September 15, 2016


Next Wednesday, September 21, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the independent Republic of Armenia. Less than three years after the massive public demonstrations in Yerevan calling for the return of Nagorno Karabakh, and the devastating earthquake, Armenia declared itself free and independent on September 21, 1991. For more than seventeen centuries, the Armenian people lived and fought to maintain their religious faith and their own unique society. This declaration was a new milestone reaffirming that right to live as a people with its own way of life, its own beliefs, and on its own soil. May the Creator grace the Armenian nation with His protection.


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.

For information and/or reservations ($250 per person) contact the Prelacy office by email ( or by telephone (212-689-7810).

You can also purchase banquet tickets or make a booklet donation now by Clicking Here.

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During the twenty years of the Pontificate of His Holiness Aram I, the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia has seen an era of advancement in its growth in scope and service to the Armenian people. As we prepare to honor His Holiness on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of his election and consecration, we pause to reflect on some of those achievements. 

His Holiness speaks at an ecumenical meeting during the time he was Moderator of the WCC’s Executive and Central Committees.

For nearly half a century he has been a participant in the worldwide Ecumenical Movement and today is considered to be one of the ecumenical giants of our time. Under the heading of “Aram I—An eloquent and powerful witness for unity,” Rev. Dr. Diane C. Kessler wrote in 2009 the following about His Holiness: 

Ecumenical organizations are essential to help the churches reach the goal of full, visible Christian unity.  Those who provide leadership in these instruments attend countless meetings, spend hours in transit, read voluminous documents, broker disagreements, and weigh words as texts are drafted.  These responsibilities are necessary means to nurture the process.  Yet when religious leaders are trying to keep the ecumenical boat afloat and aimed toward Christian unity, they easily could drown in a sea of details, losing sight of the destination.  His Holiness Aram I, however, has maintained his ecumenical sea legs.  He has stayed at the helm and ridden the waves for decades, keeping his eyes on “the urgent call for unity.”  He has offered a powerful witness to that call.  As he said in Encounters for Unity, “once you are part of the ecumenical movement, it becomes part of you.”

            The ecumenical movement needs witnesses—men and women who are willing and able to testify to the ways that their encounters with Christians in other traditions have informed and transformed their own lives of faith, and have influenced the life of their churches.  Aram I has been such a witness.  I have heard him speak on many occasions—during a visitation with Armenian Orthodox clergy in eastern Massachusetts, at a symposium on the future of the ecumenical movement held in New York City, at World Council of Churches assemblies in Harare and Porto Alegre, and at sessions of the Joint Working Group.  Each time I hear him, I am struck by what a passionate and eloquent ecumenical witness he makes, both to the clergy and laity within his Church, and to Christians from all traditions.  “I fell in love with ecumenism,” he said, “with this ‘strange’ movement that brings people together in one place and in all places…the Holy Spirit invites us to participate in it with humility and commitment.” 

            His Holiness has identified several affirmations from his ecumenical experiences which are worth repeating: “ecumenism is an opening of oneself to the other;” it “is an existential dialogue;” it “is a learning process;” it “is a process of mutual challenging;” and it “is a pilgrimage towards unity.”  These affirmations are rooted in forty years of experience.  They began when he was a young seminarian in Lebanon in the early 1960s.  We pray that the ecumenical movement will continue to be blessed by his faithful witness for many years to come.

Rev. Dr. Diane C. Kessler, now retired, worked at the Massachusetts Council of Churches for 32 years, and in that capacity, also did considerable work with the World Council of Churches, where she says, “His Holiness and I often encountered each other. My first meeting of the Joint Working Group (on which I served for 14 years), was hosted by His Holiness in Antelias. I have many fond memories of conversations with him and other leaders as we discussed matters ecumenical in a variety of settings while he was Moderator of the WCC’s Central Committee.”

Bible readings for  Sunday, September 18, Second Sunday of the Exaltation (Eve of the Fast of the Holy Cross of Varak),  are: Isaiah 14:3-17; 2 Corinthians 10:18-11:10; Mark 10:1-12.

He left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.

Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
   (Mark 10:1-12)

* * *

For it is not those who commend themselves that are approved, but those whom the Lord commends.

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by its cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough. I think that I am not in the least inferior to these super apostles. I may be untrained in speech, but not in knowledge; certainly in every way and in all things we have made this evident to you.

Did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I proclaimed God’s good news to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for my needs were supplied by the friends who came from Macedonia. So I refrained and will continue to refrain from burdening you in any way. As the truth of Christ is in me, this boast of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia.
   (2 Corinthians 10:18-11:10)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings Click Here.


This Sunday, September 18, is the Paregentan (Eve) of the Fast of the Holy Cross of Varak. Monday to Friday are fasting days leading up to next Sunday, September 25, when the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak will be commemorated.


Next Tuesday, September 20, the Armenian Church remembers Febronia, Mariana, and Shoushan. The best known of the three is Shoushan, daughter of Vartan Mamigonian and great-granddaughter of Sahag Bartev. She was educated under the tutelage of St. Sahag and her mother, Sahaganoosh. Her father’s life and martyrdom influenced her to become a devout and faithful Christian. Her birth name was Varteny, but she was called Shoushan because of her extraordinary piety. She was married to Vazken, a son of a Georgian king, and had three sons and a daughter. After the death of her father-in-law, her husband became power hungry, went to Persia, renounced the Christian faith and returned to Georgia with another wife, and tried to force Shoushan to renounce her Christian faith. Even after years of imprisonment and torture she refused to renounce the faith for which her father had fought so valiantly.

Febronia was a nun of extraordinary beauty at Nisibis in Mesopotamia. She was offered to be spared from persecution and torture if she renounced her religion. She refused and was brutally martyred.

Although the daughter of idol worshippers, Mariana was raised by a woman who was secretly a Christian and was baptized at age twelve. At the age of fifteen she confessed to her father that she was a Christian. She refused to renounce her religion, and refused the offer of marriage by a local official telling him that she was “married to Christ.” She was tortured and martyred.


Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor of the St. Illuminator's Cathedral and a member of the Prelacy’s Religious Council, represented Archbishop Oshagan at the Prayer Service on the occasion of the opening of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly. The service took place at the Church of the Holy Family on Tuesday, September 13.

The Reverend Gerald E. Murray, Pastor of the Church of the Holy Family, welcomed the guests. Remarks were offered by The Most Reverend Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami; His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; His Excellency Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the 71st session  of the General Assembly; and His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.

The service consisted of prayers, readings, and hymns. Many of the prayers called for an end of violence and war, and especially for peace in Syria and the Middle East.

Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian with His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and The Most Reverend Thomas Wenski,  Archbishop of Miami.


Archbishop Oshagan presided over the Divine Liturgy and the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and delivered the Sermon last Sunday at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. Following the Liturgy the Blessing of Madagh took place in the parish’s large hall.

Sunday School students pay their respects to the Prelate after taking Communion.

Archbishop Oshagan, Rev. Fr. Hovnan Bozoian and Deacons Vahan Kouyoumdjian (left) and Kostan Charkhutian.


Last Sunday, September 11, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Khachverats) was celebrated at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in New York City. The Divine Liturgy was marked with the Andastan service (Blessing of the fields), during which the Cross was adorned with sweet basil (rehan), and the four corners of the Church were blessed as a symbol of the entire World. Following the Divine Liturgy Blessing of Madagh, dedicated to 101st Anniversary of the heroic battle of Musa Dagh, took place at the John Pashalian Hall.  

Blessing of Madagh took place following the Divine Liturgy.


St. Gregory Church of North Andover, Massachusetts celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross last Sunday along with their annual picnic-festival on the church grounds. Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian reports that the Feast and Festival were spectacular. “We saw lots of old and new faces; we enjoyed beautiful weather; exciting live music; and ate delicious food amidst good company.” He expressed his thanks to everyone who worked tirelessly. “It is a reminder,” Der Hayr said, “that when we work together in Him, all of our successes and the realization of our dreams are a gracious gift from our Lord, who is lovingly working through us to strengthen His Holy Church for the salvation of the world and to bring glory and honor to his name.”

The Blessing of Basil at St. Gregory Church, North Andover.

The parish’s annual picnic/festival was enjoyed by parishioners and friends.


The Siamanto Academy, a two-year monthly program sponsored by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC), started the 2016-2017 academic year last Saturday, September 10, with nine students. The Academy meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School in New Milford, New Jersey. Dr. Vartan Matiossian, ANEC Executive Director, welcomed the students and presented the program of activities, which will include Armenian history, culture, and current affairs. The first day included lessons on “Why Do We Study Armenian History?” ; “The Origin of the Armenian Flag and Coat of Arms,” and “Armenians in Syria 2016.” The second meeting is scheduled for Saturday, October 15. Interested students may still apply to attend the Academy by writing to or calling at (212) 689-7231.

The Siamanto Academy began its 2016-17 school year last Saturday.


Sunday Schools throughout our Prelacy parishes are welcoming students to a new school year. At Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey, words of welcome resonated throughout the halls and classrooms located in the church’s middle level last Sunday, September 11.

With bright smiles on their faces, twenty-six students registered during the inaugural day’s Open House, with fifteen staff members present.  All the students were greeted with welcome back packages filled with fun learning tools.  Learning began immediately with morning prayers, hymns, partaking in communion, and learning about the traditions of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  

Students and staff eagerly began the new school year at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey.

Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Death of Harry K. Daghlian (September 15, 1945)

A memorial was dedicated to Haroutune Krikor “Harry” Daghlian Jr. in New London, Connecticut, on May 20, 2000, in the presence of his siblings, Edward and Helen Daghlian. Its inscription reads:

A brilliant scientist on the Manhattan

Project. His work involved the determination

of critical mass. During an experiment gone

awry, he became the first American casualty

of the atomic age. Though not in uniform,

he died in service to his country.

Harry Daghlian, Jr. was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, on May 4, 1921. Soon after his birth, the family moved to New London, where he completed his primary and secondary education. His father was an X-ray technician and then supervisor of the X-ray laboratory at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital. His interest in mathematics and physics was fostered by his parents and his uncle, Dr. Garabed K. Daghlian, who was a professor of Physics and Astronomy at Connecticut College, located in the outskirts of New London.

In 1938 the younger Daghlian graduated first in his class of mathematics from Bulkeley High School and at age 17 he was able to begin undergraduate studies at MIT. He would eventually transfer to Purdue University in Indiana because he was fascinated with physics, especially particle physics. He graduated from Purdue in 1942 and began graduate studies in West Lafayette, while becoming a physics instructor.

Robert Oppenheimer, the head of the top secret Manhattan Project, was recruiting scientific personnel for Los Alamos, in a race against time to create an atomic bomb before Germany did. In 1942 physicist Marshall Holloway arrived at Purdue on a secret assignment from the Manhattan Project and worked with a group there, which included three senior level investigators, and a graduate student, Daghlian, who worked with Purdue’s cyclotron to produce deuterons. The Purdue group moved to the Los Alamos laboratory in September 1943, and Daghlian followed them a year later. He first worked as part of the “Water Boiler” group at the Omega Site, and later joined the Critical Assembly Group, also located at Omega. His last major assignment was as an assistant in preparing the plutonium core at the MacDonald Ranch House for the Trinity test in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

The world’s first nuclear weapon was successfully tested in Alamogordo on July 16, 1945. World War II would come to an end almost a month later, on August 15, after two nuclear bombs had been dropped over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with an outcome of hundreds of thousands of victims.

Less than a week after the end of the war, while Daghlian was continuing his research at Los Alamos site, he was involved in a deadly accident while doing experiments concerning the critical masses of a sphere of plutonium and the building of a radiation shield with tungsten carbide bricks.

On August 21, after doing two criticality tests in the morning and the afternoon, Daghlian decided to do the third tests in the evening, after hours, for reasons unknown. While close to finishing the construction of the assembly, the addition of the fifth brick showed the possibility that this would be beyond the levels of criticality. He accidentally dropped the brick into the center, triggering a critical reaction. He pushed the brick from the assembly with his right hand, but this was not enough and he was forced to disassemble the pile by hand to stop the reaction.

The young scientist received a dose of 510 rems of neutron radiation while he was solving the potentially very dangerous issue. He was rushed to the hospital, where he immediately showed symptoms of acute radiation poisoning. His right hand began to swell and he developed overwhelming nausea. The high dose received made it impossible to effectively treat him. His symptoms worsened, and after horrifying physical deterioration, he passed away on September 15, 1945, at the age of 24. As his memorial inscription acknowledged fifty-five years later, Harry Daghlian was the first American casualty of the atomic age. 

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site (

Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
Honey and the Bees  

The words honey (English) and Honig (German) are cousins; together with other similar words in Swedish, Dutch, etcetera, they both descend from their grandfather, Proto-Germanic, which had the word *hunagam (the asterisk shows that the word does not come from a written source, but from linguistic study), whose origin is unknown.  

However, this is not the term some Indo-European languages have used or still use to call the sweet product of the hardworking bees. For instance, Latin called it mel and Greek meli, while Armenian called it meghr (մեղր, in Classical Armenian melr). These and some other related words come from the common Proto-Indo-European root *melit. 

Armenian and Greek share one interesting trait: they both have used the same root *melit to designate not only the product, but the producer. Who produces honey? In Armenian, “bee” is meghu (մեղու, in Classical Armenian melu); in Ionic Greek, “honeybee” is melissa (melitta in Attic Greek), from which derives the feminine name Melissa in English (and other languages). 

Coming to proper names, Armenian also has its own share of names related to honey, such as Meghrig (Մեղրիկ) and Meghri (Մեղրի). The latter actually comes from the homonymous city, located in the south of the Republic of Armenia (region of Siunik or Zangezur), but, of course, the name itself is derived from the same source. 

To be fair, there are a couple of words that people with well-developed literary senses still use in English: mellifluent and mellifluous. They share the same common origin with meghr, since they both come from Late Latin, and ultimately their meaning “sweet” is derived from mel (“honey”).

To recap, there is an even more interesting example, which shows that the root *melit existed at some point in Proto-Germanic before being superseded by *hunagam. It is also unexpected: who would think of mildew and relate it to honey? As a matter of fact, the association of Proto-Germanic *mili (honey) + *dawwō (dew) originated the Old English word meledēaw (“honeydew”), and this is how we have the terror of tiles, rugs, and paper: mildew. Frankly, who would associate mildew with honey?

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


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Armenian Prelacy
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New York, NY 10016
Checks payable to: Armenian Apostolic Church of America
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Thank you for your help.

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

September 25 —Holy Trinity Church, Worcester, Massachusetts, will celebrate the 82nd Anniversary of the church; 10th anniversary of the ordination of Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, and his recent elevation to Dzayrakouyn Vartabed. His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon and preside over the anniversary celebrations at Cypian Keyes Golf Club. Dinner donation $50. For reservations contact the church by email ( ) or telephone (917-794-7606.

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 —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 
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