May 3, 2018
The Eastern Prelacy’s National Representative Assembly (NRA) will convene in North Andover, Massachusetts, beginning next Thursday, May 10 to Saturday, May 12. The Clergy conference will begin on Wednesday. This year’s assembly is being hosted by St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley in North Andover, Massachusetts. Concurrent with the Assembly, the annual conference of the National Association of Ladies Guilds (NALG) will take place. This year there will also be a conference of Yeretzgins.

The National Representative Assembly is the highest ecclesiastical and administrative body of the Prelacy. It is composed of a ratio of one-seventh clergy and six-sevenths lay delegates. The clergy delegates are elected by the Clergy Conference and the lay delegates by their respective parishes. The number of delegates from the parishes depends on the number of parish members. The minimum number of delegates for a parish is two and the maximum is seven.

Friends near and far are invited to attend the Banquet that will take place Friday evening, May 11, at Harris’ Pelham Inn, Pelham, New Hampshire. Cocktail reception will begin at 6:30 pm with dinner at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $75 per person. For more information about the National Representative Assembly click here .

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 will take place starting August 10 and ending on August 24. 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.

Deadline for application is May 31. For information contact the Prelacy by email ( ) or telephone (212-689-7810).

Dr. Helen C. Evans, curator of the forthcoming Armenia! Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will speak at the Prelacy, 138 E. 39 th Street in Manhattan, tomorrow, Friday, May 4, at 7 pm. Dr. Evans’ presentation is entitled “ Armenia! At the Met and the Great House of Cilicia.”

Dr. Evans is the Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator of Byzantine Art at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world’s top museums. She is the curator of the forthcoming major exhibition “Armenia!” that is dedicated to Armenian history and culture. The exhibit will open on September 21, 2018, and continue through to January 13, 2019. The exhibition—the first at the Met dedicated solely to Armenia—will present Armenian art of the 4 th to 17 th centuries, displaying 140 works from around the world.

Dr. Evans’ dissertation was on the Armenian manuscripts of Cilicia, and in each of the large exhibitions she has curated, there have been Armenian loans as an important element of the Eastern Christian world. She was also co-curator of the Morgan Library and Museum’s 1994 exhibition, “Treasures in Heaven: Armenian Illuminated Manuscripts.”

In November 1993, Dr. Evans was a participant and member of the organizing committee for the three-day international symposium on the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, organized by the Eastern Prelacy at the Alliance Francaise in New York City. Dr. Evans chaired the opening session devoted to “Links with Byzantium,” and delivered a paper in Session three on “The Inspiring Dove in Cilician Art.”

In 2007 Dr. Evans was decorated with the Mesrob Mashdotz Medal, one of the highest honor of the Holy
See of the Great House of Cilicia in recognition of outstanding contributions to Armenian history, art, and culture.

Archbishop Oshagan attended and delivered the benediction at the Armenian Bar Association’s Public Servants Dinner at The Yale Club in New York City last Thursday, April 26. Recipients of the 2018 Public Service Awards were the Honorable Robert M. Morgenthau, former District Attorney of New York County; Honorable Claire C. Cecchi, U.S. District Judge, District of New Jersey; Honorable Deborah H. Karalunas, Justice, New York State Supreme Court; Honorable Richard S. Hartunian, former United States Attorney, Northern District of New York.

On Saturday, April 28, His Eminence attended the Armenian Assembly’s celebration in Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center, where Peter and Irene Vosbikian received the Global Humanitarian Award. Mr. and Mrs. Vosbikian have been benefactor to numerous charitable institutions throughout the years, including the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America. His Eminence delivered the benediction. Prior to his prayer, His Eminence expressed a few words of appreciation for the honorees and the legacy of the Vosbikian family. “Peter and Irene are shining members of the Vosbikian family. They have been my trusted friends throughout my years of service to the Armenian Church and people, and now as I come to the end of my service as Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, they are indelibly in my heart and soul, where they will remain forever,” the Prelate said.
Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General, presided over the Divine Liturgy and delivered the Sermon at Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, last Sunday, April 29. His Grace’s sermon concentrated on the day’s readings and commemoration of the Apparition of the Holy Cross.
St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York received a donation of $10,000 from Mrs. Lily Markaryan of Woodside, New York, in memory of her son Armen Markaryan and in honor of her daughter Louise Markaryan. Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of the Cathedral, accepted the gift and announced that the funds will be used for education and scholarships.
Der Mesrob expressed thanks to Mrs. Markaryan and said this generous donation “will help us educate young generations of Armenian Americans. The survival of the Armenian Church and community depends on individuals like Mrs. Markaryan who have strong ties to the Armenian Church and

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 6 , Sixth Sunday of Easter , are: (1) Luke 14:25-15:32; (2); Acts 20:17-38; 1 John 3:2-6; John 9:39-10:10; (3) Matthew 16:13-17:13; (4) Mark 8:27-9:13.

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. (Acts 20:17-38)


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. (John 9:39-10:10)

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

Thursday, May 10, is the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ ( Hambardzoum ), which is commemorated forty days after Easter. The universal church has celebrated the Ascension since the fourth century. According to biblical scripture the Ascension took place in the village of Bethany, on the Mount of Olives, in the presence of the disciples. After giving them commandments and blessings, the Lord was “received up into heaven and sat on the right hand of God,” (Mark 16:19), and “a cloud received him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9). The Gospels of Mark and Luke conclude with the Ascension.

In the early centuries of Christianity, Hambardzoum was one of the most popular feast days for the faithful and was celebrated with merriment and festivities. There are many Armenian traditions associated with this dominical feast. Perhaps the most well-known is fortune-telling ( vijakakhakh ), especially for young women anticipating their future as memorably portrayed in the Armenian opera Anoush .

Today the first and only Son of the Father rises to heaven in the form of man. Melodic eulogies sound today from the multitude of heavenly souls.
(From the Breviary of the Armenian Church)
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.

Archbishop Oshagan and Anna Astvatsaturian-Turcotte discussing the anniversary.
On April 29, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, St. Sarkis Church of Douglaston, New York hosted an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the pogroms against Armenians in Azerbaijan. Anahid Ugurlayan welcomed the attendees and introduced the guest speaker, Anna Astvatsaturian-Turcotte, a survivor of the pogroms. Anna recounted her peaceful childhood in Baku before the pogroms and how it turned into a nightmare during the massacres and deportations. She and her family fled Baku and spent three years in Armenia before immigrating to the United States in 1992. Anna kept a daily diary of her experience as a refugee. In the United States Anna and her family were strangers in a strange land as they began their new life in North Dakota in a small community where the only other Armenians were also refugees. 
Anna not only survived, she thrived. She received Bachelor of Arts degrees in English & Literature and Philosophy & Religion, with a a minor in Russian Language & Literature from the University of North Dakota and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maine School of Law. She was one of the first Americans to clerk at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands after working toward and observing the ICC’s creation at the United Nations. In 2012, Anna published her book, “Nowhere, a Story of Exile,” which is based on her diaries during her displacement and relocation. Anna was instrumental in securing recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence by the State of Maine’s House of Representatives. In 2015, Anna was elected to the Westbrook Maine City Council by a 64% landslide. Anna speaks on issues of human rights, diplomacy and law throughout the world. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Mkhitar Gosh Medal, the Republic of Armenia’s highest civilian honor. The presentation was followed by a lengthy Q&A and closing remarks by Archbishop Oshagan, who praised Anna for her activism and underscored the importance of a strong and independent Artsakh.  
Death of Catholicos Gosdantin I of Partzerpert (May 9, 1267)
Catholicos of All Armenians Gosdantin (Constantine) I’s long tenure, one of the longest in the history of the Catholicoi of the Armenian Church, was marked by complex historical issues.

The son of a certain Vahram, probably born in the 1180s, Gosdantin of Partzerpert or Mavrian was educated in the monastery of Mlij, near Tarsus (Cilicia), which was a renowned center of manuscript copying, and then in the fortress of Hromkla, the seat of the Catholicosate of All Armenians from 1203-1292.

The Kingdom of Cilicia was in turmoil after the death of King Levon I in 1219. His daughter Zabel, who was four at the time of his death, was the heir of the throne, under the regency of the powerful prince Gosdantin the Bailiff (son of Levon’s maternal uncle). To add more complications, in 1221 Hovhannes VI of Sis passed away. Although Gosdantin of Partzerpert was an ecclesiastic deserving such honor, according to the historians, it appears that the regent suggested or handpicked his namesake as successor to the late Catholicos. He is said to have been the bishop of Mlij, which was a monastery and not a diocese, and thus it is likely, according to Maghakia Ormanian, that he was the bishop of Partzerpert.

The marriage of Zabel to prince Philippe of Antioch in 1222 ended in a failure, since the Latinophile policy of the Catholic prince alienated him from the nobility, and the next year Philippe was imprisoned. He died in prison in 1225 or 1226, and Gosdantin the Bailiff decided to marry Zabel to his own son Hetum. Catholicos Gosdantin I married them, both aged eleven, in 1226. In 1252 he would preside over her funeral procession.

In the 1220s, during the first years of his pontificate, the construction of St. Sophia, the royal church of Sis, the capital of Cilicia, was finished. Gosdantin I led a policy tending to maintain the independence of the Armenian Church. Catholicos Gosdantin I was also a man of culture. He opened new schools, founded congregations, and encouraged the production of manuscripts, including works by famous miniaturist Toros Roslin. After 1236, Greater Armenia fell under Mongol domination. In 1242 the Catholicos participated in the first negotiations of the Cilician kingdom with the Mongols. In 1247 the Catholicos sent archimandrite Teotos to the local Mongol general and obtained his agreement to rebuild the monastery of St. Thaddeus in the region of Artaz and found a congregation.

Meanwhile, the situation of the church in Cilicia led Gosdantin to gather an assembly of Cilician bishops in 1243.The ecclesiastic assembly was held in Sis, but the representatives from Greater Armenia were not invited. The assembly approved rules for consecrations, priesthood, moral issues, and so on and so forth.The Catholicos could not accomplish his project of going to Armenia himself and obtaining the agreement of local ecclesiastics. In 1246 he sent historian Vartan Areveltsi to Greater Armenia with such a mission.
In 1254 archimandrite Hagop Klayetsi represented the Catholicos in negotiations with Byzantine emperor John Vadakes and Greek Orthodox Patriarch Manuel aimed at establishing a temporary reconciliation between Cilicia and Byzantium. In the 1260s Gosdantin I engaged in heated controversies with the papal legate in Cilicia and Pope Clement IV himself over doctrinal issues.

After a forty-six year reign, Catholicos Gosdantin I passed away in Hromkla on May 9, 1267, where he was buried. He was succeeded by Catholicos Hagop I Klayetsi.

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Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
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In this week's Prelacy Reflection, Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian of St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church of Watertown, MA gives his perspective on a passage from this past Sunday's gospel reading during the Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross.

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 4 —Presentation by Dr. Helen C. Evans, the Mary and Michael Jaharis curator of Byzantine Art at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the curator of the forthcoming major exhibition at the Met, “Armenia!” Dr. Evans will speak at the Prelacy offices, 138 E. 39 th Street, New York City, 7 pm, on “ Armenia! At the Met and the Great House of Cilicia,” and will also discuss the exhibition in general.

May 6 —St. Stephen’s Armenian Church of Hartford-New Britain, Connecticut, Wine Tasting, 1 pm to 3 pm. An afternoon designed for fun and enjoyment. Wine presentations, appetizer, door prizes, silent auction. Tickets $20. Advance reservations suggested: Sandy Asadourian ( ) or 860-622-9467 or 860-563-1251; Karen Fallo ( ).

May 6 —Mothers Day luncheon by ARS Mayr Chapter of New York, at 2 pm. Featuring a performance by Hooshere. Proceeds will benefit the ARS Sosse Kindergarten Medz Tagher in Artsakh. Almayass Restaurant, 24 E. 21 st Street. Donation $75. For more information contact Sonia (917-679-6992), Ani (516-784-0704) or Lalig (917-579-9248).

May 9-12 —Eastern Prelacy’s National Representative Assembly, hosted by St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Massachusetts. The one-day clergy conference and Conference of Yeretzgeens will take place on Wednesday, May 9. The full Assembly will convene on Thursday, May 10, at 11 am and will conclude on Saturday, May 12, at noon. The National Association of Ladies Guilds Meeting convenes during this time as well. For more information go to www.saintgregory/nra-2018.

May 11 --National Representative Assembly Banquet Celebration hosted by St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Massachusetts, at the Harris Pelham Inn, 65 Ledge Road, Pelham, New Hampshire. Cocktail reception at 6:30 pm; dinner & program at 7:30 pm. Tickets $75. To purchase tickets online click here.

May 12 —Armenian Relief Society, New Jersey Shakeh Chapter presents “Ascencion,” Sultan Lebanese Restaurant, 429 Crooks Avenue, Clifton, New Jersey 07011, 2 to 5 pm. Music entertainment by Vicken Makoushian. Donation: $50; B.Y.O.B. For further information: Knar Kiledjian (201-233-1560) or

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.

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 including John Berberian, Mal Barsamian, Ara Dinkjian, and Jason Naroian. Double Tree Hotel, Andover, Massachusetts. Details to follow. .
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