May 14, 2020
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As in every community, the Lebanese Armenian community continues to endure social and financial difficulties aggravated by the pandemic, which have hit our organizations and, particularly, households. The Great House of Cilicia could not be indifferent to this situation.

In the last few months, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I has continuously advised the prelacies to do everything possible to help the families in need. At the same time, the Catholicosate is providing aid to the Lebanese Armenian organizations, the emergency services and the families that need support. The Catholicosate has come to the aid of households in Fanar as well as in the region that extends from Jounieh to Tripoli, providing food or money for first necessity items.

Generous benefactors from the United States, Lebanon, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland and Monaco have contributed to these humanitarian efforts. The Catholicosate is developing new aid initiatives to support the community. 

His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, will preside the Divine Liturgy and give the sermon at Soorp Asdvadzadzin Church of Whitinsville, Massachusetts, on Sunday, May 17. Rev. Fr. Mikael Der Kosrofian, Parish Pastor, will be the celebrant. As usual, the Divine Liturgy will be broadcasted live. 

In an interview with Karine Kocharyan, of the “Voice of Armenians” TV network, Archbishop Anoushavan described how the Prelacy is using technological resources to carry out its religious, humanitarian and educational activities. During the interview aired last Sunday, May 10, the Prelate listed the services offered by the church, including the Daily Reflections shared by the Parish Pastors, weekly academies for children and teenagers and Bible Study, as well as several initiatives with which the Prelacy is expanding the scope of its work. In response to a question, the Prelate also mentioned the support the Prelacy’s Nerses the Great organization has been providing to hundreds of orphans in Armenia and Artsakh. He thanked all benefactors who continue keeping the Prelacy’s activities alive with their generous support. 
He repeated his spiritual prescription for these times of pandemic: “prayer, prudence, and patience.” Along with the prayer, he said, we must always make good use of our sense of caution. 
The capacity of Armenians to face deadly threats such as those posed by the coronavirus has been enhanced, in a way, by their collective ability to overcome the trauma of the Genocide, the Prelate said.
“As a nation, each of us have that experience, especially the Genocide experience. For us, the April Genocide must not come down to just a commemoration but, on the contrary, it has to be a gold mine of experience for our people… not in a rhetorical or poetical sense but on the contrary, like gold, which going through fire becomes stronger, shiny, and valuable. If we were able to survive, and not only survive, but also bring our contribution to humanity, I have no doubt that we will be able to defeat this calamity,” the Prelate said.
“What matters, however, is that we always cooperate with each other and for each other, working, planning and sharing our experiences, building bridges amongst us, and that’s how our people will come out of this. As Psalm 23 says, even if I walk through the valley of death, I will not be afraid, because You Lord are with me. This is not a mere psalm a Sunday school student learns, but it has been a life principle for me: these have been the most beautiful, the most enduring, the strongest words that have generated an inner force in me, because any time we walk through the valley of death, we shall be able to see the light that comes from the cross. The cross itself is the valley of the biggest pain and suffering, but the cross irradiates the light of resurrection. And I want that our people, renovating in its faith, which came with the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew and became even stronger with Gregory the Illuminator, to delve deeper in our faith, reawaken, and thus we will see how we will leave behind this global catastrophe and we will see a new dawn,” the Prelate concluded.
You may watch the full interview on the following link:

The Prelate’s Homily
On Sunday, May 10, Archbishop Anoushavan presided the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Cross Church of Troy, New York. Rev. Fr. Archpriest Gomidas Baghsarian, Visiting Pastor of the church, was the celebrant. You can read the Prelate’s sermon below:

Today, the fifth Sunday of Easter, according to the Armenian Church Calendar is dedicated to the apparition of the Holy Cross, a historical event, which took place in 351 during the reign of Emperor Constantius, the son of Emperor Constantine the Great. Let us read a short passage from the letter of a witness, Bishop Cyril of Jerusalem, addressed to the Emperor.

“On the 7 th of May, at about nine o’clock in the morning, a vast luminous body, in the form of a Cross, appeared in the sky just over the holy Golgotha, reaching as far as the holy Mount of Olives, seen not only by one or two persons, but clearly and evidently by the whole city. This was not, as may be thought, a momentary transient phenomenon; for it continued for several hours visible to our eyes, and brighter than the sun, the light of which would have eclipsed it, had not this been stronger. The whole city, struck with a reverential fear tempered with joy, ran immediately to the church, young and old, Christians and heathens, citizens and strangers, all with one voice giving praise to our Lord.’’

The Holy Cross is revered in the Orthodox and Catholic churches simultaneously for it stands as the earthly altar upon which the Holy of Holies was sacrificed. When we carry it, kiss it, cross ourselves, our reverence goes through the Cross to the Crucified One.  
As much as the miracle itself is wondrous, what is very significant to me is the timing, as well as the two points between which the apparition took place and the comparison of the Cross with the sun.

The time of the apparition exactly coincidences with the time when our Lord Jesus Christ carried His own cross heading to the final destination, to Golgotha.

The two places mentioned above, from Golgotha to the Mount of Olives, where the luminous Cross was revealed and which cover a distance of almost two miles, herald a deep message to all those who look at this scene from a spiritual perspective. Golgotha, with the Cross, the Tomb and later with the Empty Tomb, stands for divine infinite love in action, and for the ultimate victory of good over evil, for love over hatred, for life over death, while the Mount of Olives is the earthly final station where Jesus commissioned his Apostles and promised that He is with them for all generations to come for ages and ages (Mt 28:20) and gloriously ascended to Heaven.

The brightness of the Cross, described by the Bishop, reminds us of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, when His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white (Mt 17:2).

The lesson we derive from the celebration of the Apparition of the Holy Cross is as follows:
a. Discipleship of the faithful of all ages starts with carrying the Cross, and unconditionally following Him who said, ”whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Mt 10:38). Carrying the cross doesn’t indicate vocational commitment only, but also each and every faithful in their life has to make God the center of their life as it is instructed, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deut 6:5), and reinstated by our Lord who said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22:37).

b. Once we start the pilgrimage of carrying our cross we have to expect all kind of challenges of the evil powers, with a clear view of the ultimate victory of the Resurrection. We are not carrying our cross alone in our journey or pilgrimage, but we have the solid promise of Jesus that He is with us in all circumstances, as was solemnly proclaimed on the Mount of Olives.

c. The carrying of the Cross might sound very hard and unbearable, yet a luminous power shines and makes us brighter than the sun full of joy in our thoughts, outlook and behavior, for again Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Mt 11:30).

There is no doubt that each and every generation and individual goes through different instances of turmoil, stress and anxiety. Yet our commonness with all who went through this experience consists in whether we face them walking alone or with God, who said, “I am with you.” If we have adopted the former path, there is no doubt that sooner or later, no matter how strong we are, we will surrender to earthly powers. But if we walk with God, even if we go through the furnace of fire, He will make us brighter and more precious than gold. It is an undeniable fact that all those who walked with God, be it Noah, Abraham, the first Christian martyr St. Stephen, the Apostles and the saints of all ages, God never has abandoned them, for He is steadfast in His promise.

With this understanding and belief, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us walk through the pandemic of the coronavirus by capturing the essence of today’s message. No matter how many unexpected downfalls, afflictions and uncertainties there can be in life, when we walk with God nothing can bend our will, as St. Paul said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress?” (Rom 8:35). For walking with Christ means to carry our cross with unchallengeable power; it means literally to walk through the valley of the shadow of death and not fear” (Ps 23:4), and, moreover, it means, with St. Paul, to challenge death itself, by saying, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55).

While we walk with the Crucified and Risen Lord, let us be sure that He also walks with us and is invisibly working through the heroic sacrifice of doctors, nurses and health workers, through public servants who are providing our necessities while we are safely distancing ourselves in our homes, as well as through the community of scientists who, supported by different governments agencies, are on a mission to discover the cure for this pandemic. 
Led by Prayer, Prudence and Patience, let us all be strengthened in Him who in the very words of the Badarak ’s introit, “with His death crushed death itself and granted us life, defeating death” to whom is befitting Glory, Dominion and Honor. Amen.

A Note about the Readings : Beginning Monday, April 20, and continuing until Pentecost (May 31) each day the four Gospels are read in the following order: 1) Morning—Luke; 2) Midday—John; 3) Evening—Matthew; 4) Evening dismissal—Mark. By Pentecost the four gospels are read up to the passion.
Bible readings for Sunday, May 17, Sixth Sunday of Easter, are: Acts 20:17-38; 1 John 3:2-6; John 9:39-10:10.
Acts 20:17-38

From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. When they came to him, he said to them:

“You yourselves know how I lived among you the entire time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus. And now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace.

And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the Kingdom, will ever see my face again. Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothing. You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship.


John 9:39-10:10

Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “surely we are not blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
Last Saturday, May 9, the Eastern Prelacy started a 6-part Bible Study via Zoom, focusing on the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus as portrayed in the pages of the New Testament. The classes are presented by Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy), and are held on Saturdays from 2:00-2:30pm. Over thirty people have registered. You are welcome to register for the upcoming sessions by sending your name, email address, and phone number to Dn. Shant.
Due to the circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic, the Prelacy’s St. Gregory of Datev Institute will hold a condensed online Summer Program for youth ages 13-18 from June 29 to July 3, 2020, instead of its regular sessions at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania.

There will be an hour-long class (11 am to noon), Monday to Friday, which will include a brief church service, followed by mini-sessions on the Bible, Armenian Church history, and a panel discussion on current issues.

We invite our youth, and especially past Datevatsis, to take part in this unique Christian educational program.

Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register, please send your contact information (name, address, phone number, email address, and DOB) to Dn. Shant Kazanjian at . If you have any questions, please contact Deacon Shant by email or at 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 Gayane* who is sponsored by Malcolm Torosian.

Dear Sponsor,
This is Gayane. I live in the region of Armavir, in the village of Dziyadzan. I am 10 years old and I’m in 4th grade in school. I am a very good student.
Besides school, I also participate in afterschool dance classes which I love very, very much.
Dear sponsor, I live with my mother and brother.
With this letter, I want to thank you for helping our family. I don’t know you personally, but I love you very much.
With love from little Gayane
* 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). 
I would like to congratulate Crossroads, especially the decision to add its Armenian version and the splendid work you are doing. I receive it on my email inbox, and I read it from beginning to end. I am pleased that the Prelacy equates Armenian language to the main language of the land, using it in this fundamental outreach resource. There are many examples of periodical publications in the American Armenian life that began in Armenian and that continue to this date, but the only Armenian left in them is in their name, and not always in Armenian script.

That is regrettable, but true. The step the Prelacy has taken is a clear message in terms of willpower and goals. In the end, what is it that sets as apart as a Christian nation from the Universal Church if not our language and the worldview that comes with it?
I also want to express congratulations for the interesting content, which includes Armenian topics (history issues, book reviews) and obviously religious ones: story items, interviews, Bible readings as well as letters and community and parish news along with the church calendar. It is a wonderful and exemplary work that reflects a methodical approach.
With best wishes of continuity, respectfully yours,
Raffi Ajemian


One of the earliest books by Taner Akçam in English, “From Empire to Republic” examines the relationship between Turkey's transition from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic, the Armenian Genocide, and the process of democratization in Turkey today. The book is a set of interrelated essays on the place of the Armenian question in Turkish public life. The first three chapters provide the reader with a framework for understanding Turkish nationalism, its origins, and its ongoing relationship to the Armenian Genocide. In chapters four and five Akçam follows the changes in Ottoman Turkey's political climate that led to the decision of genocide and the implementation of the Genocide itself. He focuses on the mentality of the perpetrator rather than the victim, and argues that the humiliating transformation from empire to republic was the key experience leading to the emergence of a genocidal mentality among the Young Turks.

Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore ( or 212-689-7810)
Death of Catholicos Movses III Datevatsi (May 14, 1632)
The “dark centuries” in Armenian history (fifteenth-seventeenth centuries), when the country was a battlefield between Turkmens, Ottoman Turks, and Persians, also coincided with a period of decline in the Catholicosate of Holy Echmiadzin due to the absence of a stable ecclesiastic authority, the lack of spiritual education of most clergymen, and the empty monasteries. This decadence in the 1441-1629 period, compounded by quarrels between ambitious churchmen who fought to occupy the Holy See, came to an end thanks to the activities and the short reign of Catholicos Movses III.

Movses Datevatsi was born in 1578 in the village of Khodanan, in the region of Siunik, where he spent his childhood and showed a precocious love for the Church. He frequented the nearby monastery of Datev, where he had a relative, Archbishop Hovhannes, who consecrated him celibate priest in 1593. Becoming a member of the congregation of Datev, he is known by the surname Datevatsi, although we often find him under the surnames Siunetsi or Khodanantsi.

He later departed to Amida (Diyarbekir), where he was a student of Srapion Edesatsi and then Khachatur Gesaratsi until 1606. In 1610 he went to Jerusalem, where he became sacristan of the Church of Holy Sepulchre. The next year we find him in Constantinople, where his teacher Khachatur Gesaratsi had become Armenian Patriarch. The latter gave him the rank of vartabed. Movses returned to Datev in 1613 and settled in the nearby Great anabad of Siunik; the name anabad (“desert”) was applied to centers of hermits located near monasteries. He devoted himself to preaching the need to live according to the tenets of Christianism.

Around 1620 he preached in the church of Katoghike in Yerevan, rebuilt the anabad of Apostle St. Anania in the northern area of the city, put order in the churches and monasteries of the province of Ayrarat, and reopened the monastic schools of Hovhannavank and Saghmosavank. He was consecrated bishop in 1623 and traveled to Ispahan, the capital of Persia, in 1626. Shah Abbas I (1587-1628) attended Bishop Movses’ ceremony of Armenian Christmas in January 1627. He was deeply impressed and promised a prize, accepting Movses Datevatsi’s request to become sacristan at the monastery of Holy Echmiadzin and obtain a decree authorizing the renovation of the monastery. The renovation started in June 1627 and included the monastery, the residence of the Catholicos, the auxiliary constructions, and the walls. Movses Datevatsi was “elected Catholicos” at the beginning of 1628 and officially consecrated on January 13, 1629. 

The new shah Safi (1629-1642) issued decrees confirming Movses III’s accession to the throne of Catholicos and waiving the debts of the monastery of Holy Echmiadzin. During his short pontificate, Catholicos Movses paid off all remaining debts, opened new schools and monasteries, and organized monastic life.  

Catholicos Movses III passed away on May 14, 1632, in the anabad of Apostle St. Anania, in Yerevan. He was buried in the local cemetery of Kozern, in the neighborhood of Kond, near the church of Surp Zoravor.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 
If you know Armenian well, you cannot have a problem to understand the language branch you don’t speak, whether it is Western or Eastern Armenian. However, we have to admit that there are interesting differences of vocabulary between both branches, which sometimes are reason for a smile.

This time, we will talk about four vegetables: tomato, eggplant, potato, and carrot. Up to the last ten to fifteen years, you would hardly find anyone in the streets of Yerevan who could understand that լոլիկ (loleeg “tomato” ) and սմբուկ ( sumpoog “eggplant”) were what her or she knew to be պոմիդոր ( pomidor ) and բադրիջան ( badrijan ). The former is the Italian word pomidoro (“tomato,” literally “golden apple”), which entered Eastern Armenian via Russian, and the latter is the Turkish word patlıcan, which came through Armenian dialects. However, in the last few years, the signs advertising loleeg and sumpoog have started popping out in the stores of Yerevan, and those words have begun having more use in colloquial language. Of course, one should be ready to come across pomidor and badrijan at any time.

Western Armenian has adopted գետնախնձոր (kednakhuntzor “potato,” literally “earth apple”), in replacement of Turkish patates. (Incidentally, Dutch also uses “earth apple” or aardappel for potato) . Instead, the Eastern Armenian word in Armenia for “potato” is kartofil or kartoshka, which derives from German Kartoffel, via Russian again (as the use of kartoshka indicates). Speakers of Eastern Armenian understand kednakhuntzor to be the Jerusalem artichoke or sunroot (scientific name Helianthus tuberosa), another vegetable of American origin like the potato.

Finally, we should conclude by stating that today you will not find anyone in Armenia who understands what you mean by ստեպղին (sdebghin “carrot”), the standard Western Armenian word. For example, if you want to have a glass of carrot juice, better to order գազարի հիւթ (gazari hyoot ). Eastern Armenian gazar (“carrot”) comes from the Persian word gazar, which exists in the dialects of Yerevan and Tbilisi. By the way, the language source for sdebghin is the Greek word staphylinos, and the Armenian word has only been present in Western Armenian dialects, which explains why our two languages branches have different words to call the same vegetable. 
Previous entries in “Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 
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

 ( 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 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.
May 16  —Due to the health emergency, the Siamanto Academy will hold its class online on Saturday at 10:30 am. For information, contact ANEC Director Ms. Mary Gulumian at or call 212-689-7810.
May 17  — CANCELED —Following Divine Liturgy, St. Illuminator’s Cathedral will host a talk by academic and author Rubina Peroomian.
May 31  — POSTPONED —Save the date. St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, Douglaston, New York, 30th Anniversary Banquet.
June 29—July 3  —St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program online For information, please contact Dn. Shant Kazanjian at 212-689-7810 or
September 26-27  —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 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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