May 31, 2018
By order of the Prelate, Flag Blessing and Prayers for the Armenian Republic were offered in Prelacy parishes last Sunday (May 27) or will be offered this Sunday (June 3). Requiem services will be offered for the souls of the fallen heroes of Sardarabad, Bashabaran, Gharakilise, and the martyrs of the struggle for Artsakh.

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)

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).
Conference of Yeretzgeens at the Assembly
Archbishop Oshagan with Yeretzgeen, speakers, and guests at the Conference.
The Conference of Yeretzgeens (wives of parish priests) was conceived several years ago, and has since convened in other years.  This year the theme of the conference was “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” All delegates received a “Peace on Earth” bag—a small gift from the Yeretzgeens. Inside the bag was a note asking everyone to join in prayer for peace on earth on May 20, Pentecost Sunday.

During the two-day conference the following speakers were heard:
Nayiri Baljian Bell, of St. Stephen’s Church in Watertown, introduced the theme by preparing the heart for prayer. She described how she turned to God when her child—barely a month old—was faced with a life-threatening disease. She and her husband were told to “prepare for the worst.” But instead of preparing for the worst, they prayed for the best. Her daughter Dalita celebrated her 2 nd birthday in April. Nayiri shared how faith, hope, love, and personal devotion time with God turned her darkest hour into the noon day.

Dr. Arpi Boynerian, wife of Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian of the Armenian Memorial Church in Belmont, Massachusets, spoke on the sanctity of the marriage vows and how to maintain peace, harmony, and strength through prayer for the family. She reminded the audience of the promise made during marriage vows and how God-centered couples can raise children with godly wisdom, to be strong in their convictions and to courageously act upon those convictions.

Yn. LuAnn Sabounjian, wife of Rev. Fr. Krikor Sabounjian of the Armenian Church of the Holy Translators in Framingham, Massachusetts, spoke on intercessory prayer and changing the world around us from a healthcare perspective. She inspired the audience to reach out to people from all walks of life with a visit, volunteer work, a random act of kindness to a total stranger, thus fulfilling the great commission of Jesus when He said prior to His Ascension: “Peace to you. Go into the world and preach the Good News to every creature.”

Yeretzgeen Alice Baljian, wife of Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, spoke about “The Healing Oils of the Bible.” She showed with Biblical references how God provided essential oils derived from plants for healing and maintaining good health. Her presentation was both educational and fascinating.

National Association of Ladies Guilds:
A scene from the conference of the National Association of Ladies Guilds
The Conference of the National Association of Ladies Guilds takes place each year concurrent with the National Assembly. Two guest speakers were featured during the two-day conference. Ms. Rhona Kitabjian spoke about her book about faith, love and service in the church and community. Mr. Manoog Kaprielian spoke about the strength of the Armenian Woman and her role in history and today. Mr. Kaprielian was recently elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Armenian International Women’s Association. He has been in interviews and documentaries on NPR and BBC and has received many international honors for his humanitarian work.

The conference participants had the opportunity of meeting with Archbishop Oshagan and share ideas and concerns with him. Elections took place for the new NALG executive with the following results: Marion Boudakian, chairlady; Yn. Nectar Manoogian, vice-chairlady; Madonna Kizirian, treasurer; Maggie Kouyoumdjian, corresponding secretary; Rosemary Khachadoorian, recording secretary; Joyce Bagdasarian, advisor.

Bible readings for Sunday, June 3, Second Sunday after Pentecost; Feast of Holy Etchmiadzin are: Proverbs 9:1-6; Zechariah 3:7-4:9; Hebrews 9:1-10; John 10:22-30.

Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was constructed, the first one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of the Presence; this is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a tent called the Holy of Holies. In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot speak now in detail.

Such preparations having been made, the priests go continually into the first tent to carry out their ritual duties; but only the high priest goes into the second, and he but once a year, and not without taking the blood that he offers for himself and for the sins committed unintentionally by the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary has not yet been disclosed as long as the first tent is still standing. This is a symbol of the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various baptisms, regulations for the body imposed until the time comes to set things right. (Hebrews 9:1-10)


At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” (John 10:22-30)

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

Today, May 31, is the Feast of St. John the Baptist (also called the Forerunner), and Bishop Athenogenes. John the Baptist is prominent in each of the four Gospels. He is associated with the beginning of the ministry of Jesus and is considered to be the “forerunner” to Jesus the Messiah. He baptized those who repented their sins, and he preached the coming of one after him who is greater than he and would baptize not with water but with the Spirit. In the third chapter of Matthew, John is reluctant to baptize Jesus and does so only after encouragement from Jesus. The Armenian Church considers St. John the Baptist as one of the two prime intercessors to Jesus, the other being the Blessed Mother.

Athenogenes , a bishop and theologian, was burned to death along with ten of his disciples in Sebastia, Armenia, during the persecution of Christians y Emperor Diocletian. Athenogenes wrote a hymn of praise proclaiming the divinity of the Holy Spirit. He is remembered as singing this hymn as he went into the flames.
This Saturday (June 2) is the Feast of St. Gregory the Illuminator’s deliverance from the pit ( Khor Viraben Yelkuh ). Gregory is revered as the patron saint of the Armenian Church. He is recognized and memorialized in both eastern and western hierarchical churches. The Armenian liturgical calendar reserves three feast days in his honor: Entrance into the pit; deliverance from the pit; and discovery of relics. In addition to these three days, there are several feast days to which he is closely connected, namely the feast days for Sts. Hripsimiantz, Sts. Gayaniantz, Shoghakat, Holy Etchmiadzin, and King Trdat. The Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox churches, and Oriental Orthodox churches have special days in their calendars for the veneration of St. Gregory, who is considered to be one of the Fathers of the early Christian church.

Gregory was condemned to the pit in 287 AD by King Trdat and the persecution of Christians began. After the martyrdom of a group of nuns who came to Armenia from Rome led by Hripsime and Gayane, Trdat was stricken with strange maladies. His sister, Khosrovidukht, had a dream that Gregory was the only person who could heal her brother. Miraculously, Gregory was still alive after many years in the pit, thanks to an angelic woman who lowered food and water into the pit each day. Gregory emerged from the pit; the king was healed and baptized, and he declared Christianity to be the official religion of Armenia.

Gregory was not the first to preach Christianity in Armenia. That distinction belongs to the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew who came to Armenia in the first century, and thus gave the Armenian Church its apostolic designation. Nevertheless, Gregory is revered and is considered by Armenians to be the father of their faith. Hundreds of churches have been built and named in his honor.

“The ancient calendars of the still undivided Church celebrated him [Gregory] on the same day in both the East and the West as a tireless apostle of truth and holiness. The father in faith of the whole Armenian people, St. Gregory still intercedes from heaven today, so that all the children of your great nation may at last gather round the one table prepared by Christ, the divine Shepherd of one flock.”

Pope John Paul II in his “Apostolic Letter for the 1700 th Anniversary of the Baptism of the Armenian People,” issued February 2, 2001.

This Sunday (June 3) is the Feast of Holy Mother Etchmiadzin, the cathedral built by St. Gregory after his deliverance from the pit, to the specifications he saw in a vision, and on the place marked by the Lord with a golden hammer. This feast day commemorates the establishment of the Armenian Church and the end of paganism. Etchmiadzin is the oldest example of a four-altar, four-pillar, domes, cruciform church in Christian architecture. More than 1,700 years old, it is the oldest surviving Armenian Christian site. Relief sculptures on the exterior walls are some of the oldest examples of the Christian Armenian art of sculpting.

Also celebrated this coming week:
Monday, June 4: The Holy Children of Bethlehem.
Tuesday, June 5: Sts. Nooneh and Maneh the Virgins.
Thursday, June 7: Sts. Sahag and Hovsep the Princes and Sts. Sarkis and Pacchus the Martyrs.

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.
The Mourad Armenian School of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island presented its annual hantes and graduation to a full house and very appreciative audience on Saturday, May 19.

The parish’s Sunday School conducted its eighth grade graduation on Sunday, May 20, following the Divine Liturgy.

The Mourad Armenian School graduates, left to right, Rozie Avakyan, Eliz Dedeian, Arthur Arslanyan, Talin Calikyan, Ani Elmayan, Der Kapriel, Der Gomidas, Principal Anahid Kibarian, and Curriculum Director Maggie Nalbandian.

Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian with the Sunday School graduates, left to right, Sonya Cheteyan, Mitchell Campbell, Sara Gomez, Nikolas Kojoian, Der Kapriel, Zaven Zeitountzian, Maral Zobian, and Lauren Chopy.
Birth of Vartan Makhokhian
(May 31, 1869)
Ivan (Hovhannes) Aivazovsky is the premier seascape painter in Armenian art, but his younger contemporary, Vartan Makhokhian (also spelled Mahokian), comes to a close second.

Makhokhian was born on May 31, 1869, in Trebizonda (Trabzon). His father was a merchant who made sure that his six children had a good education. Makhokhian took an interest in drawing at the local Armenian school, and learned to paint when he continued his studies at the Sanasarian College in Erzerum (1882-1887), before returning to his hometown after five years of study. His artistic interests were not limited to painting, since he also learned to play violin and studied music theory.

His uncle persuaded Makhokhian to pursue an artistic career. At the age of twenty-two, he began studies at the Berlin Academy of Arts under the guidance of Eugen Bracht and Hans Gude. After graduating in 1894, he traveled to Crimea, where he met Aivazovsky and painted various sea scenes. He went back to Trebizonda in 1895 and became a witness of the Hamidian massacres.

He fled to the port of Batum, in Georgia, and then to Europe. He held one of his first exhibitions in 1900 in Berlin. For the next two decades, he would be the subject of many articles in the European press. In 1904 he was accepted into the Berlin Artists' Association. He traveled to Egypt, where he had exhibitions in Alexandria and Cairo, then to Denmark, and finally settled in the island of Capri, in Italy, a place chosen as residence by well-known artists and intellectuals. Makhokhian returned to Germany in 1907 and participated in various exhibitions in Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Munich.

The painter returned once again to his hometown in 1908, after the Ottoman Constitution was restored. He continued working there for the next six years, and after the beginning of World War I, Makhokhian moved again to Europe and this time he settled in Nice, France, where he would remain until the end of his life. He composed the symphony “The Sobbing of Armenia” from 1915-1917, reacting to the loss of his family in Trebizonda during the genocide, which was first performed in Monte Carlo (1918). He participated in the Paris Salon in 1921, 1922, 1923, and 1927, and had solo exhibitions in Nice (1918, 1931, 1936), Marseilles (1923), Paris (1925), and Monte Carlo (1932). The painter was awarded the Legion of Honor in 1925 and became a French citizen two years later.

From 1927-1930 Makhokhian also participated in the collective exhibitions of the “Ani” Artistic Society in Paris, and thus became better known in Armenian circles.

After a long illness, the painter passed away in Nice on February 10, 1937, at the age of 67. His works are found in the National Gallery of Armenia, the Art Museum of Nice, the museum of the Mekhitarist Congregation in Venice, and other places, as well as in many private collections.

Seaside scene. Norway - Vartan Makhokhian

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This past Sunday, the Armenian Church remembered Elijah, the Messianic prophet of the Old Testament recorded in 1 and 2 Kings. Rev. Fr.  Nareg Terterian  of  St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, Douglaston, NY  gives a short perspective on Elijah, who had devoted his life to the service of the lord, even in the darkest of times. 

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.

June 17 —“Yerevan, My Home,” presented by the Areni Choir, 6 pm at Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center, 129 West 67 th Street, New York, NY 10036. Concert is dedicated to Yerevan’s 2800 th anniversary and 100 th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia. Reception to follow. Donation : $50, $40 (children under12, $20). Tickets: Lincoln Center Box Office 212-501-3330; Germaine 917-288-2747; .

June 17 —Father’s Day Picnic, 12 noon to 5 pm on the church grounds at 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts. Enjoy many favorite Armenian dinners including shish kebob and rice pilaf. Homemade pastries and baked goods available for purchase. Enjoy Armenian music and dancing, outdoor activities, and raffle. Admission and parking free. Information: 413-543-4763.

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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