July 30, 2020
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On Sunday, August 2, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, will preside over the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Stephen’s Church in Watertown, Massachusetts. Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, Pastor, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Our faithful may follow the ceremony via live streaming.

With political activism and demonstrations, Armenians throughout the world have come out strongly in support of the homeland, which is facing regular attacks by Azerbaijan, now directed against the region of Tavush.
On Sunday, July 26, Armenians of New York and New Jersey organized a peaceful demonstration outside the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to the U.N. in New York. Approximately 250 people attended the gathering, which lasted around two hours. Members of the Greek community also participated in the demonstration to express their solidarity.
His Eminence Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, gave a speech during the demonstration. He was accompanied by the Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy and Pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church (New Jersey); Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral (New York), and Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, Pastor of St. Sarkis Church (New York).
Members of the Armenian Youth Federation also delivered speeches at the protest, fiercely criticizing the Azeri government provocations and the random bombing by the Azerbaijani army. At the end of the demonstration, Archbishop Anoushavan praised the attendees: “A people with a youth like you in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora doesn’t die,” the Prelate said. “Long live our youth, and always march forward, immortals of a martyred nation, from victory to victory.” The demonstration was closed with attendees singing “Giligia.”
On Friday, July 24, the Diocesan Council of the Armenian Prelacy of Lebanon unanimously elected Bishop Shahe Panossian as Prelate. In addition to Bishop Panossian, the shortlist of candidates proposed by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I included Bishop Magar Ashkarian and Very Rev. Fr. Anania Koujanian.
Following the vote, the new Prelate reaffirmed that the difficulties the Armenians of Lebanon are facing must be overcome through the collective effort of the community and thanked the national delegates, promising that he would make everything within his possibilities to serve the Church and the people.
Bishop Panossian had been serving as Pontifical Vicar of the Prelacy since his appointment by Catholicos Aram in March. His Holiness confirmed the results of the election on Monday, July 27, and granted the new Prelate the rank of Archbishop.
The Prelate and the Executive and Religious Councils have learned with great sadness and heavy hearts of the passing of Silva Zadourian on July 28th, with her family by her side. She was a devoted wife, mother, sister, good friend and grandmother.

Silva was an active member of the Armenian community, volunteering her time for various organizations as well as being a member of the Armenian Prelacy Ladies Guild for over 20 years.

Silva was preceded in death by her husband, Aram Zadourian. She is survived by her daughter - Aline (Levon Kassabian) and son Ara Zadourian and cherished grandchildren Armen and Alex Kassabian and Patille Zadourian.

Due to COVID 19, a private funeral service, presided by Archbishop Anoushavan, will take place at St. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey on Saturday, August 1, 2020. After the wake service from 10:00 – 10:30 am and the funeral service from 10:30 – 11:00 am, the interment ceremony will be held at George Washington Memorial Cemetery in Paramus, New Jersey, at 11:30 am.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either Armenian Prelacy – Youth Education or Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church.
On Sunday, July 26, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia presided over a Requiem service dedicated to the memory of Dr. Raffy Hovanessian, loyal friend and benefactor of the Holy See. The karasunk (fortieth day-Repose of Souls service) for Dr. Hovanessian, who had also been decorated as Prince of Cilicia, was celebrated at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Antelias.

His Holiness had described most accurately Dr. Hovanessian in his condolence letter to his widow, Mrs. Shoghag Hovanessian, saying: “For his entire life and years of service, Dr. Raffy remained kind and humble, far from praise and honors. He was always evenhanded in his approach to issues and points of view. He was with everybody and for everybody and, beyond persons, for the church, the nation and the homeland.”

One of the best testimonies to Dr. Hovanessian’s abiding sense of service to the nation and the church was the establishment, along with his wife Shoghag, of the Dr. Raffy and Vicki Shoghag Clergy Education Endowment Fund for the university education of the Holy See’s priests.

A Requiem service presided by Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, was also offered at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York.

May he rest in peace.
On Sunday, July 26, Archbishop Anoushavan presided over the Divine Liturgy at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor, was the celebrant. You can read the Prelate’s sermon below:
Yesterday the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrated the feast of her first martyr. It is true that St. Gregory is the patron saint of our Church; that Sts. Sahag and Mesrob are the founders of the Armenian Church’s cultural and spiritual heritage; and that Sts. Vartanank are the defenders of our Christian faith. Nevertheless, the honor of prime martyrdom in our Church, with so rich a legacy, goes not to a missionary titled as the Great Confessor of Christ neither to high ranking clergy nor valiant generals, but to a teenage girl whose heart was kindled with the fire of Christ’s love, and who happened to be the daughter of a king: Princess Santoukhd.

The biography of St. Santoukhd, the daughter of King Sanadrouk, while concise is yet exemplary, ever shining with sacrificial love and unconditional commitment. The hagiography of this innocent ewe lamb relates to the Apostle St. Thaddeus. When the Disciple of Christ arrived in Armenia and preached Christianity in c. 50 A.D., Santoukhd was among the first adherents to the new life-giving faith. The conversion of the young princess was followed by attempts to extinguish and end the fire of this unusual love story. When the father and daughter met in privacy, King Sanadrouk, with paternal affection, tried to convince his daughter to renounce this new religion, but was met to unusual resistance. His parental love turned into furious vengeance; Santoukhd was thrown into prison and subjected to unspeakable tortures. The young princess did not yield at all but prayed that the Almighty Lord would strengthen her and would enlighten her father’s ignorance. Eventually Santoukhd received the crown of martyrdom by shedding her blood on the fertile soil of Armenia which, three centuries later, would become the first Christian country. Our Lord Jesus Christ foretells the witness of martyrs, saying: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abide alone: but if it die, it bring forth much fruit” (John 12:14).

The Vita of St. Santoukhd is the authentic reflection of our Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching, and as such is relevant to believers of all ages, specially to the youth, but most specially to our teenage generation. I would like to reflect on three thoughts on this occasion.

a) Most of the time, saints are presented as clerics, monks, elderly people, extra virtuous persons, wonderworkers and others. All these are valid descriptions, yet age has never been a decisive factor for sainthood. The Bible provides us with numerous examples of God-pleasing figures who were either in their childhood or early teen years. Joseph was almost the youngest of his ten brothers and was bestowed upon first with having prophetic dreams, then with the grace of interpreting dreams (Genesis 37:5; 40:12-16; 41:26). Samuel was a child serving in the Temple when he was privileged to hear the Divine Calling (1 Samuel 3:4-14). David was the youngest of his brothers when he was anointed by the Prophet (1 Samuel 16:13). Mary was in her teen years when she found favor with God (Lk1:30). It is true that confession of faith prerequisites some maturity and understanding, yet we should not overlook the very fact that the Lord showers His Grace without discrimination, regardless of age, as He proclaimed, “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Joel 2:28). Also, in general, sainthood is perceived from an ethical standpoint with an understanding that a person should achieve high moral standards, etc. Yet we should be aware that our behavior is in response to the mercy of God who is the source of all holiness, as the Apostle Peter says, “You are a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9). St. Santoukhd stands as a role model to all our young sisters that Divine Calling is upon us from our early ages, and nothing can prevent us except our will to enjoy the blessings of sainthood.

b) One of the most difficult barricades to overcome within the context of living God-pleasing life in teen hood or youth is the false impression that when we follow God’s commandments life will become boring, no more fun, no more earthly pleasures at all. Actually, one of the greatest themes in the Bible is joy. It is only a matter of perspective. While earthly joy depends on external factors, it may disappear in their absence and, moreover, may have a negative impact on our life when we lose them; on the other hand, the Divine joy, as presented in the Scriptures, is internal and permanent. It always refreshes and reenergizes us in our daily life to meet and overcome our crises with positive spirit. It grants us an inexplicable serenity which transforms our outlook and our behavior. It is a matter of choice either to prefer a temporary and fragile sensory pleasure or to adopt a lifetime and even eternal joy, which fulfills our dreams more than we expect. St. Santoukhd without hesitation chose the one that is nonperishable.

c) Within a parent and child relationship, it is true that the priority of choices is granted to the parents as the caretakers of their children and as more mature and experienced persons being exposed to life’s problems than their children. There is no doubt that parents do everything in their capacity for the welfare of their children. They teach them and lead them with the values they have been brought up. Nevertheless, parents also should take into consideration that they themselves are the children of God, and as such, they should be attentive whether their wisdom and decisions are in the same line of God’s will. More often in our daily life we witness different situations when the outcome of the parents’ decision, in contrast to their children’s choices, curbs the destiny of their beloved ones. Sanadrouk was convinced of his decision as a gesture of zeal and adherence to his pagan ways. Yet St. Santoukhd, despite her age, chose the God-pleasing way which transcends the obscured mind’s ability to comprehend. Our Lord says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Mt 6:33), and the Apostle says, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). St. Santoukhd, a teenager inspired by Eternal Wisdom, became the protomartyr of the Armenian Church, heralding the Harvest of the Heavenly Kingdom in the hosting Land of Noah’s Ark.

While celebrating the feast of St. Thaddeus and St. Santoukhd, let us thankfully praise our heavenly Father, and beseech Him to ever shower His wisdom on His daughters and sons to make the right choices, and to protect and save His children from all kinds of visible and invisible viruses, enemies and powers, for His glory. Amen.

Prelate, Eastern Prelacy of the United States

“Thank you for all you do to help us keep the faith and be hopeful for the future,” a donor wrote.

We at the Prelacy are humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude by the ongoing response of so many members and friends as we still deal with the unprecedented health emergency. Your encouraging support in the initial period of our membership campaign only drives us to persevere in our commitment to serving our parishes and our faithful as we adjust to life during a pandemic. “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8).
Bible readings for Sunday, August 2, Third Sunday of Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, are: Isaiah 5:1-10; 1 Corinthians 6:18-7:11; Matthew 19:3-12.
1 Corinthians 6:18-7:11

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.

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

St. Gregory ordains his son Aristakes, from a fresco in the Tigran Honents Church, Ani.
The Armenian Church collectively remembers the sons and grandsons of St. Gregory the Illuminator this Saturday, August 1, namely, Saints Aristakes, Vrtanes, Housik, Grigoris, as well as Daniel, who was not related, but was a distinguished and beloved student. All of them continued the work of St. Gregory, preaching the word of Christ at great personal peril.
Gregory had two sons, Aristakes and Vrtanes. Aristakes, the younger son, succeeded Gregory as Catholicos and was martyred around 333 A.D. Aristakes represented the Armenian Church at the first ecumenical council of 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 eight years until his death. Vrtanes had two sons, Grigoris and Housik. Grigoris preached in Georgia and Caucasian Albania (now in present-day Azerbaijan), where he was martyred. Housik, although not a clergyman, was called upon to assume the catholicosal throne. He was martyred in 347. Daniel is included with the sons and grandsons because of his special close relationship with the family. Daniel was chosen to succeed Housik as catholicos, but never actually served as he too was martyred one year later in 348.

Also remembered this week:
Today, Thursday, July 30, the Holy Forefathers, including: Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Eleazar, Joshua, Samuel, Samson, Jephthah, Barak, Gideon.
Monday, August 3: Saints Maccabees, Eleazar the Priest, Samona and her seven sons.
Tuesday, August 4: The Twelve Holy Prophets: Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Jonah, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
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 children addressed to their actual or potential sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads.

This week’s letter is from Rimma* who is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Bedrosian.

*In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.  
Dear Sponsor,
My name is Rimma. I live in the town of Abovian. I am in 9th grade in school. I live with my mother, sister, and brother. My father died, and my mom has difficulty raising us alone.

I love a lot going to school. I am a good student and when I graduate from high school, I would like to continue my education. I love to dance, to draw pictures, and I am interested in becoming a cosmetologist.

Soon, my brother is going to do his obligatory military service in the army. My mother is going to have more difficulties, because my brother worked and helped my mom. When I learned that you accepted my sponsorship, it made me very happy, because that is going to help my mother. My family is very grateful to you and to St. Nerses Organization.


The program of the St. Nerses the Great Organization includes both orphans up to the age of 18 and orphans who become students at a higher education institution upon turning 18. There are children of all ages in the waiting list of the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program. Now we also have orphans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider sponsoring a child. For quick and easy online sponsorship of minors up to the age of 18, please click here. 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 drawing of the Prelacy’s annual raffle is on September 12, 2020. The top prize is $5,000; second prize is $2,000; and third, fourth, and fifth prizes are $1,000.
We always like to point out that in this raffle there are no losers, because all the money raised benefits the Prelacy’s educational and religious programs.
Tickets cost $100 each. For information, please contact your local parish or the Prelacy office (email@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810). 
The three teachers who developed the Armenian as Second Language program, or ASL, were the special guests of Siamanto Academy’s second summer class. Silva Bedian, Narineh Abrimian and Sossi Essajanian took part in the virtual lesson that took place on Friday, July 24, via Zoom.

The ASL program is already available to Armenian schools on Hye Teachers’ Hub (hyeteachershub.org) for the teachers of the Armenian National Educational Council as well as on the Prelacy’s website for the benefit of the public. 

The latest virtual Siamanto summer lesson was different, as students were separated into different classes, each with its own teacher. 

The next Siamanto summer class is scheduled for Friday, August 7, at 4:00 pm. 
Last Friday, July 24, marked the fifth time since the pandemic forced businesses to close and people to quarantine that the Sts. Vartanantz Church Men’s Club provided dinner to those in need at the Providence Rescue Mission. Men’s Club treasurer Steve Elmasian noted that dinner was delivered to protect all involved and consisted of plentiful pizza and salad for more than 130 homeless women and men. 
A special message of gratitude is extended to those whose donations made this meal possible. Co-sponsors were the family of Albert O. Ashukian , in his loving memory, who helped countless individuals from going hungry through his own charitable gifts throughout his life, and Melissa Simonian, in loving memory of her parents, Arshag and Suzanne Simonian.
The Men’s Club members and friends look forward to the day when they can return in person to serve dinner at the Mission.
The Memoirs of Roustam is among the most fascinating pieces in the life and legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte. The son of an Armenian merchant, kidnapped in the Caucasus and sold in the slave markets of Constantinople, Roustam Raza traces his odyssey from Mamluk to becoming Napoleon’s imperial bodyguard, valet and procurer, from Egypt to the gates of Versailles and beyond.

A ubiquitous figure, Roustam accompanied Napoleon in all ceremonial occasions, including the signing of treaties, audiences with European kings and emperors, as well as major Napoleonic campaigns, including Italy, Spain, Austerlitz, and Russia among many. He is said to have had an influence and played a role in some of the most sensitive decisions made by Napoleon, in particular those pertaining the fate of the Armenians and their communities in Italy and Russia.
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore (books@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810)


Birth of Hrant Shahinian (July 30, 1923)
Two-time golden medalist in the Olympic Games of Helsinki (1952), Hrant Shahinian was the first Armenian in modern Olympic history to win a medal.

He was born on July 30, 1923, in the village of Gyulagarak (Lori). In 1930, his family moved to Yerevan. He began studying gymnastics with Harutiun Gargaloyan after moving to Yerevan. In 1939, he became the undisputed junior champion of the Soviet Union. 

In 1943, at the age of twenty, Shahinian volunteered to fight in World War II and was wounded in a leg. He had to walk with a stick afterwards, but he underwent treatment in 1946 and, through much hard work, he was able to become a member of the Soviet national team in Artistic Gymnastics.

As a member of the team, Shahinian competed at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki (Finland). The Soviet team won the team all-around gold medal. Afterwards Shahinian competed in the individual all-around, where he won the silver medal, coming in second to Viktor Chukarin, who was the most decorated participant of the 1952 Olympics. The Armenian gymnast could not best Chukarin in the pommel horse either. He tied in second with Yevgeny Korolkov, resulting in two silver medalists. Shahinian came in fourth place in the parallel bars. He scored higher than Chukarin and the rest of the participants in still rings to win the gold medal of the event and become Olympic champion. In the same year, he became Emeritus Master of Sports of the USSR (1952).

Two years later, Shahinian became world champion in the pommel horse by winning the gold medal at the 1954 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and the Soviet team won the gold medal in the team all-around once again. Shahinian also won a bronze medal in the individual all-around.

In 1958, he founded the Youth Gymnastic Olympic Sports School in Yerevan and became the director of the sports school. He earned the titles of Emeritus Coach of Armenia in 1961 and Emeritus Worker of Physical Culture and Sports of Armenia in 1966. He chaired the Sports Committee of Armenia from 1967 and 1969, and was its deputy chairman from 1969 to 1975. 

From 1975 to1980, Shahinian managed the Syrian gymnastics team in Damascus. He later returned to Armenia and lived there until his death on May 29, 1996. During an interview in his last years, Shahinian highlighted the level of success of Armenians in the Olympics in the following terms:

“Armenian sportsmen had to outdo their opponents by several notches for the shot at being accepted into any Soviet team. But those difficulties notwithstanding, 90 percent of Armenian athletes on Soviet Olympic teams came back with medals.”

Shahinian’s statue was erected in 2014 at the entrance of the Hrant Shahinyan gymnastics school of Yerevan.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
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 items may be edited to conform to space and style )
August 7 —Third 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.

August 9  — Picnic with take-out dinner. Holy Trinity Church (Worcester), 12:00 pm

August 10, 17, 24 —A 3-part Bible Study via Zoom on St. Paul’s Letter to Philemon, Monday evenings from 8:00-9:00 pm (EST), conducted by Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy). To register, please email your name, email address, and phone number to  shant@armenianprelacy.org .
August 16  — Blessing of the Grapes and church special Picnic with take-out dinners. Sts. Vartanantz Church (Providence), 11:45 am-12:45 pm.

August 16  — Blessing of the Grapes and church picnic. Soorp Asdvadzadzin Church (Whitinsville).

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 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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