October 20. 2016
Archbishop Oshagan and Rev. Fr. Mesrob with Azadouhi Zarukian, who made a substantial donation to St. Illuminator’s Cathedral.

Sunday, October 16, 2016, looked like an ordinary Sunday. It ended up being a historic and memorable day for St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City.

Certainly it is not unusual for a priest to receive a phone call from someone wishing to make a donation to the church. In this particular case, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of the Cathedral, remembers that everything was far from usual.  

Der Mesrob was addressing his flock, gathered in Pashalian Hall on Sunday following the Divine Liturgy that was presided over by the Prelate, Archbishop Oshagan. Ms. Azadouhi Zarukian and her cousin Mikael Istepanian, who was visiting from Germany, attended church and offered a hokehankisd (memorial service) in memory of her brothers, Ardashes and Haroutioun. Der Mesrob related the story of how last May, Ms. Zarukian called him and expressed the wish to make a substantial donation to the Cathedral. No amount was mentioned. Last month, when Der Hayr and Ms. Zarukian went to the bank to finalize the donation, the amount of the donation was revealed. Der Hayr related his amazement and deep emotion when he found out that Ms. Zarukian was donating four million dollars to the Cathedral! 

A rousing ovation greeted the announcement, with everyone in attendance standing in testimony of the appreciation for the elder woman seated amongst them. 

“The amount will remain untouched,” Der Mesrob announced. “A financial committee is looking into the best way to invest the money, with the active participation of the donor. She will also be part of another committee to be appointed that will make decisions on the use of the proceeds. The donor has expressed her wish that the proceeds be used for specific charitable and educational purposes. Details will be announced after all outstanding legal and other expenses are paid. 

In his message to the gathering, Archbishop Oshagan reflected on the mission of service that defines the Holy See of Cilicia that was deeply ingrained into Der Mesrob during his years of study at the seminary in Antelias. Der Mesrob was appointed pastor of the Cathedral in 2006 and given the mission of renovating the Cathedral and reinvigorating its pastoral mission.  

“Der Hayr’s indefatigable spirit of service and tireless devotion has earned him unanimous praise over the past ten years that was a renaissance for the hundred-year-old Cathedral. In a certain way, this magnificent donation represents an unexpected, yet well-deserved recognition for the Word being carried out,” the Prelate said.  

Oshagan Srpazan praised Der Mesrob’s dedicated vocation and the exceedingly generous gesture of Ms. Azadouhi Zarukian. He encouraged all present to follow her example, as the biblical story of the  widow’s offering shows, by bringing their contribution to the church and helping fulfill its continuing mission. 

Ms. Zarukian was offered a gift as a token of appreciation on behalf of the Cathedral. After lunch those in attendance had the opportunity to greet Ms. Zarukian and personally express their gratitude to her. 

An ordinary Sunday became an extraordinary event in the annals of the history of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, the first Armenian Cathedral in the United States.


Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General of the Prelacy, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy, deliver the Sermon and preside over the 58th anniversary celebration of Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Church in Troy, New York. His Grace will be assisted at the altar by the parish’s Visiting Pastor, Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian. 


Bible readings for Sunday, October 23, Seventh Sunday of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Discovery of the Holy Cross are: Wisdom 14:1-8; Isaiah 33:22-34; 1 Corinthians 1:18-24; Matthew 24:27-36.

For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

  “Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken.

  “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

  “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:27-36)


For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God . (1 Corinthians 1:18-24)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings visit our website. Click here to visit now! 


On Saturday, October 22, the Armenian Church remembers the Twelve Holy Teachers (Doctors) of the Church, namely: Hierotheus of Athens, Dionysius the Areopagite, Sylvester of Rome, Athanasius of Alexandria, Cyril of Jerusalem, Ephrem the Syrian, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory the Theologian, Epiphanius of Cyprus, John Chrysostom, and Cyril of Alexandria.


This Sunday, October 23, the Armenian Church celebrates the Feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross (Giut Khatchi). Empress Helena, mother of Constantine and a devout Christian, wanted to visit the Holy Land and explore the sites Christ had walked centuries ago. She went to Golgotha (Calvary), which had become an obscure and neglected place. According to some chronicles, it was an informed Jew named Juda who pointed out the location. At her instruction, workers excavated the site and three wooden crosses were found. Which one was the True Cross? The three crosses were successively placed on the body of a youth who had just died. When one of the crosses was placed on him, the young man came back to life. This was determined to be the True Cross. The commemoration of this event takes place on the Sunday closest to October 26, and can vary from October 23 to 29.

The cross is a great source of pride for Armenians and they have created beautiful works of art using the cross. What once was a means of punishment and death became a symbol of salvation and victory.

“After the marvelous vision which the empress had, she began to search in Jerusalem for the precious wood of the cross on which the Messiah had been crucified. At her awesome command the Jews assembled and pointed out to her the precious wood of the cross which the Creator of creatures had ascended. The discovery of the holy cross in the holy place was accompanied by the spread of fragrance and the universe was filled with great gifts.”

(From the Canon for the Discovery of the Holy Cross, according to the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)


The Siamanto Academy started successfully in September, and will have its next meeting on Saturday, October 15. Students interested may still enroll by contacting the ANEC office to request an application: anec@armenianprelacy.org.

ANEC has just launched the “Siamanto Series,” which are strategically produced videos covering the topics presented during the Academy sessions. Although the presentations are in Armenian (as the classes of Siamanto are), the Power Point slides have been prepared in English. 

Click the picture below to watch Lecture 1 of the Siamanto Series

Or Select A Link to Each Lecture here:

Sunday School children from St. Gregory Church of Granite City, Illinois, enjoy a day of fun at the Relleke Pumpkin Patch.


St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School in Watertown, Massachusetts, welcomed teen guest author, Varak Kaloustian, who came to Boston from California with his father Aram. Varak spoke to upper elementary students about his book, The Legend of V: The Solar System’s Prophecies that he published last year, at the age of fifteen. The story is about the author and a group of characters taking a supernatural journey through archeology and science-fiction mysteries.

Varak’s presentation captivated the students who had so many questions about how he became an author, where he got his inspiration and the steps involved in the writing process. His presentation even inspired some students to start thinking about becoming authors themselves. Varak’s book is available on Amazon and is part of the required summer reading list in his alma mater Laurel Hall Middle School in Los Angeles.

Founded in 1984, the St. Stephen‘s Armenian Elementary School has distinguished itself with its bilingual curriculum, academic strength, devoted staff and low student-to-teacher ratio. The School is fully accredited by the Association of Independent Schools in New England.

Teen author Varak Kaloustian speaking to upper elementary students at St. Stephen’s Elementary School in Watertown, Massachusetts.


The opening ceremony of Hamazkayin Eastern Region’s “Merry-Go-Round” Early Education Center in Teaneck, New Jersey, took place under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, in the presence of the pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, and pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian, guests, staff members, founders of the Early Education Center, donors and representatives of Armenian organizations. Honored guests included the ARF Central Committee representative Hovsep Avakian, ARS of Eastern USA Board members Talin Daghlian, Sandra Vartanian, Sonia Bezdikian, and representative of the HMEM Regional Executive. Also attending were actor-director Vahik Pirhamzei and actor, artist, and author Vahe Berberian.

Opening remarks were delivered by Arevig Caprielian, chairperson of the Hamazkayin Eastern Regional Executive, followed by remarks by Hovsep Avakian, Dr. Dikran Kazandjian, Hrair Baronian, and Hani Khoury. The official ribbon cutting was by Hrair Baronian and Arevig Caprielian. In his remarks, Archbishop Oshagan praised Hamazkayin’s great role in the community and wished success to this and its future projects.

Opening of Hamazkayin’s “Merry-Go-Round” Early Education Center in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Death of Patriarch Nerses Varjabedian (October 26, 1884)

The Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople went through turbulent times in the mid-nineteenth century, when there were heated disputes over the democratization of the Armenian society and the Church. The name of Patriarch Nerses Varjabedian emerged in the 1870s-1880s as a guiding light. 

The future ecclesiastic was born Boghos Varjabedian in the district of Haskeuy (Constantinople) on January 28, 1837. He studied at the Nersessian School, in his neighborhood. At the age of fifteen he lost his father and became, as the eldest son, the main support of the family.   

He was sixteen in 1853, when he returned to his alma mater as a teacher. He moved to Adrianople (now Edirne) two years later. The local prelate, Bishop Aristakes Raphaelian, took the young teacher under his wings and in 1858 ordained him as a celibate priest (vartabed) with the name Nerses. 

A year later, he returned to Haskeuy as pastor, becoming the standard bearer of a spiritual and intellectual renaissance in his birthplace. In 1861, on recommendation from the Patriarchate, he was sent as a preacher first to Romania and then to Transylvania (presently in Hungary). He was ordained a bishop in 1862. He participated actively in the struggle that led to the adoption of the National Constitution (Ազգային Սահմանադրութիւն/Azkayin Sahmanatrootyoon) in 1860 and the approval of its modified version by Sultan Abdul Aziz in 1863.  In 1866 he participated in the election of Catholicos of All Armenians Gevorg IV in Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1862 he was elected prelate of Nicomedia (Ismid). Two years later, he published his first book, The Holy Church of Christ and Her Opponents

Patriarch Megerdich Khrimian (Khrimian Hayrig) resigned his position after a five-year tenure (1869-1874). Despite his youth (he was thirty-seven at the time), Bishop Nerses Varjabedian, enjoyed general respect and authority, and was elected Patriarch on April 26, 1874. 

In 1875 he published his second book, Teaching of the Concordance of the Gospel of Our Lord. The latter was a combination of the four Gospels, with explanations and reflections in both Classical and Modern Armenian. It was used for a long time as a school textbook.  

During his ten-year tenure, the Religious Council normalized its activities and established a minimum age to confer religious degrees. Patriarch Nerses participated in the activities of the Armenian United Society, an educational organization that worked towards the education of Armenians in the interior of Turkey. In the 1880s he would be the driving force behind the foundation of the Getronagan School in Constantinople (founded after his death, in 1886). 

After the victory of Russia in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878 and the favorable conditions created for the Armenian Question, the Patriarch presented a petition to Czar Alexander II, asking him to protect the Western Armenians. 

He worked together with the National Council of Constantinople to enter article 16 in the Treaty of San Stefano, which established the need of reforms for the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire under the guarantee of Russian occupation, as well as the cession of Western Armenian territories to Russia. He also organized and sent an Armenian delegation led by Khrimian to the Congress of Berlin. In 1879 he unsuccessfully addressed the European representatives to carry out reforms in Armenia and the British ambassador to have the Ottoman Empire comply with article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin. His memoranda to the Sublime Porte (the name of the Ottoman court) also remained unanswered. 

In 1884 Varjabedian was elected Catholicos of All Armenians, but he resigned due to his poor health. He died on October 26, 1884, in Constantinople, at the age of 47, victim of diabetes.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org).


The crisis in Syria requires our financial assistance.
Please keep this community in your prayers, your hearts, and your pocketbooks.






Armenian Prelacy
138 E. 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Armenian Apostolic Church of America
(Memo: Syrian Armenian Relief)

Thank you for your help.


Classical Armenian Bible: The Zohrab Bible

Edited by Dr. H. Zohrabian 

This is the recently published “Classical Armenian Bible: The Zohrab Bible,” the Old and New Testaments “according to the accurate translation of our ancestors from the most reliable Greek text into the Armenian language.”  The original edition prepared by Dr. Hovhan Zohrabian was published by the Mekhitarist Congregation in 1805. This newly published edition is taken from the best manuscript, with a comparison of various exemplars, and with important annotations to the text. 


$50.00 (including shipping & handling)

(Regular price is $55.00 PLUS shipping & handling) 

To order contact the Prelacy Bookstore by email (books@armenianprelacy.org) or telephone (212-689-7810).


In last week’s Crossroads we had an incorrect last name for Tamar Kanarian. We immediately sent out a corrected Crossroads. This week we are especially pleased that this week’s podcast with Fr. Nareg includes an interview with Tamar. Click on the image above to take a listen.

This week’s podcast includes:
  • Voice of the Youth with Tamar Kanarian
  • Alpha Course with Veh and Der Nareg
  • Hymn of the Day
  • And much more.
SIAMANTO ACADEMY —Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: anec@armenianprelacy.org or 212-689-7810. NEW TERM BEGINS SEPTEMBER 10.

October 22Celebration of 40th anniversary of the Hovnanian School at Rockleigh Country Club, 26 Paris Avenue, Rockleigh, New Jersey. Entertainment by Elie Berberian and Ensemble, featuring Steve Vosbikian and Raffi Massoyan. Honoree: Mr.  Aso O. Tavitian.

October 22SOLD OUT! Armenian Friends of America presents Hye Kef 5, a 5-hour dance, 7 pm to midnight with buffet; Andover Windham, 123 Old River Road, featuring musicians Onnik and Ara Dinkjian, Johnny Berberian, Mal Barsamian, Jason Naroian and Paul Mooradian, with proceeds benefiting area Armenian churches. Advance tickets before September 1, $55, call either John Arzigian (603) 560-3826; Sharke Der Apkarian, (978) 808-0598; Lucy Sirmaian, (978) 683-9121, or Peter Gulezian, (978) 375-1616.SOLD OUT!

October 23 —Opening reception of joint photograph exhibit titled, “East Meets West,” compiled by Tom Vartabedian and Sona (Dulgarian) Gevorkian, featuring eclectic pictures of Armenia and Artsakh, 2-5 pm, at Armenian Museum of America (AMA), 65 Main Street, Watertown, Massachusetts, co-sponsored by Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives. Exhibit will be displayed through November.

October 29—Church fair hosted by St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts, 11 am to 7 pm. White elephant table, Armenian gifts, country store, take out and dine in meals and pastries, soujouk orders for holidays, and Wheel of Fortune.

October 30—Ladies Guild of St. Gregory Church, Granite City, Illinois, Chili Cook-off and Trunk or Treat, open to all the community children.

November 2—Avak luncheon, noon, sponsored by St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, 158 Min Street, North Andover, Massachusetts. Speaker, 3-time Boston Globe Pulitzer Prize winning writer Stephen Kurkjian, discussing his book, “Master Thieves,” about the Steward Gardner Museum art heist.

November 4 & 5St. Stephen's Church (Watertown, MA) 60th Annual Church Bazaar will take place Friday-Saturday, November 4-5 at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (47 Nichols Ave, Watertown). Come by with family and friends for delicious chicken, beef, and losh kebab, kufteh and kheyma dinners, mouth watering pastries, and specialty gourmet items.  We'll showcase our hand made arts and crafts, the treasure-finding White Elephant table, and ever popular silent and live auction items. This is an annual event not to miss. Come reconnect with parishioners, friends and support the future of our Church. Visit our website for information on menus, pastry and gourmet items, gift shoppe, and live and silent auction items! www.soorpstepanos.org

November 4, 5, 6 —Annual Bazaar and Food Festival of Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey. Live entertainment Friday and Saturday; children’s activities; vendors; homemade Manti, Kufte, Sou Buereg, Choreg, and more. Traditional Khavourma dinner on Sunday. Extensive Messe and dessert menu for your Thanksgiving table available for take-out.

November 12 and 13 —Armenian Fest 2016, Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church, Providence, Rhode Island, presents Armenian Food Festival at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, Broad Street, Cranston, Rhode Island. Chicken, losh, and shish kebab and kufta dinners. Armenian delicacies, dancing to live music, arts and crafts, flea market, gift baskets, children’s corner, country store, jewelry, hourly raffles. Armenian Dance Group will perform on Saturday and Sunday at 5 pm. Armenian food and pastry available all day. Saturday, noon to 9 pm; Sunday, noon to 8 pm. For information: www.armenianfestri.com or church office, (401) 831-6399.

November 19—Annual Armenian Dance at St. Gregory Church Community Center, Granite City, Illinois, organized by AYF “Antranig” Chapter.

November 20—91st Anniversary Celebration of St. Stephen’s Church, Hartford-New Britain, Connecticut. Banquet will follow church service at Case Mia at The Hawthorne, 2421 Berlin Turnpike, Berlin, Connecticut. His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and preside over the banquet. $45 per person; $20 under twelve.

December 18—Armenian Cultural Concert at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Granite City, Illinois.

The Armenian Prelacy 
Tel: 212-689-7810 ♦ Fax: 212-689-7168 ♦ Email: email@armenianprelacy.org