June 13, 2019
Archbishop Anoushavan traveled to Antelias, Lebanon, where this weekend he will officiate at the ordination of four deacons into the ranks of the celibate clergy of the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia. The deacons who will be ordained are: Dn. George Abrahamian, Dn. Moushegh Karagozian, Dn. Shahe Yacoubian, and Dn. George Brinkhanian. The sponsoring clergyman for the four ordinands is Very Rev. Fr. Shnork Ashekian.

Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian delivers his message to the Worcester community
Archbishop Anoushavan with Archpriest Fr. Vazken Bekiarian and Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian during the Holy Liturgy.
Archbishop Anoushavan presided over the Divine Liturgy last Sunday at Holy Trinity Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, and introduced the parish’s recently appointed pastor, Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian and his family to the community. Der Torkom celebrated the Divine Liturgy, his first as pastor of Holy Trinity. Prior to this appointment Der Torkom served as pastor of St. Gregory Church in Granite City, Illinois. Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, who served in Worcester, is now Vicar General of the Prelacy and pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church in New Jersey. Following the Liturgy a reception for the new pastor and his family took place.
Der Hayr blesses the congregation.

Der Torkom and Yeretzgin cut the “welcoming” cake.
Bible readings for Sunday, June 16, First Sunday after Pentecost (Beginning of Sundays of Resurrection), Remembrance of the Prophet Elijah are: 1 Kings 18:29-46; 2 Kings 2:1-15; James 5:16-20; Luke 4:25-30).

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.
My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:16-20)
“…But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and Elijah was sent to one of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. But passing through the midst of them he went away. (Luke 4:25-30)

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

This Sunday (June 16) the Armenian Church remembers Elijah, the Messianic prophet of the Old Testament recorded in 1 and 2 Kings. Elijah was the greatest prophet in the Old Testament and therefore his feast day falls on a Sunday. He appeared along with Moses at the Transfiguration as the prophet of life and the new covenant; Moses was representative of the old covenant. The Armenian Church (like all the Eastern churches) holds Elijah in the highest esteem. Most importantly, Elijah did not experience death, but was taken to heaven, like the Holy Mother of God. He is mentioned in the Armenian hymn Ee Verin Yerousasgem , sung during the Requiem Service.
“Receive us in Jerusalem above, in the dwellings of the angels, in Eden, the paradise where Enoch and Elijah live worthily resplendent in dove-like purity and in old age. O merciful Lord, have mercy upon the souls of ours who have fallen asleep.”
From the Armenian hymn Ee Verin Yerousagem (Receive us in Jerusalem above), sung during the Requiem Service.

This Monday and Tuesday, June 17 and 18, the Armenian Church commemorates the virgin saints Hripsime and Gayane and their companions. Thirty-three nuns, led by Gayane, left Rome and sought refuge in Armenia hoping to escape the Roman Emperor who desired one of the nuns, the beautiful Hripsime. In Armenia, King Dertad became captivated by Hripsime’s beauty and sought to wed her. She refused. Enraged, the king had Hripsime (and the other nuns) imprisoned and tortured to death.
When Gregory was released from his imprisonment in the deep pit ( Khor Virab ) he built chapels over the relics of the nuns, which Catholicos Sahag Bartev renovated in the 4 th century. During the 7 th century, churches were built over both sites. The church dedicated to Hripsime, built by Catholicos Gomidas, is considered to be an architectural masterpiece and influenced the future course of Armenian architecture. Catholicos Gomidas also wrote a sharagan (hymn) in their memory—the well-known Antsink Nviryalk (Dedicated Beings).
The two churches, as well as a third ( Shoghakat ), are in the city of Etchmiadzin ( Vagharshapat ), not far from the complex of buildings that comprise the Holy Mother See of Etchmiadzin, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
Plans are underway for the 33 rd annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program, a unique Christian educational program for youth ages 13-18. Sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the weeklong program will be held at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from June 30 to July 7, 2019. For information and registration, please click here .

The new board, left to right, Kevork Chavoush Mesrobian, advisor; Movses Musaelian, advisor; Neiri Amirian, advisor; Armen Morian, chairman; Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Dn. Shant Kazanjian, vice-chairman; Mirielle Babikian, treasurer; Ardash Bedrosian, advisor; and Alex Alahverdian, advisor. Not in the photo, Louise Kanian, secretary.
Induction service for the newly elected Board of Trustees took place at St. Illuminator Cathedral last Sunday. In his sermon, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian said, “Volunteers are the backbone of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. We could never achieve what we do without the commitment of time, support, skills, and knowledge generously shared by so many. This is a very special and unique opportunity to thank all our volunteers. There are not enough words to express how grateful I am for your dedication and compassion to our beloved Mayr Yegeghetsi.”
An enthusiastic and interactive audience of about 20 people attended the first “Open Mic Nite” sponsored by the Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church, in Providence, Rhode Island. As each audience member came into the auditorium they were asked if they wished to participate and if the answer was yes, their names were written on a piece of paper and placed in a bowl. The names were drawn at random by Guild member Sophie Garabedian. Chairlady Joyce Bagdasarian was the “time keeper” and each participant had eight minutes to share a story or tell a joke.
As the night went on, participants shared their stories and it inspired others to do the same and some participants shared many memorable stories and did not want the night to end. One attendee remarked, “Where else can you go for a five dollar donation, share stories and laughs, enjoy good food and get to know your church community members a little bit better?” (reported by Shakay Kizirian)
Left to right, Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Mr. Armen Morian, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Mr. Areg Elibekian, Mrs. Sona Elibekian, Mrs. Arevig Caprielian and Mr. Armen Caprielian.
The official opening of Armenian-Canadian artist Areg Elibekian took place on Sunday, June 9. The St. Illuminator Cathedral's John Pashalian Hall was transformed into a veritable art gallery, thanks to the skillful exposition of paintings and perfect lighting.
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian's opening remarks were substantive and to the point. Mr. Elibekian expressed his gratitude to the pastor and the Board of Trustees for their hospitality and efforts. Arevig Caprielian presented an outline of his artistic achievements, as well as his family's artists: Vagharshak Elibekian (Areg's paternal grandfather), Robert Elibekian (Areg's father) and Henry Elibekian (Areg's uncle).​
Areg’s paintings are in permanent collections of prestigious museums and galleries worldwide. His works have been exhibited in numerous countries, including Armenia, Lebanon, Germany, France, Belgium, Canada, and the United States.
Those who wish to view this remarkable exhibition can do so in the forthcoming week. For information contact the Cathedral office, 212-689-5880.
St. Stephen’s Saturday Armenian School hosted its year-end Hantes and 12 th grade graduation last Sunday at the ACEC in Watertown, Massachusetts. Left to right, teacher Vahe Habeshian, graduate Nishan Glorikian, graduate Nora Markarian, Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, principal Mayda Melkonian, graduate Shirag Berejiklian, graduate Karil Ashjian, Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, and school board chair Manuel Pareseghian.

Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian and teachers of Soorp Khatch Church’s Hamasdegh Armenian School in Bethesda, Maryland, with the 8 th grade graduates.
The Kindergarten graduates with Der Hayr and teachers. The year-end hantes and the 8 th grade and kindergarten graduations took place last Sunday.
Birth of Haig Shekerjian (June 13, 1886)

Brigadier General Haig Shekerjian was the first cadet of Armenian descent to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and one of the highest ranking Armenian Americans ever to serve in the U.S. military.

Shekerjian was born on June 13, 1886, in Adabazar, Izmit, Turkey. He moved to the U.S. at the age of five with his parents Hagop, a worker, and Esther (Alexanian), a homemaker. He entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1907 and graduated four years later with a Bachelor of Science degree.

He served in the U.S. army with a commission as second lieutenant of infantry, and from April 1916-February 1917, he participated in the campaign in Mexico against Pancho Villa under General John J. Pershing. During World War I, he served as assistant military attaché in Greece, and then with the Allied armies of the Orient in the Middle East. In 1919 he visited Western and Eastern Armenia with the American military mission, witnessing the desperate circumstances in which Armenians lived. In 1923 he was transferred to the Chemical Warfare Service and stayed with the branch until his retirement in 1946.

Shekerjian became the first Armenian American brigadier-general by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942. He was appointed commanding general of the Chemical Warfare Replacement Training Center from 1942-43, commanding general of Camp Sibert, in Alabama, from 1943-45, and deputy head of the Army and Navy Liquidation Commission, U.S. Middle East Theater of Operations (1945-46).

During World War II, Shekerjian reached out many times to the Armenian American community to garner support for the war effort. He was awarded the Army Commendation Ribbon and the Legion of Merit for his services.

After retirement, Shekerjian was involved in the work of the American National Committee to Aid Homeless Armenians (ANCHA), headed by George Mardikian, the restaurateur and humanitarian based in San Francisco. The organization assisted thousands of Armenians, former German war prisoners taken from the Soviet army, who had been left stranded in Europe, especially in Germany. In 1948 Shekerjian left for Germany, where he became chief ANCHA resident representative near the Armenian Displaced Persons (DPs)’ Camp at Stuttgart. He was instrumental in the relocation of some 3,500 Armenians, mostly to the United States after a bill allowed an exception to the rigid quota of immigration and allowed the DPs to enter the country. Others went to South America and the Middle East.

Brigadier-general Haig Shekerjian passed away in San Francisco on January 22, 1966, at the age of seventy-nine. This distinguished member of the U.S. military is buried at the National Cemetery of San Francisco, along his wife, Helen Bain Shekerjian (1892-1982).

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 

Sts. Vartanantz, Providence, Rhode Island
The participants in the Salt & Light Youth Group with Rev. Fr. Kapriel, counselors, and parents.
The Salt & Light Youth Group of Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence, Rhode Island, concluded its first session with a potluck dinner and program evaluation. The Group discussed future service and social opportunities, as well as church attendance during the summer. The teens and counselors have been meeting every other Monday night during the last three months in a fun and relaxed atmosphere to grow in their friendships and spend time exploring their faith and what it means to them in their everyday life. Each time that they meet, the evening starts off with a casual dinner together, followed by an hour-long session where the teens break up into smaller gender-specific groups. Once in smaller groups, the teens explore different aspects of their Christian faith and the Armenian church with their counselors. The Sts. Vartanantz community is very happy to have begun this new program that was established and guided by the Prelacy. Providence’s Youth Ministry will begin its second session in September and looks forward to welcoming more teens into the program.
St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York
The Salt & Light Group at St. Sarkis Church, which was the first Salt & Light group in the Eastern Prelacy, had a great picnic to end the season, and to begin planning next year’s program of activities.
The Salt & Light Youth Group committee of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, invited members, facilitators and their families for an evening picnic at Manorhaven Park in Port Washington on Friday, May 31. They were blessed with a crystal clear sky and perfect weather to enjoy some great outdoor family fun, including a joint adult/kid soccer game, volleyball game, and hula hoops. Food was provided by a Greek Food Truck, which was parked right next to their picnic area, followed by an Ice Cream truck which was brought in specifically for this picnic and thrilled the kids and adults alike!

Everyone was so happy to see all the smiling faces that evening, including all the parents and grandparents who joined in the fun. It truly turned out to be a spectacular celebration of another successful year of our Salt & Light Youth Group and we look forward to continuing and building upon our successes next year! We wish all of our youth group members and their families a fantastic and safe summer!
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 . This week’s letter is from 8-year old Marine to her sponsor Lucy Papazian of Fredericksburg, Virginia. In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.
Dear Sponsor,
This is Marine. I am eight years old and have a younger sister who is two. My sister, my mom and I live with my grandparents. We don’t have our own place. I always wanted to have it and I hope this day will come. My grandparents’ house is wooden and during the rains the roof leaks. I am glad that the days are getting warmer now and we won’t be cold anymore.
We are very grateful to you for your help. With the money you send us, my mom buys us food. May the spring bring you warmth, joy, and happiness.
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

Fathers like to hear from their children as much as mothers do. So, don't forget to call your father!
Please send your inquiries and comments (English or Armenian) to crossroads@armenianprelacy.org .

Here is a recently received comment and translation:
Առաջնորդարանի Crossroads ելեկէրոնային լրատուն կը ստանամ:

Այս երկտողը կը գրեմ պարզապէս ըսելու համար որ վերջապէս կը կարդամ գրութիւններ որոնք գրուած են հայերէնով մը որ Է այնպէս ինչպէս առ որ անկ է:

Շնորհակալութիւններ և յաջողութիւններ ձեզ:

Լաւագոյն մաղթանքներով՝

Զուարթ Պալըքճեան


I receive the Prelacy’s electronic newsletter Crossroads.
I write these few words to simply say that finally I am reading writings that are written in an Armenian that is suitable and proper.
Thank you and much success to you.
Best regards,
Zivart Balikjian
( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
SIAMANTO ACADEMY— Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: anec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810.
June 10-23 — “The Colours of Life,” by Areg Elibekian, Monday to Friday, noon to 4 pm; Sunday 11 am to 2 pm. St. Illuminator Cathedral’s John Pashalian Hall, 221 East 27 th Street, New York City.

June 16 —Father’s Day Picnic, St. Gregory Church, 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Delicious food, live music, children’s activities.

June 15 —Patriotic Songs by Karnig Sarkissian and performance by Hamazkayin’s Nayiri Dance Ensemble and Arekag Chorus, honor of First Republic of Armenia, 7:30 pm, Assyrian Orthodox Church of Virgin Mary, Paramus, NJ. For information: ARFDRO@gmail.com or ARSAGNOUNI@gmail.com.

June 30-July 7 —33 rd St. Gregory of Datev Summer Institute (ages 13-19) at St. Mary of Providence Center, Elverson, PA. Sponsored by Eastern Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). Information: arec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810.

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.
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 —SAVE THE DATE for a special event organized by the Eastern Prelacy. Details will follow.

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