October 27, 2016


Archbishop Oshagan will travel to Whitinsville, Massachusetts, where on Sunday, October 30 he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Asdvadzadzin Church. His Eminence will ordain sub-deacon Raffi Samkiranian to the rank of deacon during the service. Following the service His Eminence will preside over the parish’s 59th anniversary banquet at Pleasant Valley Country Club.


Bishop Anoushavan will preside over the Divine Liturgy at Soorp Khatch Church in Bethesda, Maryland, this Sunday, October 30. His Grace will deliver the sermon.


St. Sarkis Church, Dearborn, Michigan, celebrated its 54th anniversary last Sunday with the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, who celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon. Following the service, the anniversary celebration began with a wine tasting under the theme, “Let’s Toast Together,” along with a great variety of mezze selections. Tamar Changelian was the MC and Yervant Bedikian, chairman of the Board, welcomed everyone and offered a celebratory toast.

Rev. Fr. Hrant Kevorkian, pastor, addressed the gathering stressing the importance of the community noting that “the harmony we have is the secret of the success of our church and community.” A musical performance by the  a cappella trio known as Zulal presented a beautiful collection of Armenian folk songs. The celebration came to an end with remarks offered by Archbishop Oshagan, who congratulated the St. Sarkis Church on its anniversary and prayed for the success and prosperity of the parish. His Eminence praised the singing style of the Zulal trio, who he said, “Take folk songs and present them in a modern way.”

Archbishop Oshagan with Rev. Fr. Hrant and deacons, acolytes, and choir members.

A scene from the wine tasting and mezze.

Zulal trio entertaining the gathering.

A scene from the program portion of the celebration.


Last Sunday Bishop Anoushavan ordained six new acolytes during his visit to the Holy Cross Church of Troy, New York. The following report was written by Very Rev. Fr. Zareh Sarkissian, Visiting Pastor to the Holy Cross parish:

“It gave the community of Holy Cross Church great pleasure to witness the ordination of six of their sons and daughters, namely Rosila Eleyjian, Lilly Karageozian, Saro Karageozian, Garo Minasian, Avo Eleyjian, and Yervant Bardakjian. These dedicated boys and girls were ordained as acolytes on Sunday, October 23. His Grace Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General of the Prelacy, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and the ordination service that was followed by a luncheon in honor of the Vicar and the new acolytes. This event was of double importance for the Holy Cross community because they joyfully witnessed the children of this parish fulfill their dreams of joining the altar servers, and had the opportunity to witness the ancient faith of the Armenian Apostolic Church continue its two thousand year path into the future in the persons of six of our church servers and future community leaders. We also celebrated the 58th anniversary of the establishment of the Holy Cross Church of Troy, and we welcomed the Vicar General to our church. There is nothing more natural and necessary for children than to receive the love of their parents. So the community, as spiritual children, was overjoyed at the opportunity to receive the love and support of one of their spiritual fathers, and to reciprocate with love and support.”

A letter of blessing and congratulations by Archbishop Oshagan was read to the congregation. In his message the Prelate said, “Our forefathers transmitted their unshakeable faith to their children and grandchildren, who now enjoy their spiritual and intellectual legacy at Holy Cross Church, remaining faithful to our Lord and to the faith of our Holy Fathers and to the precious treasures of our national culture. On this joyful occasion I congratulate all of you and extend gratitude to your pastor, the Board of Trustees, all auxiliary organizations, and loyal and faithful parishioners. May the Almighty spread his protection over the Holy Cross community, endow its leaders with wisdom and grace, and always keep our house of faith bright and invincible.”

Bishop Anoushavan and Very Rev. Fr. Zareh with the six new altar servers after their ordination.

The community members gather around the clergymen.

A scene during the ordination service.


On Sunday, October 23, Archpriest Fr. Aram celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Soorp Khatch Church in Bethesda, Maryland. Der Aram and Yn. Margaret are seen here with Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian, pastor of Soorp Khatch, together with deacons and choir members.


Dr. Vazken Ghougassian, Executive Director of the Eastern Prelacy, returned from his two week annual visit to Armenia where he conferred with the staff of the Prelacy’s office, The Saint Nerses the Great Charitable Organization that was established in 1993 by the then Prelate, Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian of blessed memory. During his stay in Armenia Dr. Ghougassian had a series of meetings with the staff to evaluate the work of the past year and to anticipate the coming year’s activities. 

During his visit, the retirement of the Director of the St. Nerses the Great Organization, Mr. Sergei Harutunyan, was announced as was the promotion of the current Deputy Director to Director, Mr.  Tigran Galstyan. Both men have held their respective positions since 1993 when the Fund was established.  

On Friday, October 21, the staff, family, and friends gathered for a retirement dinner in honor of Mr. Harutunyan. On behalf of Archbishop Oshagan and the Executive Council, the Executive Director commended the dedicated service given by Mr. Harutunyan for the past 23 years, and presented him with a Certificate of Blessing and Appreciation and an engraved display cross on behalf of the Prelacy. At the same time, Mr. Galsyan was presented with the letter from the Prelate promoting him to the position of Director of the Saint Nerses the Great Charitable Organization. 

Vazken Ghougassian, Executive Director of the Prelacy (left), and Sergei Harutunyan, the Deputy Director of the St. Nerses the Great Charitable Organization who retired after serving 23 years.
Vazken Ghougassian and Sergei Harutunyan with the new Deputy Director Tikran Galstyan.

Bible readings for Sunday, October 30, Eighth Sunday of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, are: Isaiah 22:15-25; Ephesians 1:1-14; Luke 8:17-21.

For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light. Take heed then how you hear; for to him  who has will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.

Then his mother and his brethren came to him, but they could not reach him for the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brethren are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But he said to them, “My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:17-21)


Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful to Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

B lessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:1-14)

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


On Saturday, October 29, the Armenian Church remembers St. John Chrysostom (Hovhan Voskeperan), a notable Christian bishop and preacher in Syria and Constantinople. He is famous for his eloquence—Chrysostom means “golden mouth.” The Orthodox Church honors him as a saint and one of the “three holy hierarchs” (along with Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian). He is also recognized and honored by the Catholic Church and the Church of England.

John converted to Christianity in 368 when he was barely 21 years old. He renounced a large inheritance and promising legal career and went to live in a mountain cave where he studied the Bible. He was later ordained a priest and soon his sermons were attracting huge audiences. He challenged wealthy Christians, whose generosity was confined to donating precious objects for display in churches. “The gift of a chalice may be extravagant in its generosity,” he said, “but a gift to the poor is an expression of love.”

His outspoken criticism was not appreciated by the hierarchy and he was sent into exile at various times. He had a profound influence on the doctrines and theology of the Armenian Church because he spent the final years of his exile in Armenia. Some of his important works have survived only in Armenian manuscripts.

Muse of the deep and ineffable Divine Mysteries.

Wise Prefect and Great Doctor of the world,

Like the rock of the Church, you were faithful to the key to heaven.

From the beloved disciple, you received the gospel.

From the Holy Virgin Birth-giver you received your symbol of authority.

O Patriarch John, by the grace of the Holy Spirit you received wisdom.

(An Armenian Church ode dedicated to St. John Chrysostom)


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:

Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Death of Hetum I (October 28, 1270)

Hetum I was the founder of the Hetumian dynasty (1226-1342), the second in the history of the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia. He excelled as a seasoned diplomat who achieved crucial results both in internal and foreign policy.

Hetum was born in 1215, the son of Prince Constantine of Baberon, who had a leading position among the Armenian princes of Cilicia and became regent in 1219, shortly after the death of King Levon I, due to the minority of his daughter Zabel (1216-1252), who was three-years-old. In order to end the rivalry between Cilicia and the principality of Antioch (Syria), Constantine arranged for the marriage of Zabel to Philip, a son of Bohemond IV of Antioch, in 1222. However, Philip’s disdain for Armenian ritual and his favoritism for Latin noblemen alienated the Armenian nobility. After a revolt headed by Constantine in late 1224, Philip was imprisoned and deprived of the throne with the agreement of the council of Armenian princes. He died in prison.

Constantine moved forward and, despite the opposition of ten-year-old Zabel, he married her to his son Hetum, who was proclaimed king on June 14, 1226. In this way, the two most powerful families of Cilicia, the Rubinians (the royal dynasty) and the princes of Lambron, established an alliance.

Hetum I ascended to the throne in a difficult international conjuncture. He confronted Antioch on one hand, where he established a protectorate of sorts after the death of Bohemond IV. On the other hand, he had to face the power of the Sultanate of Rum, ruled by a Seljuq Turkish dynasty, but was able to come to terms with it. Over the years, Hetum I was able to overcome the internal dissensions and offer a united front to external pressure. At the same time, he centralized the monarchy and strengthened the army, while economic life and culture flourished.

In the 1240s a new and dangerous player appeared in the international scene, the Mongols. After occupying Persia and Armenia, the Mongols entered the Middle East and reached the borders of Cilicia by 1243. Instead of confrontation, Hetum chose to sign a treaty of peace and mutual cooperation with the Mongols. He first sent his brother, the Constable Smpad, in a diplomatic mission to Karakorum, the capital of the Mongol Empire, in 1248. Afterwards, the king himself made the hard and long journey to Central Asia and visited Karakorum in 1254, signing a new treaty of alliance with emperor Mangu Khan. This treaty established, among other conditions, friendship between Christians and Mongols, who were still pagan at the time; tax exemption for the Armenian Church; the liberation of Jerusalem; the destruction of the caliphate of Baghdad; assistance to Cilicia by all Mongol commanders; devolution to Cilicia of Armenian territories occupied by the Muslims.

This diplomatic success, at a time when the Mongols were confronted by all forces from China to Eastern Europe, strengthened the position of Cilicia. Thanks to the Armeno-Mongol alliance, between 1256-1259 Hetum I was able to stop the attacks of the emirate of Aleppo and the invasions of the Sultanates of Rum and Egypt. He also liberated several cities, like Marash and Aintab, and annexed the southern portion of Cappadocia, as well as part of northern Syria to his kingdom.

The Sultanate of Egypt took advantage of the divisions among the Mongols and invaded Cilicia in 1266, taking Hetum’s son and heir apparent Levon as prisoner. The invasion devastated some parts of the country. In June 1268 Hetum signed peace with Egypt by the cession of several border fortresses and was able to free his son. A year later, he resigned and Levon II was crowned king. Hetum retired to the monastery of Akner, where he became a monk with the name of Magar, and passed away on October 28, 1270.

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.
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Armenian Prelacy
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Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)

Do Not Invent Words That Do Not Exist

Life is far from having a straight course. There are curves, shortcuts, reversals. Looking from outside, they are irregularities and exceptions to what one may consider rules.

Language is part of life. Therefore, it also has irregularities and exception to the rule (the rules of language, indeed) all the way.

One of those irregularities is the verb to fall, as any English speaker knows. The present is fall, the past tense is fell, and the participle is fallen.

“To fall” is also irregular in Armenian. The verb is eehnal (իյնալ) in Armenian, but the past tense loses the յ and acquires a g (կ). Thus, we have Yes eenga (Ես ինկայ, I fell”) or Anonk eengan (Անոնք ինկան, “They fell”). Unlike English, the past participle remains in the same form: eengadz (ինկած, “fallen”).

A fake irregularity has been created in the colloquial language. For instance, in the case of the verb nusdeel (նստիլ, “to sit”), if we want to have someone sit down before the performance starts, we have to nusdetsenel that particular person (նստեցնել, “to make someone sit down”). It is a perfectly legitimate word, as it is in the case of the pairs vazel/vazetsunel (վազել/վազեցնել, “to run/to make run”), antsneel/antsunel (անցնիլ/անցընել, “to pass/to make pass”), and several others.

However, there is a false parity, which we find here and there in spoken language, particularly among Middle Eastern speakers of Armenian. It is the case of the ghost word eengatsunel (ինկացնել). For instance, you may hear someone who says:

Ան զիս ինկացուց/An zees eengatsoots/ “He(she) made me fall”

The verb eengatsunel, unlike vazetsunel or antsunel, does not exist in Armenian.

How do you properly say the abovementioned sentence?

If you want the short answer, you have Ան զիս տապալեց/An zees dabalets.

Too fancy? Then you have the long answer: Գետին ինկայ իր պատճառով/ Kedeen eenga eer badjarov / I fell to the floor by his(her) cause.”

However, the questions may remain: Why eengatsunel does not exist?

There is no “why.” Sometimes, language, like life, has its own reasons

Previous entries in “The Armenian Language Corner” are on the Prelacy’s web site (www.armenianprelacy.org).


Peter Balakian is one of thirteen Pulitzer Prize-winning poets who will share the stage tonight to read from their own prize-winning collections as well as select poems by past winners, at The Great Hall of The Cooper Union, New York City, as part of the Pulitzer Centennial Poetry Celebration. General admission: $15; Students/seniors: $10.

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 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 6 —Presentation of “My Prayer Book,” by Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian at St. Illuminator Cathedral’s Pashalian Hall at 1 pm. Presentation by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General of the Prelacy.

November 12—52nd Anniversary Celebration Banquet of Soorp Khatch Church, Bethesda, Maryland. His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan will preside over the banquet. On Sunday, November 13, His Eminence will celebrate the Divine Liturgy.

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.

November 20—Thanksgiving Luncheon at 1 pm at St. Illuminator Cathedral’s John Pashalian Hall, organized by St. Illuminator’s Ladies Guild. Admission: $30.00.

December 3—Children’s Christmas Concert with Maggie and Santa Clause. Organized by St. Illuminator’s Armenian Saturday School and Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church Nareg Saturday School, in large hall of Sts. Vartanantz Church, at 4 pm. Tickets: $25.00. For information and tickets: Silva: 201-779-6744; Sts. Vartanantz Church: 201-943-2950; St. Illuminator Cathedral: 212-689-5880.

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