using the family name. This is how Armen Armenian was born. His first role was in Alexandre Dumas’ “The Dame of the Camellias.”

His father wanted him to become a merchant, and sent him to Hamburg, in Germany, in 1894. While taking care of family business, he also watched Eleonora Duse and later, during a trip to Brussels, Sarah Bernhardt’s play. He got in touch with the “divine Sarah” and asked for her assistance. Later, he moved to Paris and entered Sarah Bernhardt theater, where he performed silent roles and became the assistant to the technical director, while following the art of Bernhardt, Mounet-Sully and his younger brother Paul Mounet, and others. He learned theatrical speech and the art of classical tragedy and comedy at Paul Mounet’s private studio in 1895-1897. He later performed at the Bouffes du Nord theater and at the Comedie Francaise.

In 1902 he was invited to Tiflis, where he performed and directed French plays, and then went to Baku as director and actor of the local Armenian theater group. In 1904 he moved to Nor Nakhichevan and formed a theater group, with which he toured the Armenian communities of Northern Caucasus and Russia

By 1908 Armenian had become a well-known director and actor, and joined forces with another recognized colleague, Hovhannes Abelian, to form the “Abelian-Armenian” theater group, which was particularly successful during its five-year run, with Abelian as the spirit of the group and Armenian as the director, with lengthy presentations in the Ottoman Empire, the Caucasus, and Russia. Armenian, who was the first director to stage Levon Shant’s famous play, “Ancient Gods,”   was also an accomplished actor in the roles of Yago and Shylock (Shakespeare’s “Othello” and “The Merchant of Venice”), Franz (Friedrich Schiller’s “The Brigands”), Harpagon (Moliere’s “The Imaginary Invalid”), and others.

Armenian continued his theatrical activities in the Caucasus from 1914-1917, and went to Iran from 1917-1921. He returned to the Soviet Union in 1921, and worked in the Northern Caucasus, Baku, Tiflis, Alexandropol (nowadays Gyumri), and other places. He was the director of theaters in Alexandropol and Sukhumi, on the Black Sea shore. From 1935 he worked at the State Theater of Leninakan (Gyumri’s name from 1924-1991), and received the title of Popular Artist of Soviet Armenia in the same year. He staged a total of more than 100 plays in his life, and played about 150 roles. In 1954 he published his memoirs, entitled  Sixty Years on the Armenian Stage.

Armen Armenian passed away at the age of ninety-three, on July 20, 1965, in Leninakan.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
Students and counselors at the 5 th annual Bible Camp at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence, Rhode Island.
“To Mars and Beyond (Explore where God’s Power can take you!) is this year’s theme for Sts. Vartanantz Church’s Fifth Annual Summer Bible Camp. Once again the Church in Providence, Rhode Island is filled with the joyous sounds of campers. About forty campers are enjoying many wonderful lessons and activities as they make new friends and spend time with friends from previous years. More than 20 counselors are guiding the children in exploring this year’s theme through a combination of Bible time, arts and crafts, music and singing, and various activities. So far, the campers have enjoyed a special visit from the Moo-Mobile Ice Cream Truck, along with an educational and awe-inspiring presentation linking science and scripture by Dr. Robert Nazarian. The conclusion of the week’s activities will be a Hantes/Presentation for family and friends to see what the children have learned and enjoyed.
Archbishop Anoushavan visited the Summer Camp of St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York, yesterday and happily noted that the camp has reached a milestone of 14 years and grown to a record high of 137 enthusiastic campers, 20 dedicated counselors-in-training, plus 25 experienced staff members.

Campers and staff participated in church time and learned more about their faith. The theme of religious education this summer is the Ten Commandments, presented by Der Nareg, pastor of St. Sarkis. Each day begins with a healthy breakfast, followed by a hearty lunch at noon, and snack before dismissal.

There has been no shortage of fun. So far, the campers made a kindness rock garden, had a great time in arts and crafts, improvised during drama class, were fascinated by the Mad Science Show, enjoyed a Magic and Bubble Show, discovered live animals, played a variety of outdoor sports, learned relaxing yoga moves, danced to a variety of songs, had fun in the rolling video truck, learned how to make cookies and enjoyed an afternoon discovering sea creatures on a field trip to The Waterfront Center in Oyster Bay, New York.
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 17-year-old Nana to her sponsor Alice Proodian-Topalian from Pompano Beach, Florida. In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.

Dear Ms. Alice,

This is Nana again. . . I had a really big event in my life: my classmates and I graduated from high school. It was a happy and touching moment in my life. On one hand, it seems that I achieved a lot and worked hard to graduate from high school, but on the other hand I realize that those 12 years of my life are gone as well as my childhood, and there is a hard and demanding road ahead towards my goals and finding my place in life.
As of June 4 the statewide exams to score for colleges in Armenia have started. I participated in the geography exam and passed it with a very good score of 19. Later on, I will also take the English exam.

Besides those statewide exams, I will also have final exams in school for Armenian language and history. I applied to the State University to the faculty of Hospitality Management. I will do everything I can to pass the rest of my exams with good scores, because my only plan right now is to do my best to achieve my goals in life.

That’s about what is new in my life. My enormous gratitude to you for your support.

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.
For those of us old enough to remember the moon landing fifty years ago, the memory is so fresh, it could have been yesterday. It was a different world, and in many ways a very turbulent era. Yet, on this occasion we witnessed a united nation of Americans of every color and nationality praying for the safe landing and return of the Apollo 11 mission. The launch of the mission from Cape Canaveral was on July 16, 1969; the lunar landing happened at 4:17 pm (EDT) on July 20, 1969. In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy had told a skeptical nation about his goal to land an astronaut on the moon and return him safely to earth “before the end of the decade.” Sadly the President did not live to see the veracity of his prediction, nor hear the words “The Eagle has landed,” when the lunar capsule landed safely on the moon. The nation, if not the entire world, was glued to television (mostly black and white) and radio witnessing that which a short time earlier was considered to be “science fiction.” Fifty years have gone by and so have many other events, some much more important, but none that can surpass the nation’s unified joyful and thankful reaction to the moon landing. Ask anyone who lived during that time and I assure you they can tell you exactly where they were and how they learned about the landing. I was in a car listening to the radio with my husband, four-year-old son, and mother-in-law, returning to the city from the Catskill Mountains. It is one of the most vivid memories of my life. (IAP)

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 )
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.

August 11 —Annual picnic of Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Worcester, Massachusetts. Blessing of Grapes at 1 pm with Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian presiding

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.

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.
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