June 4, 2020
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PRAYER FOR PEACE
On Wednesday, June 3, at noon, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, joined by Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church (Douglaston, New York), and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral (New York City), delivered a message and prayer for peace from St. Sarkis Church. The prayer was livestreamed.

In opening remarks, Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian noted that the prayer was for peace for the world and especially for the United States and New York City. Archbishop Anoushavan delivered his message, emphasizing that the Armenian Church condemns discrimination because it goes against the very nature of human relations, as well as it damages the true spirit of the United States. The Prelate condemned disorderly actions leading to chaos and evildoing. At the same time, the Prelate made a call to work together in taking the necessary steps to end racism and discrimination and to pave the road of healing. Prayers were read by Rev. Fr. Mesrob and Nareg, interspersed with the singing of “ Der Voghormia ” and “ Hayr Mer .” You can read the Prelate’s message below. 

JUSTICE AND PEACE
Dear fellow brothers and sisters, citizens and residents of the “land of the free,”

We have witnessed this past week the video footage showing the senseless killing by lethal and deadly force of George Floyd. This horrible event is another manifestation of the violence perpetrated against those who are subject to discrimination.

The Armenian Church, like all churches and religious institutions, condemns discrimination in all of its forms because it goes against the very nature of human relations and damages the true spirit of our blessed country. Simultaneously, we condemn each and every action of disorder which is worse than any Pandemic, and leads to chaos and to all forms of evildoing committed under the guise of freedom.

We pray for those who have been injured, for the souls of those who have lost their lives, and for those who mourn in the midst of the current conflict. In addition to our prayers, this Prelacy of the Armenian Church calls upon our elected officials, law enforcement, civic and religious leaders, neighborhood watches, and upon people from all walks of life to come and work together in taking the necessary steps to end racism and discrimination and to pave the road of healing.
 
On the feast of the Pentecost, we embrace the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst to move us all to cooperate in establishing peace and understanding, tolerance and respect for the safety and prosperity of the “Home of the Brave.”
 
Prayerfully,
Archbishop Anoushavan
Eastern United States, Prelate

IN MEMORIAM
Dr. Raffy Hovanessian
1938—2020
Dr. Raffy Hovanessian is without doubt one of the best-known and beloved members of the worldwide Armenian community, including the homeland and the Diaspora. His active participation and support of Armenian charities and organizations can fill many pages. He always wanted to help those in need and support the groups and organizations that were deeply committed to the future health and welfare of the Armenian people and nation. He was impressed by accomplishments and deeds, regardless of personal or political affiliations. His goal was never to see his name on buildings. It was to be part of the healing process for his fellow human beings. Above all else, he was ineradicably devoted to his faith in God and the Armenian Church.
Raffy Hovanessian died on May 27 at age 81. His legacy is difficult to duplicate, but it can be used as a model of a life lived well. He is survived by his wife, Vicki Shoghag, three children Armen, Ani, and Aileen, and seven grandchildren.

Church funeral service was held at St. Vartan Cathedral plaza, presided by Bishop Daniel, Primate, and Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, on Monday, June 1. On this occasion, Catholicos Aram I had sent the following condolence letter to the Hovanessian family:

Dear Ms. Hovanessian,

We learned with deep sorrow of the passing of your dear husband, Dr. Raffy Hovanessian, a friend and benefactor of the Holy See of Cilicia.

In the first place, we express our heartfelt condolences to you and your children. We pray that God Most Merciful, through the Holy Spirit, will bring consolation to you and your relatives who are in mourning.

Indeed, your family name is closely linked to the Holy See of Cilicia since the days of Our predecessor Catholicoi of blessed memory. We still remember vividly how your husband followed closely the health of Catholicos Karekin and for years he was entirely devoted to taking care of him. We know that the ancestral Holy See of Cilicia has always been present in the heart and soul of Raffy and you. A testament to that are the moral and material support and encouragement you have provided to our spiritual center, especially the fund you have established to promote the university education of the Catholicosate’s priests.

For his entire life and years of service, Dr. Raffy remained kind and humble, far from praise and honors. He was always evenhanded in his approach to issues and points of view. He was with everybody and for everybody and, beyond persons, for the church, the nation and the homeland. And you, dear Ms. Shoghag, were always by the side of your dear husband, collaborating and supporting him.

The name of Dr. Raffy Hovanessian, who was decorated as Prince of Cilicia, will always remain indelibly inscribed in the annals of the Holy See of Cilicia. We are certain that you will continue your links with our Holy See with the same spirit and devotion.

The only consolation we have against the bitter reality of death, which marks the passing of the earthly life of man, is the hope in resurrection that Christian faith has given us. Bound in that hope, we pray to God Most Merciful to admit the soul of Dr. Raffy Hovanessian in the blissful peace of heaven, and to keep his memory alive in your soul and that of your dear children, relatives and friends. May his memory be justly blessed.

With patriarchal blessings, prayerfully,

Catholicos Aram I
Holy See of Cilicia

On behalf of His Holiness Aram I and the Religious and Executive Councils of the Eastern Prelacy, Archbishop Anoushavan extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family during this time of great loss:
“Dear brothers and sisters,

We are gathered for our last prayer as expression of love and faith to give our farewell to the dear husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and family man, our dear Dr. Raffy Hovanessian, at the gates of St. Vartan Cathedral.
 
As well as for his family, the doctor’s heart beat only for the fulfillment of the dreams of our church, our homeland and Diaspora, and our people. If I wished to sum up in a sentence the life of Dr. Raffy Hovanessian, it would be: he was with everyone and for everyone.
 
As a doctor, not only he was a doctor of bodies, but with his faith, his agreeable nature, his tolerant spirit, the wisdom his parents bequeathed him as the ancestral heritage of our people, he was a doctor for many, not only of their bodies, but also of their minds and souls, bringing peace, comfort and joy to their lives.

On this sad occasion, I wish to express deep and heartfelt condolences on behalf of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I , as well as the Religious and Executive Councils, and the entire great family of the Eastern Prelacy to Doctor Raffy’s life companion, Shoghag, who in turn has always been a defender of his activity and the fulfillment of his dreams, as well as to his children and all his relatives. May God through His good angel lift the soul of Dr. Raffy and may he rest in the light altars of eternity.” 

The internment will be at Los Angeles, California, in the family mausoleum.

* * *

The son of survivors of the Armenian genocide (Arakel and Dirouhie Hovanessian), Raffy spent his formative years in Aleppo, where he attended grade school and college. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1958 and a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1962 from the American University of Beirut (AUB). Raffy married his lifelong partner and soul-mate, Vicki Shoghag, in a wedding in Beirut officiated by his friend, the young Armenian priest Very Rev. Fr. Karekin Sarkissian. The two had become good friends while working together to establish a student Christian association at AUB years earlier. Their strong friendship continued through the years up to the death of Catholicos Karekin I of All Armenians in 1999.

Dr. Raffy and Vicki settled in the United States, where he continued his medical education in New Jersey and later at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. During the Vietnam War, Dr. Hovanessian was drafted in the United States Army, earned the rank of Major, and served as chief of the Ireland Army Community Hospital in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Blessed with the birth of their three children, the Hovanessians settled in northwest Indiana near Chicago, where Dr. Raffy established a successful private practice. Whether it was for his local parish church, or the Armenian Church through the Diocese or Prelacy, or large charitable, medical and professional organizations, he spent considerable time and effort to raise awareness of the work accomplished and the needs of the future. Clearly he was a person of service and action. His support of education was seen early on when he and Shoghag established endowment funds for advanced clergy education.

His many awards and accolades could fill many pages in a book. Suffice it to say that he was the recipient of the two highest awards granted by the Armenian Church—the Saint Nersess Shnorhali medal of the Holy Mother See of Etchmiadzin, and the Prince of Cilicia medal of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia.
Raffy loved the Armenian Liturgy and after their move to northern New Jersey several years ago, he and Shoghag were familiar faces at Saints Vartanantz Church on Sundays. His smiling face and upbeat demeanor always put smiles on the faces of his many admirers and greeters.
May his noble soul rest in peace with the Lord, and his memory kindle in our hearts forever.

FEAST OF PENTECOST
THE PRELATE’S HOMILY
On Sunday, May 31, Archbishop Anoushavan presided over the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Church of Worcester, Massachusetts. Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian, Pastor, was the celebrant. You can read the Prelate’s sermon below:
Today, the eighth Sunday of Easter, according to the Armenian Church calendar is Pentecost, the feast of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. The name Pentecost derives from Greek, meaning “fiftieth” (day) following the Paschal feast. In the Old Testament, it was indicated as the feast of Shavuot, the giving of the Torah and a Thanksgiving drawing all ‘nations’ together. In the New Testament, after the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostles returned to the Upper Room, and by casting lots elected Matthias to replace Judas as the twelfth apostle. The Apostles “constantly devoted themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14), waiting for the fulfillment of the promise of the Lord. And lo! it was not delayed, for ten days later the Holy Spirit descended “from heaven like the rush of a violent wind…and the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:2-4).

The miracle of Pentecost is that the twelve men who were ethnically Jewish were suddenly blessed with the ability to speak different languages representing the many nationalities around the world. On that day, there were many pilgrims visiting Jerusalem from different countries, and they witnessed this miracle. The Apostle Peter, seizing this opportunity of multinational presence in Jerusalem, delivered an eloquent treatise, and on that very day, three thousand people converted to Christianity and were baptized.
 
What followed is now part of Church History 101: the growth and the spread of the Church, which is the Body of Christ, first in Judaea, then on to Antioch, where the followers for the first time were known by the name “Christians” (Acts 11:26). Gradually, Christianity was proclaimed to the four corners of the world.

The cornerstone of Christianity is the belief in the Holy Trinity, and yet the concept of three-in-one is also a stumbling block to many who do not fully understand the idea. Why do we believe in One God, yet confess the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? The Church Fathers have humbly admitted that this mystery is not easy at all to comprehend, yet it does not mean that it is totally absurd. The Creation itself provides us with examples to have both spiritual and intellectual glimpses to believe in this mystery. The first of these examples is the depiction of the sun: first, it is a single orb, and yet second, its rays generate light, and through the rays, third, it generates heat. As much as each element has its unique properties, nevertheless we look on them as interrelated into one entity and not three separate entities.

Likewise, the Church Fathers have used the example of the mind. The mind contains thoughts; these thoughts are conveyed through words; and these words communicate power and wisdom. Therefore, by elevating our minds from visible things to the invisible reality there is no reason to reject the mystery of the Trinity. Within this context it is important to mention that trinitarian elements are always present within Monotheist religions, including Judaism and Islam. In the opening verse of the Book of Genesis we read, “The Spirit of God swept over the face of the water. Then God said” (Gen1:1). Here we find the basics of the Trinity: God the Father, the Spirit of God, and the verb “said” stands for the Son who is the word or rationality of God.

Likewise, in the Qur’an, in Arabic Allah refers to God, Kelem el Allah to the word of God, and Rooh el Allah to the Spirit of God. So the Holy Trinity, if not as a term yet by its essence, is present in these three religions. Having clarified the basics of our Faith in reference to the mystery of the Holy Trinity, let us now enjoy through the feast of Pentecost the undeniable presence of the Holy Spirit, as through the feast of the Nativity we delight in the presence of the only Begotten Son, described also as the Word of God.  
 
On the feast of Pentecost, the Descent of the Holy Spirit is an event witnessed by many and recorded by St. Luke in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. The Descent is clear and solid evidence of the Divine Plan. As such, I would like to draw our attention to the following points:

a. The teaching of Christ that He came “not to abolish the law but to fulfill it” (Mt 5:17) indeed gave a new dimension to the law as well as to all the Biblical feasts. The Feast of Pascha, the Passover, was the shadow of the sacrificial love on the Cross, as St. Paul says, “these are a shadow of the things to come” (Col 2:17). The Pentecost, originally the celebration of the giving of the Torah, the Law, was embellished with the giving of the Holy Spirit, the source of animation, energy (Gen 1:2); and of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might and knowledge, as cited by Isaiah (Is 11:2).  

b. The teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ is fascinating not only as theology, but as crystal Truth manifested in life. During a dialog with Nicodemus Jesus told him: “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born anew…What is born of the flesh is flesh and what is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jn 3:2-6). The Apostles were the first fruit of this Rebirth. Namely, St. Peter who cowardly denied his Master, doubted the Good News of the Myrrh-bearing women, and being submerged by worldly worries did not immediately recognize Jesus at the shore of Lake Tiberias (Jn 21:1). Nevertheless, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter was born anew, and boldly witnessed the Risen Lord to the world.

c. The outcome of Peter’s testimony was beyond his expectation. As a fisherman, he was accustomed to hard work but was not always guaranteed success. However, after Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, and then witnessing the conversion of three thousand new believers, he was convinced that worldly toil was eclipsed by the calling to preach the Cross. Peter accepted the divine work, and being imbued with the Holy Spirit, set out to bring the Good News to as many people as he could.

Since the Creation, and mostly since the Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has been at work more visibly by comforting, counseling, inspiring, and leading the believers. This is the reason why every Sunday during the Divine Liturgy solemnly we confess that, “We believe in Holy Spirit…”

In order to make the feast of the Pentecost relevant in our life today, I would like to share the following three points with you:

a. As believers we should be immensely grateful to our heavenly Father that throughout history He gradually has revealed Himself to mankind through the Patriarchs, the Prophets and in the fulfillment of time through His Son and His Holy Spirit. The lesson from the story of the Tower of Babel is that when mankind rebelled against God, humanity was dispersed in confusion through the multiplication of languages. In beautiful contrast, on the Pentecost, the world became united in the love of God because the Word of God would now reach every believer in the language which he/she understands. Parental love indeed is the best miniature to understand this truth. No matter to what extent children rebel against their parental care, their parents love them unconditionally regardless of their rebellious behavior. Explore the heart of a father or a mother and you will find love even for their children who are drunkards, drug addicts, gamblers, burglars, criminals and so on. While sin separates us, love unites us.

b. The power of the Holy Spirit is beyond our imagination. There is no power that can challenge the source of power the Holy Spirit Himself. He can transform us and make us anew as it happened to the Apostles. It was only receiving the Holy Spirit that the Apostles came to understand the teaching of their Master rooted in the Scriptures, as St. John himself confesses, ‘Now He said this about the Spirit, which believers in Him were to receive” (Jn 7:39). He makes us a new creation whenever we surrender to Him humbly. Let us do our best; the Lord makes the rest through the Holy Spirit.

c. The bounties of the Holy Spirit throughout history are innumerable. He has elevated the shepherds to be prophets and kings; the fishermen to be messengers of the King of kings; the imprisoned ones in the dungeons to be Illuminators; the sinners to be saints; and the terrestrials to be celestials. The Holy Spirit showers His blessings abundantly regardless of age, gender and color as the prophet Joel says: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28). Therefore, let us not be ignorant, my brothers and sisters, like those who are estranged from God’s love, mercy and grace. Rather, like King David, let us be vigilant and pray, “Do not take your Holy Spirit from me” (Ps. 51:11). Because of our transgressions, St. Paul alerts us by saying, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with the seal for the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30).

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be sure that we have a caring Heavenly Father whose love is manifested in His Only-begotten Son, and who works through His Holy Spirit, even today when we are crossing the frightening tunnel of this pandemic full of confusion, uncertainty, hopelessness and fear. The Holy Spirit invisibly is working through the heroic sacrifice of doctors, nurses and health communities, through public servants who are providing our necessities while we are safely distancing ourselves in our homes, as well as through the community of science who supported by different government agencies are on mission to discover the cure of this pandemic. To the Holy Spirit, together with the Almighty Father and the Only-begotten Son, be glory forever. Amen.
THE PRELACY RAFFLE IS ON!
DRAWING DATE: SEPTEMBER 12, 2020 
For many decades, the Prelacy has sponsored an annual raffle drawing that benefits its educational and religious programs. The drawing usually takes place in May at the conclusion of the National Representative Assembly. This year, the coronavirus pandemic hit when the raffle was underway, and the National Representative Assembly, to be originally hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Philadelphia, Pa., had to be postponed. The new drawing date has been set for September 12, 2020. The top prize is $5,000; second prize is $2,000; and third, fourth, and fifth prizes are $1,000. However, we always like to point out that in this raffle there are no losers, because all of the money raised benefits our Prelacy programs.
 
Please consider purchasing one or more tickets ($100 each). For information, please contact your local parish or the Prelacy office (email@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810).
“DAILY REFLECTIONS” CONVEY INCLUSIVENESS
Your Eminence,

Good morning and greeting from New Bern, NC. I wanted to send this note to you to thank you for the wonderful “Daily Reflections” by our clergy. What a great way to send a message and get to know all the priests of our prelacy.

I was a member of Soorp Khatch Church in Washington DC for over 65 years until my wife Michele and I relocated to New Bern, North Carolina, almost 2 years ago. We have found a new church to continue our journey with Christ, Christ Episcopal Church.

I would have loved to be in the room when the leadership decided to have this reflection also in English. The fact that the English-speaking Armenians have been ignored for far too long makes me feel good about the direction you are choosing.

Enclosed is a check: kindly use it for religious education as you see fit. Once again, thank you for this bold initiative to bring Jesus Christ to more of your faithful.

Kindly,

Peter Mnatazaganian
New Bern, NC
BIBLE READINGS
Bible readings for Sunday, June 7, First Sunday after Pentecost (Beginning of Sundays of Resurrection), Remembrance of the Prophet Elijah are: 1 Kings 18:29-46; 2 Kings 2:1-15; James 5:16-20; Luke 4:25-30.
James 5:16-20
 
Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.
 
My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
 
***
 
Luke 4:25-30
 
But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

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

REMEMBRANCE OF THE PROPHET ELIJAH
This Sunday (June 7) the Armenian Church remembers Elijah, the Messianic prophet of the Old Testament recorded in 1 and 2 Kings. Elijah was one of the greatest prophet in the Old Testament. He appeared along with Moses at the Transfiguration as the prophet of life and the new covenant. The Armenian Church (like all the Eastern churches) holds Elijah in the highest esteem. Most importantly, Elijah did not experience death; he was taken to heaven, like the Holy Mother of God. He is mentioned in the Armenian hymn Ee Verin Yerousaghem , sung during the Requiem Service.
 
Receive us in Jerusalem above, in the dwellings of the angels, in Eden, the paradise where Enoch and Elijah live worthily resplendent in dove-like purity and in old age. O merciful Lord, have mercy upon the souls of ours who have fallen asleep.”
 
From the Armenian hymn Ee Verin Yerousaghem (Receive us in Jerusalem above), sung during the Requiem Service.

SAINTS HRIPSIME AND GAYANE AND THEIR COMPANIONS
This Monday and Tuesday, June 8 and 9, the Armenian Church commemorates the virgin saints Hripsime and Gayane and their companions. Thirty-three nuns, led by Gayane, left Rome and sought refuge in Armenia hoping to escape the Roman Emperor who desired one of the nuns, the beautiful Hripsime. In Armenia, King Dertad became captivated by Hripsime’s beauty and sought to wed her. She refused. Enraged, the king had Hripsime (and the other nuns) imprisoned and tortured to death.
 
When Gregory was released from his imprisonment in the deep pit (Khor Virab) he built chapels over the relics of the nuns, which Catholicos Sahag Bartev renovated in the 4th century. During the 7th century, churches were built over both sites. The church dedicated to Hripsime, built by Catholicos Gomidas, is considered to be an architectural masterpiece and influenced the future course of Armenian architecture. Catholicos Gomidas also wrote a sharagan (hymn) in their memory—the well-known Antsink Nviryalk (Dedicated Beings).
 
The two churches, as well as a third ( Shoghakat ), are in the city of Etchmiadzin ( Vagharshapat ), not far from the complex of buildings that comprise the Holy Mother See of Etchmiadzin, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.

BIBLE STUDY VIA ZOOM
Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy), is currently conducting a 6-part Bible Study via Zoom, on Saturdays from 2:00pm to 2:30pm, focusing on the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus as portrayed in the pages of the New Testament. You are welcome to register for the upcoming fifth session by sending your name, email address, and phone number to Dn. Shant. 
DATEV SUMMER PROGRAM ONLINE
Join us for the Datev Summer Program via Zoom from Monday, June 29 to July 3, 2020 at 11:00 am EST. The one-hour sessions for youth ages 13-18 will include mini-lectures and engaging discussions on faith related topics.
 
To register for this free event, please send your contact information (name, address, email address, phone number, and date of birth) to shant@armenianprelacy.org and we will send you the Zoom link to join the sessions.
 
If you have any questions, please contact Dn Shant by email or by calling 212-689-7810.

The Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program was established in 1993 and continues to be the central mission of the Prelacy’s projects 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.

This week’s letter is from Emmanuel* who is sponsored by Ani Yessaillian.

Dear Sponsor Ani Yessaillian,

My heartfelt greetings to you and all the members of your family.
Dear Ani Yessaillian,

I am doing well. I am in 8th grade in school. My subjects got much more difficult, but I am trying my best to be a good student. I love chemistry and physics very much.
I am also enrolled in “Tumo” Center.

My health issues are the same.

My heartfelt gratitude for everything that you are doing.

I wish you the best: good health, long life, and peace.

With lots of love,

Emmanuel and Anoush


* In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.

PLEASE CONSIDER SPONSORSHIP:
The St. Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization’s orphans’ sponsorship program now has two branches:
 
a.      Minors up to the age of 18.
b.     Orphans who upon turning 18 continue their studies at a higher education institution.
 
If you would like to sponsor a child on the waiting list of the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program, please click here for quick and easy online sponsorship. Alternatively, for the sponsorship of both minors and university students you may also contact the Prelacy by email ( sophie@armenianprelacy.org ) or telephone (212-689-7810). 
FROM OUR SCHOOLS
TANIEL VAROUJAN SCHOOL OVERCOMES TRYING TIMES
Talin D. Artinian, Principal of Taniel Varoujan Armenian School in Glenview, Illinois, writes:

The Taniel Varoujan Armenian school, committed to the principle that “ the greatest treasure of our heritage is our language, ” in the words of poet Baruyr Sevag, continues fulfilling its supreme mission during the Covid-19 pandemic. The health emergency did not stop the work of our teachers and students. As descendants of Genocide survivors, we know all too well how to endure difficulties and carry on… 

Our teachers, students and parents quickly found the way to work together to keep the Armenian language and spirit alive during these trying times. Interactive classes were taught via email, Zoom, WhatsApp and YouTube, interactive learning took place.
Students would often read and record their readings while others did their homework and sent to their teachers. They would also listen to the suggested pieces of Armenian music or write letters and cards to their parents.

Our academic year concluded on Saturday, May 16, without our traditional year-end school function, or the awards and graduation ceremonies. Nonetheless, we are planning to celebrate our commencement in the fall along with our awards and graduation ceremonies for kindergarten and seventh grade students.

“Our students’ accomplishments are our pride and joy,” concludes Ms. Artinian, and invites everybody to watch the accompanying videos.

SIAMANTO ACADEMY’ MAY 30 SESSION
The Siamanto Academy held its most recent Zoom session on the morning of Saturday, May 30.
 
The speaker of the day, Khatchig Mouradian, a lecturer at Columbia University, easily managed to engage the teenagers with the topics he discussed, which offered so many captivating angles. Dr. Mouradian discussed history, culture, national identity and how to acquaint others with it. The interesting life of the speaker also enriched his presentation, which for more than an hour captured the students’ imagination and sometimes made them feel part of his experiences.
 
The next class of the Siamanto Academy is on June 13. 
Drawing on a rich trove of documents, Prof. Sebouh Aslanian’s groundbreaking study explores the emergence and growth of a remarkable global trade network operated by Armenian silk merchants from New Julfa, Isfahan, a small outpost in the Persian Empire. These merchants operated a network of commercial settlements that stretched from London and Amsterdam to Manila and Acapulco. The New Julfan Armenians were the only Eurasian community that was able to operate simultaneously and successfully in all the major empires of the early modern world without the benefits of an imperial network and state that accompanied and facilitated European mercantile expansion during the same period.

This book brings to light for the first time the trans-imperial cosmopolitan world of the New Julfans, exploring the effects of long distance trade on the organization of community life, the ethos of trust and cooperation that existed among merchants, and the importance of information networks and communication in the operation of early modern mercantile communities.
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore (books@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810)
Death of Yervant Osgan (June 10, 1914)
Yervant Osgan, sculptor and painter, is considered the first sculptor of Turkey.

He was born in Samatya (Constantinople) in 1855. His father was a minor poet, Hagop Vosgan (1824-1908), After studying at the Armenian Catholic Makruhian School in the neighborhood of Beshiktash, he followed his father’s trail and continued his studies in Italy, at the Mourad-Raphaelian School of Venice, owned by the Mekhitarist fathers. He graduated in 1872 and then moved to Rome, where he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1877. In 1878 he went to Paris for postgraduate studies, where he participated in an international exhibition of art, earning two silver medals. He returned to Constantinople in 1881.

Two years later, Turkish painter and archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey (1842-1910) founded the Academy of Fine Arts of Constantinople (now Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts) and Osgan created the section of sculpture, where he taught until 1908. Osman Hamdi and Yervant Osgan created the first archaeological team of Turkey and together made excavations in Nemrut Dagh, the location of the mausoleum-sanctuary built by King Antiochus I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.), the monarch of this small state to the southwest of Western Armenia, whose rulers belonged to the Armenian Yervanduni royal family. 

They executed this excavation in the middle of an archaeological campaign in Sidon (nowadays Saida, in Lebanon) from 1878-1887, during which they found the so-called Alexander’s Sarcophagus, a very valuable finding, which Osgan restored, as collaborator of the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul, also directed by Osman Hamdi.

Yervant Osgan was the first Armenian professional sculptor in Constantinople and in the modern period. Among his students were famous Turkish sculptors M. Ihsan Ozsoy (1867-1944) and M. Mahir Tomruk (1884-1949). He was the recipient of imperial medals in 1885 and 1904, and received a medal from the German government in 1885.  

His realist sculptures are characterized by psychological depth. His works essentially focused on sculptures with special subjects (“Daphne,” “Warriors and Goddesses,” “The Servant,” “The Dance of the Zeybek Woman,” “The Zeybek’s Sword Dance”) and busts (“Osman Hamdi Bey,” “Dikran Chuhajian,” “Self-Portrait”). Some of these works are kept in the National Gallery of Armenia and the Museum of Literature and Art of Yerevan.

Osgan was also a painter. Two of his works, “Father’s Portrait” and “Zeybek Making Sharpen His Sword,” are also in the National Gallery of Armenia.
He passed away in his birthplace on June 10, 1914.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
FROM OUR ARCHIVES
HELP US SOLVE THE MYSTERY
There is nothing sadder than an old photograph without a caption or identification of any kind. Unfortunately here at the Prelacy we have many such photos. From time to time we will feature some in the hope that someone can help solve the mystery. We have no idea who gave this photo to us, when, or why. The only clue is a handwritten note (in Armenian) on the back of the photo identifying it as “Haleb [Aleppo] 1920.” We would be happy to hear from anyone who might have a clue about the identity of those pictured and the occasion. Please pass along your thoughts in an e-mail to crossroads@armenianprelacy.org.  Although we started to digitize all of our photographs last year, the virus pandemic interrupted our long overdue work. We hope to get back on track soon.

WRITE TO US
Crossroads welcomes your inquiries and comments (English and/or Armenian), as well as parish news, photographs, and calendar items. Remember that the deadline for submitting items is Tuesday evenings. Please write to crossroads@armenianprelacy.org.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS
 ( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
May 9—June 13: A 6-part Bible Study via Zoom, presented by Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy), on Saturdays from 2:00-2:30pm. For info, please contact Dn. Shant at  shant@armenianprelacy.org or call 212-689-7810.
May 13-16 POSTPONED —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of Philadelphia
 
June 13 —The Siamanto Academy will hold its class online on Saturday at 10:30 am. For information, contact ANEC Director Ms. Mary Gulumian at anec@armenianprelacy.org or call 212-689-7810.
 
June 29—July 3  —St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program online For information, please contact Dn. Shant Kazanjian at 212-689-7810 or skazanjian.sk@gmail.com.
 
September 26-27 POSTPONED —St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley (North Andover, Massachusetts), 50 th Anniversary, under the auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate.
 
October 4 —Save the date. St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church of New Britain, CT, 95th Anniversary Banquet.
 
October 17 CANCELED —Hye Kef 5 Annual Dance, presented by the Armenian Friends of America, Inc.. Featuring: Steve Vosbikian Jr., Mal Barsamian, John Berberian, Ara Dinkjian and Jason Naroian. At the DoubleTree Hotel in Andover, MA. For details, visit ArmenianFriendsofAmerica.org or call Sharke at 978-808-0598.
 
November 15  —Save the date. The Eastern Prelacy's Annual Thanksgiving Banquet.
 
November 28  —Save the date. Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church 80th Anniversary Celebration, under the auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate. Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, Cranston, Rhode Island. 

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