June 22, 2017

The 50th anniversary of the ordination of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan will take place on Sunday, October 29, under the auspices and presence of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia.  

The celebratory day will begin with a special Divine Liturgy at St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, beginning at 10 am. A reception and dinner will follow at The New York Palace, 455 Madison Avenue, New York City.  

Yesterday evening the first joint meeting of the Steering and Banquet Committees took place at the Prelacy offices, under the chairmanship of His Grace Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General, to plan a worthy and proper celebration of the fifty years of distinguished service rendered by His Eminence to the Armenian Church and Nation. During the coming weeks we will share the exciting details. For now, please reserve the new date: Sunday, October 29.


The annual Summer Camp for children enrolled in the Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship Program will take place for the eighth consecutive summer from July 8 to 15. The camp program is organized by the Prelacy’s charitable office in Yerevan, “The St. Nerses the Great Charitable Organization,” and is directed by Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, pastor of St. Stephen Church in Connecticut. 

As in past years, Archbishop Oshagan directed Prelacy parishes to pass a special plate collection last Sunday, June 18, and this coming Sunday, June 25, to help defray the expenses of the camp.


Each year about fifty children enrolled in the Prelacy’s orphan sponsorship program are selected to attend the summer camp, where they receive daily instruction in Bible studies, Armenian Church history and rituals, along with recreational sports, games, and field trips.


Der Aram has indicated his willingness to visit any parish that wishes to have more details about the summer camp. Contact Der Aram by email (aramstep2@gmail.com).  Donations may also be sent directly to the Prelacy payable to “Armenian Apostolic Church of America,” with “Summer Camp” indicated in the memo area. Mail to 138 E. 39th Street, New York, NY 10016.


Near East Foundation has announced a free screening of the critically acclaimed documentary, “They Shall Not Perish,” on Wednesday, June 28, at the Jacob Burns Center in Pleasantville, New York beginning at 7:30 pm. After the screening, there will be a Q&A. Although the event is free, registration is necessary because of limited seating. To register click here.  

The one-hour documentary film features the stories of individuals who witnessed the Armenian Genocide and of the American people who rallied their country to provide the largest non-governmental humanitarian response undertaken up until that time. Motivated by nothing but a moral sense of duty, these men and women—among them industrialists, ambassadors, missionaries, teachers, nurses, admen, and Presidents—helped bring care and comfort to millions of suffering Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian refugees in extremely harrowing environments.  

Executive Producer Shant Mardirossian, inspired by his grandparents’ escape and survival during the genocide, says he produced this film “not just to remember those we lost in the genocide, but to shed light on an important chapter of American history when ordinary citizens stood together against a great injustice and saved the lives of 132,000 orphans.

For more information and to watch the trailer, visit: www.theyshallnotperish.com


Bible readings for Sunday, June 25, Third Sunday after Pentecost, Eve of the Fast of our Holy Father St. Gregory the Illuminator, are: Isaiah 1:2-15; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 12:1-8.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned—sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.  

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.  

Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:12-21)


At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath. (Matthew 12:1-8)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings  Click Here.

This Saturday (June 24) the Armenian Church commemorates Catholicos Nerses the Great and Khat the Bishop. Nerses the Great was the father of Catholicos Sahak I. He succeeded two catholicoi whose reigns were unexceptional, and the people were eager to return to the line of their beloved Gregory the Illuminator. Nerses was a student of St. Basil of Caesarea, one of three great Cappadocian Fathers. Nerses’ pontificate was the beginning of a new era. He brought the church closer to the people, rather than to royals and nobles. He convened the Council of Ashtishat that resulted in numerous laws on issues related to marriage, worship, and customs. He built many schools, hospitals, and monasteries. He sent monks to preach the Gospel throughout the country. His bold actions resulted in great displeasure by the royal family and in 373 he was reportedly poisoned by the king. His accomplishments for the spiritual and social well-being of the common people earned him the gratitude of the entire nation and the honorific “Great.”

Khat the Bishop worked closely with St. Nerses the Great. Like Nerses he had great passion for social issues, especially helping the poor. Nerses entrusted most of the benevolent work of the church to Khat. He is so closely associated with St. Nerses that the church honors them on the same day.

By the light of unspeakable grace of your divine knowledge you arose on the land of Armenia, merciful heavenly Father; have compassion on us who have sinned. Saint Nerses, pure in soul, from birth you were chosen to inherit the paternal lot of shepherding righteously and lawfully. You adorned the Church with the laws of truth and established good order within it; through his prayers have mercy on us, O Christ. With great honor Saint Nerses was honored by the blessed chosen holy fathers of the Council where he confessed the Spirit true God with Father and Son. You revealed to Saint Nerses the hidden mystery of times yet to come; through his prayers have mercy on us, O Christ. At the command of the heavenly King he accepted the cup of death from the king and was translated into heaven into the heavenly nuptial chamber.  (Canon to the Holy Patriarch Nerses the Great from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)


This Tuesday (June 27) the Armenian Church remembers Constantine the Great and his mother, Helena. Constantine was the first Christian emperor of Rome. In 330 he founded Constantinople as a “second Rome,” and considered himself to be a servant of God. He was buried amid the apostles in the basilica he founded in their honor in Constantinople. Helena followed her son in becoming a Christian and devoted her life to charitable work. She built many churches and monasteries and is believed to have played an important role in the recovery of the true cross in Golgotha. She is also believed to have helped find Christ’s exact place of burial where later the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built.  

Also commemorated this week:

Thursday, June 22: Sts. Sahag and Hovsep the Princes and Sts. Sarkis and Pacchus the Martyrs.

Monday, June 26: St. Epiphanius of Cyprus and St. Babylas.



Last week at the Catholicosate in Antelias, Lebanon, two hundred women were recognized for completing a course that included Bible studies, church history and traditions, prayers and hymns, offered by the Christian Education Department. In his address at the closing ceremony, His Holiness focused on the Armenian family. He recalled that he had dedicated the year 2004 as “The Year of the Family,” because of the important role of the family in preserving the faith of the nation, its history and culture. He described the family as the “small church, school and motherland.” His Holiness pointed out that whenever Armenians have lost their homeland, the family—as “the small school,”—has preserved the culture and the language. He described how stranded mothers taught the Armenian alphabet to their children by writing in the sands of Deir Zor. The Armenian family acted like “the small homeland” by preserving the dreams and hopes of the people.


His Holiness emphasized the indispensable role of the family in the Diaspora and Armenia today. He expressed his concerns at the growing rate of the decline of the family, and emphasizing that the Armenian family, along with the church and the school, is one of the three key institutions in the community. He encouraged families to study and be guided by the Bible and by Gregory of Narek’s Book of Prayers. He again stated that during “our historical difficulties, the family kept the nation from perishing by preserving the values of the Armenian nation and contributing to the collective life of the community.”


During the weekend of June 10 and 11, two new priests were ordained in Antelias. During the evening service on Saturday Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian, Prelate of Peria (Syria), began the first step in the ordination process. Very Rev. Fr. Bedros Manuelian acted as the witness on behalf of the community, as Deacons Hrair Daghlian and Movses Khatchadourian, moved toward the altar on their knees. On Sunday during the Divine Liturgy, Very Rev. Fr. Bedros led the deacons to the altar, where they renounced their worldly life and offered themselves to God and the Church. Archbishop Shahan anointed their foreheads and hands, and were renamed after kings of Cilicia: Deacon Hrair as Hetoum and Deacon Movses as Ashod. After the sermon, the members of the Brotherhood kissed the hands and foreheads of the newly ordained priests. The ceremony concluded with blessings offered by His Holiness Aram, congratulations from the congregation, and a reception in honor of the new priests.

The 31st annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute summer program for youth ages 13-18 is scheduled to be held at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from July 2-9, 2017. Sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the summer program offers a unique weeklong Christian educational program for youth. It aims to instill and nurture the Armenian Christian faith and identity in our youth through a variety of educational activities, coupled with daily church services and communal recreational activities. For information and registration, please visit the Prelacy’s website or contact the AREC office by email ( arec@armenianprelacy.org ) or telephone (212-689-7810). 
Giselle Krikorian, a student at the Mesrobian Saturday School at St. Gregory Church in Granite City, Illinois, who participated in the ARS Armenian Essay competition was awarded third place for her essay about keeping the Armenian identity.  Janet Haroian, chair of the local ARS Roubena chapter, presented Giselle with her gift last Sunday during a reception in her honor, during which Giselle read her winning essay.
The 8th grade graduation at Hovnanian School in New Milford, New Jersey, took place last Friday afternoon. The graduates and their principal, Mrs. Shake Tashjian, pose with Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar of the Prelacy, Very Rev. Fr. Vazken Karaian, pastor of Holy Cross Church in Union City, and Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey.
Fathers in attendance gather around Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General, and Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, at the Fathers Day Picnic sponsored by the Sunday School last Sunday on the church grounds.
The closing hanteses of St. Illuminator Cathedral’s Eastern and Western Armenian Schools took place on Friday, June 2, (Eastern) and Saturday, June 17 (Western).

Friday school students staged “The Liar” – a fairytale by Hovhannes Tumanyan.  A reception followed during which parents, students and teachers expressed their feedback and expectations for the new term. The parents were generally satisfied with their children’s improved level of knowledge of Armenian.

Saturday school students culminated their activities with a recital prepared and presented by the teachers and students. Welcoming remarks were given by Mrs. Mary Yaralian, Principal. In his closing remarks Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, congratulated the teachers, parents and students on their accomplishments.

On behalf of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian thanked Mrs. Yaralian, who recently  resigned as principal for personal reasons. Der Mesrob told her, “We appreciate your dedicated service to St. Illuminator’s Saturday School and community. Please accept our sincere thanks for your service and our best wishes for the future.”

The students of the Friday school who are learning Eastern Armenian.
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian with the teachers and students of the Saturday school where Western Armenian is taught.

The Sunday School of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, is planning a one-week session of Shushanig Summer Camp for ages 4 to 12, from August 14 to 20, 9 am to 2 pm. Admission is free for the exciting week of lessons, hymns, and games. Snacks and lunch provided. For information: Aida Gharibian, 201-835-0869 gibbsdoll@hotmail.com or Celina Bozoian, 201-562-4402 celinabozoian@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 20th, was World Refugee Day. The Pew Research Center estimates that 65.3 million people have been driven from their homes by war and persecution. In Syria six out of ten families are displaced from their homes as a result of the ongoing crises.

The crisis in Syria requires our financial assistance.
Please keep this community in your prayers, your hearts, and your pocketbooks.





Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Armenian Apostolic Church of America
(Memo: Syrian Armenian Relief)

Thank you for your help.

As stated above, June 20th was World Refugee Day, and it was the day of the re-launch of the song “The Promise” by Chris Cornell, who tragically died last month. One of his last projects was a new music video for this song which not only brings to light Armenian history but that of all refugees struggling today. The plight of displaced people was close to his heart and the new video was knowingly released on World Refugee Day. In one of his last interviews, Chris Cornell spoke eloquently about the 65 million people displaced by violence, and the relationship between human rights abuses of the past and those today. We can honor Chris’s commitment to human rights by watching and sharing his last interview and official music video. Please pass it along to all of your contacts.

And please keep in mind that a DVD of The Promise is scheduled to be released next month.

Birth of Krikor Zohrab (June 26, 1861)

Known as the “prince of the Armenian short novel,” he was also a skillful and highly regarded lawyer, as well as an experienced member of the Ottoman Parliament. His parliamentarian immunity, however, was violated to turn him into one of the victims of the first wave of arrests and killings of intellectuals that began on April 24, 1915.

Krikor Zohrab was born into a wealthy family in the district of Beshiktash (Constantinople) on June 26, 1861. He started his elementary studies at the local Makruhian School. In 1870 his father passed away and his mother remarried, this time to a noted lawyer. Zohrab’s family moved to Ortakeuy, where he and his brother Mihran continued their education at the local Tarkmanchats School. In 1876 he entered the Galatasaray Institute, sponsored by the French government, which was the only institution of higher education in the Ottoman Empire at the time. He graduated in 1880 with a degree in civil engineering, but rather than working in that field, he went to work in his stepfather’s law office, and entered the law section of the Galatasaray Institute, which was soon closed due to lack of Muslim students (it had 45 Armenian, 2 Muslim, 2 Jewish, and 3 Greek students). In 1882 he enrolled in a newly opened law school, the Imperial University of Jurisprudence, but left two years later without graduating. In 1884 he passed an exam in the city of Edirne and obtained the title of lawyer.

Zohrab had already entered the literary field in 1878, becoming a contributor to the daily Lrakir at the age of 17. In the 1880s he would become one of the prolific names in the literary movement of the time. In 1885 he was the publisher of the journal Yergrakount of the Asiatic Society, edited by the famous satirical writer Hagop Baronian. He published there his first novel, A Disappeared Generation, which he released in book format in 1887. He edited the literary journal Masis in 1892-1893, to which he also frequently contributed with novellas. He also wrote for the dailies Arevelk and Hairenik. He joined the trend of realism, propelled by French writers such as Guy de Maupassant and Émile Zola, and became the master of this current genre, which became the only one to be called “school” in Armenian literature. 

Zohrab married Clara Yazejian in 1888. They had four children: Levon, Dolores, Aram, and Hermine. Dolores Zohrab-Liebmann would later become a philanthropist in New York City. In 1891 he was elected delegate to the National Assembly, but his election was annulled in a session of the Assembly because he was not yet thirty years old.

He took a long break from literature in 1893-1898, which included the impact of the Hamidian massacres of 1894-1896, devoting himself to his profession. He was well known to foreign citizens living in Constantinople, because he often represented them in the first commercial court, due to his knowledge of French. He was also a translator and legal advisor to the Russian embassy in Constantinople, and managed cases for Russian citizens. He also had the right to freely travel in Europe.

Masis, now a daily, made a comeback in 1898, again edited by Zohrab, who returned to his literary endeavors, coupling them with his professional activities, where he had already acquired a prestigious name. However, in 1906, after he defended a Bulgarian revolutionary in a criminal case, accusing a Turkish official of torture, he was disbarred. He went to Paris, where he published a law monograph in French. He was planning to settle in Egypt with his family when the Young Turk coup d’état of 1908 and the restoration of the Ottoman Constitution changed his plans. He returned to Constantinople, where he was elected member of the Ottoman Parliament. He was known for his eloquent speeches.  He vehemently defended Armenian interests and rights. After the double Adana massacre of April 1909, he strongly criticized the Turkish authorities for their actions and demanded that those responsible be brought to justice.

To serve the Armenian cause, he wrote an influential paper in French called “La question arménienne à la lumière des documents” (The Armenian Question under the Light of Documents), published in 1913 under the pseudonym Marcel Leart in Paris. It dealt with many aspects of the hardships endured by the Armenian population and denounced the government’s inaction.

Also in 1909-1911 he gathered his novellas and short stories in three volumes, Life as It Is, Silent Pains, and Voices of Conscience. He also published Known Figures, portraits of contemporaries, and From the Traveler’s Journal, a series of travelogues.

Simultaneously with the Ottoman Parliament, Zohrab also became a member of the Armenian National Assembly. He raised the issue of reforms for the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, which led to the signature of the Russo-Turkish agreement in January 1914, thwarted after the beginning of World War I.

After the wave of arrests of intellectuals on April 24 and the following days, Zohrab pleaded for the liberation of his compatriots and the cessation of the ongoing atrocities. He was personally acquainted and friends with many officials, including Ministry of Interior Talaat Pasha. However, his efforts were useless. Despite their parliamentary immunity, Zohrab and his colleague Vartkes Serengulian were both arrested on May 21, 1915, and dispatched to Diyarbakır for a purported trial by court martial. They were sent to Aleppo, where they remained for a few weeks, waiting for the result of attempts to have them sent back to Constantinople, to no avail. They were dispatched to Urfa, and killed in the outskirts of the town between July 15 and 20, 1915.

Krikor Zohrab’s memory as an outstanding writer and lawyer has remained alive for a century. His books have been widely published in popular and critical editions and his short stories have been included in many school textbooks. Most recently, on May 3, 2017, a plaque honoring him, in memory of the Armenian Genocide, was inaugurated at the School of Lawyers of the Appellate Court of Paris.

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

Assistant Communications Director

The Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America is seeking applicants for the position of Assistant Communications Director that will lead to the position of Communications Director.

The successful applicant will work with the Director of Communications and Publications to assist with all aspects of public relations and communications. Applicant must be able to manage multiple deadlines, be attentive to details, and respect and understand the religious culture and history of the Armenian people.

Duties include assisting the Director of Communications in, but not limited to, the following:

  • Write and/or edit press releases.

  • Write and/or edit articles for semi-annual magazine.

  • Help produce text for weekly electronic newsletter.

  • Work with Communications Officer on internet based programs, including web page and social media.

  • Edit and prepare projects (books, booklets, brochures) for printing.



  • Bachelor’s Degree in Communications or related field or Liberal Arts.

  • Minimum 3-5 years experience.

  • Strong writing skills.

  • Skill with social media channels and other communications mediums to showcase Prelacy projects and programs.

  • Knowledge of Armenian language and Armenian Church is a plus.


Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.


Please send a cover letter and CV to:

    Dr. Vazken Ghougassian, Executive Director



Last Sunday’s Reflection was offered by Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York. To watch click here.

New Publications:


By Taline Badrigian

Oorakh Khozooguh is a board book written in Armenian and transliterated. The story, told in rhyme, tells of a group of animal who go out to play with their friends. When they arrive, an unidentified smell sets them on a path to giving their friend Pig a bath. Later when Pig returns to play in the mud his friends realize that this is what pigs do and accept him just the way he is.

Oorakh Khozooguh, 14 pages, board book, $15


By Susan Barba  

Fair Sun is a collection of poems by Susan Barba who first focuses on the idea of connection with the natural world as well as with human beings. The second section features prose poems where a child speaks with her grandfather about his survival of the Armenian Genocide as well as his childhood memories of living with nature. The last section is comprised of lyric poems that take place in New England and discuss topics such as life and death, sympathy, and individuality in the collective.  

Fair Sun, soft cover, 85 pages, $18


By Trinity

String Harmonies is a collection of 11 tracks featuring Antranig Kzirian on oud, Yervand Kalajian on violin, and Vik Momjian on bass. The compositions are all Armenian but from different eras (1800s to 1970s) and regions (traditional Armenian folk; Ottoman/Anatolian; and classical Soviet-era (post Armenian Genocide). Three out of the 11 pieces are original compositions by the band members.  

String Harmonies, 11 tracks, $15/CD

For information or to order these or any other book or gift item, contact the Prelacy Bookstore by email at books@armenianprelacy.org or telephone, 212-689-7810.

October 2-6—Clergy Conference for Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies will take place in Montreal, hosted by the Prelacy of Canada.

October 7—Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey presents “The Battle of the Bands.” Dance all night with two bands featuring Onnig Dinkjian and Kevork Artinian. Mezza and Dessert tables. For information and reservations contact: Bea Movsesian 201-445-6867; Lynn Mahlebjian 201-739-6217; Silva Kouyoumdjian 201-779-6744.

October 14—Armenian Friends of America, Inc., present “Hye Kef 5,” a five hour dance featuring Onnik Dinkjian with John Berberian (Oud); Mal Barsamian (Clarinet); Ara Dinkjian (keyboard); Ron Tutunjian (Dumbeg), at DoubleTree by Hilton, 123 Old River Road, Andover, Massachusetts. Tickets: $55 (before September 1); $65 (after September 1); $50 for students 21 and under. Continuous buffet 7:30 to 9:30 pm; coffee and dessert will follow. Advance tickets only. Proceeds will benefit five Armenian churches. For information: Sharke Der Apkarian 978-808-0598.

October 29CHANGE OF DATE / SAVE THE DATE. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ordination of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, under the auspices and presence of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia. Divine Liturgy at St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, at 10 am. Followed by reception and dinner at The New York Palace, 455 Madison Avenue, New York City.

December 5-8—World General Assembly of the Great House of Cilicia, at the Catholicosate in Antelias, Lebanon.

The Armenian Prelacy 
Tel: 212-689-7810 ♦ Fax: 212-689-7168 ♦ Email: email@armenianprelacy.org

Visit the Catholicosate webpage at http://www.armenianorthodoxchurch.org/en/