March 19, 2020
Prayer from "Morning of Light"

Read by Taleen Boman
St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church of Dearborn, MI.

As a consequence of the recent decision of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, we hereby announce to the Pastors, Boards of Trustees and the pious people of our Prelacy that, for the next three Sundays (March 22, 29 and April 5) either Holy Badarak or Morning Services will be conducted behind closed doors and in accordance with local circumstances. In spite of this, we respect the heartfelt desire of our faithful to light candles and pray within the church and allow it on the condition that their presence does not exceed the limits set by state and local civic and health authorities. Wherever possible, we suggest that Holy Badarak or morning services be live streamed via social media.

Also, wherever possible, special morning or evening Lenten services may be performed only behind closed doors, while Bible studies and other gatherings and activities must be canceled.

We are certain that our voices, lifted up to God in prayer at home or in church, will be heard by our merciful and loving God and save us from the worldwide pandemic caused by the coronavirus as well as from all visible and invisible threats.

In conjunction with the other services, the sacrament of Baptism can only be performed in cases of extreme need and only in the presence of a small number of people. Funerals must be performed with the same understanding.

+Archbishop Anoushavan
Eastern United States

Dear fellow Armenians,
The entire world is shocked. The crisis, the panic and the uncertainty have become a constant presence in the life of every continent and every nation. Scientists, physicians, government officials and clergy, everyone in their field are trying to stop the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, despite the continuous work, it is clear that the pandemic is spreading fear and death everywhere.
We are deeply concerned about the children of our nation and we follow closely the developing situation in Armenia and the Diaspora communities. Having faced daunting storms in its long history, our people find themselves before a new peril. We have to be realistic, wise and cautious. We have to tackle this dangerous crisis with individual and collective efforts, and with a responsible approach.
Therefore, we appeal to our beloved children with this pontifical message:
1) Each Armenian, family or community, each within its immediate circle, must take the current situation that has shaken mankind and our people with the utmost seriousness, caution and responsibility.

2) Local and international news networks are providing ample coverage about the pandemic. More to the point, they are offering vital explanations and advice about practical resources and means to defeat it. We have to follow closely specialists’ explanations and put them into practice to the highest possible degree in our individual, family and collective life.

3) The main prevention advice offered by doctors is to avoid physical and social contacts and gatherings. We have to take this circumstance into account with particular importance, for the health of our own person, family, community, nation and everybody. Every expert is convinced that we will able to prevent the spread of the current pandemic only by putting into practice the abovementioned measures.
Prayer, however, must be the moving force of our life, our thoughts and our works. Faith, in conjunction with prayer, gives us our spiritual courage to face whatever is bad and evil in life. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). Dear fellow Armenians, “Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place,” according to the promise of the son of God.
Therefore, let us turn to Christ and recite in prayer the words of the Psalm: “For you, O Lord, are my hope… do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me!” (71:5-12). With this faith and hope, let us pray together with the simple yet profound words of the prayer of our church:
“Dispel the pain and heal the sickness of your people, Lord our God and grant to all perfect health by the sign of thine all-conquering Cross through which you removed the weakness of mankind and condemned the enemy of our life and salvation. You are our life and salvation, beneficent and all merciful God, who alone can forgive us our sins and remove diseases and sickness from us, to whom are known our needs and necessities. Bestower of gifts, grant your bounteous mercy to your creatures according to their individual needs, through whom thy Holy Trinity is always glorified and praised, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.”

Catholicos Aram I
Great House of Cilicia
March 15, 2020
Almighty God, compassionate and gracious; we, your children seek your protection; bless and glorify your holy name, and sing praises unto your glory․ For you are the endless fountain of love and goodness and the celestial treasury of heavenly graces and blessings.
Listen to our prayers and supplications, Lord. Waves of pain and distress have surrounded the children of our people everywhere. We find ourselves confronting overwhelming economic, moral, and social trials and tribulations, and especially the rapid spread of the Coronavirus Pandemic, which has begun to wreak havoc everywhere.
Lord, You are a just, compassionate, loving and caring father, who never abandons those who approach you with faith and hope. We beg you, Lord of Healing, to spread your curative blessings over all the peoples of the world. Fill our troubled souls with heavenly joy. Brighten the overcast skies of our life with your heavenly light.
Lord Jesus Christ, you are our light and salvation, whom shall we fear? You are the stronghold of our life; of whom shall we be afraid? Stretch forth your holy hand and we shall recover. Touch us with your holy right hand and we shall heal in the very same way that all those who have come to you in faith were cured and called back to life.
O Lord, you are our help and our protector; our hearts rejoice only in you; you alone can illuminate the pathways of our life, relieve our pain, and heal our wounds. Keep all your children safely under your wings and protect them always.
Almighty God, with your miraculous power, cure and restore mankind and the children of our nation living in Armenia, in Artsakh, in Lebanon and those dispersed throughout the world. Let pain and suffering – all that is bad and evil – vanish from human life through your healing presence. Glory and praise to your Holy Trinity, forever and ever. Amen.
Aram I, Catholicos
Beloved Children of God,
According to the Armenian Church Calendar, yesterday was Michink , which means Mid-Lent: in other words, the midpoint of our spiritual pilgrimage to the Feast of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In all Armenian Churches during Lent, the Altar curtain is closed, the Holy Communion is not served, and the Kiss of Peace is not given. All these features symbolize the loss of the original life mankind was destined to enjoy before the Fall. The Curtain, however, will soon be reopened, reminding us of the infinite love and compassion of our Merciful Lord, and we will celebrate the life-giving Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
This powerful Dominical statement related to life is more applicable to our generation than any other. Those who are familiar with History know well the saying “ Hannibal ad portas ”, meaning Hannibal is at the gates; in other words, “the threat is at the door”. Since January of this year, a global threat—the coronavirus—not only has been knocking on our doors, but has already penetrated all layers of society on five continents, paralyzing normal life at all levels. Governments and health institutions are directing their respective communities to take preventive measures to cure as well as to hold back the incredibly fast spread of this virus.
As a community of faith, it is our duty to follow the guidelines provided by government agencies as well as to draw strength from our Heavenly Father: the source of life, healing, and all blessings. Lent has been designated by the Church Fathers as the best time of the year to consider all of our human weaknesses, our so called sins, by sincere self-examination and prayers and to renew ourselves with the grace of our Lord in the newness granted to us on the Holy Cross.
Calamities are a testing of our faith. As humans we are subject to doubt, fear, anxieties, panic, etc. Yet we do believe that all those who are anchored in God will be provided with existential help and the strength to overcome these weaknesses.
Let us all be alert, cautious, and avoid panic as we cope with this pandemic. Let us fervently and wholeheartedly pray for the recovery of all those who have been infected by this severe virus and for the speedy discovery of a cure. We believe that in the same way that God did extraordinary miracles by the hand of St. Paul, as we read in the Book of Acts 19.11-12, He will surely hear our humble supplications and work through the scientists to fight this global threat and bring healing and hope to mankind, to praise His name forever and ever. Amen.
Archbishop Anoushavan

On Sunday, March 15, Archbishop Anoushavan visited the Sts. Vartanantz Church in New Jersey and took part in the Holy Liturgy and the Sunrise Service, following which he delivered a homily. The Prelate highlighted the imperative of heeding the calls for caution issued by government and healthcare officials to prevent the deadly spread of the coronavirus. At the same time, he said that while the Church pays the utmost importance to physical health, for paraphrasing St. Paul, the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), it also urges us to care of our spiritual health which, alas, the world ignores.

The Prelate made two quotes from the evening hour prayer, during which we are told to live with care a pure life; and the second one was following the Salutation during the Holy Liturgy, when the deacon invites us to open the doors of our mind and soul to God, to enjoy the supreme blessings of the faith.

In his closing remarks, Archbishop Anoushavan quoted a verse from Nerses the Gracious’ hymn “All the World”: “My soul is dead/ My body errs/ I am only present in body.” He demonstrated how our Fathers were minutely concerned with the health of our soul, which is the guarantee for a healthy mind and body. He therefore wished the public to find strength in their faith and face with caution the current crisis, always trusting our Merciful Lord. 

It is with great sorrow that we have learned that His Eminence, Archbishop Dirayr Panossian, one of the oldest members of the Congregation of the Great House of Cilicia, passed away on Wednesday, March 18.

The funeral of the Prelate will be held tomorrow at the Catholicosate in Antelias, following which his body will be laid to rest in the mausoleum of the Congregation.

Archb. Dirayr Panossian (whose lay name was Panos) was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1937. He received his primary education at the Armenian Grtasiratz School of Aleppo and in 1961 he was admitted to the seminary of the Great House of Cilicia. In 1963 he was ordained a deacon an in 1965 he became a celibate priest, adopting the name of Fr. Dirayr. In 1967 he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite ( vartabed )   following his dissertation entitled “Brief Account of the History of Armenian-Latin Relations from the Beginning to 1382,” which was published in 1973. He received his university education in England in 1968-70, where he obtained the degree of Leader of Christian Education. In 1995 he was elevated to the rank of  dzayrakouyn vartabed , in 1997 he was ordained a bishop and in 2010 he was elevated to the rank of archbishop.
In 1965-72, he was the Chief Sacristan of the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator at the Catholicosate. From 1972 to 1979, he was Catholicosal Vicar in the Armenian Prelacy of Azarbaijan (Iran).
Archb. Panossian has also held teaching positions at the Seminary and a number of other institutions. In 1966-72, he was the head of the Sunday Schools of the Armenian Church, while he also served as the editor of the “Drazark” yearbook for five years. Along with other functions, he was also the head librarian of the Catholicosate (1984-97, 2005-2019). In 1999-2000 he was the director of the Bird’s Nest orphanage.
May God grant him eternal rest.

Bible readings for Sunday, March 22, Fifth Sunday of Great Lent, Sunday of the Judge, are: Isaiah 65:8-25; Philippians 3:1-4:9; Luke 17:20-18:14.
Philippians 3:1-4:9

Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh!” For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh—even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh.
If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained.
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthy things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Luke 17:20-18:14

Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”
Then he said to the disciple, “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man.
They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot; they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed all of them—it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it. I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left” Then they asked them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
We are now more than halfway through Great Lent (yesterday was Michink , the median day of Lent). This Sunday, March 22, is the Sunday of the Judge ( Tadavori Giragi ). The Gospel reading for this day is the parable told by Jesus about a widow and a judge (see reading above). The judge in the parable is seen as hard-headed and without principles, fear of God, or compassion for people. A widow in the same town has been ill-treated and she has come to the judge for justice. Although her cause is just, the judge does not pay attention to her case. However, she is persistent, and she makes the same appeal again and again until, at last, the judge decides to see she receives justice. He does this not because he cares about justice, but because he wants to be rid of the widow. The message of this parable is that we must persist in our pursuit of righteousness and justice with the confidence that perseverance (especially in prayer) will be rewarded.

This Saturday, March 21, the Armenian Church remembers the Forty Martyrs of Sebastia. Although the backgrounds and identities of the forty young soldiers are not known, it is believed they came from Lesser Armenia and served in the Roman army. According to St. Basil of Caesarea, forty Christian soldiers refused to worship the Roman emperor while stationed in Sebastia in Armenia in 320. They remained faithful to their Christian faith. The soldiers were tried and condemned to death by stoning. Miraculously, when the sentence was being carried out, the stones would not reach the condemned soldiers, but would instead bounce back striking those throwing the stones. The soldiers were then thrown into a frozen lake and forced to stay there unless they renounced their faith. Warm baths were prepared for anyone who would recant. Of the forty, only one gave up and came out of the lake. In the meantime, forty aureoles came down from the sky: seeing that, one of the guards declared himself a Christian and took the apostate’place. All forty died.
Some of our great Church Fathers like Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Ephraim the Assyrian, and Sisian of Sebastia, wrote panegyrics about the forty martyrs, who are remembered each year during Lent on the Saturday following the median day of Lent. The Armenians have built and named churches in memory of the Forty Martyrs in various parts of the world.

Following recommendations of public health related to the coronavirus pandemic, the Lenten Program co-sponsored by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC) and the Ladies Guild of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, which takes place at the Cathedral in New York City, was modified on Wednesday, March 18. The lecture by Ms. Louise Kanian and the table fellowship were canceled, as well as the abridged Husgoom service. Instead, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, delivered a meditation on mid-Lent (see the text and the video above). 

In this week's Prelacy Reflection Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of North Andover, MA, reflects upon the bible reading from the upcoming Sunday, "The Sunday of the Judge."

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 Narine* who is sponsored by Der Nareg and Yn. Annie Terterian. 

Dear Sponsor,
This is Narine. I live in Drakhtik village. I am in 7th grade in school. To tell you the truth, I am not a very good student at school. I am the only girl in our class and maybe that is why I am very mischievous and don’t like to study much.

Although I am not studious at school, I like to make jewelry from beads. At home, I help my mom in all house chores. I also love to play with children, so when I have spare time, I pass it by entertaining our neighbors’ children. By doing that I help our neighbors.

Thank you for sending me 50 dollars as a special gift. Since our father passed away too soon, our mom has difficulty raising us alone, and we will use that money to buy food and warm clothes for me, which I really needed. I am really grateful to you for your assistance.

* In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.
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 ( ) or telephone (212-689-7810). 
On Wednesday, March 11th, the ARS Ani and Arax chapters of Providence, Rhode Island, prepared a Lenten fish dinner at the parish hall of Sts. Vartanantz Church, with the proceeds benefitting the Mourad Armenian School. Following dinner, the Lenten Vesper Service featured the Mourad Armenian School students reading Nerses Shnorhali's «Հաւատով Խոստովանիմ – Havadov Khosdovanim - In Faith I Confess» prayers beautifully in Classical Armenian ( krapar ). Also during the Vesper service, Archpriest Gomidas Baghsarian, former pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church, delivered a wonderful message on the Lenten season.

John M. Evans

John Evans, formerly U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, gained notoriety in 2005 by publicly dissenting from the stated policy of the Bush and previous administrations on the issue of the Armenian Genocide. A veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service with a thirty-five-year career, Ambassador Evans had no Armenian ancestors or family connections, but over the course of his historical studies and diplomatic career, became convinced that a gross injustice was being perpetrated against the Armenians through the denialist policies of the Turkish government and the U.S. government’s tacit acceptance of them. He decided to take a measured public stand, but then paid for his “heresy” by being dismissed from his post and forced into early retirement, although not without a fight over the issue in the U.S. Congress.
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore (   or 212-689-7810)
Birth of Harry Babasin (March 19, 1921)
Harry Babasin, one of so many Armenians who have made their name in the non-Armenian milieu and with pseudonyms or modified surnames, was a large presence as a creative and innovative bassist in the world of American jazz.
Yervant Harry Babasin (Babasian) was born on March 19, 1921, in Dallas, Texas, to an Armenian dentist and a Texan school music teacher. He attended North Texas State University and became one of many noted jazz players from the school, including Jimmy Giuffre and Herb Ellis, with whom he played in the early 1940s.
In 1942, Babasin and Ellis checked out the Charlie Fisk Orchestra and were less than satisfied with the rhythm section. They approached the bandleader and told him they could do it better. Fisk fired the previous rhythm section after a quick audition. Babasin quit the university to join the band and go on tour. During the 1940s he also toured with other well-known jazz musicians. He moved to Los Angeles when working with Charlie Barnet in 1945 and wound up joining the Benny Goodman Orchestra, with whom he made many recordings. He was also the first to record jazz solos on the cello in 1947 with the Dodo Marmarosa Trio.
He also appeared in Howard Hawks film “A Song is Born” (1948), with Danny Kaye in the main role, and became one of many jazz stars to play roles in the film, including Benny Goodman, Charlie Barnet, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, and others. On the set, he met Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida, who was an extra, and both began jamming together; their quartet, which included drummer Roy Harte and saxophonist Bud Shank, was an early experiment of blending Brazilian music and American jazz. Their discs of 1954 became predecessors to the bossa nova explosion of the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the mid-1950s, the bassist put together his own ensemble, Harry Babasin & the Jazzpickers, becoming one of the only bassists of his generation who was also a bandleader. This ensemble released three albums. He also was the cofounder of the Nocturne label, which was highly regarded, even if short-lived.
In the 1960s, Babasin’s career cooled, and he returned to work with Charlie Barnet and to support Bob Hope, who was entertaining the troops. In the 1970s he and Harte initiated the Los Angeles Theaseum, an archive of West Coast jazz history.
His last tour was in 1985 with piano accompaniment by John Banister, who had given him the nickname “the Bear” because of his imposing presence and the way he clawed at the bass. Babasin passed away on May 21, 1988, in Los Angeles, having participated in possibly as many as 1,500 recordings as a bassist alone, not counting his cello work.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 
The coronavirus dominates public and private conversations these days and for the foreseeable future here and everywhere. It is tempting to insert the Armenian equivalents for some of the words that rule over the conversation:

Pandemic : this word of Greek origin, which has the connotation of an illness expanded everywhere, comes from the nineteenth century, but the Armenian equivalent is practically a neologism. While “pandemic” means “related to the whole people,” the word համավարակ ( hamavarag ) literally means “virus, contagion for all” ( hama = Greek pan ).
Epidemic : this is the standard word, also of Greek origin (“among people”) that has been usually present in Armenian vocabulary, as համաճարակ ( hamajarag), which literally means “which eats, destroys everything.”
Virus : the Latin word means “poison,” but you do not use Armenian թոյն ( tooyn “poison”) here. The two Armenian words used interchangeably are ժահր ( zhahur) and վարակ ( varag ). The former means “poison,” even though it is not used in the sense of, for instance, snake poison, but also means “virus.” Varag , however, generally means all sorts of microorganisms that may damage our health and it is the root of the verb  վարակել/varagel (“to infect”).
Incidentally, the word “coronavirus” has given origin to a long series of Armenian translations: պսակաձեւ ժահր (busagatzev zhahur), թագաժահր (takazhahur), թագավարակ (takavarag ) , among others. It remains to be seen which one will “survive” in the long term.  
Vaccine :  the primary meaning of the Armenian word, պատուաստ ( badvasd ), is “graft” (a branch grafted on a tree). The action of including something foreign in an organism originated the secondary meaning of “vaccine.”
Diagnose: the Greek word diagnosis just means “a discerning, distinguishing,” but if you want to ascertain an illness from its symptoms, it is better to go to the Armenian word, which combines “illness” and “a determination.” Whoever created the word did not go to the standard word for “illness,” հիւանդութիւն (hivantootioon ), but to a much shorter synonym, ախտ ( akhd ), and the combination for “diagnose” became ախտորոշում (akhdoroshum ).

Symptom: another word of Greek origin, which meant “a happening, accident, disease.” However, since its modern use is “sign of a disease,” the Armenian word reflects exactly that: ախտանիշ ( akhdanish ), combining the already known akhd with the noun նիշ (nish) “sign.”’

Above all, however, the most important word to remember is առողջութիւն ( aroghchootioon “health”). This is what we wish to every one of our readers.
Previous entries in “Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 
Please remember that the deadline for submitting items for Crossroads is on Tuesday evenings.
All parish news, photographs, and calendar items should be emailed to . Please send also your inquiries and comments (English and/or Armenian) to the same email address.

In this new article for the OCP news site, “Is Tradition Important? On Church’s Customs and Rules,” Fr. Bedros Shetilian offers reflections on whether it is possible to have a religious life with no rules and customs. You may read it here

The Armenian Prelacy shares with all parishes of the East Coast the concern about the coronavirus outbreak, or COVID-19. We advise everyone to refer to local authorities for guidance on prevention and follow all applicable advisories regarding church ceremonies and social events. We also urge our communities to be cautious and avoid non-essential activities. We are monitoring the rapidly evolving situation and we will update the information as needed.

 ( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
Please note that all events that were scheduled for March and the beginning of April have been postponed or canceled. We will keep you updated about further changes in the calendar of events as the community responds to the health emergency. 

April 25 —Armenian Genocide Commemoration at the House Chamber of the State Capitol of Connecticut, at 11:00 am. Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, President Emeritus of American University of Armenia (AUA), will speak about “Education as the cornerstone of building resilience among the Armenian youth and advancing Armenia.”
May 13-16   —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of Philadelphia. The Clergy Conference will begin on Wednesday, May 13; the full Assembly will convene on Thursday, May 14 and conclude on Saturday, May 16.
May 17  —Save the date. Following Divine Liturgy, St. Illuminator’s Cathedral will host a talk by academic and author Rubina Peroomian.
May 31   —Save the date. St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, Douglaston, New York, 30th Anniversary Banquet.
June 28—July 5   —St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program: the 34th annual Datev Summer Program for youth ages 13-18 will take place at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). For information, please click  here  or contact the AREC office—212-689-7810 or   .
October 4 —Save the date. St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church of New Britain, CT, 95th Anniversary Banquet.
October 17 —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 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 His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian. Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, Cranston, Rhode Island. More details to follow.

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