May 7, 2020
JANUARY 9, 1928- APRIL 29, 2020
His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, and the Religious and Executive Councils received with sorrow the news of the passing of Arax Sarajian on April 29, 2020. The Church and the community have lost a lifelong and devoted member.

Née Arax Catchouny in New York City and raised in Orange, New Jersey, she was the daughter of genocide survivors Yeghishe and Satenig Catchouny. She attended Packard Business College in New York City. She met her husband, Dick Sarajian, who predeceased her, at an Armenian Youth Federation function. They dedicated their life to giving and charity to their church and community. They were founding members of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, and of the Ladies Guild and Men’s Club, as well as devoted supporters of the Sunday School, where generations of children knew the Sarajian couple as Aunty Arax and Uncle Dick. Many of their activities were focused around youth programs, be them the church basketball league or the Armenian Youth Federation. They were ardent supporters of the Eastern Prelacy and enjoyed warm relationships with each of our Prelates. Arax Sarajian was also a member of the Bergen County Armenouhi chapter of the Armenian Relief Society for over sixty years. She was known for her keen mind, organizational skills, and legendary memory.

She is survived by children Richard and Nora Sarajian, Ken and Trish Sarajian, Carol and Jim Kennelly, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, as well as her brother-in-law Haig Sarajian. She was predeceased by her sister Alice Catchouny Hagopian and brother Armen Catchouny.

The private funeral, presided by Archbishop Anoushavan, was held on Monday, May 4, at George Washington Memorial Park, Paramus, NJ.

Archbishop Anoushavan and the Religious and Executive Councils extend their condolences to Arax Sarajian’s family members and loved ones. May God bless her righteous memory. Asdvatz hokeen lousavoreh .

  On Sunday, May 3, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian presided Divine Liturgy at St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church, New Britain, Connecticut. The celebrant was Rev. Fr. Vahan Kouyoumdjian, Visiting Pastor of St. Stephen's.

You can read the Prelate’s sermon below: 
Today, the fourth Sunday of Easter, is known as Red Sunday, according to the Armenian Church Calendar. The more that I explore the wisdom and insight of our Church Fathers, the more I am fascinated by their unique understanding of Creation on all levels. If we follow carefully the design of our Church calendar, we will witness through the celebration of the liturgical feasts a comprehensive approach honoring all of the elements of Creation. Thus, on the feast of the Nativity and Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, the element of water is blessed. On His 40th Day dedication to the Temple, we celebrate the source of Light with the element of candles and fire.

On Palm Sunday, we decorate our churches and homes with palm fronds and olive branches. On Assumption day, grapes are blessed, and on the feast of the Elevation of the Cross, sweet basil is blessed. Not so long ago, in our homeland or in the Middle East, during other feasts, other elements were used to celebrate our liturgical life. For the time being, let us focus on today’s celebration. Amazingly, beside the material elements, even colors have been considered by our Church Fathers. The previous Sunday is called Green Sunday and today is called Red Sunday.  

As much as colors beautify the creation, each and every society has symbolized them according to their values, traditions and aspirations. From the Christian perspective, the color red is immediately identified with blood, and thus red symbolizes the Sacrifice par excellence on the Cross, followed by the martyrdom of saints of all ages. Last Sunday and this Sunday are interrelated not only in terms of colors, but also are interwoven with an invisible significant bond that makes them one entity. In other words, last Sunday was dedicated to the Universal Church, established in the Upper Room, and was named Green Sunday heralding the blossoming of the Church. This Sunday, by the virtue of its Red Sunday name, teaches us that the sprout of the Church was due to a precious price, the blood of the saints. Hence we learn a basic teaching that the Church, as the Body of Christ, consists of two essential components: the Victorious Church which is composed by those who have already “fought the good fight” as St. Paul says (2 Tim. 4:7), and the Militant Church, which is composed by those who are facing present challenges and, when crossing the stormy waves of time and space, focus their eyes on the heavenly haven.

This common teaching of Orthodox and Catholic churches invites all believers to be nourished with a spiritual energy, which is labeled as Saints and Sinners. Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, when we study the lives of the saints, surprisingly we come across a truth that once they were sinners, yet in Christ they became saints, they walked with Christ and carried their individual crosses. And this brings us the good news that we, the sinners, having such saints as role models, are entitled in Christ to be crowned as saints, as St Peter says, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Pet. 2:9).

Therefore enjoying our unity in Christ with all the members of the Victorious Church and of the Militant Church, let us benefit from the prayers of those who are “fighting the good fight;” in other words, those who are praying for each other, and simultaneously by the prayers of those who are asleep yet are alive in Christ. For we read in the book of Revelation, “the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev. 5:8).

Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, asking the saints to pray on our behalf neither diminishes the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ nor undermines our direct prayers to God. On the contrary, saintly intercession makes us more conscious and aware that we are all one in Christ, whether as members of the Militant Church or of the Victorious Church. For all prayers are directed to the One who is standing at the right hand of God, as witnessed by St. Stephen (Acts 7:56).

With this understanding, let us fervently pray for one another, and never hesitate to call upon the saints to pray on our behalf, especially in this crucial time of pandemic. St. Paul says that this life mirrors the eternal life (1 Cor. 13:12). Hence, if we believe that our prayers with the dynamics of reciprocity produce blessings on our beloved ones as well as on those whom we do not know nor see personally, then there is no reason why we should fail to ask for the prayers of those who are rejoicing in the presence of the Lord of the lords and the King of the kings.    

Let us strengthen our immunity with the prayers of our beloved Armenian saints such as St Gregory the Illuminator, St. Hripsime and St. Shushan, St. Krikor Naregatzi and St. Nerses Shnorhali, and let us even consider to ask for the intercessions of the second-century patroness of victims of epidemics, St. Corona, to fight against the virus which shares her holy name.  

I urge all my faithful brothers and sisters in Christ to galvanize their faith rooted in the Risen Lord and to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Let us not forget that the final, miraculous teaching on the Cross was prayer itself. Therefore, let us unceasingly pray and call upon the saints to pray with us to present our supplications to the Almighty Lord, who is with us and working invisibly 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 which, supported by different government agencies, are on a mission to discover the cure for this pandemic.  

Led by Prayer, Prudence and Patience, let us all be strengthened in Him who defeated Death and with His sacred blood signed His declaration that He is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE (Jn.14:6), to whom is befitting Glory, Dominion and Honor. Amen.

Archbishop Anoushavan had an interview this week with the “Voice of Armenians” TV network run by Karine Kocharyan. The interview airs on Sunday, May 10. You may watch it on ROKU or Apple TV as well as on the  website. 

A Note about the Readings : Beginning Monday, April 20, and continuing until Pentecost (May 31) each day the four Gospels are read in the following order: 1) Morning—Luke; 2) Midday—John; 3) Evening—Matthew; 4) Evening dismissal—Mark. By Pentecost the four gospels are read up to the passion.

Bible readings for Sunday, May 10, Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross, are: Acts 17:1-15; 1 John 1:1-10; John 7:14-24.
Acts 17:1-15
After Paul and Silas had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three sabbath days argued with them from the scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This is the Messiah, Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you.” Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews became jealous, and with the help of some ruffians in the marketplaces they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. While they were searching for Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly, they attacked Jason’s house. When they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some believers before the city authorities, shouting, “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has entertained them as guests. They are all acting contrary to the decrees of the emperor, saying that there is another king named Jesus.” The people and the city officials were disturbed when they heard this, and after they had taken bail from Jason and the others, they let them go.
That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea; and when they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, including not a few Greek women and men of high standing. But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Beroea as well, they came there too, to stir up and incite the crowds. Then the believers immediately sent Paul away to the coast, but Silas and Timothy remained behind. Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and after receiving instructions to have Silas and Timothy join him as soon as possible, they left him.
John 7:14-24
About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. The Jews were astonished at it, saying, “How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?” Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.
“Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?” Jesus answered them, “I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
This Sunday (May 10) the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross ( Yerevoumun Sourp Khatchi ). The Apparition of the Cross is the first feast dedicated to the Holy Cross in the Armenian liturgical calendar. It is celebrated in remembrance of the appearance of the sign of the cross over the city of Jerusalem in 351 that remained in the sky for several hours. The apparition extended from Golgotha to the Mount of Olives (about two miles), and was brighter than the sun and was seen by everyone in Jerusalem. The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cyril, used this occasion to remind Emperor Constantius of Byzantium of his father’s (Constantine the Great) orthodox faith. Cyril claimed the Apparition was further reason to return to orthodoxy.

Traditionally, the Armenian translation of Cyril’s message is read on this feast day during the Antastan service prior to the Gospel lection. The Apparition is celebrated by the Armenian and Greek churches. The Greeks observe it on the fixed date of May 7, while the Armenian date is moveable depending on the date of Easter. It is celebrated on the fifth Sunday of Easter.

Cyril is a revered Doctor of the Church and he is remembered in the Armenian Church’s liturgical calendar. Here is a short excerpt from Cyril’s letter about the apparition.

In those holy days of the Easter season, on 7 May at about the third hour, a huge cross made of light appeared in the sky above holy Golgotha extending as far as the holy Mount of Olives. It was not revealed to one or two people alone, but it appeared unmistakably to everyone in the city. It was as if one might conclude that one had suffered a momentary optical illusion; it was visible to the human eye above the earth for several hours. The flashes it emitted outshone the rays of the sun, which would have outshone and obscured it themselves if it had not presented the watchers with a more powerful illumination than the sun. It prompted the whole populace at once to run together into the holy church, overcome both with fear and joy at the divine vision. Young and old, men and women of every age, even young girls confined to their rooms at home, natives and foreigners, Christians and pagans visiting from abroad, all together as if with a single voice raised a hymn of praise to God’s Only-Begotten Son the wonder-worker. They had the evidence of their own senses that the holy faith of Christians is not based on the persuasive arguments of philosophy but on the revelation of the Spirit and power; it is not proclaimed by mere human beings but testified from heaven by God Himself .”

(Excerpt from Saint Cyril’s letter about the Apparition of the Cross)

My name is Mary Arslanian.
I would like to express my gratitude and great appreciation to the Prelacy Program of “Daily Reflections” presented by the clergy of our churches. Every day I eagerly look forward to find it on my I Pad and listen to the message. During these difficult times of uncertainty, it is very uplifting for me to have a “personal” and spiritual communication with each of the presenters as well as for faith, hope and reassurance of God's presence in my life. I thank all the individuals responsible for this endeavor and May God Bless you all.

Respectfully yours,


The Prelacy announces a new, six-part Bible Study course via Zoom beginning this Saturday, May 9. Led by Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, director of Christian Education of the Eastern Prelacy, the course will be devoted to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, with a focus on the narratives of His post-resurrection appearances. The sessions will be held every Saturday through June 13, at 2:00-2:30 pm. To register, please send your name, e-mail address, and phone number to Archdeacon Shant ( ).
Due to the circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic, the Prelacy’s St. Gregory of Datev Institute will hold a condensed online Summer Program for youth ages 13-18 from June 29 to July 3, 2020, instead of its regular sessions at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania.

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

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

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

To register, please send your contact information (name, address, phone number, email address, and DOB) to Dn. Shant Kazanjian at If you have any questions, please contact Deacon Shant by email or at 212-689-7810.

The Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program was established in 1993 and continues to be the central mission of the Prelacy’s projects in Armenia and Artsakh. As part of the program, letters are received regularly from sponsored children addressed to their sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads.
This week’s letter is from Lucy* who is sponsored by Louise Kanian.  

My name is Lucy. As I don’t know how to write yet, my mother, Geghanoush, will be writing in my stead.
I was born on April 25, 2018. My father, Vazken, was killed on September 3, 2018 during his military duty. I live in Shirak Region’s village of Haritch with my mother, older sister, and grandmother. My mom and grandma take care of me —I don’t go to kindergarten yet.
I am very lively, curious, sociable, and friendly.
* 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). 
St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School has developed a detailed schedule for its students, including remote classes and pre-recorded video instructions as well as individual conference calls with students via Zoom. 
The school is focusing on an asynchronous learning approach for kindergarten through fifth grade students. This basically implies that students are free to use the pre-recorded and other materials provided by the school to study as their circumstances allow, as opposed to real-time classes by conference call. St. Stephen’s teachers attended webinars, consulted with peer schools and discussed it with faculty and the Education Committee members, and they all agreed that this approach was the most appropriate and effective one for the age group they serve.
Resources used for asynchronous learning include pre-recorded videos, assignments on Google Classroom and online activities. Synchronous learning is believed to be appropriate only for sixth graders and older students, which has been borne out by St. Stephen’s teachers. Justin Reich, an online learning researcher at MIT, in a recent interview with NPR says that “young people don't have the attention or the executive function skills to be able to sit and learn online for hours every day on their own.” The approach Reich advocates is known as “hybrid, blended learning or a flipped classroom,” which may consist of a combination of short pre-recorded videos, videoconference check-ins and self-paced work, with teachers also available to students over email or Google classroom or another method.
Remote learning is not synonymous with online learning, said the Commissioner of Education for the state of Massachusetts recently, raising awareness on the effects of increased screen time and the need for a balanced approach: “Remote learning is not synonymous with online learning. Remote learning can take place in a multitude of ways, including by helping students engage with resources in their everyday lives and in the natural world around them.” 
With this spirit, St. Stephen’s teachers keep working to ensure the best quality educational experience for our students.

Education is the key, historian and former president of the New York Public Library Vartan Gregorian tells us in his humorous, learned, and moving memoir, where he recounts his journey from an impoverished childhood as an Armenian in Tabriz (Iran) to cultured citizen of the world. Gregorian's odyssey begins in an obscure, poor quarter of a provincial city. A childhood of poverty, deprivation, and enchantment was centered on his brilliant, beloved, illiterate grandmother, who taught him so much: the beauty of church, school, American movies, and the larger world he read about in his borrowed books. 

This book tells not only how he reached the Armenian lyceum of Beirut (Jemaran) but also about the many people who guided, supported, taught, and helped him on an extravagantly absorbing and varied journey from Tabriz to Beirut to Palo Alto to Tenafly to London, from Stanford University to San Francisco State University to the University of Texas at Austin to the University of Pennsylvania to the New York Public Library to Brown University and, currently, to the presidency of Carnegie Corporation of New York. With witty stories and memorable encounters, Dr. Gregorian describes his public and private lives as one education after another. He has written a love story about life.
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore (   or 212-689-7810)
  Death of Ruben Orbeli (May 9, 1943)
Three scientist brothers, Levon, Hovsep, and Ruben, would make important contributions to Soviet and Armenian scholarship in the first half of the twentieth century. The elder, Ruben Orbeli, after a long career in law, would go into archaeology, becoming the founder of submarine archaeology in the Soviet Union.

Ruben Orbeli was born on February 7, 1880, in Nakhijevan. He received his elementary education first in Kutais (Kutaisi, Georgia) and then in the third gymnasium of Tiflis (Tbilisi). He graduated from the School of Law at the University of St. Petersburg in 1903 and went on to teach in the chair of Civil Law. In 1905-1907, he studied at the universities of Jena and Bonn, in Germany, and earned a doctorate in law. After returning to Russia, he was elected full member of the Law Society of the Imperial University of St. Petersburg and worked in the Senate as head secretary of the Committee of Cassation.

In 1918-1921, Orbeli taught law and philosophy at the chair of ethics in the School of Pedagogy of the State Institute of Tambov. Returning to Petrograd (the new name of St. Petersburg), he worked at the library of Academy of Sciences of Russia. His lengthy experience in archives and libraries in those years turned him into a specialist in the field. He found his life vocation in those years: the field of submarine investigation.

Starting in 1934, Orbeli headed the Special-Purpose Rescue Underwater Party. He studied Assyrian sculptures, seals with images of divers, and the works of Greek authors to investigate their social situation and other issues, the conditions of work, their outfit, and their work materials. He also studied the works of Leonardo da Vinci and the eighteenth century Russian manuscript sources. His enormous study of literature and archival sources led Orbeli to the foundation of a new branch of science, submarine archaeology.

Orbeli spent a total of fifteen years in these studies, utilizing primary sources, for which he made recourse to his knowledge of 12 languages (Russian, Georgian, Armenian, Latin, Greek, English, French, German, Spanish, Swedish, modern and old Italian). His rescue parties discovered the remainders of a submarine Greek city in Crimea. He suggested a way to strengthen the coasts in order to protect submarine structures and proposed various ways to extract ancient objects from the water and ensure their maintenance.

Orbeli authored several works on law and submarine archaeology in Russian and also made translations from German and French.

He passed away in Moscow on May 9, 1943, and was buried in the Armenian cemetery.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 
Crossroads welcomes your inquiries and comments (English and/or Armenian), as well as parish news, photographs, and calendar items. Remember that the deadline for submitting items is Tuesday evenings. Please write to

 ( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
May 13-16  — POSTPONED —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of Philadelphia..
May 17  — CANCELED —Following Divine Liturgy, St. Illuminator’s Cathedral will host a talk by academic and author Rubina Peroomian.
May 31  — POSTPONED —Save the date. St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, Douglaston, New York, 30th Anniversary Banquet.
June 29—July 3  —St. Gregory of Datev Institute Summer Program online For information, please contact Dn. Shant Kazanjian at 212-689-7810 or
September 26-27  —St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley (North Andover, Massachusetts), 50 th Anniversary, under the auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate.
October 4 —Save the date. St. Stephen's Armenian Apostolic Church of New Britain, CT, 95th Anniversary Banquet.
October 17 CANCELED —Hye Kef 5 Annual Dance, presented by the Armenian Friends of America, Inc.. Featuring: Steve Vosbikian Jr., Mal Barsamian, John Berberian, Ara Dinkjian and Jason Naroian. At the DoubleTree Hotel in Andover, MA. For details, visit or call Sharke at 978-808-0598.
November 15  —Save the date. The Eastern Prelacy's Annual Thanksgiving Banquet.
November 28  —Save the date. Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church 80th Anniversary Celebration, under the auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate. Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, Cranston, Rhode Island. 

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