July 19, 2018
St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York
Archbishop Oshagan visited the summer camp at St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York, now in its 13th year and growing in attendance each year.
More than 100 campers attended this year’s summer camp that was filled with activities.
Summer Camp in Dzaghgatzor, Armenia
Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian welcomes campers in Dzaghgatzor, Armenia. Now in its 9 th year, more than 70 children in the Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship Program are currently attending.
The happy campers arrive at the camp site in Armenia.

Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence Rhode Island
Summer Bible Camp concluded in Providence, Rhode Island, with a hantes.

Activities included a fun-filled and educational trip to Mystic Seaport.

Getting ready to go on a field trip.

Hayr Zareh delivering the sermon last Sunday at Sts. Vartanantz Church in New Jersey.
This week we bid a fond farewell and Godspeed to Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian, who for the past several years has been advancing his studies in the United States while also serving the Eastern Prelacy. Last Sunday Hayr Sourp celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the Sermon at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz and Yeretzgin Ani presented Hayr Zareh with a Verargou (robe) made especially for him as a memento. Following the Badarak a fellowship reception was hosted by Dr. Vahan and Mrs. Maggie Kouyoumdjian in the parish’s large hall.

Very Rev. Fr. Zareh was ordained a celibate priest in 2012. After graduating from the Cilician Seminary he continued his education at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey in Switzerland. Soon after, he came to the United States to attend graduate school at the Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, Massachusetts. He graduated with a Masters of Theology (Th.M.) last year.

From 2015 to July 2017 he served as visiting clergy to Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Church in Troy, New York, while also assisting the Prelacy’s Christian education department.

Hayr Soorp is returning to Antelias, Lebanon, where he will assume new responsibilities at the Catholicosate of Cilicia. We wish Hayr Sourp success in all of his endeavors.
Hayr Zareh with Rev. Fr. Hovnan, deacons, altar servers, and choir members at Sts. Vartanantz Church.
Hayr Zareh with Der Hovnan and members of the Board of Trustees of Sts. Vartanantz Church.

St. Gregory of Datev Institute is a Christian educational program for youth ages 13-18, sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), with three-pronged objectives: Christian education, prayer/worship, and sports and recreational activities. Maintaining a proper balance of these three components is what makes Datev a unique program for our youth. Here are impressions from some of the participants this year:
This was my first year at the Datev. I was very surprised that it was different from other camps/retreats. It’s unique. The classes are intriguing and it is good that we have time to socialize as well as time to worship. I’m glad I made new friends, and I can’t wait for next summer!

(Maral Zobian, 1st year student)
Coming to Datev gives you a chance to have fun, make new friends and learn about God, the Bible, the Armenian Church and about Armenian History. I would definitely recommend coming to Datev.

(Taleen Lakissian, 2 nd year student)
I absolutely love coming to the Datev institute. I have the unique opportunity to learn much about the church… In addition, coming to Datev gives me the chance to meet Armenian kids my age and to make friendships that will last lifetime!

(Margaret Jemian, 4th year student)
Throughout the first few days here, I have learned that Datev is very unique/different compared to other summer camps. It does a very good job maintaining fellowship and religion. At Datev you make lifelong friendships and learn much about worship.

(Anahit Indzigulyan, 1st year student)
When you come to Datev, you learn about God and the Armenian Church, have lots of fun, and make few friends. In my opinion, these are things you can’t get anywhere else, but only here at Datev. Overall, Datev is exhaustingly fun! #Datev2018.

(Arsen Lunningham, 2nd year student)
Datev is a unique camp in which Armenian teens get together in fellowship and worship amongst many knowledgeable priests and advisors. Although waking up early may be tough, the experience is truly worth it. I look forward to graduating this year and coming back for some post-grad years as well.

(Nyrie Ovanessian, 4th year student)
Every year I come, I learn more about my faith and strengthen my relationship with God. Through prayer and fellowship, I leave Datev every year stronger and happier. I am so thankful for the opportunity to come every year and I would definitely recommend it for others.

(Meline Momjian, 4th year student)

Bible readings for Sunday, July 22, Third Sunday of Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, are Isaiah 5:1-10; 1 Corinthians 6:15-7:11; Matthew 19:3-12.

Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” He said to them, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.”

His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” (Matthew 19:3-12)


Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh.” But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is well for a man not to touch a woman.” But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. This I say by way of concession, not of command. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind.

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.

To the married I give this command—not I but the Lord—that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 6:15-7:11)

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

This Saturday, July 21, the Armenian Church commemorates the sons and grandsons of St. Gregory the Illuminator, namely, Sts. Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris, and Daniel (who was not related, but was a distinguished and favorite student of St. Gregory). All of them continued the work of St. Gregory, preaching the word of Christ to pagans at great personal peril.

Gregory had two sons, Aristakes and Vrtanes. Aristakes, the younger son, succeeded Gregory as Catholicos and was martyred around 333 AD. Aristakes represented the Armenian Church at the first ecumenical council at Nicaea in 325. It was at this council that the Nicene Creed, recited to this day during the Divine Liturgy, was written and adopted. Vrtanes, at this time over 70 years old, was called upon to become catholicos and served for eight years until his death. Vrtanes had two sons, Grigoris and Housig. Grigoris preached in the northern provinces of Armenia (present day Georgia) where he was martyred in 347. Daniel, who as noted above was not related to Gregory, is included with the sons and grandsons. He was chosen to succeed Housig as catholicos, but never actually served as he too was martyred one year later in 348.

                Saint Aristakes, through you the confession of divine faith of the holy fathers spread light through all Armenia; always intercede for our souls.
           Chosen watchful shepherd of Christ’s reasonable flock, good offshoot from the father and illuminator, master Vertanes, always intercede for our souls.
           Praised among witnesses, equal to your great father, you courageously crushed the depiction of the lawless, lord Saint Housik, always intercede for our souls.
           According to your pure virginity numbered with the bodiless, true high priest, witness of Christ, Saint Gregory, always intercede for our souls.
           By asceticism you were on earth equal to the celestials; for the Lord’s name you accepted death and denounced the king, Saint Daniel; always intercede for our souls.

(Canon to the Sons and Grandsons of St. Gregory the Illuminator from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Apostolic Church)
Also commemorated this week:

Thursday, July 19 : The Holy Forefathers: Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Enoch. Noah, Melhizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Eleazar, Joshua, Samuel, Samson, Jephthah, Barak, Gidon.

Monday, July 23 : The Holy Maccabees, Eleazar the priest, Samona and her seven sons.

Tuesday, July 24 : The Twelve Holy Prophets: Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Jonah, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

Death of Zabel Asadour
(July 19, 1934)
Zabel Asadour, also known by the pen name Sibil, was one of the few Armenian public women who reached recognition in her lifetime as a writer, but more importantly, as an educator and spokesperson for women.

She was born Zabel Khanjian on October 8, 1863 in Scutari, an Armenian-populated district of Constantinople. She received her education at the Armenian schools of the area and graduated from the Scutari Lyceum in 1879. Together with her eight classmates and with the guidance of her mother and aunt, she was among the founders of the Nation-Devoted Armenian Women Society ( Azkanuver Hayoohyats Unkerootyoon ), an organization that supported the construction, maintenance, and operation of a network for schools for Armenian girls in the Ottoman provinces. In the second session of the Society, young Zabel showed her maturity, when she declared: “Let’s work to avoid being in debt with the nation and humankind, to make our sisters in the provinces get the light of education, to have the female gender have a place in humankind… Many people say and will say that you cannot succeed, however, which big work has succeeded in its first attempt; if we do not succeed, at least we will have set the foundations and someone else will perfect it…”

In 1882 she married lawyer Garabed Donelian, with whom she had a daughter. From 1882-1889, they lived in Bilejik, Brusa, and Ankara. Khanjian worked as a teacher and opened schools, while contributing poetry and articles to the Armenian press in Constantinople under the synonyms of Anahid and Sibil, which she would finally adopt. After 1889 she returned to the Ottoman capital. In 1891 she serialized in the newspaper Arevelk her novel The Heart of a Girl, where she espoused her progressive views about the advancement of Armenian women.

Sibil co-edited the Masis journal with writers Krikor Zohrab and Hrant Asadour (1862-1928) from 1892 onward. She also wrote for other periodicals contributing literary works (poems, short stories, plays) and essays on women issues, education, and literature. In 1894 the Women Society was shut down by the Ottoman government, and it would only reopen in 1908, after the Young Turk revolution and the restoration of the Ottoman Constitution. Meanwhile, in the 1890s Zabel Donelian and Hrant Asadour had started a romantic liaison that would find its culmination after the death of Garabed Donelian in 1901 and their marriage in the same year. Sibil would have a daughter from her second marriage. In 1902 she collected her romantic poems in a volume entitled Reflections. She was also an accomplished translator of French poetry.

For the next decades, she continued her educational work as a teacher in the Esayan and Getronagan schools, as well as the Hamazkyats School and local British and French schools. Among her students were famed art historian Sirarpie Der Nersessian, journalist and feminist writer Haiganush Mark, actor Vahram Papazian, and many other important names of Armenian culture.

Together with her husband, an expert of the Armenian language, she wrote grammar and language readers that went through many reprints and remained in use in Armenian schools for many decades. In her twilight years, she collected her short stories in a volume, Souls of Women, published in 1926. Her seventieth birthday was marked with great pomp in Istanbul, Cairo, Alexandria, Paris and Plovdiv (Bulgaria) in 1933.

Zabel Asadour passed away on July 19, 1934, in Istanbul, and was buried at the Armenian cemetery of Shishli. 
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s website ( www.armenianprelacy.org ).

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Armenian Prelacy
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Rev. Fr. Bedros Shetilian, pastor of St. Gregory Church, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, recently wrote an article entitled “Between American and Armenian Identities.” You can read it here .

SIAMANTO ACADEMY— Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey.
New term begins on September 22, 2018.
For information: anec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810.

July 21 -- St. Illuminator Cathedral's Huyser Music Ensemble presents a first-of-its-kind Broadway caliber Armenian musical, entitled "We Shall Return Soon," at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Tony Bennett Concert Hall, Long Island City, New York, at 7:45 pm. Written and directed by Huyser's artistic director Harout Barsoumian, this musical is dedicated to the centennial of the first Republic of Armenia, seen through the memories of a 105-year-old Genocide survivor. The musical will feature the participation of Tekeyan Cultural Association's Mher Megerdchian Theatrical Group. For updates and more details, visit ​ http://www.huysermusic.org .

August 12 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey, Annual picnic and Blessing of the Grapes, sponsored by Sts. Vartanantz Church and A.R.F. Dro Gomideh. On the church grounds under large tents (in case of rain, head to large hall), 1 pm to 5 pm. Delicious food and desserts; arts and crafts and playground for kids; cards and tavloo.

September 8 —Special session of the Eastern Prelacy’s National Representative Assembly for election of Prelate, will take place at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 East 27 th Street, New York City. Meeting will begin at 1 pm sharp.

September 21, 2018 to January 13, 2019 —“Armenia!” a large exhibition dedicated to the medieval period of Armenian history and culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. The exhibit is the first at the Met dedicated solely to Armenia. Curated by Dr. Helen C. Evans.

October 20 —Armenian Friends America, Inc., Sixth Annual HYE KEF 5, featuring Onnik Dinkjian, John Berberian, Ara Dinkjian, Mal Barsamian, and Jason Naroian. Double Tree Hotel, Andover, Massachusetts. For information: www.ArmenianFriendsofAmerica.org .

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