May 17, 2018

The Eastern Prelacy concluded its 2018 National Representative Assembly (NRA) last weekend. Clergy and Lay delegates representing our parishes joined the Executive Councils (Religious and Lay) at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Merrimack Valley in North Andover, Massachusetts.

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, has formally requested that the election of a new prelate be postponed until September 2018, and has asked His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan to continue serving as Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy until the election that is scheduled to take place on September 22, 2018 at a special meeting of the National Representative Assembly. Jack Mardoian, chairman of the Executive Council, made the announcement to the NRA, and after discussion the delegates unanimously agreed to accept His Holiness’s request.

In his keynote address Archbishop Oshagan thanked the host community and praised their dedication. He reminded the delegates and guests, “Twenty years ago, by the election and invitation of the Prelacy of the Eastern United States and Canada, I assumed my office as Prelate and after being re-elected for five terms, now today, other priorities become reason for me to stand before this honorable assembly and submit my resignation from my religious and administrative duties, with my best wishes for the continued success for the Prelacy’s mission and service.”

Archbishop Oshagan expressed his greetings and blessings to the newly elected Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church, Very Reverend Father Daniel Findikyan. Departing from his prepared remarks, His Eminence also expressed his best wishes to Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, who served as Primate for the past 28 years. He described the positive relationship he had with Archbishop Barsamian, and expressed his trust that the warm relationship would continue between the new Primate and new Prelate.

His Eminence acknowledged the important progress made during the tenure of his predecessor Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, of blessed memory. “The fruit of his all-grateful dedication was taking the Prelacy, together with its communities, from a modest condition into newer and newer accomplishments.”

Speaking about the progress during his tenure Archbishop Oshagan said, “The most noteworthy work that I accomplished, with the support of the Executive Council, was the preparation of clergy. Our clergy ranks were facing serious concerns and needs. It was essential to have capable individuals with western values who could meet the needs of our Church and faithful.”

The Prelate then spoke about recent successful initiatives noting “let the work speak for itself.” Modestly he attributed the success “to our collective efforts that were made with sacrifice and faithfulness to principles, by the people and the diligent work of the administration, staff, and especially the dedication and loyalty of our people. And the failures, that were for sure unwilling, can be attributed to me and my short-sightedness for not seeing the questions exactly or clearly. However, I know very well, it is only the industrious person who makes mistakes or errors. Our collective memory must not lament when we look back. On the contrary, when we look back it must stimulate our abilities for new accomplishments,” Archbishop Oshagan said.

His Eminence ended with words of heartfelt thanks. “I feel it my heartfelt duty to extend my sincere thanks to all, without exception: to the Prelacy’s Vicar, to our Clergy, to my Assembly co-workers, to the Prelacy staff, benefactors, to all our compatriots of the church and nation. I beseech all of you to be With each other and for each other.  I end with the farewell words of our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘Love each other. Love our Church, our Fatherland, and People.’ ”
Read the full address in Armenian or English .

During the next few weeks we will focus on different aspects of the Assembly including the Clergy Conference that began one day earlier, with the overall theme of Parish Renewal; the Conference of Yeretzgins that took place Wednesday and Thursday morning under the theme of "Let there be Peace on Earth and let it Begin With Me.”; the Conference of the National Association of Ladies Guilds (NALG) with the theme, “The Strength of the Armenian Woman and her Role in History and Present Day”; Youth Ministry Report; Parish Development Report; Sunday School Survey Report; Prelacy Action Plan; and NRA Banquet Celebration and Awards.

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia announced plans for an intensive summer course on the “Armenian Church; Historical and Contemporary Issues and Challenges,” for young adults, ages 18 to 30. The course starts on Monday, July 30 and end on Sunday, August 12. All lectures will be in English and will take place at the Armenian Theological Seminary at St. Mary Monastery, Bikfaya, Lebanon. The two-week program will include participation in the Feast of St. Mary’s Assumption, an intimate encounter with His Holiness, Q&A Roundtable, and Sightseeing.

Travel expenses will be covered by the Prelacy and accommodations and meals will be provided by the Catholicosate at its summer home in Bikfaya, Lebanon.

Deadline for application is May 31. For information contact the Prelacy by email ( ) or telephone (212-689-7810).
A Note about the Readings:  Beginning on Monday April 9 and continuing until Pentecost (May 20) 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 narratives.

Bible readings for Sunday, May 20, 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)
aks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”

Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.”

Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard. (Luke 19:29-48)

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

FEAST OF PENTECOST: The Descent of the Holy Spirit
This Sunday (May 20), 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)
Delegates at the NRA received a “PEACE ON EARTH BAG” from the Yeretzgeens with a note asking everyone to join them in prayer for peace on earth on May 20, Pentecost Sunday, which marks the birth of the Christian Church. In Acts, Chapter 2, it is written that on that day at 9 in the morning, a powerful wind swept over Jerusalem and the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. “If you’re in church, actively participate during that portion of the Divine Liturgy when we pray for those in authority. Ask for the intercession of the saints. Pray for the leadership of our Church. Pray for our President and for those in charge of government. Pray for humility and repentance to pierce the heart of Mankind. Pray that God will incline His ear to our cry. Pray for God’s healing touch on the homeland Armenia and on this land we call home—America.”
George Deukmejian
Governor of California, 1983 to 1991
Governor George Deukmejian with Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, and Charles Aznavour in 1985 in Washington, DC, during the five-day commemoration of the 70 th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Courken George Deukmejian, Jr., born on June 6, 1928, died on May 8, 2018 at his home in Long Beach, California. He was 89. He served as the 35 th governor of California from 1983 to 1991 and Attorney General of California from 1979 to 1983. He was the first and thus far the only governor of a U.S. state of Armenian descent. His parents emigrated from the Ottoman Empire to escape the Armenian Genocide. His father was born in Antep and his mother was born in Erzurum.

Governor Deukmejian was very supportive of the Armenian American community throughout his service. He was the keynote speaker at one of the main events commemorating the 70 th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 1985 in Washington, DC. The five-day commemoration included art exhibits, concerts, literary events, survivors’ forum, lectures, banquets, and culminated with services at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1985, the California legislature passed a bill introducing a human rights and genocide curriculum throughout the California public school system. The Governor signed the bill into law on September 28, 1985, and the new curriculum was prepared by 1987. It is believed that Governor Deukmejian influenced President Ronald Reagan’s official recognition of the Armenian Genocide in 1985.

He was highly respected by Republicans and Democrats alike because of his willingness to cross party lines and elevate the level of governorship above his party and establish working relationship between the governor’s office and the legislature.

He is survived by his wife Gloria (nee Saatjian), children, Leslie, George, and Andrea and six grandchildren. May our Lord and Savior accept the soul of His worthy servant into His Heavenly Kingdom and grant comfort to his loved ones.

St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (SSAES) in Watertown, Massachusetts is proud to announce the outstanding achievement of one of its students in the Math Kangaroo International Competition, in March 2018. Grade 4 student, Vartan Arakelian was ranked 1 st statewide and 1 st nationwide. “This is a great honor for Vartan, his family, and St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School. We are very proud of his exceptional performance,” stated Principal Houry Boyamian. This is the fourth year that students from SSAES participate in this International Math Competition. Vartan also performed very well in 2016 and 2017, with 99 percentile both nationally and statewide."

Math Kangaroo is an international competition that originated from Australia in 1980. Not only has it spread from country to country, but also the various countries in which the competition takes place work together each year on choosing the problems for the contest. It also takes place at the same time throughout the world. However, the results are not compared between various countries, and the national organizers of the competition award prizes.

In 2017, more than 28,000 students participated nationwide in the competition covering 12 levels, of which 4,748 were 4 th graders. The number of students taking the level 4 exam in Massachusetts in 2017 was 626, according to the official math Kangaroo website. Total numbers of 2018 participants has not been published yet. Top prize winners of the 2018 competition will participate in the Award Ceremony on May 19, at Bridgewater State University.

Founded in 1984, St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School is a private pre-kindergarten through grade five school, dedicated to educational excellence in an environment rich in Armenian culture . St. Stephen’s is fully accredited by the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE), the accrediting body for independent elementary schools in New England. AISNE has commended the school for “creating an environment where all the students love to read and appear committed to academic excellence and for recruiting a remarkably talented and dedicated staff.”
Governor Dannel P. Malloy signs into law legislation that adds Holocaust and Genocide eduction awareness in public schools in Connecticut.
Gov. Malloy surrounded by supporters of the legislation.
On May 7, 2018 the Connecticut House of Representatives unanimously passed Senate Bill 452, “An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Holocaust and Genocide Education and Awareness in the Social Studies Curriculum.” The Senate had previously unanimously passed the bill, appropriately on April 24. The act mandates each local and regional board of education in Connecticut to include Holocaust and Genocide education and awareness as part of the social studies curriculum for the school district. The law allows boards of education to utilize existing and appropriate public or private materials, personnel and other resources and to accept in kind donations designated for the development and implementation of the education and awareness required. The Bill was signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy on May 10, 2018.

“It is incredibly disturbing that we have seen an uptick in hate crimes and hate speech over the last year—including assault, bomb threats, and vandalism in nearly every region across our country,” Governor Malloy said. “Equally as disturbing are recent statistics showing that two-thirds of American millennials don’t know what Auschwitz is and 22 percent of millennials say they haven’t heard of the Holocaust. We are simply not doing enough to tell our young people the extreme and deadly mistakes of the past. Holocaust and genocide awareness are not just essential curriculum, but critical.”

The Connecticut Genocide Commemoration Committee had expanded its mission during the past several years to include both a public Genocide curriculum in public schools as well as to establish an Armenian Genocide Memorial.

Petitions were circulated supporting the Genocide and Holocaust education bill at the April 21 commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, which was held at the state Capitol on April 21. In addition the Committee submitted testimony in favor of the bill through its chairman Jack Krikorian. The testimony included facts about the Armenian Genocide, and the need for Holocaust and Genocide studies in the mainstream curriculum so that all future generation will know its horrors in order to speak against and take action to prevent such future actions.
The ARF Eastern Region USA, in partnership with the Armenian Review and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), organized the First Republic of Armenia Centennial Conference, held at Columbia University on May 11-12, with scholars from the United States, Armenia, Artsakh, Portugal, and France. Dr. Vartan Matiossian, ANEC Director, participated in the conference, with a paper entitled “Education and Culture First: Nikol Aghbalian’s Legacy,” about the activities of noted educator and literary scholar Nikol Aghbalian (1875-1947), during his tenure as Minister of Public Education and Art of the first independent republic in 1919-1920.
Plans are underway for the 32 nd annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program, a unique Armenian Christian educational program for youth ages 13-18 to enrich their knowledge of the Christian faith in a wholesome and nurturing environment, with recreational activities and daily church services.

Sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Program is scheduled to be held at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from July 1-8, 2018. 

For information and registration click here.

Death of Parsegh Ganachian (May 24, 1967)
The best known of Gomidas Vartabed’s “five disciples” and an accomplished composer and choirmaster himself, Parsegh Ganachian is also known as the author of the arrangement for the Armenian national anthem “Mer Hayrenik.”

He was born in Rodosto (Oriental Thrace, today in Turkey) on April 17, 1885. He was the son of a shoemaker, and at the age of three, his family moved to Constantinople, where he received his primary education at the elementary school of Gedikpasha. During the massacres of 1896, the Ganachians moved to Varna, in Bulgaria, where the young Parsegh continued his studies at the local Armenian school and studied music theory, violin, and conducting with violinist Nathan Bey Amirkhanian. The family moved again in 1905, this time to Bucharest (Romania), where Ganachian continued his studies of violin and he also took upon piano studies with composer Georges Bouyouk.

After the restoration of the Ottoman Constitution in 1908, Ganachian returned to Constantinople, where he founded the first Armenian orchestra, “Knar.” His encounter with Gomidas in December 1910 and the concert of the 300-strong “Kusan” choir in early 1911 were crucial for his career. He entered Gomidas choir. The great musician selected eighteen members of the choir as his students, and the number gradually diminished to five, of which one of them was Ganachian.

The future composer was drafted by the Ottoman army in World War I and played in the military orchestra until he was exiled to Diarbekir, where he fell gravely ill. He was sent to Aleppo, and he was there when the armistice was signed in November 1918. Along with other surviving intellectuals, Ganachian gathered young people and organized concerts to the benefit of the exiles, creating a wave of enthusiasm in the audiences. At that time, he composed the “Volunteer March” ( Կամաւորական քայլերգ / Gamavoragan kaylerk), better known as “Harach, Nahadag” by the first words of its lyrics, written by poet Kevork Garvarentz. He later went to Cilicia, where he also gave concerts, and then returned to Constantinople.

In the Ottoman capital, the Gomidas students organized a group and presented concerts, created a Gomidas Fund and published Gomidas’ works in three songbooks. They also organized choirs and dealt with the education of the new generation. Ganachian composed his well known “Lullaby” ( Օրոր /Oror ) for soloist and choir.

The Gomidas’ students were sent to Paris to continue their musical education. Going to the French capital in 1921, Ganachian followed the courses of famous composer René Lenormand (1846-1932). Between 1922 and 1932 he toured Aleppo, Egypt, and Cyprus, forming choirs and giving choral concerts. From 1926-1930 he also taught music at the Melkonian Educational Institute. In 1932 he settled in Beirut, teaching at the College Armenien or Jemaran (later the Neshan Palandjian College). In 1933 he organized and directed the choir “Kusan,” which achieved great success in both Armenian and Lebanese circles from 1933-1946. The choir also had presentations in other Lebanese and Syrian cities, as well as in Egypt. It continued its activities until 1961.

Ganachian maintained and promoted the musical principles enunciated by Gomidas, deeply entrenched in national roots. He composed 25 choral songs and orchestral fragments, as well as around 20 songs for children. He also arranged Armenian and Arabic folk songs. Among his most important compositions are the opera “The Monk,” with Levon Shant’s play The Ancient Gods as its libretto, and the cantata “Nanor,” which depicts the pilgrimage to the monastery of St. Garabed in Moush. He also produced arrangements for the Armenian anthem, as well as the Lebanese and Syrian national anthems (1936).

Ganachian lost his sight in 1945, but his choir continued its performances. His works were partly published in Beirut and Yerevan. Among other awards, he was awarded the National Order of the Cedar (1957) by the Lebanese government for his achievements in the cultural life of Lebanon. 

The composer passed away on May 24, 1967, in Beirut. The Armenian cultural association Hamazkayin established an arts institute carrying his name in Lebanon. A school also bears Ganachian’s name in Yerevan.


The Prelacy Bookstore has a limited number of a three CD set of the complete works of Parsegh Ganatchian, including choral works, romance songs, and children’s songs, featuring the Armenian State Radio & TV Chamber Choir, and Little Singers of Armenia, with Artistic Director and Conductor Tigran Hekemian.

3 CD Set, $40.00 plus shipping & handling

To order contact the Bookstore by email ( ) or telephone (212-689-7810).

The crisis in Syria requires our financial assistance.
Please keep this community in your prayers, your hearts, and your pocketbooks.





Armenian Prelacy
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Checks payable to: Armenian Apostolic Church of America
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Thank you for your help.
This past Sunday we celebrated Second Palm Sunday in the Armenian Apostolic Church. The scripture points us towards Christ's triumphant entry into the gates of Jerusalem as our King. Take a look at this week's Prelacy Reflection as Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian discusses last Sunday's Gospel reading on the occasion of Second Palm Sunday.
SIAMANTO ACADEMY— Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: or 212-689-7810.

May 25 —“Charley’s Aunt,” “ Charleyeen Morakouyreh ,” a comedy by Brandon Thomas presented by the Voice of Armenians TV NY, and Vladimir Kocharian Theatrical Group, under the direction of Karine Kocharian. Wayne YMCA, 1 Pike Drive, Wayne, New Jersey 07470, at 8 pm. Tickets: $50, $40, $30. For information 201-854-8767 or go to: .

May 28 —Providence ARF and ACAA-RI present a Special Concert to celebrate the 100 th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia. Maestro Konstantin Petrossian, conductor, featuring the Armenian Chorales of Rhode Island and Greater Worcester and Symphony Orchestra. Special appearance by famed soloist, Babin Boghosian, at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, 30 Fenner Street, Providence, Rhode Island, 4 to 5:30 pm. Net proceeds will be donated to the Armenian Relief Society’s “Wounded and Disabled Soldiers Project.” Admission is free.
June 24 --Ways to Wellness: A Panel Discussion on Mental Health -- 1:30 p.m. -- St. Sarkis Armenian Church, 38-65 234th Street, Douglaston, NY. For more information, please contact Anahid at (Lecture rescheduled from an earlier date).

July 1-8, 2018 – Datev Summer Program for youth ages 13-18-- The 32 nd annual St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Christian Studies Program will take place at the St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC). For information and registration, contact the AREC office – 212-689-7810 or or click here.

July 14— Ladies Guild of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, presents “Hye Summer Night XII,” at Crown Plaza Hotel, Warwick, Rhode Island. Entertainment by Onnik Dinkjian, Hatchig Kazarian, Ara Dinkjian, Bruce Gigarjian, and Raffi Massoyan. Dinner/Dance $55.00 (6 pm to 12:30 am); Dance only $35.00 (8 pm). For dinner and table reservations: Joyce Bagdasarian, 401-434-4467 by July 7.

September 21, 2018 to January 13, 2019 —“Armenia!” a large exhibition dedicated to the medieval period of Armenian history and culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. The exhibit is the first at the Met dedicated solely to Armenia. Curated by Dr. Helen C. Evans.

October 20 —Armenian Friends America, Inc., Sixth Annual HYE KEF 5, featuring world famous Onnik Dinkjian and the All Stars. Double Tree Hotel, Andover, Massachusetts. Details to follow. .
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