October 6. 2016

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, will arrive in the New York metropolitan area on Saturday. His Holiness has completed his visit to Los Angeles and is currently in Montreal. Both regions honored the Pontiff on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his election and consecration.

On Sunday, the Eastern Prelacy will celebrate His Holiness’s anniversary with a Pontifical Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, followed by an Anniversary Program and Banquet at the Marriott at Glenpointe in Teaneck, New Jersey. The complete list of events follows:
Sunday, October 9, 2016

10:00 am
Pontifical Divine Liturgy
Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church
461 Bergen Boulevard
Ridgefield, New Jersey 07657

1:30 pm
Cocktail Reception
Marriott at Glenpointe
100 Frank W. Burr Boulevard
Teaneck, New Jersey 07666

3:00 pm
20th Anniversary Program
Grand Ballroom

4:30 pm
Celebratory Dinner
Grand Ballroom

For further information contact the Prelacy office:


On Monday morning, October 3, Archbishop Oshagan and Bishop Anoushavan welcomed Garo Paylan to the Prelacy office in New York City where a number of community leaders had gathered to join the welcome. Mr. Paylan is a founding member of Peoples’ Democratic Party of Turkey (HDP) and is a deputy representing the 3rd district in Istanbul. He is also a member of Turkey’s Armenian community and has long been an activist on human rights, and Kurdish and Armenian issues. Mr. Paylan is from a family originally from Malatya, and is one of three Armenian deputies in the Turkish parliament.

For nearly two hours, Mr. Paylan answered questions and offered his thoughts on a number of issues and answered questions with candor and detail. Archbishop Oshagan expressed the thanks for his presence and service and assured him of the Prelacy’s support.

Archbishop Oshagan with Garo Paylan and guests at the Prelacy.
Archbishop Oshagan with Garo Paylan at the Prelacy.

Last Sunday, October 2, Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian was honored at a retirement dinner with more than 600 people attending. Earlier, Der Gomidas celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, with the Prelate Archbishop Oshagan presiding. The banquet took place at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, Rhode Island, where over 600 people paid a moving and heartfelt tribute to the many faithful years Der Gomidas served as Pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church, and before that at St. Gregory Church in North Andover, Massachusetts. To read more about this tribute click here.
Archbishop Oshagan and Bishop Anoushavan with all of the clergy attending the retirement tribute for Der Gomidas.
Der Gomidas celebrating the Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Church.
Der Gomidas and Yn. Joanna with their family.

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 Here Or the picture below to watch the Siamanto Series

Armenian American community members from New York, including Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, Armenian National Committee of New York Chairman Naz Markarian and Neiri Amirian, member of ARF Armen Garo Gomideh, met with U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY 14th District) on Tuesday, October 4, in his office in Queens.

During the meeting, a broad range of community concerns were discussed, including strengthening U.S. Armenia relations, maintaining peace and stability in Nagorno-Karabakh and the plight of Christian communities in Aleppo, Syria, and throughout the Middle East. The meeting was part of an extended series of over 50 outreach meetings held as part of the Armenian National Committee Eastern Region’s District Advocacy Campaign.

From left to right: Der Mesrob, Congressman Crowley, Neiri Amirian, and Naz Markarian, Esq.

Bible readings for Sunday, October 9, Fifth Sunday of the Exaltation are, Isaiah 19:1-11; Galatians 2:1-10; Mark 12:35-44.

While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’ 

David himself calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?” And the large crowd was listening to him with delight. 

As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” 

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”  (Mark 12:35-44)


Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up in response to a revelation. Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running, or had not run, in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. But because of false believers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us—we did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you. And from those who were supposed to be acknowledged leaders (what they actually were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those leaders contributed nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter making him an apostle to the circumcised also worked through me in sending  me to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do. (Galatians 2:1-10)

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

This Saturday, October 8, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Holy Translators, one of the most beloved feasts. There are, in fact, two such commemorations in our liturgical calendar. One is on the Thursday following the fourth Sunday after Pentecost, which can occur in June or July; the other is on the second Saturday of October. 

The October commemoration focuses on the creation of the Armenian alphabet (406) and on the accomplishments of the Holy Translators. Mesrob Mashdots, the founder of the alphabet, and Catholicos Sahag, together with some of their students, translated the Bible. Schools were opened and the works of world-renowned scholars were translated. Their work gave the Armenian Church a distinct national identity.
In modern times the entire month of October has been designated as a “Month of Culture.” Armenians throughout the Diaspora and Armenia mark this with cultural events not only in remembrance of the past, but in celebration of modern-day scholars, theologians, writers, and translators. 

Specifically remembered this Saturday along with Mesrob and Sahag, are: Yeghishe, a renowned student of Sahag and Mesrob, who served as secretary to Vartan Mamigonian and who wrote the great history of the Vartanantz wars; Movses of Khoren, another student of Sahag and Mesrob, who is revered as the father of Armenian history; David the Invincible, a student of Movses, who received most of his education in Athens, where he was given the title “Invincible” because of his brilliance in philosophy; Gregory of Narek, who is considered the greatest poet of the Armenian nation and its first and greatest mystic; and Nerses Shnorhali, a great writer, musician, theologian, and ecumenist.

With the creation of the Armenian alphabet and the translations that followed, this group of scholars transformed the course of Armenian history forever. It is an affirmation of the popular aphorism, “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword.”

The holy translators, like stewards, were interpreters of the divine Scriptures by inventing letters by means of which are preserved on earth as living words for the shepherd flock of the New Israel, praise God with a sweet sounding hymn. They looked on the greatness of earthly glory as on darkness and having put their hope in the immortal bridegroom they were made worthy of the kingdom of heaven; praise God with a sweet-sounding song. By the power of the Father’s wisdom the uncreated existing One by means of their translation they made firm the throne of Saint Gregory, praise God with a sweet-sounding song. Saint Sahag having dressed in the new word, the holy scriptures, adorned the Armenian churches, praise God with a sweet-sounding song.
(Canon to the Holy Translators, from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Church)

“After translating the book of Proverbs, Mesrop and his students began the translation of the New Testament. Translating the bible into any language is an enormous amount of work. It is especially daunting given the absence of any Armenian literature prior to the Bible. Contrast this with the translation of the Bible into English. The most famous English translation is the King James Version, completed in 1611. The earliest English Bible was produced by John Wycliffe in 1382. But even before Wycliffe, there was a tradition of writing in English from which Wycliffe and subsequent translators could draw familiar expressions and phrases. The Armenian Bible, however, is the first work of Armenian literature. In translating the Bible, Sahak and Mesrop and their disciples did more than just a translation. They in essence created a new written language that would be a source and inspiration for all of the Armenian literature that would follow.”
(Light from Light: An Introduction to the History and Theology of the Armenian Church,” by Michael B. Papazian)

A Remembrance by Iris Papazian:
Paul Sagsoorian
March 26, 1923—October 2, 2016
Funeral services for Paul Sagsoorian, a commercial artist, whose work is familiar to the Armenian American community through his designs of posters, books, and advertisements, took place yesterday, Wednesday, October 5, with Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, officiating at interment services at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Flushing, New York.

Born in New York City, into an Armenian immigrant family from the town of Palu Havav, Paul graduated from several art schools, and during his service in World War II, he was trained at the US Army’s mapmaking school. After the war, Paul worked for various art studios, advertising agencies, and book publishers. His illustrations have appeared in Harpers Magazine, Executive Housekeeper, The New York Times, The New Yorker, among others. His clients also included big names like Doubleday, Knopf, Scribner’s, Time, RCA/Victor, Decca, and Newsweek. He did work for Armenian organizations including the Prelacy, Diocese, and the AGBU, where he was the art director of Ararat Magazine from 1978 until the magazine went online a few years ago. He generously shared his time, talent, and energy with all Armenian American organizations.

Every Monday, for as long as I can remember, Paul stopped by at the Prelacy office to chat and have a piece of dark chocolate before going on to the Diocese and the AGBU and then home to Yonkers. He walked everywhere, miles and miles, in heat, cold, rain, and snow, until a few years ago when he became a resident of the Armenian Home in Flushing, New York. He was a wealth of information about the early years of the Armenian American community and a fierce nationalist for Armenian rights, and I miss his weekly visits. A sister, Mary Sagsoorian Papazian, predeceased him. The only known survivors are a niece and two nephews in Rhode Island. Asdvatz Hokeen Lousavoreh.

Paul’s pad and pencil were always with him and he would momentarily jot down illustrations memorializing special occasions. Many of his illustrations appeared in the Prelacy’s monthly publication, Outreach. This illustration was in the February 1989 issue depicting the visit of His Holiness Vazken I of Etchmiadzin and His Holiness Karekin II of Cilicia, to St. Illuminator’s Cathedral on February 11, 1989, following the December 1988 earthquake in Armenia. Paul captured the historic occasion in minutes and named it “Miracle on 27th Street.

Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Birth of Fridtjof Nansen (October 10, 1861)
 Fridtjof Nansen
Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian scientist and explorer, who later took up the cause of humanitarianism and had a crucial impact on Armenians in the 1920s.

He was born on October 10, 1861 near Norway’s capital Christiania (nowadays Oslo). His mother died in 1877, and his father moved to the capital with his two sons. 

In 1881 Nansen entered the Royal Frederick University of the capital to study zoology. After a five-month sea voyage to study Arctic zoology in 1882, he did not resume formal studies, but accepted a post as curator in the zoological department of the Bergen Museum. In 1888 he defended his dissertation on the central nervous system of certain lower vertebrates.  In 1889 he accepted the position of curator of the university’s zoology collection and got married to Eva Sars, the daughter of a late zoology professor. They had five children. His wife died in 1907 and Nansen remarried in 1919. 

His scientific interests led him to famous expeditions, such as one across the Greenland icecap in 1888 and another to reach the Northern Pole in 1894-1896 (he got closer than anyone else at the time) with the ship Fram. During the twenty years following his return, Nansen devoted most of his energies to scientific work. He accepted a professorship in zoology at the university (1897) and in 1900 became director of the Christiania-based International Laboratory for North Sea Research.

He was involved in the process that led to the separation of Norway from Sweden in 1905 and appointed Norway’s first minister in London (1906-1908). He retired from the diplomatic service in 1908, and at the same time his university professorship was changed from zoology to oceanography. Between 1910 and 1914 Nansen participated in several oceanographic voyages. 

After the creation of the League of Nations following the end of World War I, he became president of the Norwegian League of Nations Society. His advocacy helped ensure Norway’s full membership of the League in 1920 and he became one of its three delegates to the League's General Assembly.

At the League’s request, Nansen organized the repatriation of around half a million prisoners of war, stranded in various parts of the world between 1920 and 1922. In September 1921 he accepted the post of High Commissioner for Refugees. His main task was the resettlement of around two million refugees displaced by the upheavals of the Russian Revolution, and the urgent problem of famine in Russia. The lack of documentary proof of identity or nationality for many refugees prompted him to devise the Nansen Passport, a form of identity for stateless persons that allowed refugees to cross borders legally. He devised the scheme of population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1922-1923. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 1922. 

From 1925 onwards, Nansen spent much time trying to help Armenian refugees who were survivors of the genocide. His goal was the establishment of a national home for them within the borders of Soviet Armenia. His main assistant in this task was Vidkun Quisling, the future Nazi collaborator and head of a Norwegian puppet government during World War II. After visiting the region, Nansen presented the Assembly with a modest plan for the irrigation of 36,000 hectares (139 square miles), where 15,000 refugees could be settled. The plan ultimately failed, because the money to finance the scheme was not forthcoming. After his visit to Armenia, Nansen wrote the book Gjennem Armenia (“Across Armenia”), published in 1927, and translated into English in 1928 as Armenia and the Near East (1923).

In 1926 Nansen was elected Rector of the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, the first foreigner to hold this largely honorary position. He died of a heart attack on May 13, 1930, and was buried at his home in Christiania.

Immediately after his death the League of Nations set up the Nansen International Office for Refugees to continue his work. The Nansen Office secured the agreement of 14 countries to the Refugee Convention of 1933. It also helped to repatriate 10,000 Armenians to Armenia and to find homes for a further 40,000 in Syria and Lebanon. The Office was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1938. In 1954 the League's successor body, the United Nations, established the Nansen Medal, now called the Nansen Refugee Award, which the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees annually bestows upon an individual, group, or organization “for outstanding work on behalf of the forcibly displaced.” In 1968 Soviet Armenian filmmaker Sergei Mikaelyan directed a film on Nansen’s life, Bare et liv – Historien om Fridtjof Nansen. A street in Yerevan bears the name of the great Norwegian explorer and humanist.

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

Nansen eats soup with orphans in Leninakan (nowadays Gyumri) during his visit to Armenia in 1925

Nansen Passport of French Armenian writer Arshag Tchobanian

By Fridtjof Nansen
With an Introduction by Catholicos Aram I

This memoir by Fridtjof Nansen was published in 1928 in Norwegian, French, and English. This English edition was reprinted by the Holy See of Cilicia in 2011 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Nansen’s birth. Armenia and the Near East depicts Nansen’s journey to the Near East and especially to Armenia with insightful impressions and eyewitness accounts.
Hard cover, 324 pages, $20.00 plus shipping & handling

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


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.


The Hovnanian School in New Milford, New Jersey, will mark its 40th Anniversary with a Gala on Saturday, October 22 at the Rockleigh Country Club in Rockleigh, New Jersey. The evening will honor the original founding members and acknowledge the five-years of dedicated service by the Board’s current chairman, Dr. Gregory Simonian. The guest of honor is Mr. Aso Tavitian, a native of Sofia, Bulgaria. The former CEO of Syncsort and founder of the Tavitian Foundation has a lifelong history of philanthropy in education and fine and performing arts. To learn more about this exciting event click here.

His Holiness Catholicos Aram has written more than thirty books, many of which are still in print and available. With the 20th anniversary celebration of the consecration and enthronement of His Holiness set for this Sunday, the Bookstore suggests the following titles by His Holiness.

Taking the Church to the People, $20.00 plus shipping & handlin g.

Concilliar Fellowship: A Common Goal, $8.00 plus shipping & handling.

Issues and Perspectives, $25.00 plus shipping & handling.

St. Nerses the Gracious and Church Unity, $15.00 plus shipping & handling.

Orthodox Perspectives on Mission, $15.00 plus shipping & handling.

In Search of Ecumenical Vision, $20.00 plus shipping & handling.

Dzarayoutyan Medsoutiune,  $7.00 plus shipping & handling.

Gyanke Arjeknerov Imasdavorel, $12.00 plus shipping & handling


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

This Week Featuring:
The Holy Translators
Interview with Deekron Krikorian, founder of Motion TRAXX
And 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 6 —Avak Luncheon, noon, Jaffarian Hall, St. Gregory Church, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts; speaker, Ani Babaian, “Armenian Churches in Iran,” with slide show and commentaries.

October 6 Shadoyan Fashion Show “Exclusive Collection” of Evening Gowns and “Reincarnation” Armenian National Costumes. Cocktails at 6:30 pm; fashion show at 8 pm; dinner to follow. Sponsored by ARS Eastern USA. Seasons Catering, 644 Pascack Road, Township of Washington, NJ. Donation: $100 (receives a raffle ticket). For inform ation/reservations: Diana, 201-790-0397 or www.eventbrite.com enter Shadoyan.

October 9 Eastern Prelacy celebrates the 20th anniversary of election and consecration of His Holiness Aram I. Pontifical Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey, with participation of regional parishes. Special cultural program prepared specifically for this occasion at the Marriott at Glenpointe, Teaneck, New Jersey, followed with a banquet and anniversary celebration. This event will be the singular celebration honoring His Holiness within the Eastern Prelacy.

October 9 —Anniversary Dinner & Program of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Granite City, Illinois, hosted by the Ladies Guild.

October 14 —Concert by classical pianist Karine Poghosyan, sponsored by St. Hagop Church Cultural Committee, 7 pm, at the Siena Center, 5635 Erie Street, Racine, Wisconsin, in an All-Khatchaturian concert. Freewill donation will be accepted. Public is invited. For information: Shirley Saryan at SASaryan@aol.com or 414-282-1919.

October 15 —St. Gregory Church, 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, 11 am to 6 pm. Delicious homemade Armenian food and pastries; shish kebab and chicken kebab dinners; also available lahmajun and vegetarian plate. Raffles. Take-out available. Free admission and free parking. For information: 413-543-4763.

October 15—Annual Golf Outing, St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Granite City, Illinois.

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 22—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.

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.

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.

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