July 4, 2019
Today is July 4 th , the 243 rd birthday of the United States of America.
"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.”
Thursday July 4 is the 243 rd 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.”
Armenian media is not just a source of information, but also in many ways a mission. A global contribution to this mission is certainly an issue of pan-national importance.

Under the chairmanship of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, a pan-Armenian Conference which gathered over 100 media-based editors, journalists and contributors from Armenia, Artsakh and the diaspora at large, started in Antelias, Lebanon on the morning of Tuesday, July 2, 2019.

The focal point of this conference was to bring together leaders of Armenian media for a robust conversation on the challenges of Armenian media in this contemporary online environment, while developing inspiration and viable solutions to re-instill the mission of our media efforts world-wide. “We live in a globalizing world, where new mentality and lifestyle have started destroying every kind of value system, barrier and identity, creating a global culture,” His Holiness Aram I said in his opening remarks.

Among the various distinguished guests of the conference was journalist, and Anna Hakobyan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s wife, whose opening statement clearly explained one of the various evident concerns for media in the “homeland.”
Mrs. Hakobyan stated that “[t]oday, in post-revolutionary Armenia, Armenian media isn’t going along with the people and the State. Today we are seeing the barrier between the media and the public and the state, and if we don’t solve the problems soon, there will be a deeper barrier.”

“Reliable information is something that can’t be seen a lot in the media today. Instead, we receive unreliable information that is based on analyses that are made up. Of course, there are issues that are related to this. The first and most important issue is funding. The second issue is the so-called media outlets that are mushrooming day after day on social media websites and spreading fake news.”

While the conference concluded today, July 4 th , the push to continue these conversations and efforts indefinitely shows promise. Mrs. Hakobyan expressed her sentiments of “turning this conference into an annual event and [to] adopt a document that we can refer to as a strategy.” She added “However, to achieve our goal, we need to be sincere with each other. To be sincere, we need to call things by their names or have the courage to ask each other questions that are unpleasant.”

Details and updates on the conference outcome to follow.

St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church of Douglaston, NY
Last Sunday parishes of the Eastern Prelacy offered Pontifical Prayers and Blessings on the occasion of the 24 th anniversary of the election and consecration of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia. His Holiness was consecrated Catholicos of Cilicia on July 1, 1995. During the past 24 years under his leadership a new page in the history of the ancient Holy See of Cilicia has been filled with many accomplishments that include new initiatives for educational, religious, and cultural programs, strengthening the Armenian identity in the Diaspora, promoting and supporting ecumenism and interfaith relations, supporting the Armenian Cause, and launching and completing many new construction projects to facilitate the work of the Catholicosate. We wish His Holiness good health and continued success in his leadership of the Holy See.

Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church of Providence, RI

Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church of Providence, RI

Last Saturday, June 29, was the 20 th anniversary of the passing of His Holiness Catholicos Karekin I, the 131 st occupant of the throne of St. Gregory the Illuminator. His Holiness died on June 29, 1999 in Etchmiadzin. His Holiness was Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy from 1974 to 1977; Catholicos of Cilicia from 1977 to 1995; and Catholicos of All Armenians from 1995 to 1999. Armenians throughout the world mourned the loss of a charismatic and far-sighted leader.

His Holiness Karekin II, the current Catholicos of All Armenians, announced that a 20 th anniversary memorial service at the tomb of the late Catholicos will take place on Sunday, September 22, 2019 in Holy Etchmiadzin. The service will be followed by a number of events including a reception at the Karekin I Educational Center, an exhibition of photographs and archival materials about his life and service, a concert of sacred music, and a Symposium. The day-long program will conclude with a dinner in the newly-opened Pontifical Residence ( Veharan ).

The Prelacy’s 33rd annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program started on Sunday, June 30, 2019, with the participation of 39 students from eleven parishes, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate. Sponsored and organized by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Institute offers a unique Christian educational program for our youth ages 13-18 in a wholesome and nurturing environment, with three-pronged objectives: Christian education, prayer/worship, and fellowship and recreational activities. The program is being directed by Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, vicar general of the Prelacy, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church of Ridgefield, New Jersey. 
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian with Mrs. Armine Vardanyan, musical director of Areni Choir.
On Sunday, June 30, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian represented Archbishop Anoushavan at Areni Choir's Concert dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the birth of Komitas Vartabed entitled "Komitas and His Heirs." The concert, directed by Armine Vardanyan, took place at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City.

In his message, Rev. Lakissian expressed his "warmest greetings and congratulations to the members of the 'Areni' choir on the occasion of their annual concert, dedicated to Gomidas Vartabed's 150th anniversary."

"Culture has always played an important role in the life of the Armenian people both in the homeland and Diaspora. It is a force that brings us together. I am deeply touched by Areni's work in this matter to keep Armenian culture alive in our community. 

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the praiseworthy efforts of musical and artistic director Mrs. Armine Vardanyan, the members of the choir, and all participants for their dedication and achievements.

As the spiritual leader of "Areni" choir, I pray that God will bless those participating in today's concert. May He grant us many occasions to enjoy the beauty of Armenian music."

Bible readings for Sunday, July 7 , Fourth Sunday after Pentecost are: Isaiah 1:21-31; Romans 7:25-8:11; Matthew 12:38-45.

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. (Romans 7:25-8:11)


There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered 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 in the heart of the earth. The people of Ninevah will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation. (Matthew 12:38-45)

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

This Saturday (July 6) the Armenian Church observes one of the three feast days dedicated to St. Gregory the Illuminator ( Krikor Lousavorich ): the discovery of his relics. St. Gregory is considered to be the “Apostle of Armenia,” and the patron saint of the Armenian Church. He preached throughout Armenia, built churches, including the great cathedral in Etchmiadzin, established the first canon laws, wrote many prayers, and organized the liturgical services.

After years of evangelizing, St. Gregory sought solitude and an ascetic life. He retired to a cave at Mount Sepouh where he died in solitude. Shepherds found his body and without realizing his identity they buried him under a pile of stones. Later a hermit, known as Garnik of Pasen, who was a disciple of Gregory, saw a vision and went to Mount Sepouh and found the burial site. He took the saint’s remains to the village of Tordan for burial where King Trdat was buried.

Relics from the right hand of St. Gregory, encased in a golden arm, are at the Holy Mother See of Etchmiadzin and the Holy See of Cilicia. Continuing long established traditions, the Catholicoi mix the new Muron (holy oil) with the old Muron with the golden arm of St. Gregory.

From the Ritual by Thoros Roslin, Sis, 1266.
This Tuesday (July 9) the Armenian Church commemorates Daniel the Prophet and his companions. Daniel and his youthful companions Shadrach (Setrak), Meshack (Misak), and Abednego (Apetnakov), found favor with the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar after their captivity. When the king gave orders for a large statue of himself to be worshipped like a god, Daniel and the three youths refused. Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego were put into a large furnace. The flames shot out of the furnace and attacked those standing nearby, but the three boys walked in the flames without harm. Seeing this, the king ordered their release from the furnace, and he became a convert. (See the Book of Daniel, chapters 1 to 3 for the full account).  

Last Sunday, June 30, the Armenian community of St. Hagop Armenian Church of Racine, WI hosted its annual madagh picnic on the grounds of the church. This time-honored tradition for the Racine community, which holds over 80 years of history for the parish, brought together parishioners, friends and families from the community for a “blessing of the world” service, requiem service, a madagh blessing and an exciting afternoon of fellowship. 
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 .

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Tagouhi . I wasborn in the village of Archis on January 7 th 2011 and I still live there. I started going to kindergarten when I was 6 years old, and started elementary school when I was 7. Presently, I am in second grade in school. My favorite subjects in school are Math and Chess. And my favorite pass time – dancing and playing with my friends. I also like playing with animals and picking wild flowers in the fields and gifting them to my mom. I love surprising my mom. When she doesn’t feel good, I take care of her.

I live with my mom, sister, and grandpa. My grandpa is retired and doesn’t work. My mom takes care of all of us and she doesn’t work either. My dad died in 2010, when I wasn’t even born yet, and my grandma died two years ago.

My sister is in 5 th grade in school. We live in a badly damaged apartment. My dream is to have a bicycle.

March 15, 2019

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.
Birth of Grigor Chubarian (July 6, 1888)

One of the best law experts in the first decades of Soviet Armenia, fell victim to Stalinism. This week we remember the birth of Grigor Chubarian.

Chubarian was born on July 6, 1888, in the Armenian village of Topdi, located in the region of Nor Nakhichevan (Rostov-on-the Don, Northern Caucasus). After receiving his education at Nor Nakhichevan, he studied law at the University of Yaroslavl, an institution north of Moscow, and also graduated from the School of History at the University of Moscow. He returned to Rostov-on-the-Don in 1913 and worked as a lawyer. At the same time, he dabbled as a journalist.

After the sovietization of Armenia, Chubarian moved permanently to Yerevan. He was the deputy commissar (minister) of Justice from 1920-1924 in the government of Soviet Armenia. As such, he supervised the work of creating, codifying, and publishing the corpus of law of the republic, including the Constitution of 1922 (replaced in 1936), the Codes of Criminal Procedure and Territory, the laws on the creation of courts and others, and he personally drafted various such laws.

He became a professor at Yerevan State University in 1920, where he taught until the ominous year 1937. Like his brother Yeghia, a Communist activist and editor, he was subject to Stalinist repression and exiled. All his works were destroyed, but unlike his brother, who died in 1937, he was able to survive exile. He was rehabilitated in 1956 and continued working at the university. From 1957-1962 he gave courses of state law, Soviet law, Soviet constitutional law, criminal procedure, criminal law, and rhetorical art.

Chubarian was well-versed in philosophical and socio-political thinking, and well-aware of Armenian history, and history of literature and art. He made an important contribution to the creation of scholarly terminology in Armenian law, becoming a co-author of the first bilingual (Russian-Armenian) law dictionary (1924). He wrote various works and important scholarly articles published in Armenian periodicals from the 1910s to the 1930s.

In 1961, he earned the title of Emeritus Worker of Science of Soviet Armenia. Grigor Chubarian passed away at the age of seventy-four, on September 6, 1962, in Yerevan. His bust has been installed at the opening hall of the central building of Yerevan State University, symbolizing his role in the establishment and development of this institution. He was the father of sculptor Ghukas Chubarian (1923-2009), famous for the statue of Mesrop Mashtots and Koriun at the front of the Matenadaran, among others, and painter Anoush Chubarian.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ).
Note from editor: Have something to say that you would like to share? Send to Crossroads@armenianprelacy.org .

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

August 4 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Picnic, under auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, at Camp Haiastan, Franklin, Massachusetts, 12 noon. Shish, losh, and chicken kebab dinners and sandwiches served all day. Blessing of the Grapes and Madagh at 3:30 pm. Music by Mike Gregian Ensemble with guest Joe Zeytoonian on oud. 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. Enjoy delicious kebabs and refreshments as you listen to live Armenian music. Under the auspices of H.E. Archbishop Anoushavan. Blessing of the Grapes and Madagh at 3 pm. Rain or shine. For information: (617) 924-7562.

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

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

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

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