September 1, 2016
Today, Thursday, September 1, 2016, the Armenian Church commemorates St. John the Baptist (Forerunner) and Job the Righteous.

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:1-3)

“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread  with him in his house; and they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.” (Job 42:10-11)
The more than two decades of visionary leadership of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia, will be marked on Sunday, October 9. The celebratory day will begin with a Pontifical Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, celebrated by His Holiness. In the afternoon a special cultural program prepared specifically for this occasion will take place at the Marriott at Glenpointe in Teaneck, New Jersey, that will be followed with a banquet and anniversary celebration at the same venue. This event will be the one and only celebration honoring His Holiness within the Eastern Prelacy. All Prelacy parishes will be closed on October 9 to permit the participation of our clergy and parishioners.

The following is an excerpt from the sermon delivered by His Holiness Aram I at his Consecration and Enthronement on July 1, 1995.
“At the threshold of my new spiritual journey, I first of all greet with the spirit of brotherly love and Christian fellowship the Mother See of Etchmiadzin and His Holiness Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians. On this solemn occasion, on behalf of the Catholicosate of Cilicia and its people, I would like to express my profound gratitude to His Holiness for his more than forty years of devoted service rendered to the Armenian Church through the See of Cilicia. His Holiness became one of the most dynamic and creative servants of this Catholicosate and brought his important contribution to the witness of this spiritual center. And when the voice of God called him to serve in Armenia, in our reborn homeland, he went there without hesitation to bring his active participation to the nation-building process. Your Holiness, you led, years ago, my first steps in the service of the Armenian Church. You became my teacher and my spiritual father. And now our church made us, with the will of God, spiritual brothers giving us the privilege and honor to serve and lead together our church and nation.”
His Holiness Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians, embraces His Holiness Aram I following the Consecration ceremony at the Catholicosate of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon, on July 1, 1995. Catholicos Karekin officiated at the Consecration and Enthronement with the participation of the Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Constantinople.
Archbishop Oshagan will offer the invocation and message at the opening of the track and field games of the Armenian Youth Federation’s 83rd Olympics on Sunday, September 4. Hosted by the New Jersey Arsen Chapter, the games will take place at the Rutgers University Bauer Track Facility in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Bible readings for Sunday, September 4, Third Sunday after the Assumption, (Eve of the Fast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross), are: Isaiah 13:1-11; 2 Corinthians 7:4-16; Mark 7:31-37. 

I often boast about you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with consolation; I am overjoyed in all our affliction. For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted in every way—disputes without and fears within. But God, who consoles the downcast, consoled us by the arrival of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was consoled about you, as he told us of  your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it (though I did regret it, for I see that I grieved you with that letter, though only briefly). Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance; for you felt a godly grief, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what zeal, what punishment!  At every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong, nor on account of the one who wronged, but in order that your zeal for us might be made known to you before God. In this we find comfort.

In addition to our own consolation, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by all of you. For if I have been somewhat boastful about you to him, I was not disgraced; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting to Titus has proved true as well. And his heart goes out all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of all of you, and how you welcomed him with fear and trembling. I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you. (2 Corinthians 7:4-16).


Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon  to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis. And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him. And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he signed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And he charged them to tell no one; but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.” (Mark 7:31-37)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings Click Here.
This Saturday, September 3, the Armenian Church commemorates the First Ecumenical Council held in Nicaea in Asia Minor in the year 325, and the 318 Church Fathers who attended. The Council was convened by Emperor Constantine. Aristakes, son of Gregory the Illuminator, represented the Armenian Church. The Council is mentioned in the writings of Moses of Khoren and Agathangelos. In later centuries and in all their doctrinal writings, the Fathers of the Armenian Church referred to the Council of Nicaea with veneration and the Nicene Creed (Havatamk) was incorporated into the Armenian Liturgy. The Council condemned Arianism that denied the full divinity of Christ, and proclaimed that the orthodox position is the belief in “one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of God and Father, Only Begotten, of the substance of the Father. God from God, light from light, true God, begotten and not made,” (from the Nicene Creed recited during the Armenian Divine Liturgy).
Next Thursday, September 8, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God. The birth of the Holy Mother is not recorded in the Bible; the account of this event comes to us from other writings that are not part of the New Testament. According to tradition, Joachim and Anna were faithful and pious and waiting for the promised Messiah. They were elderly and childless. They prayed to God for a child and were blessed with a daughter they named Mary, who became the Mother of the Messiah.
This Sunday, September 4, is the Paregentan of the Fast leading to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Khachveratz), which is next Sunday. Because the Exaltation is a Tabernacle Feast, it is preceded by a week (Monday to Friday) of fasting and followed by a memorial day of remembrance.

Soorp Asdvadzadzin Church in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, hosted its annual picnic on the church grounds on August 21, presided by the Prelate Archbishop Oshagan, who celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon earlier. Parishioners, townspeople, and friends from near and far enjoyed the delicious meals and desserts and the live music provided by the John Berberian Ensemble. Clergymen from New England parishes joined with the Prelate in the Blessing of the Grapes ceremony.

Archbishop Oshagan conducts the Blessing of Grapes with New England area clergymen and altar servers.
Deacon Dr. George Berberian presented a well-received presentation on “Current Discoveries, Treatment, and Lifestyle Interventions for Heart Health” last Sunday at St. Gregory Church, Granite City, Illinois. The event was sponsored by the parish’s Fellowship Club.
Although it is summer time and school is on vacation, plans are in progress for the 2016-2017 term of the Prelacy’s Siamanto Academy. The Academy, under the direction of the Armenian National Education Committee, presents classes on Armenian history, culture, and current issues. Classes take place at the Hovnanian School in New Milford, New Jersey, every second Saturday of the month beginning September 10. For information: or 212-689-7231.

To see the short presentation about Siamanto Academy featuring Dr. Vartan Matiossian Click Here
During the three Sundays while the Olympic Games were taking place in Brazil, Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, pastor of St. Gregory Church in North Andover, Massachusetts, delivered a series of sermons drawing a parallel between spiritual and physical fitness. It seemed to resonate with the congregation and the series received positive feedback. The first two sermons were delivered at St. Gregory Church in North Andover; the last sermon was delivered at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York where he was a guest preacher. Der Stephan explores the analogy between physical and spiritual fitness, the importance of being trained for godliness and of running the spiritual race to receive the crown of the Heavenly Kingdom.

In his introductory sermon he speaks of the love we have as a society for “our sports competitions and, in general, highly value physical fitness and agility, admiring those among us with athletically fit bodies and penchants for exercise and physical activity. Indeed, I would argue that our society places an inordinate amount of importance on the body, to the detriment of that of the soul. In many ways, the human physique has become everything to us, much as it became to the ancient Greeks and Romans.”

Der Hayr goes on to say that “just as there is a path laid out before each Olympic athlete, contingent upon giving the utmost importance to training in his/her own event, there has to be one for us as well if we are to become spiritual “athletes” and ultimately champions of our Christian faith.” He concludes by noting that “while most of us (including myself) will never have a shot at Olympic greatness, all of us today have a shot at achieving greatness through Christ in spiritual training… We should keep alive the dream that if we persevere with God, train with him, remain steadfast in our faith in him, and follow the course of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will be equipped to ‘run the race’ in such a way as to win the crown of our Father’s heavenly kingdom.”

To read a condensed version of all three sermons Click Here.

Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Opening of the Getronagan High School (September 1, 1886)
The Getronagan (Central) High School was a project of the Armenian community of Constantinople, which aimed at providing education with a productivity level that would be above the standards of foreign schools.

The project was initiated by Nerses Varjabedian (1837-1884), Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, in 1882. He invited major donors to the Patriarchate on December 16, 1882, to gather funds for the renovation of the Patriarchate and the establishment of the Getronagan School. Due to his illness, the Patriarch realized that he would not be able to continue these projects, and before his death in 1884, he assigned priority to the establishment of the school with the donation, and postponed the repair work at the Patriarchate. The Patriarch Nerses Varjabedian Foundation was established to realize the project. 

The initial plan was to establish a secondary school in the neighborhood of Ortaköy. The first board of trustees was formed in the beginning of 1885.

The school opened on September 1, 1886, with 64 students as first year students. The opening ceremony was led by Catholicos of All Armenians Makar I (1885-1891) and Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople Harutiun Vehabedian (1885-1888). The five-year program of the school was divided into two phases. In the first three years, they taught Religion, Armenian, Turkish, French, History, Geography, Mathematics, Science, Law, Commerce, Health, Stenography, and Painting. In the last two years, the last four were replaced by Political Economy, Accounting, and Pedagogy. The first faculty included some noted names in the Armenian intelligentsia, such as educator Reteos Berberian, writers Minas Cheraz, Hovsep Shishmanian (Dzerents), Tovmas Terzian, Srabion Hekimian, historian Madatia Karakashian, Gabriel Noradungian (future Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Ottoman Empire), etcetera.
The school population had grown to 148 students when the class of 1891 (18 students) graduated.  The first principal was Minas Cheraz, who held the position until 1889. He was succeeded in 1890 by Harutiun Mosdichian, who introduced changes to the educational system, such as the opening of the departments of Science and Literature. His tenure ended in 1896, when the school was closed. It was reopened in 1897, with an additional elementary school that served as free preparatory school for those students coming from the provinces.

After a period of decadence from 1897-1909, coincidental with the tyrannical period of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the Getronagan School recovered its past brilliance under principals Mardiros Nalbandian (1909-1913), Kegham Kavafian (1917-1927), and Bedros Adruni (1927-1933).  Intellectuals like Gomidas Vartabed, Levon Shant, Vahan Tekeyan, Gostan Zarian, and others taught in the school. In 1929 the primary school was closed and replaced by a one-year preparatory section. From 1935-1951 the lyceum section of another venerable school, the Essayan School, was joined with the Getronagan.
The school had famed teachers, but also remarkable graduates, including linguist Hrachia Ajarian, writers Arshag Tchobanian, Misak Medzarents, Vahan Tekeyan, Yerukhan, Hagop Siruni, Nigoghos Sarafian, Aram Haigaz, actor Armen Armenian, Armenologist Haig Berberian, photographer Ara Guler, pianist Sahan Arzruni.

The Getronagan Alumni Union was founded in 1947 and organizes cultural activities, which also contribute both materially and morally to the welfare of the school. It has branches in France, the United States, and Canada. As of 2001, the Getronagan High School had 182 students.

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (
Getronagan Armenian High School in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Armenian Language Corner
Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
How Do You Spell Love?
As it happens in English (the example of cheese , please , sleaze , and freeze should be never forgotten) the Armenian language also has words that present problems when you try to spell them. This problem is more obvious in Western Armenian, particularly in those series of consonants where the three different sounds have become two:

  • բ-պ-փ (p-b-p’)

  • գ-կ-ք (k-g-k’)

  • դ-տ-թ (t-d-t’)

  • չ-ճ-ջ (ch-j-ch’)
In these three series, the apostrophe indicates an emphatic sound of the consonant, as in the English pronunciation of p, k, t, which we do not follow in Western Armenian. Speakers pronounce բ and փ, գ and ք, դ and թ, չ and ջ in the same way. Therefore, if you do not follow orthographic rules, the semantics of the word in question, or, simply, memory (in the same way that you memorize how to write tʃiːz [cheese] and do not confuse it with pliːz [please]), then you will be in trouble.

The same happen with another trio, ձ-ծ-ց (tz-dz-ts), where ձ and ց sound exactly the same, and with the couple ռ-ր (r’-r), where the first should be a strong r (double rr as in curriculum) and the second is a soft r (single r as in care), but both are pronounced as a soft r.

Most of these confusions do not happen in Eastern Armenian, which has kept more closely the phonetics of Classical Armenian, including the pronunciation of բ as b, գ as g, դ as d, ջ as j, etcetera. However, in Eastern Armenian also not all words follow the three different sounds; for instance, the word “girl” is pronounced aghchig, and not aghjik, and the listener might get confused about how to write the word, աղջիկ –the right one—or աղչիկ.

Another problem is that of the confusion for the h sound (հ or յ) and the e sound (ե or է). Eastern Armenian “solved” it by changing the spelling. Thus, when you hear e or h in Eastern Armenian, you write ե (with minor exceptions) and հ. Needless to say, the spelling “reform” cut the linguistic tradition to the point that today an untrained Eastern Armenian speaker has difficulties to read aloud and understand sentences in Classical spelling, which reads to its rejection.

All languages have these kinds of conundrums, and of course, you solve the problems with rules, common sense, and memory. If not, ask those foreign speakers who learn the English language.
Here are two examples easy to memorize and hard to forget:
  1. անձ means “person” and անձնագիր (antsnakir) means “personal document.” However, անց (ants) is the root of the verb “to pass” (անցնիլ – antsnil) and անցագիր (antsakir) means “passport.” Both roots are used in a lot of words, but as soon as you remember what անձ means and what անց means (in the same way that you remember what “write” means and what “right” means), you should never write անցնագիր, in the same way that you do not say Ernest Hemingway is a… “righter.”

  2. The meaning of սեր is “cream” and the meaning of սէր is “love.” However, ensure to remember that է in many monosyllabic words becomes ի (i) when it is combined with a suffix or another noun. In this way, you will always write that “God is love” (Աստուած սէր է) and not… “God is cream.”

  3.  A similar story is that of վարել (varel) and վառել (varrel). Memory is again important here, because if you write “Ես ինքնաշարժը վարեցի” (Yes inknasharje varetsi), we are all sure that you said “I drove the car.” However, if you write “Ես ինքնաշարժը վառեցի” (Yes inknasharje varretsi), that may spell disaster. Did you mean “I burned the car”

The list is big. The will to learn should be bigger. 

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

Hard to believe, but we have come to the “unofficial” end of summer. This Monday, September 5, is Labor Day, celebrated in the United States on the first Monday of September. Labor Day was created by the labor movement and theoretically is “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers and their contributions to the strength, prosperity, and well being of their country.” It has become the “end marker” of summer, with Memorial Day as the “beginning marker,” and is celebrated with family gatherings, picnics, and a final long weekend before the start of a new school year (although many schools now begin before Labor Day). And, of course, shopping at the malls.
SIAMANTO ACADEMY —Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: or 212-689-7810. NEW TERM BEGINS SEPTEMBER 10.

September 11 —Picnic Festival sponsored by St. Gregory Church, of Merrimack Valley, noon to 5:30 pm, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts. Music by Leon Janikian, John Berberian, Jason Naroian, and John Arzigian. Celebrating Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Shish, losh, chicken kebab, vegetarian dinners, take-out; family games and activities. Information: or 978-685-5038.

September 11—Annual Picnic of St. Stephen Church (New Britain/Hartford), at the Knights of Columbus Club in Unionville, Connecticut. Music by Mugrditchian Ensemble. Enjoy the day with family, friends, and lot of good food. The Divine Liturgy will take place at the picnic facility at 10 am. Picnic will follow the services. Dress is casual.

September 11—Presentation and dinner sponsored by the local ARS “Reubena” chapter on the “Armenian language and School: History and Importance.” The speaker is Fr. Torkom Chorbajian, pastor of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Granite City, Illinois.

September 18—Anniversary Dinner & Program of St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Granite City, Illinois, hosted by the Ladies Guild.

October 2—Retirement Banquet in honor of Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, Pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. Reception 2 pm; dinner 3 pm at Crowne Plaza at the Crossings, Warwick, Rhode Island. Donation $75 per person. For information or reservations contact Ramon Zorabedian at 401-884-6626 or Margaret Stepanian at 401-272-3183.

October 6 —Shadoyan Fashion Show “Exclusive Collection” of Evening Gowns and “Reincarnation” Armenian National Costumes. Sponsored by ARS Eastern USA. Details to follow.

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 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 22 —Save the date: Celebration of 40th anniversary of the Hovnanian School at Rockleigh Country Club, 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 & 5—60th Annual Bazaar, St. Stephen Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, 11 am to 9 pm at Armenian Cultural & Educational Center, 47 Nichols Avenue, Watertown. Meals served from 11:30 am to 8:30 pm (take-out available). Delicious meals including chicken, beef, and losh kebabs, kufteh, and kheyma dinners, Armenian pastries, Gourmet, Gift Shoppe, handmade arts and crafts, raffles, Attic Treasures. Live auction Friday and Saturday at 7 pm. For information: 617-924-7562.

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: or church office, (401) 831-6399.

The Armenian Prelacy 
Tel: 212-689-7810 ♦ Fax: 212-689-7168 ♦ Email: