May 28, 2020
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"Morning of Light" 11th Prayer
Read by Sebouh Kassardjian
Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church, Bethesda, MD

A Message from the depths of the heart in faith, in hope and in love, to our beloved parishioners and friends of the Armenian Prelacy,

This Sunday, we will be celebrating the Feast of Pentecost, commemorating the Coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles as foretold by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is true that on Easter Sunday we were deterred from celebrating the victorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ together in our churches in compliance with universal requirements to maintain social distancing in the midst of the pandemic. Nevertheless, we have remained resilient in our faith and faithful to our Holy Church. Our heartfelt thanks go to our Clergy, Deacons, Choir members and Trustees who offered the Divine Liturgy and arranged for all of us to actively pray via livestream over the last two months.

We thank Almighty God who is working through the heroic sacrifice of doctors, nurses, and members of the healthcare communities who are on the front line of this invisible war, as well as through the community of science who supported by different Agencies of governments are in their mission to discover the cure of this pandemic.

The 2020 pandemic is indeed unprecedented. Nevertheless, each and every threat against human life, regardless of its harshness, has mobilized the inner abilities of this unique creature carrying the image of his Creator, to face and to conquer challenges in all ages. There is no doubt that our journey through the valley of the pandemic is quite long. However, after two months of lockdowns, full of prudence and vigilance, we salute the decisions of the civil authorities, based upon the instructions and data of healthcare communities, for a gradual return to normal life, and by phases the reopening of the doors of the parish churches for our believers so that they may fully attend services.

As Christians, how grateful we are that this good news coincides with our major feast of the Pentecost. The bounties of the Holy Spirit throughout history are innumerable. He has elevated the shepherds to be prophets and kings; the fishermen to be messengers of the King of kings; the imprisoned ones in the dungeons to be Illuminators; the sinners to be saints; and the terrestrials to be celestials. Therefore we do believe firmly that the Holy Spirit, the transforming power of the Divine essence, has always interceded in Creation, for the welfare of Mankind, and likewise can lead us today when we ask His wisdom, guidance and strength.

As a community of faith, our top priority is the physical, intellectual, and spiritual wellbeing of each and every member of society. Hence, we take serious consideration of the instructions provided to us by each local civil authority and healthcare professionals, and likewise by Holy Scripture and the guidance of Church Fathers. As such, following extended consultation with His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, as well as with the Prelates of the Western Prelacy and the Prelacy of Canada, the reverend clergy serving in our Prelacy and the honorable members of the Central Executive, we would like to announce procedures for the re-opening our parish churches according to the guidelines and the timeline set by each state.

As each state revises local guidelines, each of our parishes is also encouraged to review and to publish revisions to ensure the health and safety of all of our parishioners. We encourage all of our parishioners to contact their local pastor and church office to confirm up-to-date procedures to safely attend church services. The parish church is the home of the entire community, and therefore, each person must feel as safe and as welcome as if in their own home.

At long last, public church services will resume this Sunday and hereafter, state by state, and all of the faithful are warmly welcomed to their spiritual home. Church services will continue to be live streamed from each parish to allow those who are unable to be physically present to fully participate in the church services.

At this time, we would like to explain some of the temporary adjustments to our traditional Badarak which will allow all of us to better participate and to conform with current healthcare guidelines. These measures are being implemented for the health and safety of the clergy and the laity, and as circumstances change nationally, will be adjusted.

First , the Badarak will commence with the “Hayr mer” “Our Father”, followed by the opening of the curtain and the proclamation: “Orhnyal Takavorootyoonun Hor yev Vortvoh yev Hokvoon Srpoh” “Blessed be the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit etc.”

Second , the Kiss of Peace. As the deacon invites us to share the Kiss of Peace, the priest shall turn to greet the congregation, saying “Krisdos i mech mer haydnetsav” “Christ is revealed in our midst”. The people shall remain in their places, without approaching others, and shall reply “Orhnyal eh Haydnootyoonun Krisdosi” “Blessed is the Revelation of Christ.” And then the choir will sing the hymn “Krisdos i mech.”

Third , Holy Communion will be administered in our parishes. As all of you know, in the Armenian Tradition, Holy Communion is administered by the clean hand of the priest, and is placed directly into the mouth of the faithful.

We fully appreciate that some of our parishioners may be hesitant to approach for Holy Communion. We extend our full love and embrace to you, and welcome you in all sincerity. We Armenians believe that Holy Communion is the real, living and life-giving Holy Body and Honorable Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is distributed in faith, in hope, and in love, and we especially reassure you that it is distributed in accordance with all of the precautions as required by governing laws. We pray that you will resume your participation in Holy Communion.

However, for the time being, the Prelacy shall remain cautious and careful in the manner in which Holy Communion is administered to our faithful. As a current adjustment, Holy Communion will be placed into the palm of the hand of the individual. We ask that the person then transfer the Holy Communion directly into the mouth. All who receive are encouraged to please exercise every care, and to respectfully keep their hands clean before and after partaking of Holy Communion.

Fourth , the Dismissal. For the time being, the tradition of kissing the Holy Gospel will be suspended. The packages of “ mas ” will be available at the door of the church for the faithful to take home to those who were not able to attend services. In the current environment, we ask that people respect social distancing and avoid congregating. Until further relaxation, the traditional coffee hour following services is postponed.

We are grateful to Almighty God who has led us from darkness to light, and we appreciate all of the efforts of our elected officials to ensure safety and protocol as we re-open our churches. We welcome all of our faithful to attend services, to light candles, to offer prayers, to receive Holy Communion, and to re-energize the Christian Life in all of our parishes with safety and dignity. We know that over time these restrictions will gradually be lifted, and we look forward to that day. In the meantime, we need to work together and exercise due diligence to find a cure for the COVID-19 virus, and we continue to pray for God’s protection and providential care.
Prelate, Eastern United States
On May 28, 1918, the willpower and heroic spirit of the Armenian people enabled the nation’s resurrection, under God’s holy protection and thanks to brave and dedicated lay and religious leaders. The first independence of the Republic of Armenia ensured the survival of the Armenian nation after the Genocide.
This Sunday, May 31, prayers and ceremonies of thanksgiving will take place in all churches of the Eastern Prelacy by order of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate. Requiem services will be held for the heroes fallen in the battles of Sardarabad, Pash Abaran and Gharakilise and for our present day martyrs in the struggle for Artsakh. In view of the conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic, a prayer will also be said for the health and unity of the people of Armenia, the United States, and the entire world.
Bless, O Lord, this tricolor flag. And just as after the flood you placed your rainbow on Mt. Ararat and established a covenant with mankind, now too after the flowing of so much holy and heroic blood, may this flag with its beautiful colors be sealed as a sign of our covenant with you.
Bless, O Lord, our country, our Fatherland, where you established the paradise of bliss at the time of the world’s creation. Over the course of centuries the inexorable enemy has reduced it to ruin, but now with your mercy and bountiful grace you have caused it to bloom even more. Adorn our churches, monasteries, schools, and charitable organizations with progress and holiness, and protect them from the enemies. Bless all that is good there, especially the first of names, the name ARMENIA.

(From the Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Republic of Armenia)

Our first republic was born in the most inauspicious of circumstances, out of the ashes of the Genocide. Beset by hunger and disease in the utmost poverty, Armenia had to fight wars on every front to preserve its very existence during that first short-lived independence.
As we all know, the dots connect backwards. But when our first republic was born, 102 years ago to this day, nobody could take for granted that Armenians would have their own sovereign state after six centuries under Turkish rule. If Armenia did not exist today as a sovereign state, we could have been today, in the best case scenario, a stateless, Christian minority, exposed to the violent swings of politics in our part of the world and the whims of inimical regional powers.

Do all these assertions matter? Yes. They are existential for the continuity of our nation. To say that Turkey is still intent on compromising the existence of Armenia is an understatement, and having our own independent country is the strongest line of defense against an enemy that has worked to degrade and eliminate our nation since the first Turkish hordes began overrunning our lands in the 11 th century.
So the emergence of our republic in 1918 was a major landmark to assert ourselves against an enemy that began oppressing us one thousand years ago. And our nation managed to do so three years after the genocidal will of the Ottoman Empire brought us to the brink of extinction.
But that only is part of the reason we have to treasure our hundred-year-old republic. Its political system, its leaders and, up to a point, even its borders, are historical contingencies. Yet, even if it sounds like a commonplace, the integrity of our homeland is one of the fundamental pillars of our nation, along with our people, our language and our faith.
Yes, being aware of our enemies drives our continuity, in the same way that first-hand experience of disease and death makes one love life even more intensely.
Yet there is something deeper that explains our will to exist not only as human beings but as Armenians, in a journey that began thousands years ago, still speaking our ancestral language and, fundamentally, that undefeatable spirit to survive and pass on the torch to generations still to come. May our successors, too, thousands of years later, still preserve a homeland in which they will still find our words and voices, our churches, our Mt. Ararat—maybe then on the right side of the border—and the indomitable yearning for life that makes us who we are. 

On  Sunday, May 24, Archbishop Anoushavan presided over the Divine Liturgy at the St. Gregory Church of Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Rev. Fr. Bedros Shetilian, Pastor, was the celebrant. You can read the Prelate’s sermon below:
Today, the seventh Sunday of Easter according to the Armenian Church Calendar, is known as Second Palm Sunday. The Armenian Church, as part and parcel of the Universal Church, in addition to celebrating universally accepted Dominical feasts, together with traditional feasts dedicated to the Holy Cross and to the Holy Virgin Mary and famous saints, has established her own festal order which is indeed unique. All Churches celebrate the victorious, earthly entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem commonly known as the first Palm Sunday, which is followed by the Passion and the Resurrection. In the Armenian Church, following the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ and His sitting at the right hand of the Father, we celebrate the entry of our Lord into heaven. The tradition of the Second Palm Sunday celebrates the heavenly arrival of Jesus Christ into the heavenly kingdom.

There is a further tradition which is associated with this Sunday. St. Gregory the Illuminator who lived for 13 years in the pit, every day was privileged to be visited by an Angel of the Lord. On the fourth day of the feast of Ascension, being Sunday, the Angel did not appear to the saint, causing a deep concern that he had fallen out of favor, and would no longer be visited. To his surprise, the following day the Angel again appeared to him again. Saint Gregory, in awe, asked the angel if he had done something wrong which caused the interruption of the visit. The Angel joyfully shared with him the following good news. After the Ascension Jesus was welcomed every day by each of the nine classes of the Angels who celebrated His victorious entry to Heavenly Jerusalem. Gregory’s guardian Angel was ranked in the fourth class of the Heavenly Hosts. Thus, the Angel could not be excused from this unparalleled festivity reserved to his group on the fourth day of the Ascension.

Over the last seventeen hundred years, the Armenian Church has faithfully transmitted this most valuable tradition to her faithful with a clear message, that:

a. The Creation has a very clear purpose known in its fullness only to God. In Providential design, there is nothing which is meaningless, or accidental or without purpose. The Incarnation, the Passion, the Resurrection, the Ascension, to be followed by the Second Coming, all are visible components of an Eternal Divine Plan. The tradition transmitted by St. Gregory the Illuminator might sound superfluous, or like a childish narration, or just fiction. Nevertheless the tradition is filled with tremendous value which should be cherished, for we will grasp the impact of the sacrificial love which took place on the Holy Cross in the very words of St. Paul “when we will see face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12) the unveiled Eternal Truth.  

b. Throughout the Holy Scriptures we find many references to the Angels. When Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons he said, “The Angel who has redeemed me from all harm, bless the boys: and in them let my name be perpetuated” (Gen 48.16). Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly stated, “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones, for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven” (Mt 18:10). This angelic guardianship referred to both by the Patriarch and by our Savior clearly points to a living relationship and providential care. 

c. The family of our Heavenly Father consists of myriads of Angels, of Saints, and of the faithful living on this earth. To ignore or to deny the invisible interrelation between these elements only blinds us, impoverishes us and deprives us from enjoying the spiritual companionship with the heavenly Hosts and with those who have fallen asleep in Christ, along with the visible and physical companionship of our living beloved ones.

Having this Biblical and traditional foundation, let us all
a. Celebrate each and every feast not as just a habit, or invocation of a past event, but through the feasts let us humbly ask the Lord to uncover the ultimate goal of our existence within Divine context. 

b. Let us seriously take into consideration the statement of Jacob and our Lord that we have our own Angel. We ask the Lord to grant us so many things. How about fervently beseeching Him in His way to reveal to us our guardian Angel and to continue the rest our life with his companionship?

c. The Angels, as the ambassadors of God, are our best counselors, our guides, and our friends. They are with us in times of peace and in times of turmoil. They rejoice in our successes and are saddened by our failures. They comfort and strengthen us in our loneliness as it was experienced by St. Gregory during his long imprisonment. Unfortunately we are not always aware of the benefits of angelic companionship because Satan and the evil materialism of this world have blinded and distanced us from our most reliable friends with whom we can share our fears and doubts, our sorrows and aspirations. If the saying “a friend in need is a friend indeed” is true, then let us celebrate the feast of the Second Palm Sunday in search of our true Friend, our own Guardian Angel, in whom we will find our friend for all seasons. 

Especially in this devastating period of the current pandemic, when each and every one of us is suffering in different ways, let us with St. Gregory the Illuminator receive our daily spiritual nourishment sent by God through His Angel and our patron Guardian to be strengthened, to be free from all unnecessary worries and to fulfill our mission “as the children of light and the children of morning” (1 Thess 5:5), as St. Paul says. Let our prayers be not only relative but the normal “organic function” of our souls with the firm conviction that God hears our voices as He said to Moses, “I have observed the misery of my people, I have heard their cry” (Ex 2:7). Let us be sure that just as God worked through Moses, likewise He invisibly is working through the heroic sacrifice of doctors, nurses and health communities, through public servants who are providing our necessities while we are safely distancing ourselves in our homes, as well as through the community of science that, supported by different public agencies, are on a mission to discover the cure for this disease. 

Until then I would like to share with you a new prescription, which I recently received from a friend of mine. I hope it might help you to fight the terror of the pandemic. It says:
Make sure you test

Positive for Faith.
Keep distance
From Doubt,
From Fear, and
Trust God
Through it all.
To whom is befitting glory, dominion and honor, now… Amen.

On Sunday, May 31, Archbishop Anoushavan will preside Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Church in Worcester, Massachusetts. Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian, Pastor, will be the celebrant. Our faithful may follow the ceremony via live streaming.

For many decades, the Prelacy has sponsored an annual raffle drawing that benefits its educational and religious programs. The drawing usually takes place in May at the conclusion of the National Representative Assembly. This year, the coronavirus pandemic hit when the raffle was underway, and the National Representative Assembly, to be originally hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Philadelphia, Pa., had to be postponed. The new drawing date has been set for September 12, 2020. The top prize is $5,000; second prize is $2,000; and third, fourth, and fifth prizes are $1,000. However, we always like to point out that in this raffle there are no losers, because all of the money raised benefits our Prelacy programs.

Please consider purchasing one or more tickets ($100 each). For information, please contact your local parish or the Prelacy office ( or 212-689-7810).

Dear Srpazan Hayr, Religious Council and Executive Council,
Please continue to share our beautiful Church liturgy, prayers, and faith with our general population.
Having buried my mom just today (Thursday, May 21) due to the Covid-19 virus, listening to the prayers and hymns gave me comfort as I mourn her passing. We were not allowed a Church service, which was crushing, so through this brief video I was allowed to pray to our Dear Lord to open the gates to his kingdom for her.
May our God keep all of us safe and healthy.
Greg Minasian
NRA Delegate of St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, Ma.
Bible readings for Sunday, May 31, Pentecost (Eve of the Fast of Elijah) are:
Acts 2:1-21; John 14:25-31.
Acts 2:1-21

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.’”
John 14:25-31

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

FEAST OF PENTECOST: The Descent of the Holy Spirit
This Sunday (May 31), the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost ( Hokekalousd ), the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, and the birth of the Church. Jesus had commanded His apostles to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” (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)

Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy), is currently conducting a 6-part Bible Study via Zoom, on Saturdays from 2:00pm to 2:30pm, focusing on the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus as portrayed in the pages of the New Testament. You are welcome to register for the upcoming third fourth session 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 ( 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 Mariam* who is sponsored by Mark and Hasmig Phillips.

Dear Sponsor,
Thank you very much for choosing me. I would like to tell you about myself. My name is Mariam, and I will turn 13 years old on February 7. I am in 6th grade in school. I love to read many books. In my free time I help my mom in her house chores. In school, I am a straight A student and I want to become a doctor.
I have a mother and three sisters. I love my family very much. When I finish my homework, I go to play with my sisters. Last year unfortunately I didn’t get the diploma of excellence, so this year I am studying twice as hard to get it. I like to draw pictures and listen to music. My favorite subjects are Mathematics and Russian Language. I like to dance to modern music. I also like to read the Bible and every Sunday we go to church.

* 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). 
The Nareg Saturday Armenian School of New Jersey has celebrated Armenian Independence Day. Two video clips were prepared by the students. The first video was prepared by the 6th & 7th graders, and the second one by 1-5th graders. The Board of the Nareg School congratulated all students for this innovative achievement and specially appreciates the teamwork by all students, teachers and parents, and especially thanked Alex Varjabedian, an alumnus of Nareg School, for his hard work in the technical production of the two video clips. 

Joseph A. Malikian
It is well established that as early as the 1850s prominent photographers emerged from the Armenian communities in many of the cultural and commercial capitals and principal towns in the Ottoman Empire. Armenian photographers such as the Abdullah brothers, Pascal Sebah and Gabriel Lekegian enjoyed tremendous success first in Constantinople and eventually in Egypt.

Dr. Malikian has amassed a remarkable collection of vintage photographs, and he has discussed his findings in this original book.

Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore ( or 212-689-7810)
Death of Arlene Francis (May 31, 2001)
A pioneer in both radio and television, Arlene Francis was “the third most recognized woman in the United States,” according to Newsweek and TV Guide, and the highest-earning game show panelist during the 1950s.

Arline Francis Kazanjian was born on October 20, 1907, in Boston, Massachusetts. the daughter of Leah (née Davis) and Aram Kazanjian. Her grandparents were killed in the Hamidian Massacres when her father Aram Kazanjian was studying art in Paris at the age of 16. He immigrated to the United States and became a portrait photographer, opening his own studio in Boston, marrying Leah Davis. When Francis was seven years old, her father moved the family to Manhattan.

She attended Finch College, but her strict father forbade her to pursue a career in the theater. He set her up with her own boutique on Madison Avenue, but soon enough she made changes in her name to go and make her own way in show business. Her natural delivery and easy characterizations landed her roles on serial after serial, many of them running simultaneously on radio. In 1938 she became the female host of the radio game show What’s My Name throughout the program’s long run on ABC, NBC, and Mutual networks until it ended in 1949. In 1943, she began as host of a network radio game show, Blind Date, as television was dawning and radio drama was nearing its end. It made the move to television, and Francis hosted it on ABC and NBC television from 1949–52, becoming the first woman to ever host a TV game show.

Francis became known for her long-standing role as a panelist on the television weekly game show  What's My Line?  on which she regularly appeared for 25 years, from 1950 to 1975 on both the network and syndicated versions of the show. The panel would play a version of twenty questions with a mystery guest and try to ascertain the guest’s occupation. Newsweek dubbed her “the first lady of television.”

She appeared on other game shows, including  Match Game Password To Tell the Truth , and other programs. At the height of her career in the fifties, Francis could be seen on as many as three programs per week spread over all three networks. She was a regular contributor to NBC Radio’s Monitor in the 1950s and 1960s, and hosted a midday interview show that ran on WOR from 1961 until 1990.

Francis was a pioneer for women on television, one of the first to host a program that was not musical or dramatic in nature. From 1954-57 she was host and editor-in-chief of  Home,  NBC’s hour-long daytime magazine program oriented toward women, accompanying  Today  and  Tonight. Home  was the first TV newsmagazine of its kind, outfitted with an expensive revolving set and TV’s first use of cameras suspended from the studio ceiling. She hosted  Talent Patrol  in the mid-1950s.

She performed in many local theatre and off-Broadway plays, with 25 Broadway plays to her credit through 1975. She acted in a few Hollywood films, like  Murders in the Rue Morgue  (1932), the film version of Arthur Miller's play,  All My Sons  (1948),  One, Two, Three  (1961),  The Thrill of It All  (1963) and, in 1968, the television version of the play  Laura , which she had played on stage several times. Her final film performance was in  Fedora  (1978).

She wrote an autobiography in 1978 entitled  Arlene Francis: A Memoir  with help from longtime friend Florence Rome. She had previously written  That Certain Something: The Magic of Charm  (1960) and a cookbook,  No Time for Cooking  (1961). She was a member of the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors from 1980-82.

Francis was married twice. Her first marriage, from 1935 to 1945, was to Neil Agnew, an executive of Paramount Pictures; they divorced in 1945.Francis's second marriage was to actor and producer Martin Gabel, from 1946 until his death in 1986. They had a son, Peter Gabel, co-founder of the Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art and Politics near San Francisco in 1996.

She moved from New York in 1993 to enter a nursing home in San Francisco, where she passed away at the age of 93 on May 31, 2001. She was interred in Roosevelt Memorial Park in Trevose, Pennsylvania.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 
Armenian Kangaroos Run with their Tail

Two hundred and fifty years ago, in April 1770, British captain James Cook discovered Australia, and with it, many exotic animals and plants. One of those animals was a gangurru, a name that designated a particular species of what today we know as kangaroo in one of the Aboriginal languages of the country, Guugu-Yimidhirr.

The new word spread throughout different languages, usually maintaining its original sound with minor differences (e.g. Spanish canguro, French kangourou, et cetera). Unlike other languages, Armenian actually invented a new term for “kangaroo,” which has been in circulation for more than a century and a half. The word, ագեվազ (akevaz ), is a compound of ագի ( akee ) “tail” (especially hairy ones, like a horse’s tail) and վազ ( vaz ), the root of the verb վազել (vazel ) “to run.”

Modern Armenian does not have the equivalent of the Oxford Etymological Dictionary (Adjarian’s monumental etymological dictionary only includes references to works in Classical Armenian), therefore, we do not know who coined this word and when. Of course, kangaroos do not run with their tail, but we know now that they use their tail as an extra leg when hopping. (Scientists previously thought that they used it for balance or support.) So, in a sense, they use it to run. The unknown inventor of the Armenian word, actually, was not that off the mark.

An interesting point is that the word has essentially remained within Western Armenian vocabulary. Eastern Armenian did not incorporate the word. It uses the Russian word кенгуру ( kenguru ) as կենգուրու, which appears in Eduard Aghayan’s two-volume dictionary (1976-1977) and the four-volume dictionary published by the Institute of Linguistics of the Academy of Sciences (1969-1981), the most authoritative lexicons of modern language published in the Soviet era. As of May 26, 2020, the mentions of kenguru on the Internet amounted to 164,000 and those of akevaz to 4,340.

The Eastern Armenian Wikipedia has an article about kangaroos entitled Akevaz, which is encouraging. The word appears four times in the first two paragraphs. However, it appears as if one hand wrote the first two paragraphs and another one wrote the remaining ten, where we find thirty times the word kenguru as the Armenian word for the Australian marsupial.

Nevertheless, it is noticeable that some bloggers and essayists from Armenia are using akevaz in their writings. As it happened with words like “Internet” and “website,” it is possible that one day Eastern Armenian will give up on some of the Russian words that fill its vocabulary, like kenguru , and adopt the actual Armenian word, akevaz
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 
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 ( 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 30 —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 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 POSTPONED —St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley (North Andover, Massachusetts), 50 th Anniversary, under the auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate.
October 4 —Save the date. St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church of New Britain, CT, 95th Anniversary Banquet.
October 17 CANCELED —Hye Kef 5 Annual Dance, presented by the Armenian Friends of America, Inc.. Featuring: Steve Vosbikian Jr., Mal Barsamian, John Berberian, Ara Dinkjian and Jason Naroian. At the DoubleTree Hotel in Andover, MA. For details, visit 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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