October 7, 2017
We are greatly saddened by the horrific and senseless acts of violence that took place this week in Las Vegas. We join the nation in prayers for the souls of the 58 known dead and for the recovery of the more than 500 who were wounded.
Shakespeare’s observation that “Everyone can master a grief but he that has it,” is a truth for all time. No matter what we say, no matter how elegant our words, we cannot soften the pain felt by someone who lost a child, a parent, a sibling, or a friend in this latest incident of indiscriminate carnage. Yet we find solace in the words of the Prophet Isaiah who very simply tells us to “live right, speak the truth, reject violence,” and the words of the Psalmist who comforts us, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me.”
We pray to the Almighty to give strength to the bereaved and the survivors and their families during the difficult days ahead and to endow all Humanity with the strength and resolve to deter all such acts of evil.

The Religious and Executive Councils of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, were recently informed that His Holiness Aram I will be unable to attend the 50 th anniversary celebration marking the anniversary of Archbishop Oshagan’s ordination to the priesthood. His Holiness was expected to be in Washington later this month to attend the In Defense of Christians conference and was planning to extend his visit by several days in order to attend the 50 th anniversary celebration. Unfortunately, those plans have now changed and His Holiness will not be traveling to the United States this month.

Clergy from the three North American Prelacies (Eastern, Western, and Canadian) have been in Montreal this week attending a biennial joint clergy conference. The conference began on Monday and will conclude today. The theme of the conference primarily focused upon the 2017 theme of Renewal. The three Prelates, Archbishop Oshagan (Eastern U.S.), Archbishop Moushegh (Western U.S.), and Archbishop Papken (Canada) presided over the conference that featured prayer services, spiritual reflections, lectures, and discussions on issues of mutual concern. Two exceptional lectures were presented by Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, on “Pre- and Post- Marriage Counseling,” and Professor Karine Papazian-Zohrabian, University of Montreal, on “Death and Bereavement.”

A special Divine Liturgy attended by hundreds of the faithful was celebrated by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar of the Eastern Prelacy, on Tuesday evening. All of the clergy participated on the altar and in the choir.
Yesterday evening a special “Evening of Gratitude” took place dedicated to Archbishop Oshagan’s 50 th anniversary of ordination. Oshagan Srpazan’s classmate, Archbishop Varoujan Hergelian, spoke about Archbishop Oshagan’s years of service. The evening became a evening of many celebrations as it was also Archbishop Varoujan’s 50 th anniversary of ordination, as well the 20 th anniversary of his Episcopal Ordination. It was also the 20 th anniversary of the Episcopal Ordinations of Archbishop Khajag Hagopian and Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.

This Sunday, October 8, Archbishop Oshagan will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Philadelphia. A celebration of the parish’s 50 th anniversary at its current location will be marked with a gala sold-out luncheon in Founders Hall. The current St. Gregory Church located on Ridge Avenue was consecrated on May 21, 1967 by the Prelate His Eminence Archbishop Hrant Khatchadourian of blessed memory. The original St. Gregory Church at 16 th and Oxford Streets was consecrated on April 1, 1928.

Throughout his service to the Church, Archbishop Oshagan has been actively involved in the worldwide ecumenical movement. He has served in executive positions on the Middle East Council of Churches, has served as a delegate to the World Council of Churches Assemblies; represented the Catholicosate on various ecumenical dialogues for Christian unity. He is currently the President of the Christian and Arab Middle Eastern Churches Together (CAMECT); and actively supports the recently formed In Defense of Christians (IDC).
As a member of the religious advisory board of IDC, Archbishop Oshagan is encouraging Christian clergy and lay leaders to join him at the IDC 2017 Summit that will take place October 24-26 in Washington, DC. The theme of the Summit is “American Leadership and Securing a Future for Christians in the Middle East.” In a letter sent to clergy and lay leaders, Archbishop Oshagan said:
“I encourage you to attend this important gathering and join with people around the world in advocating for International Recognition of the Armenian Genocide; Security and Stability in Lebanon; Emergency Relief for Victims of Genocide in Iraq and Syria; Accountability for the Policies of American Allies in the Middle East; Increased efforts to identify and punish perpetrators of genocide in the ISIS genocide against minorities.”
His Eminence concludes his message noting that “these issues are vital and it is up to us to advocate for the U.S. government to stand with Middle Eastern Christians.”
To learn more about In Defense of Christians (IDC) and the 2017 Summit in Washington, DC go to www.indefenseofchristians

In anticipation of the 50 th anniversary of the ordination of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, that will officially be celebrated on Sunday, October 29, a group of young adults have organized “Cocktails for a Cause,” to benefit the Karen Jeppe Armenian College in Aleppo. The event will take place at StudioArte, 265 W. 37 th Street, New York City. His Eminence taught literature and religion for a number of years at the Karen Jeppe College and is pleased that proceeds from this event will help the college recover and resume its educational leadership role in the area.
Ordination to the priesthood in 1967 with His Grace Bishop Karekin Sarkissian officiating. Oshagan Srpazan is in center. Also ordained on the same day were Vahan Berberian and Varoujan Hergelian.
The Religious and Executive Councils of the Eastern Prelacy invite you to attend a Jubilee Celebration in honor of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, on the occasion of the 50 th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
His Eminence will celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 29, beginning at 10 am, at St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27 th Street, New York City. Following the Liturgy a reception and dinner will take place at The Lotte New York Palace, 455 Madison Avenue, New York City. The event is under the auspices of His Holiness Catholicos Aram, but as noted above His Holiness will not be present as previously announced.
Please note: The banquet is nearly sold-out, so if you have not made your reservations yet it is imperative that you do so immediately. 

Bible readings for Sunday, October 8, Fourth Sunday of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross are, Isaiah 17:7-14; 2 Corinthians 13:5-13; Mark 11:27-33.

And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you a question: answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? Answer me.” And they argued with one another, “If we say ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘From men’?”—they were afraid of the people, for all held that John was a real prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Mark 11:27-33)
This is the third time I am coming to you. “Any charge must be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” I warned those who sinned previously and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again, I will not be lenient—since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in m e. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you. For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have failed. But we pray to God that you may not do anything wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. This is what we pray for, that you may become perfect. So I write these things while I am away from you, so that when I come, I may not have to be severe in using the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.
Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. (2 Corinthians 13:5-13)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here .
Today, Thursday, October 5, the Armenian Church commemorates Prince Sahak and Hamazasb, brothers who challenged the Arab rule in Armenia. When they were captured, they were given the choice of renouncing their Christian religion or death. They refused to convert and were martyred.

This Saturday, October 7, the Armenian Church commemorates the 72 Holy Disciples of Christ. The reference comes from the Gospel of Luke (Chapter 10, Verse 1): “After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.” (Note: Some sources say 72 disciples; others say 70). These disciples remained true to the Lord and their calling, and spread the Lord’s message. They were not random choices, but rather true disciples whose labors carried the message of the Lord throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. All of the saints are remembered individually in the liturgical calendar of the church, but this day is set aside to remember them collectively.
This Monday, October 9, the Armenian Church remembers Saint Irenaeus, an early Church Father, martyr and bishop of Lyons in Gaul. He was born in Asia Minor and studied under Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna. He was appointed Bishop of Lyon in 173, remaining there until his death some twenty years later. Although under constant threat of persecution, he believed that the greatest danger to the church was heresy within its own ranks. His book, Against Heresies , in which he opposes Gnosticism, remains to this day the classic statement of the relationship of religion and nature. In keeping with the New Testament teaching of John, he emphasized the role of the Lord as the agent of creation.
Prayers for the Republic and blessing of the flag took place at St. Stephen’s Church in New Britain, Connecticut, on Sunday, September 24. The service was officiated by Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian with the assistance of Archdeacon Ed Varjabedian, and Deacons Dr. Kristophor Bagdasarian and Ara Stepanian.

“Women of 1915,” by Bared Maronian, will have its Rhode Island premiere on Saturday, October 14, 5:30 pm at Rhode Island College, Gaige Auditorium, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence. Admission is $20. This documentary film is the epic journey of women survivors of the Armenian Genocide and the odyssey of the relentless human rights advocates who empowered them. Lauded with many honors, including Best Documentary Award and Armin T. Wegner Humanitarian Award. Presented by the Armenian Relief Society Ani and Arax Chapters and Rhode Island Hamazkayin Educational and Cultural Society.

For information: Pauline Getzoyan, 401-486-3776 ( getzop@gmail.com ) or Taline Mkrtschjan, 401-481-4877 ( haidoon@hotmail.com ). 


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Armenian Prelacy
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Death of Khachatour Lazarian (October 10, 1871)

The Lazarian family had an important role in the history of the Armenian liberation movement from the eighteenth century. Hovhannes Lazarian (1735-1801) worked to that end through his connections to the Russian court. He bequeathed a big sum of money to the foundation of a high school in Moscow for Armenian children, designating his brother Hovakim as executor of the will. The Lazarian College, founded in 1815, would become an education beacon for the Armenians in the Russian Empire.

Hovakim Lazarian’s younger son, Khachatour, continued the family work. He was born on June 1, 1789. The details about his early life are sketchy. In 1819 he married the daughter of Manuk bey Mirzayan (1769-1817), a well-known trading partner of his father in Moldavia (Moldova), who had been very active during the Turkish-Russian war of 1806-1812.

The obstacles put by Russian high-level bureaucracy, particularly the Ministry of Education, to the activities of the Lazarian College led the Lazarian family to take an unprecedented step. In 1824 Hovakim Lazarian addressed the Council of Ministers to ask that the College be taken out of the ministry’s orbit and put under the direct supervision of the council. Brothers Hovhannes and Khachatour Lazarian, together with two members of the Committee of Educational Institutions, prepared the bylaws of the College, which were approved. The Lazarian College was renamed Lazarian Institute of Oriental Languages in 1828.  

Meanwhile, Khachatour Lazarian had been actively involved in the last phase of the Russo-Persian war of 1826-1828. Along with Prince Konstantin Arghoutian and scholar Alexander Khoudabashian, Lazarian prepared a project of autonomy for the Eastern Armenian territories that would be annexed to Russia after the war. The project, entitled, “A Series of Proposals for Georgia and Adjacent Territories,” called for an ample autonomy of Armenia within the Russian Empire and the restoration of the Armenian kingdom with Czar Nicholas I adding “King of the Armenians” to his titles. The project also anticipated the immigration of Armenian population from Persia to Eastern Armenia. Lazarian also lobbied the Russian authorities to incorporate the province of Maku, beyond the border of the Arax River. The idea of Archbishop Nerses Ashtaraketsi (future Catholicos of All Armenians) was to turn its mountains and valleys into a natural protection for the country. However, Lazarian failed in his purpose due to the obstinate refusal of General Ivan Paskevitch, who had fought and won the war. The autonomy project was also rejected, but it contributed to the initial creation of the Armenian Province (1829-1840). He was also a member of the committee that prepared the reforms in the administration of Eastern Armenia. The project, known as Polozhenye, was approved by Nicholas I on March 11, 1836.

To confront the matter of insufficient income for the Lazarian Institute –the family covered the deficits from their own pocket—Lazarian presented a project in 1837 that proposed to unify the five Armenian churches of Moscow and St. Petersburg with the Institute and establish a synergia between them, with the units mutually covering their deficits. He also suggested the creation of a religious section in the Institute for the education of the clergy. The project was approved by Catholicos Hovhannes Karbetsi and the Synod of Etchmiadzin in 1840, and then approved by the czar in 1841. Another project approved in 1848 by Nicholas I turned the Institute into an eight-year educational institution, instead of the previous six-year period.

Khachatour Lazarian’s only son, Hovhannes, passed away at an early age in 1850. His parents and uncle donated 60,000 silver rubles in his memory to establish a preparatory section for the children of Armenian poor families that lacked knowledge of the Russian language to enter the Institute. As an exception, the czar agreed to this donation.

In 1860 Lazarian, a man of progressive ideas in education and always ready to have the best possible level, made a huge donation of 200,000 rubles from his own fortune to improve the educational level of the Institute—now divided into two sections, gymnasium and Oriental languages—and allow the graduates to pursue higher education without additional exams. Czar Alexander II (1855-1881) decorated him with the order of the White Lion. The intervention of the Minister of Education, Count Dmitri Tolstoy, another man of progressive ideas, established a new reform, which reunited both sections while keeping their high educational level. The new curriculum remained unchanged from 1872 to 1918, when the newly established Soviet government closed the Lazarian Institute.

Besides his support for education, Khachatour Lazarian continuously sought to support Armenian Studies among Russian scholars and convince wealthy Armenians of throwing their support “in favor of the Church and the Armenian people, which demand and are thirsty for education and science.”

Lazarian passed away in Moscow on October 10, 1871. A marble bust was installed in the hall of the Lazarian Institute in the same year thanks to the fundraising of Russian Armenians. 

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web page ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
Deacon Nishan Sarkissian, right, with Catholicos Karekin I Hovsepian, later his namesake, at the Catholicosate in Antelias.
The month of October being designated as “Armenian Cultural Month,” was first advanced by His Holiness Karekin I Hovsepian, Catholicos of Cilicia. This year we are commemorating the 150 th anniversary of the birth (December 17, 1867) of this gifted and scholarly clergyman. He was born in Artsakh and studied at the Gevorgian Seminary in Etchmiadzin. He studied theology and philosophy at the universities of Leipzig, Halle, and Berlin. He received his Episcopal Ordination in 1917. In May 1918, during the Ottoman invasion of Transcaucasia, he participated in the Battle of Sardarabad. In the 1930s he was appointed pontifical legate to travel abroad to raise funds for the reconstruction of the Cathedral in Etchmiadzin. From 1939-1943 he served as primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in North America. In 1943 he was elected to serve as the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. Wartime conditions prevented him from traveling to Lebanon until March 1945. During this time he raised considerable funds for the Catholicosate of Cilicia and recruited students for the Cilician Seminary. During his pontificate Karekin I made Antelias into a flourishing Armenian religious and cultural center. He died in 1952. Shortly after the death of Karekin I, Nishan Sarkissian, a young seminarian was ordained a priest and given the name Karekin in remembrance of the late Catholicos. Karekin Sarkissian went on to become Catholicos Karekin II of Cilicia and then Catholicos Karekin I of All Armenians.

SIAMANTO ACADEMY— Join the next session on Saturday, October 21, 2017: 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.

October 2-6 —Clergy Conference for Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies will take place in Montreal, hosted by the Prelacy of Canada.

October 7 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey presents “The Battle of the Bands.” Dance all night with two bands featuring Onnig Dinkjian and Kevork Artinian. Mezza and Dessert tables. For information and reservations contact: Bea Movsesian 201-445-6867; Lynn Mahlebjian 201-739-6217; Silva Kouyoumdjian 201-779-6744.

October 7-8 —50th Anniversary Weekend, St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, 8701 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Saturday evening: “Golden Evening Kef Celebration,” featuring the Vosbikian Band. Sunday, Golden Anniversary Banquet, following the Divine Liturgy. 

October 14 —Armenian Friends of America, Inc., present “Hye Kef 5,” a five hour dance featuring Onnik Dinkjian with John Berberian (Oud); Mal Barsamian (Clarinet); Ara Dinkjian (keyboard); Ron Tutunjian (Dumbeg), at DoubleTree by Hilton, 123 Old River Road, Andover, Massachusetts. Tickets: $55 (before September 1); $65 (after September 1); $50 for students 21 and under. Continuous buffet 7:30 to 9:30 pm; coffee and dessert will follow. Advance tickets only. Proceeds will benefit five Armenian churches. For information: Sharke Der Apkarian 978-808-0598.

October 14 —Rhode Island premiere of WOMEN OF 1915, a documentary film by Bared Maronian, presented by the Ani and Arax chapters of the Armenian Relief Society and Rhode Island Hamazkayin Educational and Cultural Society. Rhode Island College, Gaige Auditorium, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island, at 5:30 pm. This is the epic journey of women survivors of the Armenian Genocide and the odyssey of the relentless human rights advocates who empowered them. Admission: $20. Refreshments following screening. To reserve tickets, or be a sponsor, or more information contact: Pauline Getzoyan ( getzop@gmail.com ) 401-486-3776 or Taline Mkrtchjan ( haidoon@hotmail.com ) 401-481-4877.

October 15 —Opening reception and meet the artist, Emma Grigoryan’s Exhibition at John Pashalian Hall, St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27 th Street, Manhattan, 1 to 5 pm. Exhibition will remain on view on October 16-18, 2 to 4 pm. The artist’s latest book will be available for preview at the reception.

October 21 —Annual Bazaar of St. Gregory Church, 135 Goodwin Street, Indian Orchard, Massachusetts from 11 am to 6 pm in the church hall. Enjoy many favorite Armenian dinners including shish kebab and rice pilaf. Traditional Armenian and American baked goods will be featured. Take-out available. Admission and parking are free. For information: (413) 543-4763.

October 22 —92 nd Anniversary of St. Stephen Church of Hartford/New Britain, Connecticut. 1 pm at The Casa Mia at The Hawthorne, 2421 Berlin Turnpike, Berlin, Connecticut. Divine Liturgy on this day will begin at 10 am.

October 26 —“Cocktails for a Cause,” to benefit Karen Jeppe Armenian College in Aleppo, in honor of the 50 th anniversary of the ordination of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan. A magnificent night of friends, music, mezze, cocktails, 7 pm at StudioARTE, 265 W. 37 th Street, New York City. For information: Events@ArmenianPrelacy.org .

October 29 —Celebrating the 50 th anniversary of the ordination of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, under the auspices and presence of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia. Divine Liturgy at St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27 th Street, New York City, at 10 am. Followed by reception and dinner at The New York Palace, 455 Madison Avenue, New York City.

November 2 —4 th annual Steak Dinner (10 oz. Deluxe New York Strip Sirloin) sponsored by Men’s Club, Holy Trinity Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, 5:30 pm to 7 pm. $20 per person. For tickets contact Peter Kallanian by telephone (508-852-5328) or email ( nelok@charter.net ).

November 11 —PowerPoint presentation in English and Armenian by cartoonist and journalist Lucine Kasbarian, 1 pm at Pashalian Hall at St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27 th Street, New York City. Sponsored by Regional Executive of Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society and St. Illuminator’s Cathedral.

November 11 and 12 —Armenian Fest 2017, Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Food Festival at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, 60 Rhodes Place, Cranston. Featuring chicken, losh and shish kebabs 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 from noon to 9 pm; Sunday noon to 7 pm. Free admission and parking. Valet parking available. For information: Go to www.armenianfestri/food.com or 401-831-6399.

November 16 — Join Armenia Tree Project and Paros Foundation for a fundraiser to support kitchen renovations, beautification and environmental education at the school in Rind, Vayots Dzor. Featuring live performance by singer/songwriter Hooshere and silent auction featuring fine art and luxury gift items. Almayass Restaurant, 24 E. 21st Street, New York. 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Donation: $100 in advance, $125 at door. For more information, please contact info@armeniatree.org .
December 5-8 —World General Assembly of the Great House of Cilicia, at the Catholicosate in Antelias, Lebanon.

December 2 —SAVE THE DATE: ANCA Eastern Region Gala, International Place, Boston, Massachusetts. Watch for details.

December 5-8 —World General Assembly of the Great House of Cilicia, at the Catholicosate in Antelias, Lebanon.

May 9-12, 2018 —Eastern Prelacy’s National Representative Assembly, hosted by St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Massachusetts.

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/