June 6, 2019
Today, June 6, 2019, is the 75 th anniversary of D-Day—the complex allied invasion that became the turning point of World War II, the liberation of Paris, and ultimately the end of the war in Europe. God bless those who served and saved the world from tyranny.

Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian
Archbishop Anoushavan will preside over the Divine Liturgy this Sunday at Holy Trinity Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, and will introduce the parish’s recently appointed pastor, Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian and his family to the community. Der Torkom will celebrate the Divine Liturgy, his first as pastor of Holy Trinity.
Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian (baptismal name Murad), was born in Aleppo in 1990 and baptized at the St. Krikor the Illuminator Church in Aleppo. He grew up in Aleppo serving at the church at an early age as an altar boy, acolyte, choir member, and later as sub-deacon and deacon. He was admitted to the Theological Seminary of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia where he enrolled in and completed the seven-year program studying Church History, Old and New Testaments, Liturgy, Pastoral Theology, Church Music. During this time he also completed graduate courses in Biblical and pastoral studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut. Following his graduation from the Theological Seminary in 2013 he was married to Shogher Proudian and was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Archbishop Nareg Alemezian at the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Antelias, Lebanon, and named Torkom.
Soon thereafter Der Hayr and Yeretzgin were called to serve in the United States at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Granite City, Illinois, where they raised their family amongst the small but strong and vibrant community. This weekend they will be welcomed to Worcester, Massachusetts where Der Torkom will assume the priestly duties at Holy Trinity Church in one of the earliest Armenian communities in the United States.
Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian delivers his sermon at Sts. Vartanantz Church.
Congregation listens intently to Hayr Sahag’s message.
Archbishop Anoushavan presided over the Divine Liturgy last Sunday at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. His Eminence officially introduce the parish’s new pastor, Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian who celebrated the Divine Liturgy—his first as pastor of Sts. Vartanantz. Following the Liturgy, requiem service, and flag blessing there was a congenial fellowship lunch in the lower hall with the opportunity to meet and greet Hayr Sahag. 

Hayr Sahag with the Prelate and members of the Board of Trustees during the hospitality and fellowship that followed the church services.
The table blessing.
Parishes of the Eastern Prelacy offered prayers of Thanksgiving for the Armenian Republic and blessed the flags of the Armenian Republic and the United States during the past two weekends. Here are some more photos.

Archbishop Anoushavan blesses the flags at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey.

Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian blesses the flags presented by Homenetmen Scouts at St. Stephen Church in Watertown, Massachusetts. Two Armenian flags were blessed, one for the church’s flagpole and one that was presented to the Homenetmen Boston Chapter in appreciation of their participation in the flag blessing and their service to the community.

The newly-blessed tricolored flag is raised at St. Stephen’s Church.

Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Republic of Armenia and the 101 st anniversary of the First Republic, as well as the blessing of the flags took place on May 26 at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence. The flags were presented to the altar by Harout Tashian and Taleen Donoyan, members of the Providence Homenetmen. Requiem services were also offered for the fallen heroes of Sardarabad, Bashabaran, Gharakilise, and the martyrs of the struggle for Artsakh.

Diramayr Knarig Stepanian

Diramayr Knarig Stepanian, age 90, passed away on May 31, surrounded by her loving family. She was the beloved wife of the late Der Daron Stepanian (1981) and loving mother of Archpriest Fr. Daron and Yn. Sossi Stepanian, and Maral and Sarkis Minassian. She was the dear grandmother of the Late Agop Minassian (2004), Vicken and Nora Minassian, Daron and Fatima Stepanian, Stepan Stepanian, and great grandmother to Hagop and Arman Minassian, and Cecilia Kohar Stepanian.
Visitation took place at St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, in Dearborn, Michigan yesterday, June 5. Archbishop Anoushavan participated in a Memorial Service that took place this morning at St. Sarkis Church in Dearborn.
In-lieu-of-flowers donations can be made to St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, Dearborn, Michigan; St. Hagop Armenian Apostolic Church, Racine, Wisconsin; or St. Paul Armenian Apostolic Church, Waukegan, Illinois. Asdvadz Hokeen Lousavoreh .

Bible readings for Sunday, June 9, Pentecost (Eve of the Fast of Elijah) are:
Acts 2:1-21; John 14:25-31.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” (Acts 2:1-21)
“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way. (John 14:25-31)

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

FEAST OF PENTECOST: The Descent of the Holy Spirit
This Sunday (June 9), the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost ( Hokekaloust ), the descent of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and the birth of the Church. Jesus had commanded His apostles to “Go therefore to all nations and make them my disciples,” (Matthew 28:19). Recognizing the difficulty of this great responsibility, Christ had advised his disciples not to begin their teaching mission until after the “descent of the Holy Spirit.”
In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that on that day of Pentecost the apostles gathered in one place, and suddenly a strong wind seemed to fill the house in which they were assembled, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit (see reading above). It was the Jewish feast of Pentecost ( Shabuoth ) commemorating the giving of the law on Mount Sinai and many different people from different lands had come to Jerusalem. They marveled that they could understand the Apostles’ words. This day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles marked the beginning of the mission of the Church to spread the Good News throughout the world.
In a sense, Pentecost is the opposite of what occurred in the Old Testament story of the Tower of Babel when God disapproved of the building of a tower to reach the heavens and he created confusion by having the workers suddenly speak in different tongues, and unable to understand each other. At Pentecost He gave the disciples the ability to speak other tongues and thus be able to be understood by everyone everywhere.
Life-creating God, Spirit and lover of mankind, with tongues of fire you enlightened those united with one accord in love; therefore we also celebrate today your holy descent.
Filled with joy by your coming the Holy apostles began in different-sounding tongues to call into unity them that had been divided from each other; therefore we also celebrate today your holy descent.
By spiritual and holy baptism through them you have adorned the universe in a new and radiant garment; therefore we also celebrate your holy descent.
(From the Canon for the First Day of Pentecost according to the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)
Archbishop Anoushavan met with Dr. Michael Bassous, General Secretary /CEO of the Bible Society of Lebanon and Ms. Jane Jelgerhuis, Director of Global Campaign Partnerships of the American Bible Society on May 29 at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral.

Plans are underway for the 33 rd annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program, a unique Christian educational program for youth ages 13-18. Sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the weeklong program will be held at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from June 30 to July 7, 2019. For information and registration, please click here .

Death of Mesrob Taghiadian (June 10, 1858)
Mesrob Taghiadian was a writer and traveller who led a colorful life in the first half of the nineteenth century, bringing a mixture of progressive and conservative ideas to Eastern Armenian culture, particularly in India and Iran.

He was born on January 2, 1803, in the neighborhood of Tsoragiugh, in Yerevan. He studied at the monastery of Holy Echmiadzin, at the time when Eastern Armenia was still under Persian domination and educational methods were not very enlightened. However, he had the good fortune to study for a couple of years (1818-1819) with a good teacher, the archimandrite Poghos Gharadaghtsi (ca. 1790-ca. 1860). He collected popular songs and legends in the villages of the area. He became a deacon, but did not take the habits.

Taghiadian’s inquisitive mind and adventurous spirit led him to Calcutta (nowadays Kolkatta), where he studied at Bishop’s College from 1826-1830. While studying, he published a number of translations from English and Latin into Armenian, with an eclectic choice of authors (William Shakespeare, John Milton, John Locke, and Alexander Pope, among others). On the year of his graduation, he published his first book, Mythology (1830). Leaving Calcutta, he went first to New Julfa, where he founded a school, and then to Echmiadzin, where he worked for a year as director of the print shop and the library, as well as secretary of Catholicos Nerses V. Afterwards he went back and forth between New Julfa and Echmiadzin, later to Constantinople, and then, after many adventures, he settled in Calcutta around 1840.

He first took a job at Bishop’s College as director of the Armenian section of the print shop. He published two textbooks in 1840. In addition to other textbooks published later, he also published some books of scholarship: History of Ancient India from Immemorial Times to the Invasion of the Mohammedans (1841), Humorous Persian Fables (1846), History of the Persians (1846), and The Martyrdom of St. Sandukht (1847). In 1847 he wrote an extensive travelogue of his trips through India, Persia, and Armenia. He also tried his hand at fiction, with two novels, The Story of Vardgues (1846) and The Story of Varsenik (1847), which figure among the earliest examples of modern Armenian fiction. In 1847 he published a collection of his poetry, entitled The Taghiadian’s Parrot , and a love poem based on an Indian tale, Sos and Sontipi. All his works were written in Classical Armenian, which was still the standard language of writing at the time.

In 1845 he published the periodical Azgaser, renamed Azgaser Araratian in 1848, where he wrote about many current issues (religious, economic, social, cultural, educational, and literal), making his own share of criticisms and offerings his viewpoints. The paper ceased publication in 1852.

Meanwhile, in 1846 he had opened a co-ed school named after St. Sandukht, with educational methods based on modern European methods and not on the old scholastic system. He extolled those methods in a book, Discourse on the Education of Girls (1847). He maintained that education provide moral characteristics, rather than innate traits.

In 1858 Taghiadian decided to return to Armenia and spend the rest of his life there. However, he fell ill in Shiraz (Persia) and passed away on June 10, 1858.

It is interesting to note that Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian of blessed memory was prelate of Ispahan from 1973 to 1977, before coming to the Eastern Prelacy and at the time, he collected extensive unpublished material on Mesrop Taghiadian, which he published in a thick volume of more than 600 pages, entitled Archive of Mesrop Taghiadian, in 1979.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ).
The 2019 Sunday School graduates with Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian and their teacher, Stacey Khatchadourian. The graduates are, from left to right: Alexa Garrian, Michael Simonian, John Varin, Alex Stevens, Melanie Simonian. Not pictured graduate Sophia Pereira and teacher, Jason Simonian.
Students of the 8 th grade Sunday School class at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence, Rhode Island, celebrated their graduation in the presence of their pastor Der Kapriel, Yeretsgin Debbie, family and friends. Der Hayr began the ceremony with prayer and spoke about the focus of this year’s curriculum, learning about the Soorp Badarak. Each student had an opportunity to share a passage from the Bible that was special to them and explained why they chose that particular passage. The graduates were encouraged to remain committed to God and to serve Sts. Vartanantz Church. They were reminded to follow the foundation that has been built by their Sunday school experience as they discover new interests and experiences. At the conclusion of the ceremony, each graduate received a diploma and a Holy Bible. The parting message was “have a blessed, fun, and safe summer, and we look forward to seeing you at Church as you continue to be part of the Sts. Vartanantz church community.”

Sunday school students proudly pose in front of their mural.

The students plan and paint their mural in the Cathedral’s courtyard. 
Last Sunday the students of St. Illuminator Cathedral’s Sunday School continued their community service project for the year. Each year the students choose a project they would like to work on to help the Cathedral and this year they undertook a rather large project. They decided to make the Cathedral’s outdoor courtyard usable for all parishioners to enjoy. There was much work to be done!
In the fall, the Sunday school held a huge clean-up day with the help of the Ladies Guild and Sunday school parents. With the weather improving, last Sunday, they continued their project with the start of a mural on one of the brick walls and will finish the mural and start to install furniture this coming week.
With much fundraising and generous donations made throughout the year, the students are able to provide a new, fresh space for the entire community to enjoy. They feel great joy and pride to be able to offer this to the St. Illuminator’s community. 

Members of the NJ Ladies Guild at their Year-End evening of fellowship.

The newly elected executive members of the Ladies Guild for 2019-2020.
Members of the Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, enjoyed an evening of fellowship, friendship, and good food at their End-of-the-Year dinner yesterday evening, June 5. More than thirty members joined the annual event where two members are honored for their exceptional devotion to the success of the Ladies Guild. Honored this year were Marisa Mesropian Fisher and Maral Doghramajian.

The Ladies Guild Executive for the 2019-2020 year is as follows: Maggie Kouyoumdjian, chair; Maral Doghramadjian, co-chair; Bea Movsesian, treasurer; Arous Isakhanian, corresponding secretary; Hilda Tavitian, recording secretary; Lynn Mahlebjian and Marisa Mesropian Fisher, advisors.

The Smell of the Flock

«Աստուած սէր է» ( Asdvadz ser eh ). “God is love” (John 4:8).

Several Armenian churches throughout the world display this sentence above their altars.
If you read the Armenian script, you surely realized that we are talking about սէր ( ser ) with է ( e ), which means “love,” and not սեր ( ser ) with ե ( ye, which sounds e between consonants). This is because the latter means… “cream.”

We have discussed this case before. As an English speaker, you will surely not complain about these tricky spellings. How many times have you written that you do not want to loose your spare change or you want to go and see the principle of your children’s school?

However, even if you do not complain, you may need to be careful not to fall into the same trap in Armenian. “Loose” or “principle” in the above sentences will not make you look funny. But you have cases in Armenian that may put you in such situation.

Let’s call upon Hovhannes Toumanian, the beloved Armenian poet whose 150 th birth anniversary is commemorated this year. Born in 1869 and 1923, he wrote in Eastern Armenian and, indeed, in classical orthography (the one Western Armenian uses today).

He has the following lines:

Սարից էր գալիս ոչխարի հոտը,
Sarits er kalis vochkhari hoduh,
From the mountain the smell of sheep came,
Գայլը գնում էր հոտին ընդառաջ։
Kayluh kunoom er hodin untarach.
The wolf was going towards the smell.
Սարից էր գալիս ոչխարի հօտը,
Sarits er kalis vochkhari hoduh,
From the mountain the flock of sheep came,
Գայլը գնում էր հոտին ընդառաջ։
Kayluh kunoom er hodin untarach,
The wolf was going towards the smell.
Սարից էր գալիս ոչխարի հոտը,
Sarits er kalis vochkhari hoduh,
From the mountain the smell of sheep came,
Գայլը գնում էր հօտին ընդառաջ։
Kayluh kunoom er hodin untarach.
The wolf was going towards flock.  

Wait a minute. How come hod means both “smell” and “flock”?

The issue is about knowing your spelling. There is a reason why “heart” and “hearth” sound the same, but are not written in the same way. Similarly, there is a reason why “smell” and “flock” sound the same in Armenian, but they are spelled differently. Of course, this is not because, as any smart reader would realize, there is a wish to torture learners and writers.

Yes, the word sounds hod, but has two different spellings. One is հօտ, with օ ( o ), meaning “flock,” and the other is հոտ, with ո ( vo ), meaning “smell.” (*) If you cannot read the Armenian letters and did not have the English translation, you would probably have some time understanding what Toumanian meant, because everything sounds and reads the same in Latin script! Did the wolf go towards the flock or the smell?

If you can read Armenian and know your spelling, then you can appreciate the difference.
Like the shepherd knows his flock of sheep, the pastor of a church knows his flock of believers. Therefore, if you call the flock of sheep a հօտ/hod with o, you would surely call the flock of believers in the same way. Otherwise, if you wrote հոտ/hod with vo, the result will be insulting for your priest or any priest, as it has happened in the past:
Քահանան իր սեփական հոտը ունի

Kahanan ir sepagan hoduh ooni

“The priest has his own smell” (instead of “The priest has his own flock”)

Better to brush up your spelling knowledge. You will surely spare yourself embarrassing situations.


(*) There is a third spelling for this word, յօտ, which means “branch of a vine,” from which we have the verb յօտել ( hodel ), “to trim.” Of course, it has nothing to do with… հոտիլ ( հօdil ) “to smell,” which in Eastern Armenian is… հոտել ( hodel ).

Previous entries in “The Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ).
The Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program was established in 1993 and continues to be the central mission of the Prelacy’s programs in Armenia and Artsakh. As part of the program, letters are received regularly from sponsored children addressed to their sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads . This week’s letter is from a fourth grade honor student. In order to protect the privacy of the children we give only their first names.

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Man é . . . I was born on April 8, 2009. I am now in 4 th grade in school. I am an honor roll student and I am doing really well in foreign languages: German and Russian. I participate in the after-school dance classes. I dance well.

I live with my mother, sister, and brother. My sister is a fourth year student at Goris State University. My brother serves in the army in the Republic of Karabagh. My mom doesn’t have a job—she stays home. Thank you very much for your help. With the money we receive, my mother bought me winter boots and clothes. . .
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

In this week's reflection, Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of Philadelphia, PA, reflects upon the bible reading from this upcoming Sunday, also known as the Feast of Pentecost  (Hokekaloust) .

Click above to watch this week's reflection.
( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
SIAMANTO ACADEMY— Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: anec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810.
June 9 —Opening reception of “The Colours of Life,” by Areg Elibekian, 1 to 3 pm at St. Illuminator Cathedral’s John Pashalian Hall, 221 East 27 th Street, New York City. The exhibit will be on view from June 10 to June 23. Monday to Friday noon to 4 pm; Sunday 11 am to 2 pm.

June 16 —Father’s Day Picnic, St. Gregory Church, 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Delicious food, live music, children’s activities.

June 15 —Patriotic Songs by Karnig Sarkissian and performance by Hamazkayin’s Nayiri Dance Ensemble and Arekag Chorus, honor of First Republic of Armenia, 7:30 pm, Assyrian Orthodox Church of Virgin Mary, Paramus, NJ. For information: ARFDRO@gmail.com or ARSAGNOUNI@gmail.com.

June 30-July 7 —33 rd St. Gregory of Datev Summer Institute (ages 13-19) at St. Mary of Providence Center, Elverson, PA. Sponsored by Eastern Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). Information: arec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810.

July 13 —“Hye Summer Night Dinner-Dance,” presented by Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Warwick, Rhode Island, 6 pm to 12:30 pm $60; dance only 8 pm to 12:30 pm, $35. Contact Joyce Bagdasarian, 401-434-4467.

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 150 th anniversary of birth of Gomidas Vartabed, organized by the Eastern Prelacy. Details will follow.

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