June 14, 2018
Today we commemorate the adoption of the flag of the United States, which took place on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. It is not an official Federal holiday, but most states celebrate the day by encouraging citizens to fly the U.S. stars and stripes, along with parades and other festivities. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America. The 13 stripes represent the 13 British colonies that declared independence from Great Britain and became the first states in the United States of America.

The induction service for the newly elected Board of Trustees.
Archbishop Oshagan spoke about the Prelacy’s charitable work in Armenia and Artsakh.
The parish of St. Illuminator's Cathedral enjoyed a wonderful weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, 2018. The Saturday school's year end hantes took place Saturday at the Armenian Center in Woodside. On the same night, the Cathedral's John Pashalian Hall hosted the concert of the Pegasus Chamber, with Karen Hakobyan (piano) and Eiko Kano (violin).

The services on Sunday were presided by His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan. Following the Divine Liturgy an induction service took place for the newly elected Board of Trustees members. After the services, Sunday school students presented their year-end achievements.

The day continued with the presentation of the Armenian Prelacy's "Metsn Nerses" Charitable and Social Organization on the occasion of the charity’s 25 th anniversary. Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian spoke about charity in general, while Archbishop Oshagan presented "Metsn Nerses" activities in Armenia and Artsakh. A successful fundraising initiative concluded the day’s events.

Eiko Kano on the violin and Karen Hakobyan on the piano during a concert at the Cathedral.
St. Nerses the Great is remembered to this day for his extraordinary dedication to charitable endeavors that helped the common people, especially those in great need. The Prelacy’s St. Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization has been honoring the legacy of this great Catholicos and humanitarian through its charitable programs in Armenia and Artsakh. We have been able to grow our charitable works because of the support we have received from our faithful people. The sponsorship of children who have lost one or both parents is continually in need of new sponsors to accommodate the list of eligible children. Please consider sponsoring a child now and continue the commitment until the child’s 18 th birthday. The program has already helped thousands of children. Help us to do more. For more information go to the Prelacy’s website: www.armenianprelacy.org/stnersesthegreat .

All of the parishes within the Eastern Prelacy marked the 25 th anniversary of the St. Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization last weekend by providing their parishioners with information about the charitable work done during the past 25 years through videos and short commentaries about the various charitable programs undertaken by St. Nerses the Great Organization.
Very Rev. Fr. Ghevont Pentezian, pastor of All Saints Church in Glenview, Illinois , reports that during the social hour following the Liturgy, he spoke to the parishioners about the St. Nerses the Great charity and showed several of the short videos that are on the Prelacy’s web page about the various projects in Armenia and Artsakh. The parish provided copies of the flyer distributed by the Prelacy office about the orphan sponsorship program and urged everyone to consider sponsoring a child. Hayr Soorp reports that some people went to the Prelacy’s webpage to make donations or sponsor a child and others took the flyer and envelope home to mail with their check.

Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian, pastor of St. Gregory Church in Granite City, Illinois , reports that his sermon last Sunday focused on the work of the St. Nerses the Great Organization, and during fellowship hour his parish viewed the documentary about the programs in Armenia and Artsakh prepared by the Prelacy. Afterwards some questions posed by parishioners were answered. The flyer about orphan sponsorship was shared through social media and also reproduced in the E-Bulletin. A second plate collection benefitted the charitable programs of the St. Nerses the Great Organization.

Bible readings for Sunday, June 17, 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 (June 16) 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 (June 19) 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).

Also commemorated this week:
Thursday, June 14, St. Theodotus of Galatia
Monday, June 18, Holy Martyrs Antoninus, Theophilus, Anectus, and Photinus

Plans are underway for the 32 nd annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program, a unique Armenian Christian educational program for youth ages 13-18 to enrich their knowledge of the Christian faith in a wholesome and nurturing environment, with recreational activities and daily church services.

Sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Program is scheduled to be held at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from July 1-8, 2018.

For information and registration click here.
The Siamanto Academy completed another successful year. Every second Saturday of each month, September through June, the class met for three hours at the Hovnanian School in New Milford, NJ. The students were introduced to a variety of interesting topics, from history to current events, offered by ANEC Director Dr. Vartan Matiossian. On two occasions this year, they had guest speakers, former alumni of Siamanto Academy Lucine Kasbarian, writer and author of four books, and Anahid Ugurlayan, attorney at law.

As usual, on June, 9th, 2018, the last session of the year, the students were asked to present a topic of their choice. Four out of eight students were present. Karni Dechoian spoke about cities and capitals of Armenia; Zaven Atakhanian had chosen Nagorno Karabagh; Alex Varjabedian talked about Khor Virap, and Natalie Kiwanian, about Armenian singers. It was commendable to see that all students had diligently done their assignment.

Two out of four graduates, Ari Sahagian and Hagop Vartanian, were not present due to unforeseen circumstances. The two present were Karni Dechoian and Zaven Atakhanian. They each received their diplomas, as well as a gift, Historical Atlas of Armenia , from the Prelacy, presented by the ANEC Director and the Chairperson, Mr. Haroutune Misserlian, and another gift, the Treasure Chest of Armenia game, from the Armenian Relief Society of Eastern USA, presented by Ms. Sonia Bezdikian, ARS Executive Board Liaison and ANEC member.

Registration for the next academic year, which will start on September 22, 2018, is open. For information, please email at anec@armenianprelacy.org or call at 212-689-7231.

Deportation to Altai
(June 14, 1949)
The great wave of repression of 1936-1938, which cost the lives of millions of Soviet citizens, had several thousands of victims in Armenia, including many people who were exiled to Siberia. During and after World War II, a second, less well-known wave would shatter many areas of the Soviet Union, including Armenia.

The preparations, in utmost secrecy, started in January 1949. By command of the Ministry of State Security of the USSR, lists of former Armenian Revolutionary members ( Dashnaks ), former war prisoners and members of the Nazi-sponsored Armenian Legions, repatriates, and their families were prepared.

On May 28, 1949, the ministry gave the order, and the next day, the USSR Council of Ministers, with Stalin’s signature, approved the “extremely secret” resolution No. 2214-856: “On the transportation, repopulation, and work allocation of those expelled from the Georgian, Armenian, and Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republics, as well as the coastal areas of the Black Sea.”

A group of high-ranking officials of the Ministry of State Security arrived in Yerevan, led by Lieut.-Gen Yuri Yedunov, deputy head of the Second General Committee. The latter was well experiences in these matters, since he had managed the expulsion of the so-called families of “bandits and kulaks” of Latvia (28,981 people) on March 25-28 of the same year.

On the night of June 13-14, 1949, the unexpected happened. Both the locals, who already knew the Stalin inferno, and the repatriates, who took pains to get used to the whims of the totalitarian regime, were taken by surprise. Deportations were common as punishment from the 1920s, but they had skipped Armenians so far. That night, 2,754 families (12,300 people) were exiled from all regions of Soviet Armenia to the Altai territory, in the southeast of Western Siberia. Around twelve percent (1,578 people) of the deportees were repatriates. Of those families, the greatest number came from Yerevan (461) and Echmiadzin (182). Interestingly, the massive expulsion had no ethnic grounds; the deportees were known by the label of “Dashnaks.” The targeted repatriates were those with former Greek and Turkish citizenship.

They were sent by train in cargo wagons, and traveled for about two weeks until they were placed in the collective farms and state farms of the Altai region, without knowing why they were moved and what their fault was. The mass deportation was legalized much later, from November 1949-June 1950. A special committee adjunct to the Ministry of State Security prepared documents in the name of the elder of the exiled family or the member of the family who was the cause for exile.

The deportees were told that there was no return and they would stay there until their death. They were warned about leaving their area of residence, which would be penalized with 20 years of prison or forced labor. They had to present themselves once a week at the guard’s office to sign papers that confirmed their presence.

The exiles wrote letters addressed to the highest hierarchy of the country (Stalin, Beria, Malenkov, Voroshilov), as well as Grigor Harutiunian, First Secretary of the Armenian Communist Party, asking for leniency and explaining that they had committed no crime to deserve such a punishment. However, most of the time, those letters were useless, and the response was standard: “Your issue is not subject to review.”

The exiled families were involved in lumbering or farming. Neither their education nor their expertise counted. The repatriates, in particular, had big issues with language, since they mostly did not speak Russian, and this complicated their interactions at work and with the authorities. The children received their education only in Russian.

After Stalin’s death, the life of the exiled had some improvement. They were not allowed to return, but they could make “illegal” movements within the region of Altai, change their residence, find another job, et cetera. The authorities started giving encouraging responses to the letters written after Stalin’s death. A special commission was set up in 1954 to review the cases of the deportees. In the next two years, they were absolved of their “crimes,” and by 1956 the overwhelming majority of the exiled families were back in Armenia.

There is very little documentation about this tragic episode of Soviet Armenian history. It remained totally unspoken until the fall of the Soviet Union. Since 2006, June 14 is commemorated in the Armenian calendar as Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Repression. A memorial complex to the victims of repression during Soviet times was opened in Yerevan on December 3, 2008. Today there are some 6,000 victims of repression from 1937 and 1949, and 8,400 descendants of those victims living in Armenia.

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If you are in the Washington, DC area during June 27 to July 8, you might want to check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the international exhibition of living cultural heritage presented annually in the summer in Washington since 1967. The Festival is a celebration of communities and cultures in the United States and around the world. The free event takes place on the National Mall for two weeks. This year Armenia is one of the featured cultures that include daily and evening programs of music, song, dance, performance, crafts, cooking demonstrations, and storytelling. For more information check the website ( https://festival.si.edu ). 

"I desire steadfast love, and not sacrifice. The knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings." 

In this week's Prelacy Reflection Series, Der Stephan Baljian of St. Gregory The Illuminator Church of North Andover, MA, interprets a reading from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 12, further explaining how we view "sacrifice" in the Christian Faith.

Take a look at this week's Prelacy Reflection.
This Sunday, June 17, is Father’s Day. The official celebration of Father’s Day in the United States is relatively new. Although there are references to earlier celebrations, a bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was first introduced in Congress in 1913. But it wasn’t until 1966 that President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

Honor your Dad this Sunday with a special visit, a telephone call, a text, or a fond remembrance. Thanks Dad! Happy Father’s Day.

SIAMANTO ACADEMY— Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. New term begins on September 22, 2018. For information: anec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810.
June 17 —“Yerevan, My Home,” presented by the Areni Choir, 6 pm at Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center, 129 West 67 th Street, New York, NY 10036. Concert is dedicated to Yerevan’s 2800 th anniversary and 100 th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia. Reception to follow. Donation : $50, $40 (children under12, $20). Tickets: Lincoln Center Box Office 212-501-3330; Germaine 917-288-2747; arena.choir@gmail.com .

June 17 —Father’s Day Picnic, 12 noon to 5 pm on the church grounds at 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Enjoy many favorite Armenian dinners including shish kebob and rice pilaf. Homemade pastries and baked goods available for purchase. Enjoy Armenian music and dancing, outdoor activities, and raffle. Admission and parking free.
For information call: 413-543-4763.

June 24— Ways to Wellness: A Panel Discussion on Mental Health -- 1:30 p.m. -- St. Sarkis Armenian Church, 38-65 234th Street, Douglaston, NY. For more information, please contact Anahid at anahide@aol.com (Lecture rescheduled from an earlier date).

July 1-8– Datev Summer Program for youth ages 13-18-- The 32 nd annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Christian Studies Program will take place at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). For information and registration, contact the AREC office – 212-689-7810 or arec@armenianprelacy.org or click here .

July 14— Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, presents “Hye Summer Night XII,” at Crown Plaza Hotel, Warwick, Rhode Island. Entertainment by Onnik Dinkjian, Hatchig Kazarian, Ara Dinkjian, Bruce Gigarjian, and Raffi Massoyan. Dinner/Dance $55.00 (6 pm to 12:30 am); Dance only $35.00 (8 pm). For dinner and table reservations: Joyce Bagdasarian, 401-434-4467 by July 7.

July 21 -- St. Illuminator Cathedral's Huyser Music Ensemble presents a first-of-its-kind Broadway caliber Armenian musical, entitled "We Shall Return Soon," at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Tony Bennett Concert Hall, Long Island City, New York, at 7:45 pm. Written and directed by Huyser's artistic director Harout Barsoumian, this musical is dedicated to the centennial of the first Republic of Armenia, seen through the memories of a 105-year-old Genocide survivor. The musical will feature the participation of Tekeyan Cultural Association's Mher Megerdchian Theatrical Group. For updates and more details, visit  ​ http://www.huysermusic.org .

September 21, 2018 to January 13, 2019 —“Armenia!” a large exhibition dedicated to the medieval period of Armenian history and culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. The exhibit is the first at the Met dedicated solely to Armenia. Curated by Dr. Helen C. Evans.

October 20 —Armenian Friends America, Inc., Sixth Annual HYE KEF 5, featuring world famous Onnik Dinkjian and the All Stars. Double Tree Hotel, Andover, Massachusetts. Details to follow. For more information please visit: www.ArmenianFriendsofAmerica.org .
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