September 26, 2019
This week's Crossroads Newsletter begins with a prayer from St. Nerses Shnorhali's "In Faith I Confess," read by Robert J. Keshishian, a young parishioner of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church of Ridgefield, N.J.

This Sunday, September 29, is the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak, a holiday that is unique to the Armenian Church and is celebrated two weeks after the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. After coming to Armenia, the Hripsimiantz Virgins lived near Mount Varak. They had brought with them a fragment of the True Cross. Fleeing persecution, they sought refuge on the mountain where Hripsime hid the cross among the rocks before fleeing to Vagharshapat. In 653, a hermit named Todik found the hidden cross by following a brilliant light that illuminated the mountain and guided him inside the church to the altar where he found the cross. The light shone for twelve days. In memory of this event, Catholicos Nerses (the Builder) established the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak. He wrote the beautiful hymn, “By the Sign of Your All Powerful Holy Cross,” ( Nshanav Amenahaght Khatchit ).

The Monastery of St. Nishan ( Varakavank ) was built on Mount Varak, which is in the southeastern region of Van. It was home to one of the greatest libraries and museums, filled with ancient and contemporary books and works of art. The Monastery became even more prominent when Khrimian Hayrik established a publishing house and a school there hoping to make the monastery an educational center. He founded the first newspaper to be published in historic Armenia, Artziv Vaspurakan , (The Eagle of Vaspurakan). The massacres and deportations of 1915 destroyed Hayrik’s hopes and plans, as well as so much more. Varakavank was destroyed by the Turkish army on April 30, 1915, during the siege of Van.

By the sign of your all-victorious cross, O Christ, lover of mankind, keep us from the unseen enemy, for you alone are the King of Glory, blessed forever. On it you stretched out your spotless hands and shed your blood for the salvation of the universe for you alone are the King of Glory, blessed forever. At your second coming when the holy sign shall appear once again make your servants worthy of renewal for you alone are the King of Glory, blessed forever.
May your cross be our refuge by its flame-like radiance; it is named the tree of life; you crushed the enemy and unloosed the sentence of death for the salvation of the universe. Sending up praises the heavens rejoice and the earth rejoices at the discovery of the holy cross like the four-winged rock which enlightened this world by its sun-like rays. Jerusalem rejoiced, believers were glad; they adorned themselves in marvelous garment for they saw the victorious sign; all creation was adorned with its light.
(Canon to the Cross of Varak from the Liturgical Canons of the Armenian Apostolic Church)

Archbishop Anoushavan will travel to the Midwest this weekend where on Sunday, September 29, he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon and preside over the ordination of deacons at St. Sarkis Church in Dearborn, Michigan.

Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian, pastor of St. Gregory Church in Philadelphia blessed the framed tricolor flag that flew on the summit of Mount Ararat and was donated to the church by a parishioner.
By directive of the Prelate last Sunday, September 22, Prelacy parishes offered special prayers for the Republic of Armenia on the occasion of the 28 th anniversary of its independence. During the Requiem Service prayers were offered for the new martyrs of Artsakh’s struggle for independence.

At Saint Gregory the Illuminator Church in Philadelphia, the Faithful joined in thanking the Almighty for the gift of independence that opened up a new era of self-governance and put Armenia on the path of modern prosperity. During the celebration Archpriest Fr. Nerses Manoogian blessed a special framed tricolor Armenian flag that was flown over the summit of Mt. Ararat and announced that the flag has been donated to the Church by a young parishioner, Sembat Dramgotchian. Der Hayr said, “This flag will hang in our hall and it will inspire us to stand up for our homeland Armenia and support our compatriots any way we can to uphold eternally that gift of freedom and independence.”

During the Liturgy Archbishop Anoushavan ordained the three deacons.
The Prelate granted the honor of wearing the floral pilon (cape) to Rev. Fr. Nareg Terterian, pastor of St. Sarkis, in acknowledgement of his many years of outstanding service to St. Sarkis Church.
Last Sunday Archbishop Anoushavan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and offered his sermon at St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York. During the Divine Liturgy he ordained Sub-Deacons Berdj Agopian, Raffi Nenejian, and Razmik Nenejian to the holy order of deacons of the Armenian Church.

On this occasion, His Eminence also granted Der Nareg the honor and right to wear the floral pilon. The Prelate praised Der Hayr for his outstanding leadership of a vibrant parish and wished him many more years of distinguished service.

During the singing of the National Anthem, from left to right: Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President, Gebran Bassil, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon, Metropolitan Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America of the Antioch Orthodox Church, Archbishop Anoushavan, and Majdi Ramadan, Consul General of Lebanon.

Archbishop Anoushavan with Brooklyn borough president Mr. Eric Adams (center) and Mr. Appo Jabarian editor of USA Armenian Life.
Archbishop Anoushavan attended a reception last Monday organized by the Consul General of Lebanon in New York, Majdi Ramadan, and the Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, at the Brooklyn Borough Hall. During the reception, Mr. Adams honored Metropolitan Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America of the Antioch Orthodox Church and Mr. Gebran Bassil, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon.

On the evening of Tuesday, September 24, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian attended a town-hall meeting featuring honored guest Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, held at the Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium of St. Vartan's Cathedral. The event was sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the U.S. and Armenia’s Permanent Mission to the U.N.

Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian with Dr. Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation.

On Thursday, September 26, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian received the visit of Ms. Shaghik Maroukhian, member of the ARF Supreme Body of Armenia, accompanied by Ms. Ani Tchaghlasian and Mr. Valot Atakhanian, members of the ARF Central Committee of the Eastern United States.

On Tuesday afternoon, His Eminence welcomed Mr. Artur Martirosyan, Director of Development of Teach for Armenia, an organization with an ambitious mission to catalyze a nationwide movement of impact-driven leaders expanding educational opportunity to all children in Armenia. His Eminence and Mr. Martirosyan were joined by Teach for Armenia educators Shusanna Manjikian and Amalia Harutyunyan, as well as ANEC Director, Ms. Mary Gulumian, and Eastern Prelacy Executive Director, Dr. Vartan Matiossian.  
In what will become the beginning of a new tradition, each year a special “Prelacy Thanksgiving Day” will be celebrated honoring one aspect of the Prelacy’s multi-faceted mission. The first “Prelacy Thanksgiving Day” will take place on Sunday, November 17, 2019. The day will begin with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy by Archbishop Anoushavan at St. Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York, beginning at 10:30 am. A Thanksgiving Banquet will take place after the Liturgy at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, New York. Cocktail reception will begin at 2 pm with dinner and program at 3 pm.

In a recent statement Archbishop Anoushavan explained that the “Prelacy Thanksgiving Day” was conceived “in order to thank, without exception, our people for their unwavering dedication to all Prelacy sponsored programs. Therefore, every year we will spotlight a different program. For the inaugural event we have decided to celebrate and honor the services of the Prelacy’s charitable mission in Armenia and Artsakh through the Saint Nerses the Great Charitable and Social Organization ( Medzn Nerses ) that was established as the Prelacy’s charitable office in the homeland. Although the roots of this effort go back to the 1988 earthquake in Armenia, the formal establishment of this charitable office actually took place 25 years ago. Indeed, in 2018 Medzn Nerses marked its official 25 th anniversary. So, therefore, this year on November 17 we will be celebrating its 25 th +1 anniversary. In effect we are celebrating 26 years of love in action in Armenia and Artsakh,” the Prelate explained.
Campers celebrate the tenth anniversary of the summer program.

Field trips include nutritious meals.
This year’s summer camp for orphans took place in Dzaghgatsor, Armenia, and was very successful with the participation of 100 children. Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian, the founder and co-director of the summer camp expressed his thanks to Almighty God and to the many individuals who supported the summer program through the years of its existence. During the past ten years the program has sponsored the participation of more than 1,000 children, about 200 of whom have been baptized with the support and consent of their guardians. Although the camping season is over, parts of the program are year-round. For example, on Sundays counselors take campers to church. After the Liturgy they enjoy a fellowship meal and often go on field trips. A recently donated van is helpful in pursuing these activities. The participating campers are all enrolled in the Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship Program, and the Prelacy’s office in Armenia, “Saint Nerses the Great Social and Charitable Organization,” helps in the logistics and organization of the summer program.
Bible Readings for Sunday, September 29, Third Sunday of the Exaltation, Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak), are: Proverbs 3:18-26; Isaiah 65:22-25; Galatians 6:14-18; Matthew 24:30-36.
Then the sign of the Son Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Matthew 24:30-36)
* * *
But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision accounts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.
Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. (Galatians 6:14-18)

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

This Saturday, September 28, the Armenian Church commemorates St. George (Kevork) the Commander, a third century Roman general who challenged the Emperor’s persecution of Christians by publicly tearing up the Emperor’s decree, and urging others to follow his example. To this day he remains a popular saint in the Armenian Church and is the patron saint of soldiers and scouts. As in many other instances, the Armenians have given St. George an Armenian national character. The Feast of St. George is always on the Saturday before the Feast of the Holy Cross of Varak that is preceded by a week of fasting (Monday to Friday). Although the fast is not connected to St. George, through the centuries it has been popularly identified as the Fast of St. George.
Also commemorated this week:
Thursday, September 26, Bishops Barlaam, Anthimus and Irenaeus
Monday, September 30, Saint David of Dvin
Tuesday, October 1, Saint Eustace
Thursday, October 3, Princes Saint Sahag and Saint Hamazasp

For more than three decades, the Siamanto Academy has brought together and enriched the knowledge of young generations about faith, Armenian identity, history, language, and culture.

The Academy will resume its activities on Saturday, October 12, the second week of the Armenian Cultural month, in the Prelacy building, 138 E. 39th Street, Manhattan, from 10:00 am-12:30 pm. The sessions will continue to be held once a month with expert guest lecturers. The participants will be treated to both historical and current subjects, as always, to be connected with their roots, culture, and everyday life.

At the same time, this will provide an opportunity to meet new Armenian friends.
To encourage the activities of the Academy and foster participation, the registration will be free of charge.

For registration, please call the ANEC Executive Director Mary Gulumian at 212-689-7231 or email
A conference on “Western Armenian in the 21 st century: Challenges and New Proposals,” jointly organized by the Armenian National Education Committee, the Krikor & Clara Zohrab Information Center, and the Society for Armenian Studies, will take place at the Vahakn and Hasmig Hovnanian Reception Hall of the Eastern Prelacy, on Wednesday, October 16 at 7 pm. Participants include Introduction by Mrs. Mary Gulumian; Moderator, Dr. Christopher Sheklian; Speakers, Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Mr. Jesse Arlen, and Mrs. Gilda Kupelian. For information contact by email ( ) or telephone (212-689-7231). 
Rev. Fr. Vahan Kouyoumdjian, visiting pastor of St. Stephen Church in New Britain, Connecticut, offers prayers for the Republic of Armenia in celebration of the Republic’s 28 th anniversary.
Der Vahan and Yn. Maggie with Archpriest Fr. Aram Stepanian and Yeretzgin Margaret. Der Aram, Pastor Emeritus of St. Stephen’s Church, had recently returned from Armenia where he directed the 10 th year of the Summer Camp for orphans.
Der Vahan and Yn. Maggie congratulate Colonel Charles Arax on his milestone centenarian birthday during the picnic that followed the services.

Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian with Ms. Lilit Artemian, and Maestro Kostantin Pedrossian.
On Monday, September 23, pianist Lilit Artemian gave an interesting presentation and concert organized by St. Illuminator’s Cathedral and dedicated to Gomidas Vartabed's 150th anniversary.   Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor, introduced the guest and thanked Maestro Kostantin Petrossian and Dr. Svetlana Amirkhanian for helping organize this wonderful evening.

A graduate from “Komitas” Yerevan State Conservatory in 2007 and a Ph.D. in Fine Arts from the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia (2012), Ms.  Artemian has earned many awards in national and international piano competitions and given dozens of concerts and solo performances in Armenia. She made an interesting presentation, which lasted an hour, on the life and legacy of Gomidas Vartabed as a composer and his influence on world and Armenian music. She enriched her presentation with the performance of pieces from Gomidas Vartabed.
September 9 was the first day of classes at the Haigazian School of Philadelphia. The students attended with very high spirits. This year, the school has introduced i-Pads, along textbooks, which have been endowed with various Armenian games. Those games will allow the students getting acquainted and learning the alphabet, forms, colors, names of animals and fruits, and many other things. It is hoped that this will contributed to a more pleasant and effective teaching of the Armenian language.
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 Evelina*, who is sponsored by Takoohi Kakligian. 
*In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.
Dear Sponsor,

My name is Evelina. . . . I am an 8 th grader in our village’s middle school. I am on the honor roll. My favorite subject is math.

I have an older sister and a younger brother. In my spare time, I like to play with my brother. My sister helps me with my homework.

My grandparents live with us. I love them very much. Most of all, I love my mom who is always ready to help me.

I don’t care about fine clothes or expensive things. My biggest dream is to be able to continue my education and become an accountant.

Thank you very much for your kindness and care. May God protect you and your family. 


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. 
Birth of Gevorg Emin (September 30, 1919)
This year is the hundredth birth anniversary of Gevorg Emin, one of the fine names of the poetry of Armenia in the second half of the past century, along with Hamo Sahian, Hovhannes Shiraz, Silva Kaputikian, Hrachia Hovhannisian, and especially Paruyr Sevak, who took the mantle after the death of Yeghishe Charents during the Stalinist purges.

He was born Gevorg Muratian on September 30, 1919, in the town of Ashtarak. He was forced to adopt the name Karlen in the 1930s, at a time when there was the so-called “Communist baptisms.” In 1940 he graduated from the school of Hydrotechnics of the Polytechnic Institute “Karl Marx” of Yerevan (now the State Engineering University of Armenia). However, he soon shifted to literature and in the same year published his first book of poetry, Initial Path, in 1940, which he signed Gevorg Emin. He worked from 1940-1942 at the Matenadaran and in the district of Vardenis. He was wounded during his participation in World War II from 1942-1944.

Emin went to study at the studio of Armenian writers, which was attached to the Literary Institute of Moscow, from 1949-1950. He returned to Armenia and became the Yerevan correspondent of the Moscow literary weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta (1951-1954). In 1951 he won the State Prize of the Soviet Union for his collection New Road, published two years before. In 1954 he was back to the Soviet capital and studied until 1956 in the higher literary courses adjunct to the Writers Union of the Soviet Union.

In the Stalin years, Emin had started finding his own voice amid ideological restraints and criticism. His poetry, where the reflections on humanity, his people, and the homeland were matched with a more free style in composition, gained critical attention from the 1960s. Between 1968 and 1972 he was the editor in chief of the monthly Literaturnaya Armenia, published by the Writers Union of Armenia in Russian. Afterwards, he entered the Institute of Art of the Academy of Sciences as a senior researcher. In 1976 he won the State Prize of the Soviet Union for the second time after the publication of his book Land, Love, Century, and in 1979 he won the prize “Charents” in Armenia.

Besides a steady flow of poetry, published in some two dozen books, Emin was also a prolific author of essays, which were collected in several volumes, including Seven Songs about Armenia (1974), the most popular. The latter was derived from his script for the homonymous film, shot in 1967 by Grigor Melik-Avakian, which earned prizes in festivals in Yerevan and Leningrad (St. Petersburg). He was a prolific translator and gathered his best works in Book of Translations (1984). At the same time, his poetry was translated into many languages, including English ( Land, Love, and Century, 1988).

Gevorg Emin was always a non-conformist writer, and his essays published in the twilight of the Soviet regime and in the first years of independence brought new elements to understand the immediate past. He passed away on June 11, 1998, at the age of seventy-eight.
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 is from March 2, 1992, the day the Armenian tricolored flag was raised at the United Nations. The tricolor is the first flag on the left. If you look carefully on the right side of the photograph you will see Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian looking upward as the Armenian flag is being raised. He often described this as “one of his happiest” memories.
( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
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 Goodwin St., Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, “Armenian Bazaar,” 11 am to 6 pm. Take out available (call ahead: 413-543-4763.) Free admission and parking.

October 26 —One day conference during the “Year of the Armenian Press” and celebrating the 120 th anniversary of the establishment of Hairenik and the 85 th anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian Weekly will take place in Pashalian Hall of St. Illuminator Cathedral in New York City. Details will follow. 

November 1 and 2 —St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachussetts, presents the 63rd installment of its annual bazaar at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC). 47 Nichols Ave, Watertown, MA.  

November 1-3 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, annual Food Festival. Free complimentary parking; featuring Onnik Dinkjian on Saturday! For information: 201-943-2950.  

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 16 - St. Stephen's Armenian Elementary School 35th Anniversary Celebration
Under the Auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy USA at the Westin Waltham, MA. 6:30 p.m. Cocktail Reception | 7:30 p.m. Dinner and Program. RSVP online at .  

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.

December 31 —Save the date. Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, New Year’s Eve dinner/dance.

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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