July 2, 2020
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ARCHBISHOP ANOUSHAVAN IN NEW JERSEY
On Sunday, July 5, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, will preside over the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar General and Pastor, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Our faithful may follow the ceremony via live streaming.

THE HOLY SEE MARKS THE 25 ANNIVERSARY OF
H.H. ARAM I’S ENTHRONEMENT
With a Pontifical Thanksgiving Prayer and a reception at the Catholicos’ Residence, the Holy See of Cilicia on Sunday, June 28 marked the 25 th anniversary of Catholicos Aram I’s election and anointment. The events initially planned to celebrate the occasion were rescheduled or canceled due to the Covid-19 emergency.

In a message following the Divine Liturgy at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, His Holiness summed up in three words the mission the Catholicosate has served in the last quarter of the century: church-building; nation-building, and homeland-building.

Bishop Meghrig Parikian, the celebrant, chose as the theme of his homily John 21. In this chapter, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loved him. “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you,” Peter responds, following which Jesus commissions Peter to tend his flock and the Apostle asks our Saviour for guidance.

Inspired by this passage of the Gospel, Bishop Meghrig said all the holy fathers of the universal Christian church, starting with St. Gregory the Illuminator, had followed on Peter’s footsteps. “Sometimes that road has led us to the Golgotha; sometimes, to the mount of resurrection; sometimes, it has been a painful road and sometimes, joyous, yet the pilgrim fathers walked the road together, and Catholicos Aram I is among them. The Holy See of Cilicia entered “into the threshold of a new mission” with the election of Aram.

Bishop Meghrig wrapped up a review of Aram’s biography by saying that in the last 25 years he had led the people to a God-centered life in the service of values, nation-building and the dignification of the person, fulfilling many projects to attain these goals.

Following the Divine Liturgy, in a gathering of the Holy See clerics and the Executive Central Council at the Veharan, Fr. Bedros Manuelian, Pontifical Vicar of the Armenian Prelacy of Kuwait, congratulated His Holiness on behalf of the Catholicosate’s Brotherhood, remarking that Aram’s 25 years of pontificate had been the longest since the Great House of Cilicia had been displaced from its rightful See in Sis in 1921.

The community had not been invited to the celebration in observance of the health emergency restrictions.

Following the performance of the Armash Choir of the Seminary of the Holy See, Catholicos Aram I expressed his gratitude to Bishop Meghrig and Father Bedros, who conveyed to His Holiness the good wishes of the church and the community.

His Holiness said that 25 years ago he vowed to be faithful to the scriptural values, to the spiritual teachings and tenets of the church, to serve God, the people and the church. “Let the sons and daughters of our nation judge what has been accomplished in the last quarter of the century as true service is always radiant,” he said, adding that any assessment of the pontificate implies examining the service and not the enthronement, as the churchman’s way of life, his quality, values and goals are only the service, regardless of hierarchies.

He said man is fallible while sainthood is “a God-given vocation.” What matters, he said, was “being faithful to our God-given vocation, mission, and service.”

His Holiness finished his message thanking God for the life and wisdom granted to him and he renewed his vows to continue on this path with the same devotion. “May God grant us strength to fortify our will even more in these difficult days, so we may strengthen our faith even more, so we as a church give spiritual hope to our people, become a guiding light for our people in the name of God.”

The reception at the Catholicos’ Residence was followed by a lunch service in the refectory of the Catholicosate, at the end of which Aram I gave a speech to the clerics, inviting them to contemplate the mission of the Holy See for the last 25 years through the prism of character, loyalty and service.
MR. AND MRS. ALECCO AND ANNIE BEZIKIAN MAKE NEW DONATION IN SUPPORT OF ARMENIAN FAMILIES IN NEED
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the election and enthronement of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, Mr. and Mrs. Alecco and Ani Bezikian, in consultation with His Holiness have decided to make a donation of $1 million to be used as aid for Armenian needy families in Lebanon. Over the last two months, Mr. and Mrs. Bezikian have given 350 million Lebanese pounds to help struggling households in our community as Lebanon goes through a severe social and economic crisis.

The project will be executed over five months, benefitting 3,000 families, with assistance including groceries and food.

Mr. and Mrs. Alecco and Ani Bezikian are loyal and selfless friends of the Holy See of Cilicia, with generous giving including to the Antelias Monastery and Seminary, the Surp Asdvadzadzin Monastery of Bikfaya, the Birds’ Nest orphanage of Jbeil, the Armenian Cause, and different projects of the Lebanese Armenian community and in Armenia.

SAHAG AND MESROB: THE HOLY TRANSLATORS
The Armenian Church and the Armenian language have helped Armenians defeat existential threats. 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 2, 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: as the leaders of the cultural movement, on the Thursday following the fourth Sunday after Pentecost, which is today, and on the second Saturday in October along all the translators. 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.

FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE PENTECOST
THE PRELATE’S HOMILY
On Sunday, June 28, Archbishop Anoushavan presided over the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church in Providence, Rhode Island. Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian, Pastor, was the celebrant. You can read the Prelate’s sermon below:
Today according to the Armenian Church calendar is the fourth Sunday after the Pentecost. Our Gospel reading is from St. Matthew 12:38-42, a very significant chapter, where Christ refers to His prototypes in the Old Testament and predicts his Salvific Burial and Resurrection. Following a miracle and a short instruction, some of the Scribes and Pharisees, the law makers of Mosaic Law, request a sign from Jesus, a miracle. Jesus answers them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth”. What a harsh response and statement. Nevertheless it reflects the ongoing underground war to challenge the authority of Jesus and to trap Him by His own words, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, it provides the rebuke of that devious approach. 

We are not sure whether this conversation took place following the healing of the blind and mute person and the short instruction recorded in Mt 12:22-37. The link between these two passages being “then” assumes a time interval. Nevertheless, on different occasions the challengers surely had witnessed signs performed by Jesus.

This brief scene taken from the earthly life of our Lord teaches us so many things, yet I would like to concentrate on the following four aspects.
a. God as the source of Good created everything good, as we read in the Book of Genesis, “God saw that the light was good” (Gen 1:4). The same happened with the creation of all the other elements. However, there is a mystery: Why, how, when did the creature challenge the Creator? We are taught that our fore-parents were deceived by the Evil One, practiced their free will by a wrong choice of disobedience, and disrupted the harmony of a most unique relationship between the Creator and this rational being. No doubt that when we come face to face with our Heavenly Father (1 Cor 13:12) the mystery will be unveiled. Until then, history teaches us that God’s Will always has generated Good, while its denial by humans has always been destructive. Therefore, regardless of what our fore-parents did or what others do, each and every person endowed with free will is accountable for their thoughts, words, deeds and behavior, as instructed by our Lord in the preceding sentence of this passage (Mt 12:36-37).
b. In the Gospel according to Matthew, there are at least 12 general and specific references to miracles since Jesus officially started His ministry (Mt 4:23-24; 8:13; 8:14; 8:26; 8:32; 9:6; 9:22; 9:25; 9:29; 9:33; 10:13; 10:22). After witnessing all these and more extraordinary healings, when the Pharisees still asked for a sign-miracle, already they invited the Divine judgment upon themselves. In the very word of God addressed to Moses, such persons are described as “stiff-necked” (Ex 32:9). No matter the bounty there are showered with, they murmur and complain; no matter what they see they are ready to confront and deny. Intellectual and spiritual blindness is worse than physical blindness. Therefore, let us take advantage of our total health established on the Cross and make the outcome of each and every action of ours to be good.
c. Jesus, the Good teacher, as He was addressed by a follower eager to enter the Kingdom of God (Mt 19:16), is always loving, caring, and understanding, but we notice in this passage that He turns out to be very harsh. Was this the result of human weakness or a sign of a double personality? Not at all, Jesus as God and Man is perfect by all means. His wrath expressed also at the cleansing of the Temple (Mt 21:12-13) reveals His essence that as much as God is Love, He is also Righteous. All those who believe that no matter what they do they will inherit the Kingdom of God because God is Love, somehow delude themselves with a gospel which as St. Paul says is not transmitted by the Apostles (2 Cor 11:4). God’s Love and Righteousness are inseparable, and the Scriptures have recorded so many cases where God’s Judgment-Righteousness is revealed. God is love, there is no doubt at all; yet we should take advantage of His love in this time of Mercy while we are alive as St. Paul says (2 Cor 6:2), otherwise we will miss the opportunity forever when God will act upon His righteousness.
d. The reference to the prophet Jonah is quite a delicate issue. Is it a fiction or a fact? Whether we think that it is a fiction, or we believe that it is a fact, there should be an undeniable substance of truth. That is why Jesus directed the attention of His audience and related the episode of Jonah to His own Redemptive Burial and Resurrection. There is a mystical and invisible link between Jonah, Jesus, and us. The message is as follows. Jonah, by distancing himself from God, was destined to death. Because of his sincere repentance, he was granted life and spread the good news for those who were totally deprived. We Christians believe that once we were dead in our sins then we were granted life and abundant life in the Crucifixion, Burial and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Are we faithful to the spirit of our redemption? Are we committed to the mission delivered to us before the Ascension to take the Good News by word and action to all those who have not tasted the Lord? This is what makes Jonah relevant to us: first, to be saved, and then to enlighten others.

Having completed the four points of our reflection, let us all pray together and ask Divine guidance in our daily life. Thank God, we were not imprisoned in a whale’s belly, yet over the last three months we were socially isolated. Today while we are gradually getting on the path of normalization of life, let us be thankful to the Lord and pray that He works through the heroic sacrifice of doctors, nurses and health communities, through public servants who are providing our necessities while we are safely distancing ourselves in our homes, as well as through the community of science who supported by different government agencies are on a mission to discover the cure of this pandemic.    

Let us also pray for our Pontiff His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, whose 25th anniversary we are celebrating this year. May the Almighty Lord keep him in health of body, mind and soul, to carry the heavy burden vested upon him especially in this time of the pandemic and social injustice at large, as well as the crisis in Middle East in general and particularly in Lebanon.

Let us all with hope salute visible and invisible bounties of the Compassionate Lord and praise Him now and forever. Amen.

WE CELEBRATE FREEDOM
Today, July 4 th , the United States of America turns 244.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Saturday, July 4, is a new anniversary of the adoption of the American Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress. The Declaration was written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, as a member of a committee that included John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. The Declaration is considered to be one of the most important documents ever written that continues to influence the thoughts of humankind. Jefferson described the Declaration of Independence as “an appeal to the tribunal of the world.” The principles embodied in the declaration have resounded throughout the world. Reformers, wherever they may be or whatever their cause, have reminded the public that “all men are created equal.” Wherever people have fought against undemocratic regimes, they have argued, using Jefferson’s words, that governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

THE EASTERN PRELACY’S
2020 MEMBERSHIP DUES
EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE IN EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
As we the Prelacy has redoubled its efforts in this trying days of the Covid-19 emergency, so have grown its needs. More than ever in our living memory, we need your support. Please give as generously as you can, “remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)

Please help us keep alive the huge achievements we have attained with our joint efforts. We will emerge stronger with the hand you lend us.
ST. GREGORY OF DATEV INSTITUTE PROGRAM
CONCLUDES TOMORROW
The Eastern Prelacy’s St. Gregory of Datev Institute started its 34th annual Summer Program, for youth ages 13-18, on Monday, June 29, and will end tomorrow, July 3, 2020, with the participation of 55 students from 14 communities, and 12 clergymen, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, the Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America.

Sponsored and organized by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council, the Datev Program is directed by Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar of the Eastern Prelacy and pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church (NJ). Archbishop Anoushavan opened the Program on Monday with prayer and spoke during the general session to our youth about looking at the brighter side of life through our Christian faith.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Institute planned a condensed virtual Datev Program via Zoom, instead of its regular sessions at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania. Each day the program began with a short prayer service followed by two consecutive mini lectures for three different age groups. The classes for all three groups were held concurrently. In all there were 30 mini lectures presented by the following instructors of the Institute this year: Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Very Rev. Fr. Ghevont Pentezian, Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian, Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian, Rev. Fr. Mikael Der Kosrofian, Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian, Rev. Fr. Vahan Kouyoumdjian, and Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian.

It is our hope and prayer that next year the Institute will be able to resume its annual weeklong Summer Program on site at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania.

GROUP A
GROUP B
GROUP C
WE ARE BACK!
Even though we were never gone. But we have just made the leap across the virtual space and returned to our desks. The staff of the Prelacy is happy to be working back at its Manhattan headquarters since Monday, June 29, as restrictions imposed during the health emergency begin to ease. We thank you all for the encouragement we received during this long quarantine as it helped us serve with renewed enthusiasm the community with our ever expanding outreach efforts—everything from the live-streaming to the daily reflections and the remote classes via Zoom—which multiplied the ways through which the Prelacy connects with you. Stay tuned.
BIBLE READINGS
Bible readings for Sunday, July 5, 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.
Romans 9:30-10:4

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.

***

Matthew 13:24-30

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

FEAST OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE BOX OF THEOTOKOS
We can only imagine the joy of finding possessions of the Holy Mother. This Sunday, July 5, 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.
KING DRTAD, QUEEN ASHKHEN, PRINCESS KHOSROVITOUKHT
This Saturday (July 4) 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 commemorated this week:
Monday, July 6: Kallistratos, and the 49 Martyrs and Lucian the Priest
Tuesday, July 7: 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 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 Angelina* who is sponsored by Mrs. Maral Kaprielian and family.
Dear Sponsor,

This is Angelina. I am three years old and I am a very mischievous child. Since I don’t know my letters yet, my dear mother Hasmik is writing in my stead. I love my family very much.

I love athletic activities and singing. My favorite toy is the teddy bear called Pauli. My mischievousness makes my mom angry with me, but I know that she loves me very much. I love to dance, to sing, and to play piano.

I go to kindergarten and I listen to my teachers. I live with my grandpa and grandma. I miss my father a lot.

When I grow up, I want to become a pianist.

Kisses,

Angelina 

Thank you for accepting me into the program.

PLEASE CONSIDER SPONSORSHIP:
The St. Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization’s orphans’ sponsorship program now has two branches:
 
a.      Minors up to the age of 18.
b.     Orphans who upon turning 18 continue their studies at a higher education institution.
 
If you would like to sponsor a child on the waiting list of the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program, please click here for quick and easy online sponsorship. Alternatively, for the sponsorship of both minors and university students you may also contact the Prelacy by email ( sophie@armenianprelacy.org ) or telephone (212-689-7810). 
THE PRELACY RAFFLE IS ON!
DRAWING DATE: SEPTEMBER 12, 2020 
For many decades, the Prelacy has sponsored an annual raffle drawing that benefits its educational and religious programs. The drawing usually takes place in May at the conclusion of the National Representative Assembly. This year, the coronavirus pandemic hit when the raffle was underway, and the National Representative Assembly, to be originally hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Philadelphia, PA, had to be postponed. The new drawing date has been set for September 12, 2020. The top prize is $5,000; second prize is $2,000; and third, fourth, and fifth prizes are $1,000. However, we always like to point out that in this raffle there are no losers, because all of the money raised benefits our Prelacy programs.

Please consider purchasing one or more tickets ($100 each). For information, please contact your local parish or the Prelacy office (email@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810).
FROM OUR SCHOOLS
ANEC: A REVIEW OF THE LAST MONTHS OF THE SCHOOL YEAR
The Covid-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark in the life and work of all of us. Our daily life has changed. What seemed customary yesterday has ceased to exist. It would seem as if overnight we have all been transported to a new world.

In such an emotionally and physically stifling atmosphere, the Armenian National Education Committee of the Eastern Prelacy discussed the educational situation in all the schools under its jurisdiction—both day and one-day schools—in a conference call via Zoom on Friday, June 26. The meeting started following the blessing of Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, who also participated in the call.

ANEC Director Mary Gulumian briefly reviewed the activities carried out since March. She pointed out the virtual classes of the Siamanto Academy over Zoom, adding that soon these sessions will be available to all the schools in the Eastern United States via Zoom.
Then school directors took turns to present the remote learning methodology (Zoom, video, email, etc.) adopted by their institutions during the pandemic, discussing the results and problems encountered by the teaching staff. The reports and explanations made clear the scope of the work carried out during the health emergency, as well as the efforts and imagination invested by the teachers to acquire new skills, attaining self-confidence and readiness in the process.

Participants welcomed with enthusiasm and a lot of questions the announcement by ANEC about a plan to offer specialized training courses to the teaching staff. After overcoming the difficulties created by the coronavirus, Armenian schools are ready to tackle new challenges.
MARY FERMANIAN (1931-2020)
Mary Fermanian, 88, passed peacefully at her home in Cranston, Rhode Island, on Sunday, June 28, 2020. Born and raised in Providence, she earned her education degree from the University of Rhode Island and lived an extremely productive and rewarding life, working as a teacher in the Foster Glocester school system for forty years. Besides, Ms. Fermanian was the director of the Sunday School at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church in Providence for forty years as well.

She was always involved with her church community. Besides directing the active Sunday School, Ms. Fermanian was a faithful church member and heartily supported the efforts of her church for her lifetime. Following membership in her youth, she was also a life-long member and supporter of the Armenian Youth Federation

Ms. Fermanian was the daughter of Stepan Fermanian and Goulbig Bedrosian, survivors of the Armenian Genocide. She was predeceased by her sister, Gladys Fermanian, and her twin sister, Queenie Haboian and her brother-in-law, Harry Haboian.

Her funeral service will be held on Monday, July 6, at 11 am at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church in Providence. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Sts. Vartanantz Church Sunday School, 402 Broadway, Providence 02909.
GRADUATION AT STS. VARTANANTZ SCHOOL
On Sunday, June 28, 2020, Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church Sunday School in Ridgefield, New Jersey, celebrated the graduation of students Nareg Kassardjian, Neena Takvorian, and Anna Tekeyan. In addition to their well-deserved diplomas, they each received a school-class ring to keep as a memento of this achievement.
FROM OUR PARISHES
ANNUAL REQUIEM AT HISTORICAL RHODE ISLAND CEMETERY
On Saturday, June 27, the Men’s Club of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church organized its fifth Requiem Service at the Oakland Cemetery with Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian, Pastor, performing the mass and Deacon Shant Eghian by his side. The ceremony was attended by Cranston Mayor, Allan Fung, and some 30 parish members.

Since 2015, the Men’s Club has devoted hundreds of hours for the maintenance of the Armenian section of this now forgotten cemetery, also known as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Cranston #3, the final resting place of about 300 Armenians. This section, now known as the “Swan Point of South Providence,” is only about 15% of the entire property.
Typically, organizers choose the grave site of a family member present to host this blessing. This year was different. Families and friends gathered in the Armenian section at the small marker of Irene “Baby Beatrice” Loring who passed away at the age of just 15 months on Christmas Eve, in 1925.

Sts. Vartanantz members came across Baby Beatrice’s small grave marker after removing a huge bush while doing maintenance work at the Armenian section of the cemetery, and Der Kapriel felt this would be the proper place to host this year’s ceremony.

Baby Beatrice received a full Christian memorial mass and everyone was touched when Der Kapriel said, “Today this little baby’s parents are smiling down from Heaven knowing her grave site has seen the light of day and received this blessing.” Der Kapriel also blessed the gravesites of attendees’ family members.

During the ceremony, Mayor Fung spoke of his commitment to the Armenian community, especially regarding proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide and his future support wherever that takes him as he will be leaving office this year due to term limits.

 The Men’s Club of Sts. Vartanantz will maintain the property through the fall and is working on compiling a complete list of all Armenians buried at the Oakland Cemetery.
“ARMENIAN-AMERICAN SKETCHES”
BEDROS KELJIK
Author, activist, and entrepreneur Bedros Arakel Keljik (1874–1959) belonged to the founding generation of Armenian-American authors, yet his “sketches” of early immigrant life are only now emerging. In Armenian-American Sketches, he brings to life this period in Armenian-American history. With keen observation, he provides the reader with an often-humorous insight into that life, with its sadness and joy, with the sense of community, and with the hard work and challenges faced by the immigrants.

Edited by Christopher Atamian, Lou Ann Matossian, and Barlow Der Mugrdechian, Armenian-American Sketches includes 29 short stories written originally in Armenian by Bedros Keljik. Twenty of the short stories, published in the original book that appeared in 1944, were translated by Aris Sevag, the prolific late translator, one by Lou Ann Matossian, and eight stories originally published in Baikar, were translated by Vartan Matiossian. The volume also includes an enlightening biography of Keljik, “An Armenian Odyssey: From the Euphrates to the Mississippi,” written by his grandchildren, Mark and Thomas Keljik. Roupen Zartarian’s short story “How Death Came to the Earth,” translated by Bedros Keljik, is also part of the volume.
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore (books@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810)

Death of Karen Jeppe (July 7, 1935)
This year marks the 85th anniversary of the death of Karen Jeppe, the guardian angel of Armenian orphans. Her memory is still alive, especially through the high school that bears her name in Aleppo, which constitutes a tribute to her sacrifice for the love of the Armenian people.
 
Karen Jeppe was born on July 1, 1876, in the town of Gylling (Denmark). She received her elementary education in the local school and, after learning German in Germany, she received her high school education at a boarding school in Copenhagen.
 
Learning about the Hamidian massacres awakened in her the desire to go to the assistance of the Armenians. In 1903, against her father's will, she departed to Urfa to join the German Mission there.
 
Before leaving for Urfa, Karen Jeppe had sponsored two orphans, Louisa Natanian and Misak Melkonian. Afterwards, she adopted them, and they would end getting married to each other. In Urfa, she was in charge of the care and education of 300 orphans. Besides Armenian, she learned Arabic, Turkish, and Kurdish. After returning for a short time to Denmark in 1908, where she gave lectures about the Armenian tragedy, she returned to Urfa, where she would continue her educational and humanitarian work throughout the Armenian genocide.
 
She assisted the population engaged in the self-defense of Urfa, and after its tragic end, for two years Jeppe helped find hideouts for Armenians evading Turkish searches, including her two adoptive children. She was totally exhausted and suffered a nervous breakdown. She traveled to Denmark in 1917 for healing. 
 
Karen Jeppe gave lectures and published articles in Denmark, where she depicted the catastrophic situation of the Armenians. She also organized fundraisers. She urged her adoptive children, who wanted to leave for Constantinople, Europe or America, to stay in Aleppo, where they had found refuge.
 
In 1921, she settled in Aleppo, where she devoted herself to serve the Armenian refugees. She counted on the support of the Society of Danish Friends of Armenians. She took widows and orphans under her wings in the shantytown of Suleimaniyeh and established a workshop in the neighborhood of Tillel to provide a source of income for Armenian women, which functioned for more than a quarter of a century. She cooperated with the efforts of the League of Nations to search for Armenian women and girls subjected to slavery and sexual exploitation. In 1922, Karen Jeppe was designated a representative of the League to deal with the settlement of Armenian migrants, especially in the north of Syria, where she founded the village of Tina, entirely populated by Armenians. Thousands of women and orphans returned to their Armenian identity thanks to her indefatigable efforts. At the same time, many refugees were able to find jobs to make a living.
 
In 1924, with funds provided by the League of Nations, she bought in her name an area of 10,000 square meters in the place called Meydan, where she had built nine one-floor pavilions with 80 rooms, where the widows and 200 orphans she supported found shelter. She lent material and moral support to the construction of the Sahagian School (1927) and the St. Gregory the Illuminator church (1930), both erected to the south of the Meydan. The refugees would give to the Meydan the name of Nor Kiugh (New Village).
 
In 1926, Karen Jeppe received an encyclical from Sahag II Khabayan, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, and the order of the Legion of Honor of Denmark in the first degree. Two years later, the Prelate of Aleppo, Archbishop Ardavazt Surmeyan, organized a gathering of homage in the Haigazian School on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Karen Jeppe's pro-Armenian activities.
 
Jeppe's fragile health could not withstand the hard work. She contracted malaria and passed away on July 7, 1935, at the age of fifty-nine. She is buried in the Armenian cemetery of Aleppo. Twelve years after her death, thanks to the efforts of the Armenian Prelacy of Aleppo and the young Prelate, Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Payaslian (the future Catholicos Zareh I of the Great House of Cilicia), the Karen Jeppe Armenian College was founded where the Danish humanitarian had founded her pavilions. Years later, the pavilions were demolished and the modern building of the College was built. Her bust, placed in the courtyard, memorializes her.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
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Crossroads welcomes your inquiries and comments (English and/or Armenian), as well as parish news, photographs, and calendar items. Remember that the deadline for submitting items is Tuesday evenings. Please write to crossroads@armenianprelacy.org.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 ( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
July 10 —First summer class of the Siamanto Academy at 4:00 pm. For further information, please contact ANEC Director Mary Gulumian at anec@armenianprelacy.org or (212) 689-7810.
 
September 12 —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy to meet by videoconference, hosted by the Prelacy.
 
October 4 —Save the date. St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church of New Britain, CT, 95th Anniversary Banquet.
 
November 15  —Save the date. The Eastern Prelacy's Annual Thanksgiving Banquet.
 
November 28  —Save the date. Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church 80th Anniversary Celebration, under the auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate. Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, Cranston, Rhode Island.
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