June 28, 2018
Today the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Elisha the Prophet, whose life and works are recorded in 1 and 2 Kings. Elisha (“God is Salvation”) was a disciple of the Prophet Elijah, who at God’s command anointed Elisha, a simple farmer, to be his successor much like Jesus later did in calling his disciples in Galilee. Elisha performs miracles, healing the sick and reviving the dead, a harbinger of the Gospel miracles. His message to his followers was that they should return to traditional religious practices and acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all aspects of life. When he healed the sick it was to demonstrate God’s power over life and death: when he helped in battle, it was to demonstrate God’s power over nations.

It is an exciting time to be in Washington, D.C., with the President of Armenia visiting the U.S. capital to celebrate the 100 th anniversary of U.S.-Armenia relations, along with a number of important events, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival that this year is featuring the culture of Armenia. Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar of the Eastern Prelacy, has been in D.C. representing the Prelacy and Archbishop Oshagan at a number of events.

On Tuesday an all-day symposium took place on “New Topics in Armenian History and Culture” at the Library of Congress. Tuesday evening, a Congressional celebration of 100 years of U.S.-Armenia Relations took place at the Dirksen Senate Office Building with members of Congress, community leaders, U.S. and Armenia diplomats attending, sponsored by the ARF Eastern USA, ANCA, and the Embassy of Armenia. Yesterday an ANCA Breakfast Briefing took place at the ANCA offices, as well as congressional visits, independence celebrations, and the official grand opening of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This evening there will be a ceremony in honor of President Sarkissian at the Armenian Embassy and the unveiling of a statue of Armen Garo, the first ambassador to the United States of the first Armenian Republic. 

Clergy performed Andastan service on the Great Mall with the presence of President and Mrs. Sarkissian.
With HMEM Scouts.
With ANCA Summer Interns.
With ANCA organizing committee.
Bible readings for Sunday, July 1, Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, (Eve of the Fast of Transfiguration), are: Isaiah 3:1-11; Romans 11:13-24; Matthew 14:13-21.

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry in order to make my own people jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree, do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in. That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And even those of Israel, if they do not persist in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree. (Romans 11:13-24) 


Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.  (Matthew 14:13-21) 

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

On Saturday (June 30) the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Twelve Apostles of Christ and Saint Paul, who is considered the “thirteenth apostle.”

Jesus selected twelve apostles to carry on His work and instructed them to preach and to baptize converts all over the world (Mt. 28:19-20). He gave the title “apostle” to the twelve (Luke 6:13; Mark 3:14). The word apostle derives from the Greek word apostellein ( arakyal in Armenian). The apostles dedicated their lives to spreading the Word and fulfilling the sacred mission entrusted to them. Their mission was not just to transmit the message but to put it into practice.

Paul was initially an enemy of Christians and persecuted them. He had a vision on the road to Damascus and became a fervent Christian convert and was subsequently responsible in large measure for the rapid spread of the new religion. Most of the New Testament (aside from the four Gospels) is from the writings of Paul.

The Armenian Church has its roots in the apostolic ministry and succession (Thaddeus and Bartholomew) and is therefore known as “apostolic,” ( arakelagan ). The apostles and immediate successors (including the Armenian Church) defended the Orthodox faith and kept it pure.

“You received your sight, you saw the unspeakable paradise and the third heaven, you contemplated the higher things, interpreter of profound mysteries, thirteenth holy Apostle Paul, father of all, intercede for us before the Lord.”
From the Sharagan (hymn) of the Twelve Apostles

This Sunday, the sixth Sunday after Pentecost, is the Paregentan of the Fast of the Transfiguration—the five-day (Monday to Friday) period of fasting prior to the Feast of the Transfiguration ( Aylagerboutyan / Vartavar ) that we will celebrate next Sunday, July 8.

V. Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, graduated from Boston College on May 21, with a Master of Arts degree in Theology and Ministry. Hayr Sourp presented and defended his master’s thesis with distinction in March. The focus of his thesis is “The Holy Spirit in the Hymns of Pentecost in the Armenian Church Liturgy.”

Hayr Sahag began his service to the Eastern Prelacy in 2013. He was born in Yerevan, Armenia, and studied at the Armenian Theological Seminary in Antelias, Lebanon, for nine years and was ordained a celibate priest in 2006. He served the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia for four years as pastor to the Armenian community of Salonica, Greece. In 2016 he was elevated to the rank of Dzayrakooyn Vartabed, (Archimandrite Superior), by order of His Holiness Catholicos Aram in services officiated by Archbishop Oshagan at St. Stephen’s Church in Watertown, Massachusetts.

We congratulate Hayr Soorp on this latest achievement in his pursuit of higher education and goal of greater service to the Armenian Church.

Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian with Der Mesrob and members of the Board of Trustees following last Sunday’s Divine Liturgy at St. Illuminator Cathedral. Hayr Zareh will be returning to Antelias, Lebanon, after four years of study and service in the United States. Board of Trustees members from left are Ardashes Bedrossian, Kevork Chavoush Mesrobian, Alex Alahverdian, Neiri Amirian, Didi Agonian, Movses Musaelian and Yervant Kasparian.

Der Mesrob holds the plaque that dedicates a classroom in memory of Armen Markaryan. From left, Lily Markaryan, Luiza Markaryan, Rosa Markaryan and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian.

Parishioners of St. Illuminator's Cathedral enjoyed a beautiful day last Sunday. By special invitation from the pastor and Board of Trustees, V. Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian celebrated his farewell Divine Liturgy. After four years of serving and studying in the United States, Hayr Sourp will assume his new assignment at the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia in early August.

Following the Badarak, Pontifical prayers and blessings were offered on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the election and consecration and 50th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. On this happy occasion the Cathedral’s Zarukian Fund donated $5.000.00 to the Catholicosate.

In his message Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian conveyed congratulations to H. H. Aram I and wished him good health and many more years of service and leadership. He also conveyed his heartfelt good wishes to Hayr Zareh and recognized his pastoral services to our community. As a token of gratitude Der Mesrob presented Hayr Sourp a valuable Bible.

The day continued with the dedication of a classroom. The Cathedral received a donation of $10,000 from Mrs. Lily Markaryan of Woodside, New York, in memory of her son Armen Markaryan. Der Mesrob accepted the gift with gratitude and announced that the funds will be used for education and scholarships, and a classroom was dedicated in honor of Armen’s memory.

Der Hayr expressed thanks to the Markaryan family and said this generous donation “will help us educate young generations of Armenian Americans. The survival of the Armenian Church and community depends on individuals like Mrs. Markaryan with strong ties to the Armenian Church and heritage.”

The elementary school graduates with their teachers, administrators, and clergy guests
The first and second grade students perform.
St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (SSAES) successfully completed its 34 th academic year. The graduation ceremonies took place on June 14 (K) and June 15 (Elementary). Both graduations were dedicated to the Centennial of the First Republic of Armenia. Students celebrated the centennial through songs, poems, dances, and presentations of historical facts related to this major turning point in Armenian history. Twenty-four students graduated from Kindergarten and fourteen students graduated from fifth grade.

Principal Houry Boyamian thanked the faculty, administrative staff, the PTO, the parent volunteers, the school board and committees, the St. Stephen’s Church Board of Trustees, Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, as well as all the organizations and individuals that contribute to the advancement of the school.

On both days, the Principal recognized the 32 years of dedicated service of Armenian teacher, Mrs. Anahid Joubanian. She described her as an outstanding teacher who created a unique learning environment and established a strong foundation of the Armenian language in her students. Mrs. Margarita Harutyunyan was honored with the silver logo of the school for her 10 years of dedicated service in the preschool and Mrs. Berjouhie Gazelian was recognized for the 20-year service as Hall Monitor, and the nine year volunteer service of basketball coach Vahe Nigoghosian.

Archpriest Fr. Baljian expressed his appreciation to the administration and faculty for their dedication and effort in providing an excellent education to all students.

The Principal Houry Boyamian and Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian with retiring Armenian teacher, Mrs. Anahid Joubanian.
Mrs. Joubanian and Mrs. Boyamian with alumni who attended the retirement reception.
St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School paid tribute to a longtime teacher Anahid Joubanian who retired this year, after 32 years of dedicated service both in the kindergarten and primary grades. Mrs. Joubanian was described as a “wonderful teacher who created a unique learning environment establishing a strong foundation of the Armenian language in her students. She instilled in her students a sense of pride in their Armenian identity and heritage.”

In addition to her 32 years at St. Stephen’s, she taught 20 years overseas, totaling 52 years of service. Accolades came from former and current students as well as from her granddaughter, Melanie Joubanian. Mrs. Joubanian was presented with a plaque recognizing her long years of service, as well as a proclamation from Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian. At the 25 th anniversary of the school, Mrs. Joubanian was also honored with the Mesrob Mashdotz Medal of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia.

Parishioners at Saint Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church in North Andover, Massachusetts heard about charity and mercy in pastor, Fr. Stephan Baljian's weekly sermon on June 10 reflecting the prescribed Gospel reading for the day from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 12. Following the Divine Liturgy, parishioners gathered in Jaffarian Hall to hear Der Hayr's presentation about fourth century Saint Nerses the Great and the Prelacy's charitable and social office named after him that was established 25 years ago. The special videos prepared by the Prelacy for this occasion were viewed, after which Der Stephan highlighted the work that the Prelacy has done in Armenia, including the orphan sponsorship program (for which information was handed out to participants). This Sunday, July 1, a special collection will be taken to support the upcoming Summer Camp program in Armenia. The Board of Trustees has decided to match (dollar for dollar) all parishioner contributions with funds allocated from the church's stewardship budget.

Death of Dushman
(July 3, 1992)
The self-defense of Kharabagh had many real, as well as not-so-real heroes, as we are becoming aware these days. One of the real heroes, who unfortunately did not live to see the outcome of his sacrifice, was Dushman.

His actual name was Vardan Stepanian. He was born on March 8, 1966. He studied at the school “Hovhannes Tumanian” of Yerevan and graduated in 1983. When his time for military service came, in 1984, he volunteered to go and serve in the Soviet limited military contingent in Afghanistan. “I wanted to learn how to fight well, and I fought,” he would write. Two years later, he returned to Armenia and entered Law School at Yerevan State University. After the beginning of the Kharabagh movement, the twenty-two year old Armenian patriot entirely devoted himself to it. “I am not a Communist, not a Henchakian or a Dashnaktsakan, I’m a warrior-liberator of my native land,” he said about himself. “Let all those people and parties that are obstacle to national interests perish.”

Due to the shortage of weapons in Artsakh for self-defense purposes, Vardan Stepanian traveled to Moscow in the fall of 1989 with a special assignment. He managed to avoid the monitoring by security agencies and deliver a batch of arms and ammunitions to Armenia, which was later shipped to Armenian villages in the areas of Shushi and Berdzor. Then, together with his comrade Armen Yeritsyan, he created the “Aspet” military school, where fedayees going to Artsakh were trained. He later created a similar school in Artsakh.

In 1990-1991 the fight gained momentum throughout Kharabagh, becoming an open war. Vardan went to Kornidzor, in Siunik, and from there, with fake paperwork, he managed to leave for Artsakh, where he participated in the organization of self-defense for a few villages. His comrades of arms gave him the nickname Dushman (Turkish for “enemy”). He later participated in the battles in the border areas of Ijevan and Noyemberian, in Armenian, and then returned to fight in Kharabagh, both in the region of Hadrut and in the destruction of the Azerbaijani base of Krkzhan, a suburb of Stepanakert, in January 1992.

The destruction of Azerbaijani firing points in other places close to Stepanakert was followed by a similar operation in Khojalu on February 25-26, 1992, and the opening of the airport of Stepanakert and of the Stepanakert-Askeran road, which ended the blockade of the capital of Kharabagh by enemy forces.

The next step was the liberation of Shushi, the former capital of Kharabagh that had become an Azeri center. After strong artillery fire on the night of May 7-8, the attack began. Dushman’s group was one of the first to enter the city in the morning of May 9. The Armenian forces had 27 losses and 180 wounded, while the Azerbaijanis lost 300 soldiers and had another 700 wounded. An Azerbaijani counterattack on May 11 failed, thanks to the resistance of his group, losing tanks and many soldiers. Afterwards, Dushman participated in the liberation of the Lachin (now Berdzor) corridor, and achieved his dream of going back home, to Yerevan, through the Shushi-Lachin road. In May 1992 a special battalion of Shushi was created, with Dushman as deputy commander.

The heroic fighter did not enjoy his victories for long. On July 3, 1992, he died on a military mission near the village of Myurishen, in the region of Martuni. He was buried in the military cemetery of Yerablur, in Yerevan.

After Dushman’s death, his mother renovated their home in Yerevan and turned it into a house-museum. On the seventeenth anniversary of his death (July 3, 2009), a monument dedicated to him was inaugurated at the place of his death in Myurishen.


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(Prepared by Armenian National Education Committee)
Children Soldiers?

The Armenian word մանկապարտէզ (mangabardez ) is what linguists call a “calque translation” of the concept, first introduced in Germany, of a pre-school class or institution. While English simply copied the German word and adopted kindergarten, Armenian took the pains of translating it.

The translation of German kinder is մանուկ ( manoog ) in Armenian, indeed (the oo “disappears” when used in compound words). The Armenian word, which is also a proper name, derives from the Indo-European root *menu [the e should be read as a schwa], meaning “small, little,” with the addition of the diminutive suffix ուկ ( oog ). Besides the meaning of “child,” manoog also means “small, of early age.”

That much we know. But how to make sense of the following passage in the ending part of the Holy Mass, which we hear every Sunday:

« Զխաղաղութիւն պարգեւեա (…) հայրապետութեան եւ հանրապետութեան ազգիս Հայոց , եւ հանրապետութեան Միացեալ նահանգացն Ամերիկայի , եւ զինուորեալ մանկանց նոցա (...)»

“Uzkhaghaghootyoon barkevya (...) hayrabedootyan yev hanrabedootyan azkis Hayots, yev hanrabedootyan Miyatsyal Nahankatsn Amerigayi, yev zinvoryal mangants notsa (…)”

For those who do not know Classical Armenian, zinvoryal mangants notsa is rendered into Modern Armenian as անոնց զինեալ մանուկներուն ( anonts zinyal manoogneroon) . Now, zinyal means “armed,” and if manoog is “children,” does it mean that the Holy Mass talks about the infamous practice of … “children soldiers”?

That would be ridiculous, because the sentence actually asks God: “Grant peace (…) to the Patriarchate and the Republic of the Armenian nation, and to the Republic of the United States of America, and…”

The issue is that manoog does not mean “children” here. The word had another meaning in Classical Armenian that has not been kept in Modern Armenian, namely, “young person, servant, soldier.” Therefore, zinvoryal mangants notsa refers to the “armed young people” of Armenia and the United States.

Interestingly, the prayer asks to grant peace to them. Therefore, to avoid wars as much as possible. 

If you are in the Washington, DC area from June 27 to July 8, you should check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the international exhibition of living cultural heritage presented annually in the summer in Washington since 1967. 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. The free event takes place on the National Mall from June 27 to July 1 and from July 4 to 8. Hours are from 11 am to 5 pm each day, with evening concerts by Armenian musicians beginning at 6:30 pm and a special fireworks display on June 30. For more information visit:  www.folklife.si.edu .

In this week's Prelacy Reflection, Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian of Sts. Vartanantz Church of Providence, RI, guides us through this coming Sunday's bible reading from The Gospel of Matthew, The Parable of the Weeds.

Sermons by Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian, pastor of St. Gregory Church, Granite City, Illinois, are available via his YouTube channel.

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.

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 Onnik Dinkjian, John Berberian, Ara Dinkjian, Mal Barsamian, and Jason Naroian. Double Tree Hotel,  Andover, Massachusetts.  For information: www.ArmenianFriendsofAmerica.org .

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