June 27, 2019
On Friday, June 21, Archbishop Anoushavan attended a reception in honor of H.E. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, at the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the UN. The evening was scheduled following Mr. Mnatsakanyan’s special visit to Washington D.C. where he engaged in talks with the U.S. Government. Among the distinguished guests from New York and New Jersey invited by H.E. Mher Margaryan, Permanent Representative to the UN, was Mr. Movses Abelian, newly elected UN Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management.

On Sunday, June 23, the 40th day requiem service for Archpriest Fr. Moushegh Der Kaloustian took place at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian and presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan. Following the liturgy and requiem service, congregants gathered in the Cathedral’s John Pashalian Hall for a “hokejash” prepared by the Ladies Guild of St. Illuminator’s and a short program remembering and celebrating Der Moushegh’s life and dedication to the Church and community.
The Eastern Prelacy’s 33 rd annual St. Gregory of Datev Summer Institute will begin this Sunday, June 30 and continue through the following weekend at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania. Watch for news and updates on Facebook and the Prelacy’s web page.

Bible readings for Sunday, June 30, 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 29) 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 (July 2) 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 27, Holy Princes Sahag and Joseph
Monday, July 1: St. Epiphanius of Cyprus
Wednesday, July 4: St. Theodotus of Galatia

Coinciding with the remembrance of St. Nerses the Great, whose feast day is this Saturday, we express our appreciation for the work of the St. Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization, the Eastern Prelacy’s office for charitable work in Armenia and Artsakh. The St. Nerses Organization was founded 26 years ago by His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, of blessed memory, who at the time served as Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy. Archbishop Mesrob named the charity in honor of St. Nerses because of his many charitable works, and who was given the honorific “the Great” by a grateful nation.

Catholicos Nerses’ pontificate was the beginning of a new modern era. He brought the church closer to the people, rather than to royals and nobles. (See above for more about Nerses the Great).

Support the exceptional work of the St. Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization by sponsoring a child in Armenia and Artsakh.
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 Sponsor,

My name is Sevak. I live in Armenia, in the region of Syunik, in the village of Kornidzor. I am 15 years old and go to 10 th grade in school. Our family consists of four people.
My father was wounded during the Artsakh war and died as a result of his wounds. My mom doesn’t have a job and we barely get by. I help my mom in her everyday chores and because of that I don’t have much time for school work and I am not doing very well in school.

I am not a very demanding person, and I don’t ask my mom for things that I know she cannot give me. She is paying in installments for my books and school supplies.
We don’t have our own house. We live in the house of one of the villagers.
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.

5th Grade Graduates
In June 2019, St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (SSAES) in Watertown, Massachusetts successfully completed its 35th academic year. The graduation ceremonies were held on June 13 (K) and June 14 (Elementary), in the presence of enthusiastic parents and the clergy of the local Armenian churches. On June 14, Dr. Vartan Matiossian, executive director of the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) came specially from New York to attend the Elementary Graduation.

The Kindergarten and the Elementary programs were dedicated both to honor the 35 th Anniversary of the school. Students celebrated this anniversary through song, poem and dance. The Elementary program was also dedicated to the 150 th Anniversaries of Gomidas Vartabed and of our great poet, Hovaness Toumanyan, as well as to the Armenian Press, as Aram Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia announced that this year, is the Year of the Press.

In her address, Principal Boyamian presented the theme of both the June 13 and 14 events and thanked the faculty, the administrative staff, the PTO, the parent volunteers, the school board and committees, the St. Stephen’s Church Board of Trustees, Rev. Fr. Archpriest Antranig Baljian, as well as all the organizations and individuals that contribute to the advancement of the school. The School Board Chair, Levon Barsoumian, also thanked the school committees and parent volunteers. At the Kindergarten graduation night, on June 13, the Preschool Director Maral Orchanian spoke about the work they do to accomplish the Preschool goals and objectives.

Kindergarten Graduates
On June 13, Mrs. Boyamian honored three preschool teachers, Mrs. Laura Terzian and Mrs. Vicky Ashjian for their 10 years of service with the silver logo of the school and Mrs. Anna Kupelian for her 20 years of service with a special gift from the school.

On this day, she also honored the preschool director, Mrs. Maral Orchanian for her 20 years of service (10 years as a preschool teacher and 10 years as the preschool director). After highlighting the distinct attributes of Mrs. Orchanian and her deep commitment to the well-being of her students and teachers, the principal presented her with awards joined by Rev. Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, pastor of the St, Stephen’s Church, and Mrs. Heather Krafian, the co-chair of the education committee. Mrs. Orchanian received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Ministry of the Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia, a Certificate of Appreciation from His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, and a special gift from the school, brought from Armenia. In addition to these, Mrs. Orchanian was presented with two surprises: One of the school’s alumni students, Isabella Balian (Class of 2014) spoke eloquently about her experience being a student of Mrs. Orchanian, followed by a song performed by the preschool students dedicated to Mrs. Orchanian.

On June 14, Mrs. Boyamian recognized the 20 years of dedicated service of Mrs. Ardemis Megerdichian (Grades 1-5 Armenian Teacher). She stressed the fact that Mrs. Megerdichian not only teaches the Armenian language and history, but she also instills in her students the Armenian spirit and immense love for Armenia. She mentioned that in addition to teaching, Mrs. Megerdichian prepares the program for Graduation Night, the program of the Graduating Class Trip to Armenia, and encourages her fifth graders to write and illustrate books, that they later present to the younger grades.

Rev. Archpriest Antranig Baljian, Mrs. Krista Aftandilian (co-chair of the education committee) and Dr. Matiossian joined the Principal in presenting the awards to Mrs. Megerdichian who received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia, a Certificate of Appreciation from His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, and a special gift from the school, brought from Armenia. In addition to these, Mrs. Megerdichian was presented with two surprises. One of our alumni students, Meghri DerVartanian (Class of 2008) spoke eloquently about her experience being a student of Mrs. Megerdichian, followed by a song performed by Grades 2 and 3 students dedicated to her.

After the performance of all the grades, Archpriest Antranig Baljian, as well as Dr. Vartan Matiossian expressed their appreciation to the administration and faculty for their dedication and effort, in providing an excellent education to all students.

Rev. Archpriest Antranig Baljian and Principal Boyamian presented the diplomas. Dr. Vartan Matiossian joined them on June 14 during the presentation of the awards. This year, the Prelacy Award for Excellence in Armenian Studies was the silver coin of Levon the 1 st . Coincidentally this year is the 800 th Anniversary of the passing of Levon I.

Twenty students graduated from the Elementary School bringing the total number of graduates to 328. The 2019 graduates are: Vartan Arakelian, Andre Bashirians, Julia Chapian, Lara Chekijian, Sonya Haleblian, Gacia Haserjian, Saro Iskenderian, Anais Kahvejian, Lea Karapetian, Sarine Markarian, Narineh Mardiros, Zulal Mardinian, Gassia Minassian, Nareg Minassian, Nicholas Nalbandyan, Vicken Panian, Alla Petrosyan, Arinne Stepanian, Sophia Tinkjian and Nshaun Yacoubian.

For more information about the school and list of award winners go to the school’s web site: www.ssaes.org/ .

The Graduating Class performing an Armenian Dance.

St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School of Watertown, Massachusetts, is very proud to announce that new graduate Vartan Arakelian (11 years old) participated in the 2019 International Mathematical Olympiad and became the recipient of the George Lenchner Award for a Perfect Score as well as the winner of Gold Pin in the Elementary Division.

He also participated in the optional Middle School Division contest (designed for Seventh and Eighth graders) and won the Silver Pin .

Vartan was among 108,723 students worldwide to participate in this International Mathematical Olympiad. 
Death of Garnik Stepanian (July 1, 1989)

One of the best specialists of Western Armenian culture in Soviet Armenia, Garnik (Der) Stepanian was born on February 14, 1909, in the village of Mamakhatoun, district of Derjan, in the area of Erzinga. In May 1915 most Armenians of Derjan were killed during the genocide; many were forcibly converted to Islam, and the remainders were deported towards Der-Zor. Young Garnik managed to survive and, after the war, he reached Sepastia, where he received elementary education. In 1923 he was moved to Greece together with many Armenian orphans, where he found shelter in the orphanages of Edipsos, Khalkis, and Oropos. Two years later, he found his way to Egypt and worked for the next five years as a typesetter in the daily Arev and the printing house Voskedar.

Stepanian’s life would make a turn in 1930 when he immigrated to Soviet Armenia and found his lost parents there. He continued working as a typesetter, this time at the first printing shop of the State Publishing House. In 1938 he graduated from the Faculty of Philology of Yerevan State University. Meanwhile, he taught Armenian language and literature at the Alexander Tamanian technical school (1937-1939), and Classical Armenian at the Faculty of Philology from 1939-1940. He was a student of famous linguist Hrachia Ajarian, about whom he would write an intriguing memoir (1976).

He wore several hats in the editorial world: he worked at the daily Sovetakan Hayastan, the monthly Sovetakan Hayastan (published for the Armenians of the Diaspora), and the monthly Teghekagir, the social studies publication of the Academy of Sciences of Armenia. In 1943 he became a member of the Writers Union of Armenia and two years later, he published the first novel about the Armenian Genocide in Soviet Armenia, Nightmarish Days (1945), based on his own experience, which was reprinted three times.

Garnik Stepanian worked at the Institute of Literature of the Academy, directed the Museum of Literature and Art from 1954-1963, and was a researcher at the Institute of Art of the Academy from 1963 until his death. He became a prolific and well-regarded name as a historian of Armenian culture, specializing in the fields of Western Armenian literature and theater. He authored monographs about several famous actors in the history of Western Armenian theater, like Bedros Atamian, Arusiag Papazian, Megerdich Djanan, and Siranush, a volume of correspondence by Atamian, and a memoir about another famous actor, Vahram Papazian. His most important contribution to the field was the seminal three-volume monograph, Outline of the History of Western Armenian Theater (1962, 1969, 1975). He would also delve into the theater of the Diaspora, with a series entitled Essays on the History of Diasporan Armenian Theater, of which he managed to write two volumes on French-Armenian (1982) and Armenian-American theater (posthumously published, 2008).  

Stepanian not only published monographs on two famous Western Armenian writers, Arpiar Arpiarian (1955) and Hagop Baronian (1956, 1964), but he also translated from Turkish into Armenian the first Turkish novel, Hovsep Vartanian’s Akaby (1953, originally published in 1851), and several works by Baronian.

Another important contribution by Stepanian to the field of Armenian Studies was his three-volume Biographical Dictionary (1973, 1981, 1990), which unfortunately remained unfinished .   

In 1967 he earned the title of Emeritus Art Worker of Armenia and four years later he defended his second doctoral thesis in the field of art. In 1980 he was a co-winner of the State Prize of Armenia for the five-volume collective work, History of Modern Armenian Literature.

Stepanian passed away on July 1, 1989, in Yerevan. Among his posthumous works is an especially remarkable 600-page monograph on the history of his birthplace, Erzinga (2005). 

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

Armenian Letters as Numbers
When the Arabic numbers—evolving from Indian numerals—had not yet surfaced, making the mathematician’s life easier, each language had to deal with the issue of representing numbers in a different way.

The Romans had a small set of letters that doubled as numerals: I (1), V (5), X (10), L (50), C (100), M (1000).

Mesrop Mashtots had dealt with this problem when he invented the Armenian alphabet in the early fifth century. He used the entire alphabet to represent numbers and not just six letters as the Romans did.

In this way,
Single digits: ա ( a ) to թ ( t )
Double digits: ժ ( zh ) to ղ ( gh)
Triple digits: ճ ( j ) to ջ ( ch )
Quadruple digits: ռ ( rr ) to ք ( k ).
For instance, the number ԼԲ ( LP) is 32 = Լ (30) + Բ (2).
There was a special sign for the number 10,000. It was a short line called բիւր ( pioor ) and it was written above the letter. For instance, the letter ա (a ) with the sign was 10,000 or մէկ բիւր ( meg pioor ), and the letter ժ ( zh) with the same sign was 100,000 or տասը բիւր ( dasuh pioor ).
Armenians started using Arabic numerals around the seventeenth century. In this way, the usage of Armenian letters as numerals fell out of circulation. However, as it happens with the Roman numbers in English, they are still used as ordinal numbers in some particular cases in Modern Armenian, for instance, in the names of kings or Catholicoi. This is how we have Տրդատ Գ. ( Dertad K., with a period after the number) = Dertad III or Արամ Ա. ( Aram A. ) = Aram I.
Even though we use the full word in English to designate a century (i.e. “twenty-first century”), it is still common in Armenian to use the ordinal number. For instance, we say ԻԱ. ( IA = Ի (20) + Ա. (1) = 21).

Incidentally, the word for “century” is դար ( tar ).

Centuries have gone, but some traditions still remain in place.

In this week's reflection, Rev. Fr. Bedros Shetilian, pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator of Springfield, MA reflects upon a powerful verse from the book of Matthew 12:7 "I desire mercy not sacrifice." 

Let's take a look into this week's reflection.
The Prelacy’s Bookstore manager recently received the following letter.
Harkeli Rita,
Thank you for shipping my order, and also including prayer cards, and also a copy of "The Word of God." This is very generous. Deeply appreciated.
You can include me in the mailing (including email) list of the Prelacy, so that I stay informed all the time and get religious and spiritual newsletters.
I live in NH where there is no [Armenian] church at all close to me (almost isolated). Everything is far, there is no Armenian community either, I feel isolated. I hope one day there will be an Armenian Church in NH so that I don't have to drive long distances to attend the Divine Liturgy.
Have a blessed day,
Kevork (Topalian ) Haddad
Note from editor: Have something to say that you would like to share? Send to Crossroads@armenianprelacy.org .

( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
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.

August 11 —St. Stephen’s Armenian Church (Watertown, MA) welcomes all to its annual picnic at Camp Haiastan. Enjoy delicious kebabs and refreshments as you listen to live Armenian music. Under the auspices of H.E. Archbishop Anoushavan. Blessing of the Grapes and Madagh at 3 pm. Rain or shine. For information: (617) 924-7562.

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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