September 3, 2020
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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

His Holiness Khoren I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, of blessed memory, was a graduate of the Theological Seminary in Antelias. He had no opportunity to pursue higher education, but rather was sent to serve the Armenian community in Northern Syria. Later he became the Prelate of Lebanon, Pontifical Legate to the United States and eventually Catholicos. Moushegh Ishkhan, our instructor of Psychology at the Seminary, one day referred to Catholicos Khoren as a born psychologist. We didn’t grasp the depth of his comment and, realizing our thoughts, Mr. Ishkhan added, “Yes, boys, Catholicos Khoren knows psychology very well, and he knows how to act accordingly. He knows how to speak to the minds and hearts of people, and of course brings success to his monumental projects.” Years later, when I was ordained to priesthood along with my Brotherhood peers, I enjoyed His Holiness’s Fatherly care, wisdom as well as leisure time educational games. One day I asked him, “Your Holiness, we are told by our historian Movses Khorenatsi that our forefather Haig following his rebellion against Bel headed to the north and established his kingdom there. Wouldn’t it better if he had migrated south and, instead of a rocky country, reigned over a country of gold mines or oil”? With a cautious smile, His Holiness answered, “Son, you are too young, in the coming years, through your experience, you will realize that you are serving a gold-hearted people.”

The more the years passed and, on the one hand, I witnessed the civil war of Lebanon, the catastrophic earthquake of Armenia, the infamous massacres of Sumgait, the liberation war of Artsakh, the tragedy of the Twin Towers, tsunamis and other calamities, and the most recent devastating explosion in the port of Beirut and, on the other, our dispersed nation’s children in the four corners of the world rallying around a common cause to bring relief and healing to their brothers and sisters, I was humbled at the insight of Catholicos Khoren. Indeed, he had led me to recognize the heart, the essence of our people’s character.

I am pleased to announce that, thanks to the cooperation of our Pastors and the generous donations of our parishioners and friends, as of today we have received $258,324 dollars, and we have made the fourth transfer in the legally allowed amount of $50,000 dollars. While I express my deep gratitude to the Almighty Lord, I would like to remind you that all Lebanon Relief donations are distributed to our sisters and brothers in Lebanon by the newly established Central Coordinating Committee composed of all Armenian denominations, political parties and organizations.

Prelate, Eastern Prelacy of the United States
To see the fourth list of donations, click here
To see the general list of donations, click here
On Sunday, September 6, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, will preside over the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Pastor, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon. Our faithful may follow the ceremony via live streaming.

On Friday, August 28, His Holiness Aram I presided a meeting of the brotherhood of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia met at the monastery of the Holy Mother of God in Bikfaya, with the participation of 22 monks of the congregation residing in Antelias. The Brotherhood’s meeting was initially scheduled to take two months earlier but it was postponed because of the extraordinary circumstances. 

In his welcome message to the congregant fathers, His Holiness expressed his satisfaction and appreciation for the work the Brotherhood carries out both within the monastery and in the parishes. He stressed that the Brotherhood is one single entity. Wherever they serve and regardless of their mission, the congregants are an integral part of the Brotherhood.

Following these remarks, the Catholicos discussed the following topics:

1.        In the current anomalous circumstances, it is mandatory to serve the faithful in a more organized and consistent manner, giving a bigger scope and a boost in the service of our Church to the people.

2.        To keep the coronavirus as far as possible from our life, our people must be reminded to observe proper care and follow prevention measures, as well as serve as an example.

3.        The Catholicosate and our prelacies keep providing an essential service to the members of our nation by distributing aid and medicines to needy families as well as by enlisting the help of benefactors. 

4.        His Holiness announced that Bishop Meghrig Parikian has been named Director of the Seminary, whereas Fr. Kevork Karageozian and Fr. Hagop Yacoubian will also join the Director’s Office as supervisors. Former director, Fr. Boghos Tinkjian will be assigned a prelacy mission. Fr. Dadjad Ashekian has been named director of “Birds’ Nest.” In addition to being the director of the Catholicosate’s choir, Fr. Zaven Najarian has been named the Catholicos’ crosier-bearer. Fr. Ardavazt Sharoyan was named assistant to the Head Librarian and the department of Christian Education. His Holiness said that in the coming months a number of congregant fathers who are serving in prelacies will return while others will leave on new missions. 

5.        His Holiness spoke at large about the imperative of rebuilding the Lebanese Armenian community. Fundraising has started, as well as the reconstruction work. All communities and Armenians bring their support to one single entity and one goal: the recovery of the Lebanese Armenian community. 

6.        His Holiness also discussed briefly how, despite of the unfavorable circumstances, the Catholicosate carries out a range of services in the educational, publishing and ecumenical fields as well as others. 

7.        In his conclusion, the Catholicos said that in the coming days will communicate by videoconference with Brotherhood members who are serving in prelacies to learn in more detail about the work they are doing and the difficulties they face. He will also have working videoconference and face-to-face with the Prelates and the chairpersons of the Executive Councils, to learn more thoroughly about the work of the prelacies and their activities in support of the Lebanese Armenians.
On Tuesday, August 25, Catholicos Aram I spoke on the telephone with the Prelate of the Armenian Church of Aleppo, Bishop Masis Zobouyan, for detailed information about issues of the Armenian community of Syria. Bishop Zobouyan told His Holiness about the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and the economic situation for the Armenian community.  

His Holiness welcomed the news that the number of Syrian Armenians infected with Covid-19 has notably decreased and many have recovered. The financial crisis, however, continues. In this regard, Bishop Zobouyan thanked His Holiness for the aid the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia has sent to the Syrian Armenian community. 

Once again, the Catholicos reaffirmed that the Holy See is ready to support Syrian Armenians in any community they may have settled in.

Today, the second Sunday after the Feast of the Assumption, the scriptural reading is from the Gospel of St. Mark 4.35-41. While Jesus and His disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee, a great windstorm arises, threatening to sink the boat. As expert fishermen who feel they are facing an unusual wind, the Apostles awake Jesus, who was asleep on the cushion, and say to him. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus wakes up and rebukes the wind, and says to the sea, “Peace! Be still.” The wind ceases and peace prevails. Then Jesus says to the Apostles, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” The Apostles, stunned at the miracle ask among themselves, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Miracles in general are amazing and always astonish human mind; especially in this passage, we witness not only a new case of healing but a new phenomenon, the obedience of natural law to its Master’s command. Yet I am more fascinated with a simpler thing in our reading, which makes me feel closer to Jesus Christ. But first, I would like to consider two interrelated realities. The Apostles assume the responsibility to handle the situation, but when they realize that they are failing to control it, address Jesus not in a proper way, as if Jesus doesn’t care for their welfare. This behavior expresses one of the weaknesses of humans. In our daily life, it’s very common that when we undertake a task and for different reasons things don’t go the way we expect, instead of humbly acknowledging our shortcomings, unfortunately we blame others. In our rebukes, sometimes we include even God, as if He is indifferent toward our problems, anxieties, while humbly asking advice or help may be for our own advantage. In this regard Psalm 121:1 carries a positive message. According to biblical scholars, it counters a critical moment in the life of David, when he was surrounded by adversaries and was expecting help from his allies, which doesn’t happen. He then turns to his real Hope and that’s how he authors this personal praise, psalm 121, by saying, “I lift up my eyes to the hills –from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

Now, I would like to share the beauty of my favorite part, which describes one of the most essential aspects of our nature, that while the Apostles were facing the windstorm, Jesus was sleeping on the cushion. In Psalm 121 verse 4 we read that the Lord keeps Israel with neither slumber nor sleep. But we see Jesus was sleeping, because he was tired. Does this scene contradict the previous statement, “the Lord keeps Israel without sleeping”? Not at all, but rather it proves how in Jesus we see the Divine and human natures embracing each other so harmoniously. Jesus God became truly man as we confess every Sunday in the Nicaean Creed. He was tired like us and needed some rest. He cried upon the resentment of Jerusalem to welcome his Lord. On the cross, He felt thirsty and asked for water, even though He was served with vinegar. In today’s passage we see that Jesus is indeed one of us. Therefore if He was able with the help of Divine nature to conquer all human weaknesses, it becomes a crystal truth that with God’s help we also can overcome all kind of temptations that separate us from our original identity, “Imago Dei: image of God” as Jesus told us “All things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). and St. Paul echoes his Master by saying, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)   

As a generation raised in the age of science and statistics, we are inclined to prove the validity of our discoveries in different fields of science by the results of statistics. I believe that by the virtue of this same rule/pattern when we examine that how since Noah, Abraham, Mary and all historical and contemporary saints with God have achieved things which seem to be impossible, then there is no excuse for us, the carriers of the sacred name of Christ-the Anointed One, to follow in His footsteps, and always identify ourselves with our Heavenly Father, praising the All Holy Trinity. Amen.
Bible readings for Sunday, September 6, Third Sunday after the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, (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.
Mark 7:31-37

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
2 Corinthians 7:4-16
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 was 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.
For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.

Today, September 3, the Armenian Church commemorates St. John the Forerunner and Job the Righteous. St. John the Forerunner , also known as John the Baptist (Hovhaness Mkrtich), is an important figure in the Gospels. He is recognized as the “forerunner” (Garapet) to the Messiah. He lived as a hermit in the desert of Judea. At the age of 30 he began to preach against the evils of the times and called for penance and baptism because “the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.”

Job is a good and righteous person who experiences and endures catastrophe after catastrophe. Thus, the phrase “the patience of Job” has entered the English lexicon as a popular cliché. The Book of Job is one of the five books classified as the “poetical books” of the Bible. The central theme is the mystery of suffering. Ultimately, Job is rewarded because “the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning,” and “After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days” (Job, Chapter 42).
It was quite an auspicious gathering, called to convene by Emperor Constantine the Great upon the recommendation of church leaders. Constantine invited 1,800 bishops of the Christian Church within the vast Roman Empire. The number attending (counted by three attendees) varies, but the number 318 has come to be the agreed official number of delegates. Since each delegate could bring with him two priests and three deacons, the total attendance was actually more. A number of controversial topics were discussed including the Arian question, the date of Easter, organization and structure of the church, the question of kneeling, to mention a few. Perhaps the most important result was the formulation of a Creed—a declaration and summary of the Christian faith. It is this event—the First Ecumenical Council—that we celebrate this Saturday, September 5, that took place in Nicaea in the year 325.

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, in all their doctrinal writings, the Fathers of the Armenian Church refer to the Council of Nicaea with reverence, 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 the Father, Only Begotten, that is of the substance of the Father. God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten and not made” (from the Nicene Creed recited during the Armenian Divine Liturgy).

Prior to the Council’s conclusion, the delegates celebrated the 20th anniversary of Emperor Constantine, who in his closing remarks spoke of his aversion to dogmatic controversy and his desire for the Church to live in harmony, peace, and unity.
This Sunday, September 6, is the Paregentan of the Fast leading to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Khachveratz). 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.
This Tuesday, 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.
Thirty teachers of the schools under the jurisdiction of the Armenian National Education Committee took part in the initial class of a Teachers Training Program on Saturday, August 29. The program, which will continue until the end of 2020, will be enlarged in the coming years.

Noted educator Ani Garmiryan, Senior Program Officer for the Promotion of Western Armenian at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, graciously agreed to lead this initiative, with the assistance of three young collaborators. Archbishop Anoushavan blessed the plan, expressing his satisfaction in welcoming remarks.

A notably high number of participants were young teachers. The initial class of this training program lasted six hours, two more than initially scheduled, in view of the enthusiasm shown by the attendees as well as the many questions that arose during the session.
The Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program was established in 1993 and continues to be the central mission of the Prelacy’s projects in Armenia and Artsakh. As part of the program, letters are received regularly from children addressed to their actual or potential sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads.

This week’s letter is from Narek* who is sponsored by Vahe and Hasmik Dombalagian.
*In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.
Dear Sponsor,

This is Narek from Gyumri. I am 17 years old and I am a 12th grade student in Gyumri’s Alishan Public School number 8. Although still in school, I was accepted at the Faculty of Acting of Yerevan State Institute of Theater and Cinema’s Gyumri branch. I will be in the preparatory class until May. In May, I will have to take the admission exam, following which I would become a first-year student. I chose the department of acting, because I feel free there; I followed my heart. In December 2020 or in January, I will enlist in military service to serve the Republic of Armenia. I am enlisting in the army to defend our borders so that everybody on this side of the border may live in peace and have a quiet sleep at night. I think that every young man must serve his country and defend its borders.

My whole days are dedicated to study: I go to school in the morning, then I go to the university, and in the evening I do my homework and study for the exams.

I am very grateful to you, dear sponsor, for helping me. That money helps my mother to take care of some of our needs.

With lots of love,

Click here for online sponsorship of minors up to the age of 18.

Click here for online sponsorship of orphans who become students at a higher education institution upon turning 18.

You can always contact the Prelacy by email ( or telephone (212-689-7810) for the sponsorship of both minors and university students in the program of the St. Nerses the Great Organization in Armenia.
The drawing of the Prelacy’s annual raffle is on Saturday, September 12, 2020. The top prize is $5,000; second prize is $2,000; and third, fourth, and fifth prizes are $1,000.

This is the raffle that keeps giving, because all the money raised benefits the Prelacy’s educational and religious programs.

Tickets cost $100 each. For information, please contact your local parish or the Prelacy office ( or 212-689-7810).
Based on a true story that hints at the presence of miraculous grace, The Silent Angel is a powerful account of human resilience and heroic faith set against the backdrop of the Armenian Genocide.

This tale opens up with a scene of carnage and devastation, from the ruins of a monastery to lifeless bodies—the doings of an army of young Turks. Silent Angel follows the story of five survivors: three women, a child, and a Greek monk. They are forced to wander through the deserted Valley of Moush in search of a new life and a better destiny than their Armenian brothers.

During the most painful moment of their lives, they become guardians of a book of inestimable value, the Book of Moush, an ancient illuminated manuscript. Believing the book to be a talisman of sorts, they vow to bring the book to safety, even to defend it with their own lives. Antonia Arslan tells this story with intense compassion and clarity, taking the reader on a desperate search for truth and salvation.

Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, has written: “The miraculous story of the Msho Jarendir (A collection of homilies and a Martyrology) is an eloquent testimony to the faith of two Armenian women, who during the Genocide, offered themselves and their lives for a sacred manuscript: the word of God. It is a story with a happy ending for the manuscript. It was divided into two parts. Through the providential care of the women the parts today embrace each other and have a safe home in the Matenadaran, the great repository of Armenian manuscripts in Yerevan, Armenia.

“The emblematic story of the survival of the Msho Jarendir could have no better bard than Antonia Arslan. Her powerful and loving voice carries us through those dark days, reminding us not of what Armenians lost, but of what they found: that even in the valley of death we are never alone."
Copies of this book may be purchased from the Prelacy Bookstore ( or 212-689-7810)


Death of Arshak Bourjalian (September 4, 1946)
Arshak Bourjalian was a well-known figure in the avant-garde of Russian and Armenian theater during the first decades of the twentieth century. He was born in Astrakhan (Russia) on January 7, 1880. His elder brother Gevorg had already made a name for himself in Russian theater and was close friends with internationally famous theater director and theoretician Konstantin Stanislavski.

After graduating from high school in Astrakhan, Bourjalian went to Moscow to continue his education. There, he became closely acquainted with the theatrical activities of his elder brother and decided to apply for the Society of Art and Letters that Stanislavski headed and which was already known in all of Russia.

After a couple of years working there, in 1898 Bourjalian left for St. Petersburg to study at the navy institute. He graduated in 1902-1903 and went to Paris. He returned to Moscow in 1908 and was admitted to the cabaret-theater “The Bat,” which had been founded by Stanislavski’s initiative on the basis of the comedies organized by the actors of his Moscow Theater of Art. The soul of “The Bat” was Mkrtich Balian (Nikita Baliyev), an Armenian actor of the Theater of Art. Bourjalian learned there to appreciate the actor’s mastery, acting technique, and the ability to control the body.

He went to Rostov-on-the-Don in 1919 on a tour with the theater group “Korshi,” but the attack of the counterrevolutionary forces during the civil war forced the group to disperse. Bourjalian stayed in the city and, with his enthusiastic participation, two Russian theaters were created in the spirit of “The Bat.” His frequent appearances in both made him well-known, and the movie studio “Renaissance” of Rostov invited him to give lectures about facial expressions. In Rostov, he established his first connection with Armenian theater through his collaboration with the theater group created by playwright Alexander Abelian.

Afterwards, Bourjalian moved to Tiflis, where his masterful command of cabaret-theater made him well-known. His stagecraft was characterized by colorful and picturesque details. He staged performances of revolutionary spirit for the Revolutionary Artistic Theater of the city. In 1922 he was invited to direct the theater group Armenian Drama and the theatrical section of the Armenian House of Art (Hayardoon). He devoted the rest of his life to Armenian theater. During three years (1922-1924), he stage dozens of plays in different theaters of Tiflis, as well as twenty-five plays with Hay Drama, the student stage of the Armenian studio, and the First Theater of Yerevan, which reflected his forward-thinking.

After working in the First Theater of Yerevan (1923-1927), Bourjalian returned to Tiflis to direct the Armenian Theater of the city until 1931. He was artistic director of the Armenian dramatic theater of Rostov-on the Don (1931) and head director of the Azerbaijani theater of Tiflis (1931-1932) until he was invited to become head director of the Spendiarian Opera and Ballet Theater of Yerevan, where he worked until 1938, making enormous improvement in the preparation of new actor and the stagecraft of operas.

After working at the Azerbaijani theater of Yerevan (1938-1941) and the Dramatic Theater of Leninakan, the current Gumri (1941-1943), poor health severed Bourjalian’s ties with theaters. He spent his last years in Tiflis, where he passed away on September 4, 1946.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( 

The Armenian language has always shown an uncanny capacity to maintain the pace of time and create many neologisms. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when Western Armenian was in the process of creation, the members of the Mekhitarist Congregation and their students enriched the language with such words.

There were other people who independently took upon that task for their love of language. For instance, Nahabed Rusinian (1819-1876), the author of the well-known poem “Cilicia,” not only dealt with essays to regulate the modern language, but also with the creation of such new words. Among others, we will mention here two words, which have lived for more than a century and half, and now are part of the current vocabulary of the Armenian language.

In the nineteenth century, the French press introduced the tradition of serializing novels in the bottom section of the daily newspaper. Many of the best-sellers of the time were first published in such fashion. This French custom, known with the name of feuilleton, was copied by the Armenian press in Constantinople and Tiflis, and many new and important works were first published in the press before being separately printed, even though there were such works that remained buried in the press and never graced the shelves of the readers.

Inspired by the French word feuilleton—the French word feuille means “leaf, page”—and, probably, using the root of the verb թերթել (tertel), which means “to leaf, to browse,” Rusinian suggested the Armenian word թերթօն (terton).

His second suggestion was the translation of the French word perruque (“wig”). Since the author had no way to make a connection between both languages, he went to translate the meaning of the word. The word “hair” has several translations in Armenian: մազ (maz), հեր (her), ծամ (dzam), and վարս (vars). Rusinian chose the most difficult and perhaps disputable way: he brought together the words կեղծ (geghdz “fake”) and ծամ (dzam “hair”), which would yield the compound word կեղծածամ (geghdzadzam), and elimina
ted the cacophony by leaving out the first dza syllable. The result was կեղծամ (geghdzam).
If there were any objections to the use of geghdzam as translation for “wig,” they lost any currency, since today the word is commonly used in Eastern and Western Armenian, no questions asked.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( 
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Crossroads welcomes your letters (English and/or Armenian), as well as parish news, photographs, and calendar items. The deadline for submitting items is Tuesday evenings. Please write to

(Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style)
September 12 —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy to meet by videoconference, hosted by the Prelacy.
September 12 —Second class of the ANEC Teacher’s Training Program, online, ET 3:30-5:30pm
September 26 —First Siamanto Academy online class of the 2020-21 school year at 10:30 am. Students from all our parishes are welcome. For further information and to register, please visit:

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