October 15, 2020
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With the immediate sponsorship of Turkey, and with the participation of terrorists and mercenaries, the war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh has put us before a new reality, with its military, political, legal and geopolitical aspects and consequences. Therefore, the present reality must push Artsakh and Armenia, as well as the international community, towards thinking and working in one direction: the recognition of the Republic of Artsakh. There is no alternative.

Anyone who has followed closely the latest developments of the Azerbaijan-Artsakh war, will see:

1.     Azerbaijan enjoys the unreserved and total political and military alliance of Turkey and the specialized support of Israel.

2.     The current war is not purely local; it has the potential to have major regional and international consequences.

3.     Giving a new appearance and emphasis to its pan-Turanic and expansionist policy, along with its attempt to expand its influence from the Middle East and the Islamic world to the countries of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, Turkey is trying to do the same in the Caucasus, using Azerbaijan for it.

The existing consensus between Russia, Turkey, and Iran in regards to Syria obviously push Russia and Iran to adopt a measured and cautious attitude towards the war incited by Turkey and carried out by Azerbaijan. Their cautious approach, however, cannot last long in the face of this urgent situation, full of serious dangers and grave consequences, when especially the geopolitical interests of Russia in the region begin to be compromised.
Azerbaijan has always tried to reoccupy Artsakh militarily, opposing the international decisions for a political and negotiated solution for the Artsakh dispute. This new attempt by Azerbaijan, which was boosted by the pan-Turanic efforts, pursues these new goals.

The Armenian army continues to defend heroically Artsakh, our right and our dignity. We have shed blood, we have sustained terrible destruction and damages, we have faced enormous problems, but we continue to resist. Indeed, to face the Azerbaijani attacks, fueled by Turkey’s support and Israeli weapons, is a victory in itself. Alongside the army and Armenia and Artsakh’s diplomatic offensive, the widespread outreach effort, the organized protests and the demonstrations in support of Armenia throughout the Diaspora have mobilized our entire people.

The situation remains extremely complicated and fragile.

For thirty years, we have told the world that Artsakh is ours, we asserted our self-determination right at the price of blood and we directed our statements, our thoughts and our work towards the international recognition of the Republic of Artsakh.

In those years we also demonstrated wise caution, allowing political negotiations. The present war, however, came to show once again that Azerbaijan does not believe in negotiations and, enjoying the full support of Turkey, will not leave us in peace, it will make use of an attrition war and, moreover, it will be taken advantage of by Turkey to achieve bigger, future objectives.

We cannot sacrifice people every few years as well as sustain horrible material and economic damages. It is vital for us to define our strategic and defense policies, both in the short and the long terms, always with a realistic spirit and in accordance with the present geopolitical facts and circumstances.

First, it is fundamental to establish a ceasefire, at any price and immediately, and resume political negotiations.

Second, carry out methodical work for the international recognition of Artsakh. We cannot wait any longer. This goes against us, in every sense. We know that such a measure will bring with it new complications and that the international community may not be ready for it at this point. Nevertheless, there is no other alternative. What can be worse than the current war, when Azerbaijan even ignores the principles of international law that apply to wars and ceasefires?

Third, the role of Russia is key for the solution of any issue related to Artsakh. The slow and cautious reaction by Russia may invite different interpretations. Nevertheless, whatever the strategic approaches and calculations of Russia may be at the moment, Russia will never allow the presence of another power next to it in the Caucasus. With this conviction in mind, our cooperation with Russia must be based on mutual trust and common interests.

Fourth, the vitally, politically and legally important initiative of ensuring Artsakh requires a lot of preparation, a lot of outreach and diplomatic activity, and consistent work, which we must begin immediately. International law contemplates different ways, circumstances and requirements for recognition. We must study comprehensively and in detail all the issues and concrete circumstances for recognition.

We find ourselves before an existential crossroads in our history. Military success is the key, and the pro-Armenian sentiment of the international community is the driving force of our success. We need to be wise and cautious and always united.

We therefore urge the honorable Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, to invite, right after the consolidation of the ceasefire, the heads of the political parties in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora, the spiritual leaders, as well as the highest officials of Armenia and Artsakh, to discuss the present situation and the following steps. On the one hand, such a meeting will show to foreigners our united and firm stance and, on the other, it will offer the opportunity for the exchange of viewpoints and approaches. We also propose that, following such a meeting, a committee of experts be formed under the leadership of the Prime Minister to steer the recognition work in its legal, diplomatic, political and communicational dimensions.
Catholicos Aram I
October 13, 2020
The World Council of Churches is deeply concerned about the violations of the humanitarian ceasefire agreed between Armenia and Azerbaijan on 10 October.
We urge all parties to the conflict to end all military actions immediately, to respect the ceasefire agreement reached in Moscow, and to engage in constructive dialogue aimed at protecting human lives and rights, preventing attacks on civilian infrastructure and places of worship, and achieving a sustainable peace.

Among many other tragic impacts of the conflict already, we were shocked and dismayed by the attack on the Ghazanchetsots cathedral, in which civilians were sheltering at the time. We condemn any targeted attack on one another’s religious and cultural sites.
We pray and hope that religious leaders and institutions, together with decision makers, can join together in concerted efforts for an end to this conflict, for the protection of every human life, for the promotion of interreligious understanding and respect for each others’ communities and holy places, and in cooperation for peace, justice and human dignity.

Geneva, 12 October, 2020
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
Interim General Secretary
World Council of Churches
Armenian Americans held a large demonstration in Manhattan on Saturday, October 10, with majority of young people. At one point so many people filled the street that authorities stopped the traffic.
Several thousand people participated in the rally in front of the ABC studios on the Upper West Side, which started with a march from Rockefeller Plaza in front of the NBC studios.

The event was meant to bring more attention from the media to the Azerbaijani aggression against the Republic of Artsakh that has become an existential threat and a humanitarian crisis. 
ABC, CBS, and PIX 11 reported both on the event and the subsequent blocking of traffic by protestors on Brooklyn Bridge. Cars with Armenian flags stopped in the middle of the bridge. Some people got out of their cars and stood in the street.
You may read below the message delivered by His Eminence, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate at the protest:
My fellow Armenians and to all of you who have come together today as fellow citizens in this, the Land of the Free.

We are gathered here today to raise our voices in the name of Justice and Peace, the two poles which sustain mankind on this Earth, which is our common home.

Since September 27, the authorities of Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey, after several months of provocative declarations, launched their ferocious attack against a portion of our Armenian homeland in Artsakh, which is also known around the world as Nagorno Karabagh.

Over the last two weeks, with all its sophisticated and modern weaponry, the Azerbaijani army has been bombing mercilessly civilian targets including schools, hospitals, churches, residential buildings, and other infrastructure within Artsakh, completely disregarding all international conventions, the terms of the cease fire agreed upon in 1994, and the direct appeals of the countries who co-chair the Minsk Group, including our own country, the United States of America. The efforts of Azerbaijan in attacking Artsakh have, to date, have been unsuccessful as the citizens of Artsakh, aided by their brethren in Armenia, have beaten back the attacks upon our homeland.

But, in addition to the war crimes of Azerbaijan, we are also witnessing the inability of the international media to present this attack on our homeland for what it is, a direct invasion of the sovereign territory of the Armenian people who established the Republic of Artsakh in 1991 following the lawful procedures then in place in the former Soviet Union. Instead, the media are too often presenting this attack on Artsakh as a local skirmish or as a conflict where both sides are somehow at fault for bombing each other’s positions. Nothing could be further from the truth!

That is why we are here today, to raise our voices and to remind the media of its ethical and moral obligation to report the facts of this attack on the Armenian homeland objectively, impartially, and truthfully, to help make the world aware of this unprovoked and dangerous act of war by Azerbaijan, aided and abetted by Turkey.

We are here today to demand of the Media not that we want them to side with Armenia or with Artsakh, but rather to provide the public with the truth, a truth that is based on the following facts:

-That Turkey, an ally of the United States, armed with the U.S. F-16 fighters, is bombarding Armenia, without provocation and with the potential of expanding the Azeri attack on Artsakh into a regional war.

-That Turkey, as part of its support of Azerbaijan, is deploying terrorist groups of jihadists, the new Al-Qaeda, the same enemies of the United States, who in 2001 waged an attack against this country that caused the death of more than 3,000 innocent American men, women, and children as well as billions in monetary losses.

-That the Army of Artsakh is not bombarding innocent civilians like the Azeris, but instead is targeting only military strategic posts, such as the airport of Ganja, in self-defense.

-That Artsakh is not a historical part of Azerbaijan, but was annexed into Azerbaijan in 1923 by the capricious decision of Josef Stalin before the people of Nagorno Karabagh exercised their right of constitutional self-determination in regaining their independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991 and reestablishing their own freedom and authentic identity.

-That the war being waged against Nagorno Karabagh can easily be turned into regional conflict and spiral beyond all expectations unless the world community asserts its legal and moral authority and brings an end to this unlawful attack against the Armenian people in Artsakh.

Yes, today we are here for justice and for peace. We are here not only to ask for understanding but to demand the truth, a truth which is the cornerstone of the mission, dignity, and reputation of responsible journalism and of the media. We are here to call upon all forms of media to bring attention to the unlawful acts of Azerbaijan and of Turkey in attacking the Armenian homeland, particularly our homeland in Artsakh. May God bless us all, our world leaders, our media, and each and every component of society in answering our prayers and supplications for justice, peace, and prosperity for the welfare of mankind and in particular for our Armenian homeland of Artsakh.
On Sunday, October 18, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, will preside over the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York. Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, Pastor, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Our faithful may follow the ceremony via live streaming.

Join us this Sunday at 10:30 AM by visiting ArmenianPrelacy.org/Livestream
Every day, every community of the Eastern Prelacy holds prayers for peace and security in Artsakh and Armenia. Please follow the updates from your Parish.
Today on the fifth Sunday of the Feast of the Holy Cross our Scriptural reading is from the Gospel of St. Mark 12.35-44. It is one of the most beautiful and touching passages which highlights Providential care. One day, our Lord Jesus Christ was in the Temple, watching the crowd putting their offerings into the treasury. He notices that while many rich people put in large sums, a widow quietly places two small coins worth a penny. He calls his disciples and says to them, “Truly I tell you; this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing into the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had to live on.”

This simple scene leads us to experience a glimpse of the depth of Divine Love, and enjoy the Lord’s Providential care, which is beyond our understanding. We learn from our reading these two important messages.

a. From a spiritual perspective, the earthly life of our Lord exhibits a private relationship with God, and a public relationship with those who might benefit from His care. He looked for solitude to be with the Father. Also, He attended synagogues and the Temple, thus drawing the blueprint of prayer life to all His followers. We should spend precious time with our heavenly Father in solitude as well as pray and praise the Lord with companions, collectively. It is just as important for each of us to find time to pray alone as it is for us to make the time to join our family and friends in community worship and prayer.

b. Along with the entire Creation human beings enjoy the Divine care regardless of their status. God is attentive to all people, at all levels, at all times. As much as He hears the supplication of kings Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:8-11) and David (Ps 51:1), likewise He hears the silent prayer of Hannah (I Sam 1:12-18), the mother of the Prophet Samuel, and the crying requests of the blind beggars in Jericho (Mt 20:30). And as much as His eyes watch the entire universe and see the lofty offerings of wealthy people, God never misses the beauty of humble lilies and the heartfelt gifts from poor widows.

Our offerings, verbal or material, no matter how generous we are, add nothing on God’s glory, as the psalmist says, “The earth is the Lord’s and all that in it, the world, and those who live in it.” (Ps 24:1) The aim of Jesus was not to discuss the rich people versus the poor or the amount of the gifts, but rather to highlight their intention. The rich gave “out of their abundance, while the widow put in everything she had to live on.”

By this statement Jesus teaches us that God is more fascinated with how we give than what we give. He wishes us to know that when wholeheartedly given, even insignificant things are acknowledged by God and bring a positive change. Thus, He invites us to realize that we enjoy His care equally. We do not need to suffer any inferiority complex because of who we are and what we have, but rather to be aware and make good use of our God-given talents. In this regard St. Paul eloquently makes us conscious that each and every one is given different gifts, by saying “each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift…The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers” (Eph 4:7-11). Therefore, having been instructed by the Apostle, let us not hesitate to use all our talents: hidden and known, be it a warm smile, a nice word, a kind gesture, gentle behavior, a modest service, a small or tangible donation, but always consciously and joyfully. Moreover, let us always be confident that whether people acknowledge and appreciate things or not, our heavenly Father sees all things privately and will reward us openly in His glory (Mt 6:6). Amen.

Prelate, Eastern United States
Please help us sustain our mission as our homeland is facing an existential war. As Armenia and Artsakh are struggling for survival and our community in Lebanon is making enormous efforts to regain their footing while helping our beloved Armenian homeland at this crucial hour when we are fighting again our genocidal enemies, we at the Prelacy have redoubled our efforts to serve our faithful in every parish under its jurisdiction and our nation in a year that has seen so many unbearable losses to the Covid-19 pandemic and now to war against our historical enemies. More than ever in our living memory, we need your support. Please give as generously as you can, “remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).

Please help us keep alive the huge achievements we have attained with our joint efforts. We will emerge stronger with the hand you lend us.
As of today, the Eastern Prelacy fundraising for our brothers and sisters, thanks to the generous donations of our faithful and the cooperation of our clergy, has reached the amount of $360,173. Your contribution is distributed to our brothers and sisters by the Lebanon Central Coordinating Committee headed by Archbishop Shahe Panossian, Prelate.
To see the tenth list of donations, click here.
To see the general list of donations, click here.
Bible readings for Sunday, October 18, Sixth Sunday of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross are, Isaiah 20:2-21:6; Galatians 4:3-18; Luke 4:14-23.
Luke 4:14-23
Then Jesus filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’”

Galatians 4:3-18
So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. Now, however, that you have come to know God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted.

Friends, I beg you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong. You know that it was because of a physical infirmity that I first announced the gospel to you; though my condition put you to the test, you did not scorn or despise me, but welcomed me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What has become of the goodwill you felt? For I testify that, had it been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? They make much of you, but for no good purpose; they want to exclude you, so that you may make much of them. It is good to be made much of for a good purpose at all times, and not only when I am present with you.
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.
This Saturday, October 17, the Armenian Church commemorates the Holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the authors of the four Gospels. The word Evangelist comes from the Greek Euaggelistes which means “one who brings good news.” Evangelists are given the special ability by the Holy Spirit to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly and effectively. In the early days of the church evangelism was the work of the apostles. By the third century, the authors of the four canonical Gospels became known as the Holy Evangelists, and as the church grew “evangelist” began to denote a specific office that could include “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers” (see Ephesians 4:11-12).
Matthew is the patron of the Church’s mission. The Gospel attributed to him closes with Jesus’ command to His disciples and followers to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Mark had significant influence on the advancement of Christianity. Although the Gospel according to Mark is a narrative of the life of Jesus, theologians consider it to be a handbook of discipleship. The dominant message is that being a Christian is not only to believe in Jesus Christ, it is also living according to the example set by Jesus. According to tradition, Mark was the first bishop of Alexandria. One of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world is named after him in Venice, where his relics are kept.

Luke is the author of the third Gospel and the Book of Acts. He is considered to be the patron of physicians and artists. The Gospel according to Luke describes Jesus as “the healer of a broken world.” Luke is also noted for his concern for the poor, the marginalized, women, and social outcasts. His Gospel does not end with the Resurrection, but continues to Pentecost and the eternal presence of Christ in the world. Traditionally he is believed to be one of the Seventy and the unnamed disciple in Emmaus.

John , often called the “beloved disciple,” is the author of the fourth Gospel. He was the only one of the twelve disciples who did not forsake Christ and stood at the foot of the Cross. Jesus entrusted his mother to John’s care on the day of the Crucifixion. The best known verse in his Gospel is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” According to tradition, John left Jerusalem after attending the first ecumenical council and went to Asia Minor and settled in Ephesus. He was exiled to the island of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation, although more recently scholars have concluded that John the Apostle and John of Patmos were two different people.

Also commemorated this week:
Thursday, October 15: Dionysius the Areopagite.
Monday, October 19: Sts. Joseph, Longinus the centurion, Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus sisters, Martha and Mary.
Tuesday, October 20: St. Theodotus the Priest.

The Armenian Prelacy held its first of an 8-part Bible study on St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians last night, October 14, via Zoom, conducted by Dn. Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy). Sixty people have registered. Registration is still open. To participate, please email your name and phone number to shant@armenianprelacy.org
Sunday, September 20, 2020, marked the first day of St. Sarkis Church's (Dearborn, MI) Hybrid Sunday School, which includes remote learning as well as some presential activities. Superintendent Knar Vartanian and all teachers were so happy to see their students again! Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian, Pastor, opened the year with a special message and prayer.
Eleven-year-old Michael Ruben Yegoryan, son of Mr. & Mrs. Aram and Zara Yegoryan, thought the "Report the Truth" protest rally in Manhattan on Saturday, October 10 would present a good opportunity to do a little fundraising for the Himnadram (Armenia Fund). So he brought with him a simple message, a big bottle, and an even bigger heart. And by the end of the day, young Mikey had managed to collect $7,502.00 for Artsakh and Armenia! Our new fundraising superstar proudly donated the money to the Artsakh Relief Fund being collected by St. Illuminator’s Cathedral.
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor, has expressed how proud he is of Mikey and thankful for his exemplary compassion, enthusiasm and tireless effort for the Armenian soldiers and our brothers and sisters in Armenia and Artsakh at this most critical moment in our nation’s history. As Der Mesrob says, Armenians will win this war in no small measure because they have youth like Mikey.
Der Mesrob has challenged St. Illuminator’s parishioners and friends to be inspired by Mikey's example and match, double, triple or more the amount Mikey has raised. We can do it! Յաղթելու ենք! (We will win!)

On Friday, October 2, 2020, in collaboration with the four Armenian Churches of Greater Detroit and with most community organizations, the Detroit community came together and filled a container of school supplies which is on its way to Lebanon.
On Wednesday, October 7, Detroit Armenians demonstrated and held a prayer to protest Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia.
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 children addressed to their actual or potential sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads.
This week’s letter is from Mary* who is sponsored by Varoujan Haroutunian.
*In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.
Dear Sponsor,
I am already 9 years old. Several days ago, I celebrated my birthday with my friends and family. I spend my summer vacation home – because of Covid-19 I don’t leave the house.
I spend my days playing with my sister. Because of my speech problems, I cannot talk much with her or with my brother, but I like playing with them. They help me with everything.

I want to get well and be able to communicate with people like other children and play with my friends.

Thank you for your help to us.

We have:
14 children in the Orphans’ Sponsorship Program without a sponsor 
9 children in the College Sponsorship Program without a sponsor
32 orphans in the waiting list of the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program.
Each of these 55 children needs your sponsorship. They need it now!

Click here for online sponsorship of minors up to the age of 18.

Click here for online sponsorship of orphans who become students at a higher education institution upon turning 18.

You can always contact the Prelacy by email (sophie@armenianprelacy.org) or telephone (212-689-7810) for the sponsorship of both minors and university students in the program of the St. Nerses the Great Organization in Armenia.

In Turkey and the Armenian Ghost, Laure Marchand and Guillaume Perrier visit historical sites and interview politicians, elderly survivors, descendants, authors, and activists in a quest for the hidden truth. Taking the reader into mountain regions, tiny hamlets, and the homes of traumatized victims of a deadly persecution that continues to this day, they reveal little-known aspects of the history and culture of a people who have been rendered invisible in their ancient homeland.

Seeking to illuminate complex issues of blame and responsibility, guilt and innocence, the authors discuss the roles played in this drama by the “righteous Turks,” the Kurds, the converts, the rebels, and the “leftovers of the sword.” They also describe the struggle to have the genocide officially recognized in Turkey, France, and the United States. Arguing that the massive cover-up has had consequences for Turks as well as for Armenians, the authors point out to a society sickened by a century of denial.
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore
(books@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810)


Birth of Khachatur Abovian (October 15, 1809)
An educator and an advocate for modernization, Khachatur Abovian is reputed as the father of modern Armenian literature and best remembered for his novel Wounds of Armenia, but also for his mysterious disappearance at the age of thirty-nine.
He was born on October 15, 1809, in the village of Kanaker, now a district of Yerevan. His family were descendants of the Beglarian family of meliks in Gulistan, one of five Armenian families who ruled around in Artsakh (Gharabagh). The Abovian family held the position of tanuter (տանուտէր, lordship) in Kanaker and his uncle was the last one.
At age ten, the future writer was taken by his father to Echmiadzin to study for priesthood. He dropped out after three years and moved to Tiflis in 1822 to study at the Nersisian School. Abovian graduated in 1826, but the outbreak of the Russo-Persian war (1826-1828) curtailed his plans to further his education. For the following three years, he taught briefly at the monastery of Sanahin and then worked for Catholicos of All Armenians Yeprem I (1809-1830) as his clerk and translator. While working at Holy Echmiadzin, twenty-year-old Abovian met many notable foreigners, including Russian diplomat and playwright Alexander Griboyedov, who was stuck in Echmiadzin en route to Tabriz in 1828.
Abovian's life had a turning point with the arrival of Friedrich Parrot, a professor of philosophy from the University of Dorpat (Tartu, present-day Estonia) in September 1829. Parrot traveled to Armenia to climb Mount Ararat to conduct geological studies. He required a local guide and a translator, and the Catholicos assigned Abovian to these tasks. With his assistance, Parrot became the first explorer in modern times to reach the summit of Mount Ararat on their third attempt on October 9, 1829. Abovian would climb the mountain again in 1845 with German mineralogist Otto von Abich and in 1846 with Englishman Henry Danby Seymour.
Impressed with Abovian’s thirst for knowledge, Parrot arranged for a Russian state scholarship for him to study at Dorpat. He entered directly to the philosophy branch of the Philological-Historical department from 1830-1836. He studied social and natural sciences, European literature and philosophy, and mastered German, Russian, French and Latin.

In 1836, he returned home anxious to embark on a mission of enlightenment, but his efforts were thwarted by the growing and hostile reaction from the Armenian clergy as well as Tsarist officials, largely derived from his opposition to dogmatism and formalism in the school system.

Abovian was appointed as the supervisor of the Tiflis district school and married a German woman named Emilia Looze in 1839. They had two children, Vardan and Zarmandukht (Adelaide). He was dismissed from the school in 1843 and transferred to the district school in Yerevan where he encountered apathy and antagonism from his colleagues and the clergy.

Abovian wrote novels, stories, descriptions, plays, scientific and artistic compositions, poems, and fables. He was the first Armenian writer to compose literature for children. His most important work was the historical novel Wounds of Armenia (written in 1841, but first published in 1858), which was the first Armenian secular novel dedicated to the fate of the Armenian people and its struggle for liberation in the period of the Russo-Persian war. The novel dealt with the suffering of Armenians under Persian occupation. Its basic concept was the assertion of feelings of national merit, patriotism and hatred of oppressors. These themes had a deep influence over wide layers of Armenian society. The hero, Aghasi, personifies the freedom-loving national spirit and its will to fight against the foreign conquerors.
Abovian saw a guarantee of the national, political and cultural revival of his native lands in the strengthening of Russian-Armenian friendship. This is a stance that was overemphasized during Soviet rule. However, he was already disillusioned with Tsarist policies in Armenia, particularly with the implementation of the Polozhenie (Statute) in 1836, which greatly reduced the political power of the Armenian Church, and the abolishment of the Armenian Province in 1840.
In July 1843, he accompanied Moritz Wagner, a professor from the University of Munich, on the first recorded ascent of Mount Aragatz. In August, he escorted German Baron August von Haxthausen around Armenia. In 1845, he applied for a position at the Catholicosate but was not accepted.
On April 14, 1848, Abovian left his home for an early morning walk, and was never seen again; his disappearance remains unresolved. Numerous theories have been proposed, including that he committed suicide, was murdered by Persian or Turkish enemies, or arrested and exiled to Siberia by the Czarist secret police, among others.
Abovian is well remembered in Armenia, with schools, streets, boulevards and parks named after him, and two prominent statues in Yerevan. The village of Elar, six miles northeast of Yerevan, was named after him in 1961 and later received city status. Abovian’s home in Kanaker has become a house-museum and the Pedagogical University of Yerevan is named after him.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org). 
Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Armenian Apostolic Church of America
(Memo: Lebanon Relief Fund)

Crossroads welcomes your letters (English and/or Armenian), as well as parish news, photographs, and calendar items. The deadline for submitting items is Tuesday evenings. Please write to crossroads@armenianprelacy.org.
Rev. Fr. Bedros Shetilian has written a new article for Pan-Orthodox Media Network site. You may read it here.
(Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style)
SIAMANTO ACADEMY—SUSPENDED: This Saturday session is suspended to allow students and parents to participate in the peaceful demonstrations to protest Turkey and Azerbaijan’s aggression against Artsakh and Armenia. Meets every Saturday via Zoom from 10:30 am-12:30 pm (ET).  For information: anec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7231.

TEACHERS TRAINING PROGRAM – This Saturday session is suspended to allow participation in the peaceful demonstrations. The sessions will be resumed on Saturday, October 17.

October 14—December 2: Zoom Bible Study on St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, Wednesday evenings from 8:00-9:00 pm (EST), conducted by Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Director of Christian Education (Eastern Prelacy). To register, please email your name, email address, and phone number to shant@armenianprelacy.org.

October 17 —St. Gregory Church, Armenian Food Festival To-Go, Noon-5:00 pm, on the church premises at 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, MA. Limited quantities: Pre-order and pre-pay by October 13. For more information and to place an order, please call (413) 262-7251 or email: spariseau@charter.net

November 21 —Annual Armenian Food Drive-Thru Festival, held at Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Worcester, Massachusetts. Details to follow.
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The Armenian Prelacy 
Tel: 212-689-7810 ♦ Fax: 212-689-7168 ♦ Email: email@armenianprelacy.org

Visit the Catholicosate webpage at http://www.armenianorthodoxchurch.org/en/