June 11, 2020
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The Executive Council has announced that this year’s National Representative Assembly, originally scheduled for May 13-16, 2020, at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Philadelphia, will be held by videoconference, hosted by the Prelacy on September 12, 2020.

Although some areas of the country have begun to ease the restrictions that were imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Executive Council decided to convene the Assembly remotely this year since conditions are still less than ideal for a large gathering and one that involves considerable travel for many of the delegates.

While some details remain to be worked out, this year’s Assembly will be a one day meeting focused primarily on elections for a new Executive Council and the adoption of a budget for the remainder of the current fiscal year. A memorandum with the proposed agenda and the procedures, which will be used at this year’s Assembly, will be circulated to all Prelacy churches and NRA delegates shortly.

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). 
On Sunday, June 14, Archbishop Anoushavan will preside over the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church in Philadelphia, PA. Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, Pastor, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Our faithful may follow the ceremony via live streaming.

On Sunday, June 7, Archbishop Anoushavan presided over the Divine Liturgy at St. Sarkis Church of Douglaston, New York. Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, Pastor, was the celebrant. You can read the Prelate’s sermon below:
Today is the Eighth Day following the majestic Feast of Pentecost, and the Armenian Church continues to celebrate the Coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit breathes through all of the pages of the Breath-of-God as the Armenians call the Holy Bible, and from the very creation of the world, the Holy Spirit has continued to bestow grace and gifts to all people of faith. Today, we read from the fourth chapter of Luke (Luke 4:25-30), and we recount the important episode when Jesus returned “filled with the Holy Spirit” and entered into the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth. Jesus preached to the assembly, and recalled the great works of one of the greatest prophets in the Bible, the saintly Elijah. Elijah was renowned as a prophet and as a wonder-worker, but he is perhaps better known as a humble “man of God” (I Kings 17:24). While he did not compose a book like the later prophets, Isaiah or Jeremiah, nevertheless he embodied the Laws of Moses, and preached to people of all ages about the sins and perils of trying to live life without the presence of God in it. Elijah, it can be said, was filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

At the time of Elijah, the glory of kings David and Solomon was doomed, for their heirs had distanced themselves from God, who had led them from their bondage in Egypt into the Promised Land. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel had turned away from the God of Moses, and had terrorized all those who were faithful to God. They threatened and suppressed all prophets who refused to worship pagan idols. Elijah was the sole prophet whose commitment to God was unshakable. He lived as a fugitive under a death sentence until the Lord commissioned him to challenge the king and his false followers, and to manifest the power of the only True God. Thus, we read in the First Book of Kings one of the most fascinating confrontations against paganism told in the Bible. Elijah arrived at Mount Carmel, and was the only representative of the Almighty Lord, while the pagan prophets of foreign gods Baal and Asherah were 850 in number. Elijah questioned the people: “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” “The people”, as the Scripture witnesses, “did not answer him a word” (I Kings 18:21).

Elijah challenged the pagan priests to prepare their animal sacrifice and to pray for their gods to send down fire to consume the altar. The pagan priests tried not just once but three times in the same day, but each time, their sacrifice remained unanswered and without consumption. Elijah then ordered that a different altar be established in the name of the one true God. He placed twelve stones to build the altar upon which he offered the sacrifice, and then he ordered that the entire area be doused and soaked with twelve barrels of water. Elijah prayed, and suddenly, a great fire leapt down from the heavens and not only consumed the sacrifice but licked up all of the surrounding water in a mighty immolation. When all of the people saw the difference between the ineffectual pagan rite and the sacrifice which was acceptable to the one true God, they fell on their faces and cried out in acclamation: “The Lord is indeed God! The Lord is indeed God!” (I Kings 18:19-39).

We can immediately see that the sacrifice of Elijah prophesied the events of the Feat of Pentecost as the twelve apostles, the stones upon which the new altar of Christianity has been founded, were suddenly imbued with tongues of fire from the Holy Spirit. The waters of Christian Baptism and the offering of the sweet-smelling fragrance of the Badarak were foretold by the challenge of Elijah against the pagan priests and their ineffective cult.

The life of the Prophet Elijah indeed is very fascinating, full of miracles, persecutions, being served by ravens, sharing a widow’s hospitality and grief, having conversation with the Lord, experiencing His presence, and ultimately enjoying a unique privilege by ascending into heaven. I would like to draw your attention to the following four points:

a. The difference between being a true prophet and being a false prophet is characterized not as much by doing miracles but by being the true messenger of God, not doing the pleasure of human beings but pleasing only the Almighty Lord. The Scriptures have recorded that eight hundred and fifty false prophets used to eat at Jezebel’s table (I Kings 18:19), and as such they were enslaved and served only her.
b. When Elijah questioned the people, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him,” the people were confounded and silenced. Doublemindedness fails individuals just as much as it fails groups to see and fulfill their mission within a broader context, within the Divine eternal Plan.
c. The zeal, the spiritual passion of a true prophet toward the ordinance of Divine laws and commandments prepares him to be ready to face all kinds of tribulations and persecutions. The Providential care might not be seen or understood just at that time, but it does lead to victory. Because of his zeal, Elijah took refuge in deserts, valleys, and abroad, but eventually God led him to witness the glorious reward of his submission. 
d. Siding with God may separate a person from the majority of people, and often leads to disgrace and to loneliness. Nevertheless, God never abandons those who trust in Him, and He strengthens His servants to challenge the multitudes. Elijah stood all alone, confronting the royal authority and the ranks of the prophets; the result was that instead of being challenged, he challenged his adversaries, instead of being defeated, he overcame them.

Enriched by almost 2.700 years of experience of the Prophet Elijah, let us see whether it help us to face our contemporary challenges.

a. The true believer or the servant of God is identified not as much as with sumptuous rhetoric which might fascinate and dazzle audiences, but rather is identified with living and transmitting the presence of God to the world in modesty. More than speeches about ideals, the world needs tangible action of love which bring human beings closer to their Creator. In this sense everyone should feel him/herself to be the messenger of God.
b. The challenge of the Prophet Elijah addressed to his people is valid also today. Doublemindedness weakens our identity, and actually alienates us from ourselves. It depreciates our personality, our character and our decisions. Instead of being leaders we become followers; instead of being role models we become imitators; instead of being stable we become unsteady; instead of being constant in principle we become inconsistent, and so on as our mission deteriorates within God’s Plan. St. John very clearly describes the consequence by saying, “Because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Rev 3:16). The key to being steadfast is to be rooted in God. Let us follow this instruction, and surely we will enjoy a positive outcome.   
c. Being zealous to spread the word of God does not mean that we will be hailed and applauded by all. On the contrary, we should be ready to face unexpected, unpleasant reactions. Actually, this is one of the greatest temptations for newly ordained priests or new converts. They believe that preaching the Word of God will be welcomed by all. However, when for different reasons the results do not meet their expectations, the cloud of doubt covers their belief and their soul. Moses, Elijah, St. Gregory and all the saints stood steadfast in their zeal, but eventually enjoyed the reward of the high price they paid. Likewise, our zeal should be above all compromises in this world.
d. Following Divine commandments sometimes separates us from friends, colleagues, even from our own loved ones, causing isolation and depression. Nevertheless, we should not be weakened, but we should firmly believe that with God we are not alone. In this regard, let us hear what the Psalmist says: “Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me…But You, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head” (Ps 3:1-3). Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, with God we are the majority and not a minority, regardless of where we live.

Led by the commitment, wisdom, steadfastness and zeal of the Prophet Elijah, let us walk faithfully through one of the darkest periods of history due to the Pandemic as well as the recent turmoil which shook the foundation of our society. Let us pray steadfastly for each other as members of the larger family of God, and may the Good Lord make us worthy to salute more shining days full of peace and understanding, tolerance and respect for the safety and prosperity of our families, society and nation, praising the Triune God now and forever. Amen. 

Prelate, Eastern United States
Bible readings for Sunday, June 14, Second Sunday after Pentecost; Feast of Holy Etchmiadzin are: Proverbs 9:1-6; Zechariah 3:7-4:9; Hebrews 9:1-10; John 10:22-30.
Hebrews 9:1-10

Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was constructed, the first one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of the Presence; this is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a tent called the Holy of Holies. In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot speak now in detail.

Such preparations having been made, the priests go continually into the first tent to carry out their ritual duties; but only the high priest goes into the second, and he but once a year, and not without taking the blood that he offers for himself and for the sins committed unintentionally by the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary has not yet been disclosed as long as the first tent is still standing. This is a symbol of the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various baptisms, regulations for the body imposed until the time comes to set things right. 

John 10:22-30

At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” 

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

Today, June 11, we celebrate the Feast of St. John the Baptist (also called the Forerunner). John the Baptist is prominent in each of the four Gospels. He is associated with the beginning of the ministry of Jesus and is considered to be the “forerunner” to Jesus the Messiah. He baptized those who repented their sins, and he preached the coming of one after him who is greater than he and would baptize not with water but with the Spirit. In the third chapter of Matthew, John is reluctant to baptize Jesus and does so only after encouragement from Jesus. The Armenian Church considers St. John the Baptist as one of the three prime intercessors to Jesus, the other two being Soorp Asdvadzadzin and St. Stephen the Protomartyr.

This Saturday (June 13) is the Feast of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s deliverance from the pit ( Khor Viraben Yelkuh ). Gregory is revered as the patron saint of the Armenian Church. He is recognized and memorialized in both eastern and western hierarchical churches. The Armenian liturgical calendar reserves four feast days in his honor: Entrance into the pit; the angel’s visit while in the pit; deliverance from the pit; and discovery of relics. In addition to these three days, there are several feast days to which he is closely connected, namely the feast days for Sts. Hripsimiantz, Sts. Gayaniantz, Shoghakat, Holy Etchmiadzin, and King Trdat. The Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox churches, and Oriental Orthodox churches have special days in their calendars for the veneration of St. Gregory, who is considered to be one of the Fathers of the early Christian church.
Gregory was condemned to the pit in 287 AD by King Trdat and the persecution of Christians began. After the martyrdom of a group of nuns who came to Armenia from Rome led by Hripsime and Gayane, Trdat was stricken with strange maladies. His sister, Khosrovidukht, had a dream that Gregory was the only person who could heal her brother. Miraculously, Gregory was still alive after many years in the pit, thanks to the daily visits of an angel. Gregory emerged from the pit; the king was healed and baptized, and he declared Christianity to be the official religion of Armenia.
Gregory was not the first to preach Christianity in Armenia. That distinction belongs to the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew who came to Armenia in the first century, and thus gave the Armenian Church its apostolic designation. Nevertheless, Gregory is revered and is considered by Armenians to be the father of their faith. Hundreds of churches have been built and named in his honor.
The ancient calendars of the still undivided Church celebrated him [Gregory] on the same day in both the East and the West as a tireless apostle of truth and holiness. The father in faith of the whole Armenian people, St. Gregory still intercedes from heaven today, so that all the children of your great nation may at last gather round the one table prepared by Christ, the divine Shepherd of one flock .”
Pope John Paul II in his “Apostolic Letter for the 1700th Anniversary of the Baptism of the Armenian People,” issued February 2, 2001.

This Sunday (June 14) is the Feast of Holy Mother Etchmiadzin, the cathedral built by St. Gregory after his deliverance from the pit, to the specifications he saw in a vision, and on the place marked by the Lord with a golden hammer. This feast day commemorates the establishment of the Armenian Church and the end of paganism. Etchmiadzin is the oldest example of a four-altar, four-pillar, domes, cruciform church in Christian architecture. More than 1,700 years old, it is the oldest surviving Armenian Christian site. Relief sculptures on the exterior walls are some of the oldest examples of the Christian Armenian art of sculpting.

Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy), is currently conducting a 6-part Bible Study via Zoom, on Saturdays from 2:00pm to 2:30pm, focusing on the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus as portrayed in the pages of the New Testament. You are welcome to register for the upcoming fifth session by sending your name, email address, and phone number to Dn. Shant. 
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 Karmen who is sponsored by Ms. Joanne Mouradjian.

Dear Sponsor,

I am sending you my best wishes. I am already a 7 th grade student. I am a very good student at school. I am not participating in any after-school activities, like I used to do (dancing and tutoring). My mom is not making enough to afford paying for additional classes. That’s why I am trying to study by myself. Now my classes are becoming more difficult and I feel I need to attend tutoring classes.

My mom and I are still living in a rental apartment.

I love to learn things. I want to know everything.

My mom thought that I am already a big girl and she donated all my toys to a kindergarten and to the children of my relatives, but I sometimes wish I had a soft toy to hug before going to sleep.

I hope my mom will buy me one.

Kind regards,


* In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.

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). 


Garin K. Hovannisian's Family of Shadows is a searing history of Armenia, realized through the lives of three generations of a single family. In Family of Shadows, Hovannisian traces the arc of his family's changing relationship to its motherland, from his great-grandfather's flight to America after surviving the Armenian Genocide to his grandfather Richard Hovannisian’s groundbreaking scholarship of the first Republic of Armenia to his father Raffi Hovannisian's repatriation and subsequent climb to political prominence. “It is, among other things, a case study in the circularity of family history. While determined to differentiate themselves from the preceding generation, the men of the Hovannisian family are invariably driven by the need to address and avenge the past wrongs visited upon the Armenians, Richard as a historian, Raffi as a politician, and now Garin as their chronicler. Embedded in all of their work, despite the tragedies of the past, there is inevitably idealism about the future. The story of Armenia isn’t over; perhaps the next century can be better than the last” (Andrew Martin, The New York Review of Books ).
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore (books@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810)
Birth of Arshag Alboyadjian (June 14, 1879)
A self-taught scholar, with proficiency or reading knowledge in seven or eight languages, Arshag Alboyadjian was a prolific author of historical works, which today constitute a mine of information for scholars in various fields of Armenians Studies.

He was born on June 14, 1879, in the neighborhood of Scutari (Constantinople). He studied at the Berberian School and then at the Central (Getronagan) School. In 1895 he dropped out of school to start working in commerce. A year later he became the administrative director of the newly-founded Puzantion daily. His writing skills would lead him towards becoming a contributor not only of Puzantion, but of many other publications in Constantinople and abroad for more than sixty years.

In 1901 Alboyadjian published his first book, a biography of Armenian feminist writer Srpouhi Dussap (1842-1901). He taught part-time at different schools. He undertook the study of the history of Armenian communities, which would be one of his fields of interest until the end of his life. He earned the Izmirlian prize in 1905 for his work Armenians in Rumelia, which remained unpublished.

He married in 1909 and had a child. In 1910 was elected a representative in the Armenian National Assembly and the same year he became director of the Patriarchate archives. He was a member of the Armenian Constitutional Democratic Party (1908-1921) and then of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party.

During the Armenian Genocide, Alboyadjian was a teacher at the Esayan Lyceum. In 1919 he published a biographical volume about Krikor Zohrab (1861-1915), the writer and Ottoman Parliament member killed during the genocide. From 1919-1922 he headed the Bureau of Information of the Patriarchate, which provided the powers with accurate information about the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire and the genocide in particular.

He abandoned Constantinople with his family in 1922 and settled in the Greek island of Corfu, where he taught at the Armenian orphanage for a year. He moved to Egypt at the end of 1923 and was a part-time teacher at the Kaloustian School. He was executive director of the Diocese of Cairo from 1924-1935 and published the weekly Azad Midk (1936-1937), the periodical Kraseri arachnorte (1938-1949), and the yearbook Giank yev kir (1948). He continued his contribution to the press with commentary and scholarly articles.

He founded his own print shop in 1941 to publish his own books and periodicals. In the same year, he lost his wife after long years of illness.

In 1955 he was elected deputy chairman to the Diocesan Assembly of Egypt and represented the diocese in the election of Catholicos in Holy Echmiadzin. He was invited to visit Armenia in 1959, where he was honored for his contributions to Armenian scholarship. Catholicos of All Armenians Vazken I decorated him with the St. Gregory of Illuminator medal and a special encyclical. Alboyadjian passed away at the age of eighty-three on June 24, 1962.

Of his twenty-two printed books, his three-volume History of Armenian Migration (1941, 1955, and 1961) became the first complete history of Armenian communities. The fourth volume, which would include the history of the communities formed after World War II, remained unpublished. Besides other important works, he published voluminous books about the history of Armenians in Caesarea, Tokat (Eudokia), Malatia, and Gudina (Keutahia).

Alboyadjian also left more than fifteen volumes unpublished. His extensive archives were transferred to Yerevan and are kept at the Matenadaran. Some of his works have been posthumously published.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
Grandfathers Do Not Chicken Out
As many words in the English language, “uncle” comes from French. The Old French word oncle, at its turn, comes from a Latin word, avunculus (“mother’s brother”), which literally meant “little grandfather” and was the diminutive of Latin avus (“grandfather”).

Now, it is interesting to note that the circle closes on the other side: the same Latin word avunculus entered directly the English language to designate something that “pertains to an uncle,” i.e. avuncular (someone who treats everyone like a person’s uncle would act as an “avuncular person”).

How does this relate to Armenian? The Latin word avus that forms the root of “uncle” and “avuncular” had its origins in a Proto-Indo-European root, *awo- “grandfather, adult male relative other than one’s father.” This root had several derivatives along with avus in Hittite, Lithuanian, Welsh, Slavonic, and… Armenian. The Armenian word derived from *awo was հաւ ( haw, pronounce hav ) “grandfather.”

At this point, some readers may react and ask incredulously: “Isn’t hav the Armenian word for “chicken”? Yes, it is, even though the exact meaning of hav is “bird.” But those readers should also recall that the tool used to play baseball is not the same as the nocturnal animal made popular by a superhero, but both are called “bat.”

The Armenian word hav (totally unrelated to a bird) already existed in the Bible. In the Book of Exodus, when Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh to tell him that the Lord would bring locusts into Egypt and they would fill all houses, “something that neither your parents nor your grandparents have seen” (10:6), the Classical Armenian for “your parents . . . your grandparents” is, «Հարք ձեր ... հաւք ձեր» ( hark tser yev havk tser ), where hark is the plural of hayr and havk is the plural of hav.

There are other uses of the word in Classical Armenian literature, but hav did not survive either in Modern Armenian or in the dialects with the meaning of “grandfather.” It was replaced by պապ ( bab ) or մեծ հայր ( medz hayr ). The Modern Armenian of Exodus 10:6 is « ձեր հայրերը ... ձեր հայրերուն հայրերը» ( tser hayreruh . . . tser hayreroon hayreruh ).

Grandfathers do not “chicken out” in any day and age. If you hear hav in this day and age, however, do not get confused. It will always mean “bird” or “chicken.”
This week’s archive photo reminds us that Armenia was accepted as a member of the United Nations on March 2, 1992. In this photo Raffi Hovannisian and Alexander Arzoomanian participate in the session after the flag raising ceremony outside. Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, at the time Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, often described this as one of the happiest days of his life.

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 )
May 9—June 13: A 6-part Bible Study via Zoom, presented by Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy), on Saturdays from 2:00-2:30pm. For info, please contact Dn. Shant at  shant@armenianprelacy.org or call 212-689-7810.
June 13 —The Siamanto Academy will hold its class online on Saturday at 10:30 am. For information, contact ANEC Director Ms. Mary Gulumian at anec@armenianprelacy.org or call 212-689-7810.
June 29—July 3  —St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program online For information, please contact Dn. Shant Kazanjian at 212-689-7810 or shant@armenianprelacy.org .

September 12 —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy to meet by videoconference, hosted by the Prelacy.
September 26-27 POSTPONED —St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley (North Andover, Massachusetts), 50 th Anniversary, under the auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate.
October 4 —Save the date. St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church of New Britain, CT, 95th Anniversary Banquet.
October 17 CANCELED —Hye Kef 5 Annual Dance, presented by the Armenian Friends of America, Inc.. Featuring: Steve Vosbikian Jr., Mal Barsamian, John Berberian, Ara Dinkjian and Jason Naroian. At the DoubleTree Hotel in Andover, MA. For details, visit ArmenianFriendsofAmerica.org or call Sharke at 978-808-0598.
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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