September 12, 2019
His Eminence joined by United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, U.S. Representative for California's 14th congressional district, Jackie Speier, and ANCA National Chairman, Raffi Hamparian.
Archbishop Anoushavan was in Washington, DC this week attending the Sixth Annual Solidarity Dinner and Advocacy Day for Middle East Religious Minorities presented by In Defense of Christians (IDC), a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the protection and preservation of Christianity and Christian culture in the Middle East. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) was a major sponsor of the IDC National Leadership Conference where prominent faith leaders joined human rights advocates in urging elected officials to take action to preserve Christianity in the Middle East. The gathering also advocated for the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolutions (S. Res. 150 and H. Res. 296).

Under the banner of “Fighting for Equality, Freedom and Security,” the Conference began on September 10 with a reception and Solidarity Dinner. On September 11 the conference featured a National Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, where participants met with members of Congress.

Cooperation with In Defense of Christians dates back to 2014 when His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, joined with Christian leaders from throughout the Middle East, offering a powerful call for unity in the face of the threat against the historic Middle Eastern Christian communities.

Archbishop Anoushavan alongside U.S. Representative for Nebraska's 1st congressional district, Jeffrey Fortenberry, and members of the ANCA.

Archbishop Anoushavan with former US House of Representatives from Virginia's 10th congressional district, Frank Wolf, and members of the ANCA.

Archbishop Anoushavan, President and Chairman of In Defense of Christians (IDC), Toufic Baaklini, with members of the ANCA.
His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan delivers the opening prayer at In Defense of Christians (IDC) 6th Anniversary Solidarity Dinner.

His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan will travel to Massachusetts this weekend where on Sunday he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at Holy Trinity Church in Worcester. Following the Liturgy and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and blessing of basil, the parish will celebrate its 85 th anniversary with a banquet that will take place in the parish’s hall.

The Prelate greets parishioners.
Archbishop Anoushavan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon last Sunday at St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley in North Andover, Massachusetts. Following the Liturgy, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross was celebrated one week early and the parish’s annual picnic followed.
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross took place outdoors.

Following the services the parish’s annual picnic was enjoyed by all. Here the Prelate is purchasing raffle tickets for young parishioners.

At the independence day reception, left to right, are: Mr. Davit Knyasyan, Deputy Permanent Representative, V. Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Mr. Mher Margaryan, Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian.
The 28 th anniversary of the independence of Armenia was celebrated on September 10 with a reception at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City. The event was hosted by Mr. Mher Margaryan, Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Attending the reception on behalf of Archbishop Anoushavan were Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar General of the Prelacy and Pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church in New Jersey. He was accompanied by Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, Pastor of St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York, and Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. They conveyed their congratulations and best wishes to Ambassador Margaryan.

The Summer Youth Academy organized by the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, came to a successful conclusion. The participants were student and young professionals from the Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies. The two week program included lectures, religious services, intimate encounters with His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, Q&A Roundtables, and sightseeing.

Participants from the Eastern Prelacy were: Shant Eghian, Taleen Donoyan, Anahid Donoyan, Lorie Simonian, Michele Colanelo, Anoush Krafian, Ani Chobanian, Isabel Hagobian, Juliet Hagobian, Mari Bijimenian, Vrej Dawli, Knar Topouzian, and Violette Dekirmenjian.
We have been featuring impressions written by this year’s participants from the Eastern Prelacy. We continue this week with the following reflection written by Taleen Donoyan, from Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence, Rhode Island.
After a long and tiring journey from the U.S. to Beirut, I have to be honest, I was not quite sure what to expect of Lebanon when we arrived. I wasn’t sure who would be greeting us, what the Holy See of Cilicia would look like, or what would unfold in the two weeks ahead, but looking back I thank God that this experience became so much more to me than just a “summer academy.”
           Throughout the experience we were blessed to have four dedicated and personable Hayr Sourps by our side—Very Rev. Fathers Zareh, Boghos, Hrant, and Avedik, who guided us not only spiritually, but in any of our needs, caring for us, laughing with us, and sharing this experience not only in class, but as new-found friends. Their classes captivated us, ranging from familiar topics such as Armenian Church history and debates about religious questions to newer and more unfamiliar topics such as Ecumenism and where and how the Armenian Church is viewed amongst other churches. Their constant presence in our classes, even when they were not teaching, created a sense of family and comfort, just as His Holiness Catholicos Aram had assured us when we arrived—that he could not welcome us to Antelias because we were already considered part of their church family.
           The meetings with His Holiness were insightful and we realized how lucky we were to be given multiple opportunities to speak with His Holiness in small, personable meetings. He answered our difficult questions about the future of the Armenian Church, maintaining our traditions and families as Armenians, and the situation of the Armenian Diaspora. Our lunches together were filled with laughter, passion, and spirit.
           In our trips to Jbeil, Jounieh, Anjar, Azounieh and beyond, we were able to experience the true spirit of Lebanon, and understand how the country has provided for the Armenian Diaspora and how the Armenians in Lebanon have maintained their identity. Trchnots Pouyn , “Bird’s Nest” orphanage, the Aram Bezikian Armenian Genocide Orphan’s museum and Anjar’s St. Boghos Church are only a few of the amazing places we visited.
           While there were so many wonderful experiences, I have to especially mention our pilgrimage from Antelias to Bikfaya for the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Asdvadzadzin. Although we were tired and our feet were sore, the spirit of the believers all around us encouraged us onward and maintained the excitement of the pilgrimage. The young priests were with us by our side amongst the many young and old pilgrims, all of which added to our fulfillment and understanding of the importance of this feast. It was truly unforgettable and a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
(Taleen Donoyan)

Bible readings for Sunday, September 15, Exaltation of the Holy Cross, are: Isaiah 49:13-23; Galatians 6:14-18; John 3:13-21.

“No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light had come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (John 3:13-21)


May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, brothers and sisters. Amen. (Galatians 6:14-18)

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

This Sunday, September 15, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross ( Khachverats ), which is the last of the five Tabernacle Feasts observed by the Armenian Church during the liturgical year. The Exaltation celebrates the transformation of the cross as an instrument of punishment into a venerated symbol of life and victory. A sacred religious symbol that was now exalted and glorified.
Most Christian churches commemorate this holy day on September 14. The Armenian Church celebrates it on the closest Sunday. It is the oldest of the feasts devoted to the cross. The cross, once a means of death for criminals, became the dominant symbol of triumph over death. Christ’s apostle James, Patriarch of Jerusalem, elevated the Holy Cross during a religious ceremony while chanting the hymn, “ Khachee oh Krisdos Yergeer Bakanemk ,” (To Your Cross We Bow), thus accepting the cross as a symbol of salvation and an object of utmost veneration. James was later martyred in Jerusalem, and upon his grave stands the expansive Armenian monastery of St. James in Jerusalem.
There are four feasts devoted to the cross in the Armenian liturgical calendar, with the Exaltation being the most important. The other three are: Apparition of the Holy Cross; Holy Cross of Varak; and Discovery of the Cross. Each of these four holidays devoted to the Holy Cross are related to the life and the salvific work of our Lord.
The ceremony for the Exaltation begins with the decoration of the Cross with sweet basil ( rehan ), a sign of royalty, and also as a symbol of the living cross that is carried around the church in a procession led by the priest, and followed by deacons and altar servers. After the Bible readings, the officiating priest lifts the Cross and makes the sign of the Cross, and blesses the four corners of the world ( Andastan service), asking God’s blessing and bounty for the prosperity of the Armenian Church and for the fruitfulness of the land, and all the holy places and inhabitants thereof.
The Khachveratz ceremony was prepared by Catholicos Sahag Dzoraporetsi (677-703). He also composed the hymn that is sung on this day. As with other Tabernacle Feasts, the Exaltation is preceded with a period of fasting (Monday to Friday), and followed by a Memorial Day ( Merelotz ). The Eve of this Feast is also celebrated ( Navagadik ). Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, following Memorial Day are feast days dedicated to the Holy Church.
Name day commemorations this Sunday include: Khatchadour, Khatchig, Khatcherets, Rehan, Khatchkhatoun, Khachouhi, Khatchperouhi, Khosrov, Khosrovanoush, Khrosrovitoukhd, and Nshan.

The day after the five Tabernacle Feasts is a Memorial Day in the Armenian Liturgical Calendar. Traditionally the Divine Liturgy is celebrated on this day and the faithful go to the cemeteries where graves are blessed to honor the memory of their departed loved ones. Remembering the dead is an important ritual for the living. In a sense it is an act of faith and love, not meant necessarily to achieve understanding or healing. It is simply to remember, as we did on Wednesday with the remembrances of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.

The Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program was established in 1993 and continues to be the central mission of the Prelacy’s programs in Armenia and Artsakh. As part of the program, letters are received regularly from sponsored children addressed to their sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads .
This week’s letter is from Gayane*, who is one of many children sponsored by Vahe and Hasmig Dombalagian.
*In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.
This is Gayane. I am 17 years old. I live in the border village of Khndzorut. I am in 12 th grade in school. When I graduate from high school, I want to study pharmacology. When I graduate from Pharmacological College I want to open a pharmacy in my village. The people from our village have to drive to the regional center to buy the medicine that they need.
I hope to see you one day in Armenia. Thank you for your kind deeds. Regards.
(signed) Gayane.

Currently there are children on the waiting list for the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program. If you would like to sponsor a child please click here for quick and easy online sponsorship. You may also contact the Prelacy by email ( ) or telephone (212-689-7810), ask for Sophie. 

Most of our parish schools have opened their doors to a new school year. The first day of school for St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School elementary grades was September 4. Classes resumed after the welcoming remarks of Principal Houry Boyamian and St. Stephen’s Church Pastor, Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian during the Morning Assembly. The next day was the opening day for the Preschool and Kindergarten students.
We wish all our students in all of our schools an exciting and successful academic year.
Birth of Dzerentz (September 16, 1822)
Like Raffi among Eastern Armenians, Dzerentz was a popular novelist among Western Armenians whose historical novels, although far removed in time from the present, inspired many with patriotic ideas.

He was born Hovsep Shishmanian on September 16, 1822, in Constantinople, in an Armenian Catholic family. At the age ten, his parents sent him to the Mekhitarist monastery on the island of San Lazzaro (Venice), but after five years of studies, he refused to become a celibate priest, and in 1837 returned to his birthplace. He worked for a few years as a teacher of Armenian language, literature, and history, and in 1843 he traveled to Tiflis, starting a long journey through Eastern and Western Armenia to get acquainted with the places and the people of the homeland. He would later contribute his impressions to Armenian newspapers in Constantinople, adopting the pseudonym Dzerentz ( dzer means “old person” in Armenian).

In 1848 Dzerentz decided to pursue medical studies and departed for Paris, where he studied Medicine at the Sorbonne, while at the same time he taught at the Samuel-Moorat lyceum of the Mekhitarists in Paris. The revolution of 1848 in France, which spread throughout Europe, and the Italian liberation movement had a great impact over the future writer’s thinking. He made friends with other Armenian students in the French capital, like Krikor Odian, Nahabed Rusinian, and Stepan Voskan, who would have an important role in the “awakening” ( Zartonk ) of Western Armenian intellectual life.
After graduation, Dzerentz returned to Constantinople in 1853 and pursued his professional career, while actively participating in Armenian public life. He wrote articles about educational issues, participated in the preparatory works of the Armenian Constitution passed in 1860, and fought against the confessional disputes that plagued the Armenian Catholic community.

On the eve of the rebellion of Zeitoun (1862), Dzerentz traveled to Cilicia with the aim of working in the educational field and opening an agricultural school. However, he was subject to political persecution and forced to return to Constantinople.

Through Krikor Odian’s intervention, Dzerentz went to work at one of the hospitals of Constantinople as a physician in 1872. Two years later, his wife passed away, leaving him alone with his fourteen-year-old daughter Takouhi. A year later, the intrigues of some French Catholic nuns forced the director of the hospital to fire him. In 1876 the Ottoman government sent him to Cyprus, then an exile area, to work as a doctor.

Two years later, Dzerentz abandoned the Ottoman Empire and moved to Tiflis with his daughter, who had married there. In the last ten years of his life, he would become a very popular novelist, making an important contribution to the genesis and development of the historical novel. In 1877 he had published his first novel, Toros, Son of Levon , about the life and exploits of prince Toros of Cilicia (1145-1169), which enjoyed huge success. Once in Tiflis, he taught at the Nersisian School and in 1877-1878 he traveled to Van, Alashkert, and Basen to bring medical help to the population during the Russian-Turkish war.

Dzerentz published in rapid succession his second novel, Travails of the Ninth Century (1879), which dealt with the rebellion of villager Hovnan of Sassoun against the Arab domination in 852-853, and his third novel, Teotoros Reshtuni (1881), about the situation in Armenia during the Byzantine-Persian wars of the seventh century. The popularity of Dzerentz novels would survive him until our days.

The writer lost his twenty-four-year-old daughter in 1884, and this was a terrible blow for him. His health quickly decayed and he died in Tiflis from a heart attack on February 17, 1888, at the age of sixty-six.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 
Please send your inquiries and comments (English or Armenian) to .

Please remember that the deadline for submitting items for Crossroads is on Wednesdays at noon.

Earlier this year the Prelacy embarked on a long overdue process of digitizing photographs and important documents. From time to time we will be sharing some interesting historical photos found in our archives.
This week’s archive photograph goes back more than fifty years to April 1969 and the first Pontifical Visit to the United States and Canada of His Holiness Khoren I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. His Holiness arrived in New York on April 10, 1969 accompanied by Archbishop Sahag Ayvazian, Prelate of Greece, and Mr. and Mrs. George Mardikian, who traveled to Lebanon in order to personally escort His Holiness to the United States on behalf of the Prelacy. Mr. Mardikian was the chairman of the Prelacy’s National Reception Committee.

Upon arrival His Holiness said, “With great joy and contentment of heart we set foot on this blessed soil of the United States of America. We believe that our first pontifical visit here as Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia will bear fruit for both the centuries-old Armenian Church and the Armenian American community on these shores. . . . ” The extensive pontifical journey included visits to the parishes on the East Coast, Mid-West, California, and Canada. During the visit His Holiness received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Georgetown University. The Pontifical Visit to North America extended from April 10 to July 30, 1969.

This photograph was taken as His Holiness’s procession walked on 27 th Street in New York City to St. Illuminator’s Cathedral. Both sides of 27 th Street were filled with parishioners, friends and neighbors who had come to get a glimpse of the Catholicos. The three clergymen seen with His Holiness are Archbishop Hrant Khatchadourian, Prelate of the United States and Canada on the left, and Archbishop Sahag Aivazian (second from right) and V. Rev. Fr. Arsen Avetikian.

( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
September 22 —St. Stephen’s Church of Hartford-New Britain Annual Picnic and surprise celebration for Centenarian (Col. Charles Alex). In church hall and grounds, 12 noon to 4 pm. Rain or shine. Hot dinners, bake sale, raffle.

September 28 —New Jersey chapter of Hamazkayin Armenian Educational & Cultural Society presents Lilit Hovhannisyan with special performance by Nayri Dance Ensemble, 8 pm, Felician University, Breslin Hall, Lodi, New Jersey. Tickets online only:

October 7-10 —On the occasion of the Feast of the Holy Translators a joint clergy conference of the Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies will convene in Montebello, California.

October 12 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, NJ continues celebration of 60 th anniversary with Elie Berberian and his band. Information: 201-943-2950.

October 16 —"Western Armenian in the 21st Century: A Dialogue about Challenges and New Approaches." Panel discussion organized by the Armenian National Education Committee, the Zohrab Information Center, and the Society for Armenian Studies, at the Armenian Prelacy. 7:00 pm. Introduction: Ms. Mary Gulumian. Moderator: Dr. Christopher Sheklian. Panelists: Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Mr. Jesse Arlen, and Ms. Gilda Kupelian. Information: (212) 689-7231 or .

October 19 —Armenian Friends of America Annual Hye Kef 5 Dance, featuring The Vosbikians, at Double Tree by Hilton, Andover, MA. For information: Sharke’ Der Apkarian at 978-808-0598; John Arzigian at 603-560-3826.

October 19 —Herand Markarian’s Jubilee Celebration: 65 th anniversary of cultural achievements and 80 th birthday. Theatre in the Park, Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York, at 7:05 pm. Watch for details.

October 19 —St. Gregory Church, 135 Godwin Ave., Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, “Armenian Bazaar,” 11 am to 6 pm. Take out available (call ahead: 413-543-4763.) Free admission and parking.

October 26 —On the Year of the Armenian Press, the 120 th  anniversary of the Hairenik Weekly and the 85 th  anniversary of the Armenian Weekly, the Armenian Prelacy and the Hairenik Association jointly sponsor a conference to be held at the “Pashalian” Hall of the St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York. Details to follow.

November 9 and 10 —Armenian Fest 2019, Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Food Festival at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, 60 Rhodes Place, Cranston. Saturday noon to 9 pm; Sunday noon to 7 pm. Free admission and parking. Valet parking available. For information: 401-831-6399. 

November 17 —Eastern Prelacy’s first annual Special Thanksgiving Banquet at Terrace on the Park, Flushing, New York, at 2 pm. Honoring the 25 th + 1 anniversary of the charitable work of the Prelacy’s St. Nerses the Great Charity Program: 26 Years of Charitable Giving in Armenia and Artsakh.

March 15, 2020 —Save the date and watch for details for the Eastern Prelacy’s 37 th annual Musical Armenia concert, 2 pm at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, West 57 th Street at Seventh Avenue, New York City.

May 13-16, 2020 —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy, hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Philadelphia. The Clergy Conference will begin on Wednesday, May 13; the full Assembly will convene on Thursday, May 14 and conclude on Saturday, May 16.
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