June 20, 2019
Last weekend, Archbishop Anoushavan traveled to Antelias, Lebanon, where he officiated the ordination of three deacons into the ranks of the celibate clergy of the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia. The deacons who were ordained are: Dn. George Abrahamian, Dn. Moushegh Karagozian, and Dn. Shahe Yacoubian. The sponsoring clergyman for the three ordinands was Very Rev. Fr. Shnorhk Ashekian.

On Saturday, June 15th, 2019, during the evening service, the graduating class of the  Seminary  was invited to the first steps of ordination to the  priesthood , at St. Gregory the Illuminator  #Cathedral , in  Antelias . The deacons moved to the Altar on their knees and read the Charter of the  Catholicosate  of  Cilicia  in the presence of  His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Armenian Church, Holy See of Cilicia , the ordaining Archbishop, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, and the faithful.

On Sunday, June 16th, 2019,  His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Armenian Church, Holy See of Cilicia  presided over the  ordination  and  consecration  ceremony of the newly ordained  priests Archbishop  Anoushavan Tanielian performed the ordination and consecration ceremony. Very Rev. Fr.  Shnorhk Ashekian  served as the P atron  of the Living.
The 40th day requiem service for Archpriest Fr. Moushegh Der Kaloustian will take place this Sunday, June 23, at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. The Divine Liturgy celebrated by Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, begins at 10:30. The Requiem Service will take place immediately after the Liturgy. His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian will preside over the service.
Der Moushegh, who passed away on May 24, served as the pastor of St. Illuminator’s for 30 years until his retirement, at which time he continued to serve the Eastern Prelacy as an outreach priest. Previously he served as pastor of St. Hagop Armenian Church in Racine, Wisconsin, and Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Bible readings for  Sunday, June 23, 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.

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. (Hebrews 9:1-10)

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.” (John 10:22-30)

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

Today, June 20, 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 two prime intercessors to Jesus, the other being the Blessed Mother.
This Saturday (June 22) 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 three feast days in his honor: Entrance into 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 an angelic woman who lowered food and water into the pit each day. 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 23) 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.
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 .

On Sunday, June 16, Fathers and their families from the Sts. Vartanantz, NJ community gathered together with Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian during the Parish's Father's Day celebration, an event which brought together over 120 guests from across the NJ community.
Students and teachers join Archpriest Fr. Daron Stepanian for a photo in the St. Hagop sanctuary.
On Sunday, June 16, parishioners and family members of the Saturday and Sunday School students of St. Hagop Armenian Apostolic Church of Racine WI gathered after Church services for the School's year end program and a joint Father's Day celebration at the Parish.
On Friday, June 14th, the Sts. Vartanantz Church Men's Club and friends, about 15 volunteers altogether, helped feed the homeless once again at the Providence Rescue Mission. About 100 men and women were served a delicious barbecued meal. The Men's Club has been providing a warm meal at the Rescue Mission 4-5 times a year for the past seven years. It's a most rewarding experience for everyone involved. Generous sponsors, including both individuals and organizations in our community, have committed for the next several dinners. This dinner was sponsored by Paylazo and Shoghig Tavitian in loving memory of Manuel Tavitian, in honor of his 10th anniversary, and Dionysia Tavitian, in honor of her 5th anniversary. The next dinner will be in September.
Continuing with their mission of good works, the Men’s Club once again hosted a mass grave blessing at the Oakland Cemetery in Cranston on Saturday, June 15th. The service took place across the street from the Armenian section of the Oakland Cemetery at the Mangasarian family gravestones. Der Kapriel Nazarian, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church performed the service, assisted by Archdeacon Ara Nalbandian and Subdeacon Ari Nalbandian. For anyone who wished, Der Hayr and the Nalbandians also graciously offered to bless individual family gravestones. Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, a strong supporter of the Rhode Island Armenian community, offered remarks and blessings from the City.
Back in the spring of 2016, the Men’s Club adopted a section the size of a football field of the neglected and forgotten Oakland Cemetery off Broad Street in Cranston. Over the last four years, close to 950 lawn bags have been filled and removed, two large piles of tree branches and two trees have been taken down, as the members kept their pledge to maintain the property. Their motto at this hallowed location is “Not in our Backyard.” This is in reference to the destruction of the Julfa Armenian Cemetery gravesites in Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan. The Men’s Club has a record of all the approximately 300 Armenian names of those buried at the cemetery. Annually, Armenian flags are placed at each of the nearly 100 stones for a mass grave blessing. All the stones have been photographed and the pictures sent for inclusion on the Find-A-Grave site for this cemetery. Many donors have generously helped to cover the expenses associated with this large project. Close to 55 members and volunteers have helped make all this possible. All the Armenian clergy are invited to participate in the annual mass grave blessing, along with deacons from their churches.

The graduates of Sts. Vartanantz Sunday School of Ridgefield, NJ, Lianna Isakhanian, and Angela Trozzo standing alongside Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian.
Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy attending the Eighth grade graduation at the Hovnanian School in New Milford, New Jersey, last Friday, June 14. Hayr Soorp congratulated the graduates and expressed warm words of appreciation to the teachers, administrators, parents, board members, and students of the Hovnanian School for another successful year of education.

The Siamanto Academy ended it's sessions for the year on Saturday, June 8. In the picture: Natalie Kiwanian (graduate) and Alex Vartanian with ANEC executive director Dr. Vartan Matiossian
Death of Misak Medzarentz (June 22, 1908)

Modern Armenian literature had tuberculosis as one of its enemies. Several brilliant poets became victim to this cruel illness just as they began flourishing. Among them was Misak Medzarentz.

He was born Misak Medzadourian on January 19, 1886, in the village of Pingian of the district of Akn (Kharpert). The village, situated on the left bank of the Aratzani (the western branch of the Euphrates river), was surrounded by nature and beautiful scenery, which left a deep impression on the future poet and would become the source for wonderful lyrical songs.

In 1892, at the age of six, Misak started his studies at the local Mesrobian School, but his timid character did not help him excel.

The Medzadourians, a well-to-do family, moved to Sepastia (Sivas) in 1895, and Medzarentz continued his studies first at the Aramian School and a year later at the Anatolia College of Marsovan, a boarding school. He befriended several of his classmates and participated more actively in social life, performing in several student plays. His interest in literature led him to wide readings in Armenian, English, and Turkish. He took his first literary steps at this time. According to various contemporaries, he wrote poetry on the walls of his bedroom and the reverse of his brother’s commercial newspapers.

In 1901 there was a crucial episode in the life of Medzarentz. Some Turkish boys took him for one of their rivals, beat and knifed him, and this became the reason for the poet to contract tuberculosis. He was treated during several months at the monastery of Surp Hagop. From 1901-1902, Medzarents worked at the trading house of his brother and first cousin as a supervisor.

In 1902 he went to Istanbul, where his father had been working for several years. He had spent his entire childhood without seeing him. He continued studying at the famed Central College (Getronagan Varjaran), where he studied Armenian history, Armenian and world literature, and French and English. However, the progress of his condition forced him to drop out in 1905.

In 1903, at the age of seventeen, Medzarentz started publishing poetry under various pen names in the Armenian press of Constantinople. He finally opted for the name Misak Medzarentz in 1905. He collected some of his poems in two collections,  Rainbow  and  New Odes,  both published in 1907.  

His literary heritage consists of more than 130 lyrical poems endowed with an exquisite sensitivity and linguistic talent, about a dozen of prose poems and stories, and several literary essays, where he explained his creative principles and defended himself against hostile criticism. He also published several translations from Geoffrey Chaucer, Rudyard Kipling, and Oscar Wilde.

Despite the care and the efforts of his friends and family, Medzarentz passed away, a victim of tuberculosis, on June 22, 1908. His poetic legacy, however, left a powerful impression over generations of Armenian writers.

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

The Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program was established in 1993 and continues to be the central mission of the Prelacy’s programs in Armenia and Artsakh. As part of the program, letters are received regularly from sponsored children addressed to their sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads .
Dear Sponsors,

This is Ani. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to you. I am very happy and proud to have a sponsor like you by my side – kind and caring. I received yet another generous gift from you, $50. Thank you so much!

My sister has vision problems and has to wear glasses. The lenses from her glasses got damaged and my mom didn’t have any money at the moment to order the new ones. The money you sent helped my mom to solve that problem. It was God sent. Thank you very much for your assistance.

I finished sixth grade very recently. Now the summer vacation started. I decided that I am going to study during the summer to be able to be even better student next year.

I wish you all the best: good health and success. May God bless you for all the good you do.

With much love,
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.

Please send your inquiries and comments (English or Armenian) to crossroads@armenianprelacy.org .

( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
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 23 —St. Stephen’s Church of Hartford-New Britain, Connecticut. The Ladies Guild is sponsoring a Food Truck Extravaganza at 1:00pm. "All you can eat”, games, raffle, face-painting, BYOB, $20 in advance; $25 at the door; $10 children under 10.  

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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