July 9, 2020
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On Sunday, July 12, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, will preside over the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church in Douglaston, New York. Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, Pastor, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Our faithful may follow the ceremony via live streaming.

On Sunday, July 5, Archbishop Anoushavan presided over the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Pastor, was the celebrant. You can read the Prelate’s sermon below:
The universe of sinners who became saints through the most precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed marvelous. Like all Churches, the Armenian Church also is rich with faithful who have been recipient of divine grace, which blossomed in their earthly lives. And while in eternity they are rejoicing in the presence of God, they are reminded through our prayers to intercede on our behalf.

Yesterday, the Armenian Church celebrated the feast of King Drtad and Queen Ashkhen and Princess Khosrovitoukhd, sister of King Drtad. King Drtad's life is full of ups and downs since his childhood, even infancy. After losing his father Khosrov because of a fratricidal crime, unfortunately the entire family was slaughtered by the Persian king. Drtad and his sister Khosrovitukhd were left the sole survivors of the Arsacid dynasty, who were the rulers of Armenia. Drtad was raised in Rome and in due time, with the assistance of Roman Emperor Diocletian, occupied his ancestral throne. He is presented by historians as a handsome and military genius person. The peak of his success unfortunately was followed by a deep abyss, first executing to death his closest friend who happened to be his cousin, Gregory; then Hripsime, a young Christian nun, refused to marry him. The outcome was total loss of health, which he recovered only through divine intercession by the hand of Gregory, who against all odds had survived in the pit for thirteen years. By regaining his health, Drtad and his household along with the nobility and the people were converted to Christianity and proclaimed it as the state religion of Armenia in 301.

By celebrating the feast of King Drtad, Queen Ashkhen, and Princess Khosrovitoukhd, the faithful of all ages are reminded of the following precious thoughts. Even though the focus is on King Drtad, nevertheless each and every character had their own positive input in this celebration.

In spite of his tragic childhood, King Drtad had been raised with a clear vision of future leadership. He was surrounded by successes, honor and glory, thus he thought of himself quite invincible. Yet when his commands were challenged by his secretary as well as by a young woman, he was confronted with an unusual case and power he was never used to. How Gregory and Hripsime could ignore all the earthly bounties proposed to them? What makes these weak mortals so powerful to resist the royal command and the threats? How could they choose torture over pleasure, death over life? How could they deny the will of deities for the sake of a wretched, crucified one? Obviously all these and other thoughts had crushed his personality and dignity to expose how fragile he was, and soon after led to psychological, mental and physical deterioration.

It is true that what seems to be a dead end to humans, it signals the beginning of Divine intervention. As St Paul says, “we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life… so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Cor 1:8-9). That’s how Drtad, when he was healed and confessed to the true God, he discovered his true identity as well as the real meaning and mission of his life. The persecutor of Christian faith became one of its greatest promoters.

In the knowledge of true God, King Drtad experienced the essence of the Magnificat of the Holy Virgin Mary: “The Lord scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly” (Lk 1:51-52). Indeed, King Drtad’s humility was manifested in an extraordinary way. Instead of just ordering the engineers and the craftsmen to build the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin, he participated in the building process by carrying himself heavy stones from Mount Ararat to be used within the structure of the sanctuary. Thus, by humbling himself and laboring with the people for the glory of God he was exalted forever.

And finally, by proclaiming Christianity as state religion, he became a true leader making a right choice not only for him and his household but for his entire nation, also becoming a role model for other emperors and kings. True leadership means to reflect Divine providential care for the good of all.  

Like all the saints, King Drtad is relevant to every generation. The more we keep fresh our communication with them by reading about their life, the more we strengthen our roots in this stormy world, full of all kind of surprises. Therefore, let us embellish our fragile personality and immunity with Divine Grace to face all kind of visible and invisible viruses. Let us practice the humility taught by our Lord Jesus Christ to overcome Pride, the cardinal sin and the source of all other sins. Let us become leaders by making the right choice of serving rather than dominating others.

On the occasion of the 4th of July, the Independence Day of our blessed country, let us all pray to the Almighty Lord to direct our free will in the right way for the welfare of the society at large, praising His name for ever. Amen.

Prelate, Eastern United States

The Eastern Prelacy’s St. Gregory of Datev Institute held its 34 Summer Program for youth ages 13-18 via Zoom from June 29 to 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. 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. Below we share impressions from some of the participants:

“This year Datev was a year like no other. Given the circumstances of not being able for all to get together and enjoy the week, Datev was through Zoom…The lectures were engaging and insightful and helped me learn new things and grow closer to God.”
— Nora Tarbinian

“I’m glad that I participated in the Virtual Datev Program. It was a really good experience. The sessions were organized; they fulfilled my interests. I learned a lot.”
— Aliag Megurian

“Virtual Datev was a very different experience from actually being there in person. It was very interesting, and I liked all the lectures. I also liked interacting with the other Datevatsies. I hope I can go back next year and see everyone in person.”
— Taleen Lakissian

“I liked and enjoyed Virtual Datev Program a lot; I learned more about our religion… I am looking forward to the next year.”
— Alex Tashchyan

“Datev via Zoom was different. We didn’t get to see each other in person but it was nice seeing everyone over a zoom call.”
— Lilly Karageozian

“It was a great honor to be a part of Datev 2020 program. Each and every session was very interesting and educational. I am so glad that I had the chance to participate."
— Arine Markarian

“This year Datev looked quite a bit different from previous years. Each day started with a short prayer followed by two lectures that were interactive, informative, and educational. Datev was a great experience, and I hope to see everyone in person next year.”
— Arpi Donoyan

“Datev this year was very well organized based on the resources available. The classes were fun and were great to take part in. I cannot wait for next year!”
— Nareg Kassardjian

“It was a great pleasure and experience to participate in the online Datev summer classes. I enjoyed and benefited from most of the classes. The subjects were interesting. I am looking forward to future Datev programs.”
— Kegham Sarkisian

As the Prelacy has redoubled its efforts in these 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.
Bible readings for Sunday, July 12, Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, (Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration), are: Isaiah 3:1-11; Romans 11:13-24; Matthew 14:13-21.

Romans 11:13-24

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

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


Matthew 14:13-21

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

On Saturday (July 11) the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Twelve Apostles of Christ and Saint Paul, who is considered to be the “thirteenth apostle.”

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

Paul (formerly known as Saul) was initially an enemy of Christians and persecuted them. He had a vision on the road to Damascus and became a fervent Christian convert and was subsequently responsible in large measure for the rapid spread of the new religion. A good part of the New Testament is from the writings of Paul.
The Armenian Church has its roots in the apostolic ministry of the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew) and is therefore known as “apostolic” ( arakelagan ).
"Seer of the ineffable paradise, the third heaven, you who contemplated the higher things and interpreted profound mysteries, thirteenth holy Apostle Paul, universal father, intercede for us to the Lord.”
From the  Sharagan  (hymn) of the Twelve Apostles
Today the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Elisha the Prophet, whose life and works are recorded in 1 and 2 Kings. Elisha (“God is Salvation”) was a disciple of the Prophet Elijah, who at God’s command anointed Elisha, a simple farmer, to be his successor much like Jesus later did in calling his disciples in Galilee. Elisha performs miracles, healing the sick and reviving the dead, a harbinger of the Gospel miracles. His message to his followers was that they should return to traditional religious practices and acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all aspects of life. When he healed the sick it was to demonstrate God’s power over life and death: when he helped in battle, it was to demonstrate God’s power over nations.
This Sunday, the sixth Sunday after Pentecost, is the Paregentan of the Fast of the Transfiguration—the five-day (Monday to Friday) period of fasting prior to the Feast of the Transfiguration ( Aylagerboutyan/ Vartavar ) that we will celebrate next Sunday, July 19.
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 Arsen* who is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Bedrosian.
Dear Sponsor,

This is Arsen. I am 16 years old. I live in the village of Sasounik in the region of Ashtarak. I am in 10th grade in Gevork Chavoush School.

After the death of my parents, my maternal grandmother takes care of me. I participate in music after-school classes and play the accordion. After graduating from high school, I would like to continue my education in the musical field.

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). 
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).
The St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School 2019-2020 Graduating Class will have its official Graduation Ceremony in December during the Christmas Concert. In the meantime, many surprise events were organized for them:

On May 30, the Principal and their teachers drove by each of their houses and presented them with Congratulatory Lawn Signs and Certificates from the Armenia Tree Project stating that the School sponsored trees in their honor in Armenia.

On July 19, the day they were supposed to graduate, an entire school Virtual Assembly was organized in their honor in the morning and a Drive By in the afternoon. The graduates wearing their caps, gowns and masks and standing in front of the school were cheered by the rest of the students and their families who passed by in a parade of cars. (At all times the students observed the social distancing guidelines and wore face masks; the students lowered the masks only briefly for the group pictures).

These were surely unforgettable moments they will cherish in the future as they look back on this unique year that saw so many changes in our lives. 
Images of America: Armenians of the Merrimack Valley
E. Philip Brown and Tom Vartabedian
When one thinks of the Merrimack Valley, shoe shops readily come to mind. For that reason, it was a hotbed for Armenian immigrants following World War I and the genocide. Many of these refugees came to the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts—settling in the cities of Haverhill, Lawrence, and Lowell—to eke out a better life for themselves and their families. Aside from sweatshop labor, they sought work as barbers, business owners, or handymen, going to night school to improve their English while keeping their rich heritage and culture in their churches and community centers. Despite the discrimination they faced with their “strange” names and lifestyles, the Armenians remained tenacious and resilient, contributing to the overall welfare of their new promised land.
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore (books@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810)
The Catholic Press Association has awarded the second prize in the category of History of Theology, Church Fathers and Mothers to Michael Papazian’s The Doctor of Mercy , an introduction to Gregory of Narek’s literary works, theology, and spirituality and shows the contemporary relevance of his writings.

The CPA Book Awards is an annual program to recognize the outstanding work product of publishers, authors, and book editors. 

Dr. Papazian is Professor of Philosophy at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, since 1998 where he teaches a broad range of courses in philosophy as well as New Testament Greek.

The Doctor of Mercy is available at the Prelacy Bookstore. Also available are two of Professor Papazian’s books published by the Eastern Prelacy, Light from Light: An Introduction to the History and Theology of the Armenian Church , and his translation of Stepanos Siwnetsi’s Commentary of the Four Evangelists in a bilingual edition. Contact the bookstore to order or for more information (books@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810).
Death of Nar-Dos (July 13, 1933)
The literary school known as realism had two main representatives in Eastern Armenian literature. Novelist and playwright Shirvanzade (1858-1935) was the better known of them, but we should not leave aside his younger and less widely known colleague Nar-Dos.

Mikayel Hovhannisian was born on March 13, 1867, in Tiflis, in the family of a wool seller. He received elementary education in the parish school of the church of St. Karapet, and later graduated from the Nikolayev high school in the city. He was admitted to the teachers’ school of Khon, in the province of Kutayis, but the lack of resources forced him to drop off and return to Tiflis. He shifted completely his orientation for a while, learning the craft of locksmith at the Mikayelian technical school, but he abandoned this to return to liberal arts, working in the press.

His first literary forays were in the 1880s, with poems and short stories. He also tried his hand at plays before going into fiction with novellas and novels. His first attempt at a realistic analysis of life came in 1888, under the pseudonym of Nar-Dos, in the epistolary novel Anna Saroyan. Here he depicted the deep abyss between human ideals and the society.

Between 1890 and 1906, Nar-Dos was the editorial secretary of the daily Nor Dar. This period coincided with a breakthrough in his literature, characterized by the depth of psychological analysis. In the short novel The Killed Dove (1898) he presented the mutilated and tragic fate of a woman. The heroine Sara is not destroyed by her resignation, but by her attempt to protest on behalf of those condemned by society. In 2009 this novel was turned into a homonymous movie in Armenia.

Nar-Dos worked in 1904 as secretary and copyeditor of the periodical Aghpiur-Taraz, and worked in the same capacity from 1913-1918 in the newspaper Surhandak. He published his best works in 1911 and 1912. In the novel Struggle (1911) he depicted the clash between the main public currents of the period in Armenian reality, the conservatives and the liberals, touched upon social issues, exposed the tragic ups and downs of life, and criticized the indifference and dismissal of society towards individuals. Perhaps his masterpiece was the novel The Death (1912), where the central theme were the views of a young man who had adopted a negative philosophy of life, in contrast to an individual who had died fighting against Turkish tyranny.

After the establishment of the Soviet regime, Nar-Dos continued his work as copyeditor for a while. The forty-fifth anniversary of his literary activities was commemorated in 1931 and he was conferred the title of Popular Writer of Georgia.

The talented novelist passed away in Tiflis on July 13, 1933. His son Nar Hovhannisian (1913-1995) was a soloist of the Opera of Yerevan and a Popular Artist of the Soviet Union. A street and a school in Yerevan bear the name Nar-Dos, and there are several streets named after him in other towns of Armenia and Artsakh.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 

Orphans have existed since the beginning of humankind, whether for natural or man-made reasons. As Armenians, we have been familiar this phenomenon especially for the past hundred years, with so many of our own ancestors being orphans of genocide, but also because of many catastrophes and tragedies that have hit our people in and out Armenia.

The point that orphans have existed since the very beginning is proven by the fact that the Indo-European society had a word for that concept, and that word was inherited after the late fourth millennium B.C., when the Proto-Indo-European language broke up and the ancient and modern Indo-European languages originated. That word was *orbhos, which gave birth to Greek orphanós (“without parents, fatherless”) , Latin orbus (“orphaned; childless; widowed), German erbe (“heir”), and various other words.

Another child of *orbhos, so to speak, was the Armenian word որբ, which in Classical Armenian was pronounced orb. The letter ո, which originally was pronounced o, then became the modern sound vo , and today we have vorp in Western Armenian and vorb in Eastern Armenian.

The Armenian word vorp is brother to the Greek orphanós and became great uncle to the English word “orphan.” Why? Because the Greek word gave birth to Late Latin orphanus, which in turn was the source of English orphan and its siblings, French orphelin Romanian  orfan,  and Spanish  hu érfano.

As we can see, words may have different family relations: sometimes they are brothers; others, cousins; or they can even belong to different generations, as in the case of vorp and “orphan.”  
Previous entries in “Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
Archbishop Karekin Sarkissian, the Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, was elected and consecrated Catholicos-Coadjutor of the Great House of Cilicia in May 1977 with the participation of the hierarchy of the Armenian Church. Bishops and prelates who participated in the election and consecration included:

Archbishop Dajad Ourfalian, Prelate of Lebanon; Archbishop Ardag Manoukian, Prelate of Iran; Archbishop Sahag Ayvazian, Prelate of Greece; Bishop Datev Sarkissian, Prelate of Aleppo; Bishop Nerses Pakhdikian, Prelate of Cyprus; Bishop Sumpad Lapajian, Prelate of Western Prelacy of United States; Very Rev. Fr. Mesrob Ashjian, Prelate of New Julfa, Iran; Rev. Dirayr Panossian, Prelate of Tabriz, Iran; and Archbishop Serovpe Manookian, Primate of France and Catholicosal delegate of Western Europe, and Bishop Nerses Bozabalian, Bishop of England, representing the Holy Mother See of Etchmiadzin.

In his inaugural sermon, the newly consecrated Catholicos spoke about the imperative of love, and said that it was his sincere wish that under God’s guidance, the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia would become a “real center and source of spiritual, educational, and cultural achievements for the Armenian church and nation. I commit myself into the hands of our Lord and I enter the field with faith, hope, and love.”

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 )
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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