September 5, 2019
Today the Armenian Church commemorates Saint John the Forerunner and Job the Righteous. John, known as the “Forerunner” and “the Baptist,” is recognized as the harbinger to the Messiah. Job is a good and righteous person who experiences catastrophe after catastrophe, but endures. See last week’s Crossroads for more about John and Job.

As we prepare this issue of Crossroads we are acutely aware of the devastation capable by nature as the Category 5 Hurricane named Dorian, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, slowly traveled up the coast and for two days pounded northwestern areas of the Bahamas. At this time we are not fully aware of the full destruction, but know that the people in the affected areas are going to need massive aid. Please keep informed and consider making donations to the charity of your choice, such as the Red Cross, AmeriCares, and others.

Archbishop Anoushavan will attend the Divine Liturgy, deliver the Sermon and preside over the Great Procession of the Holy Cross this Sunday at St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley in North Andover, Massachusetts. 
The Prelate delivers his message to the youth.
Continuing the tradition, Archbishop Anoushavan traveled to Chicago on Labor Day weekend where on Sunday he offered the invocation and his message at the opening of the Armenian Youth Federation’s annual Olympics Track and Field competitions.

Archbishop Anoushavan seated alongside various dignitaries present for the 86th Annual AYF Olympic Games. Seated, left to right Very Rev. Fr. Ghevont Pentezian, Pastor of All Saints' Church, Chicago, IL, His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Oscar S. Tatosian, the Republic of Armenia's Honorary Consul in Chicago, Aram Kaloustian, member of the ARF Bureau, George Aghjayan, chair of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Central Committee of the Eastern United States

Archbishop Anoushavan at the AYF Olympics with the current and two former chairmen of the Prelacy’s Executive Council. From left, Jack Mardoian, current chairman; Archbishop Anoushavan; and Stephen Hagopian and Richard Sarajian.

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 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 started last week with the impressions of participants from the Eastern Prelacy. We continue this week with the following written by Shant Eghian.
“The summer Youth Academy program held in Antelias, Lebanon, was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Many of the classes were insightful and made me to see things in ways that I never did before. I especially appreciated the classes taught by the Vartabeds . The grounds of the Catholicosate were very beautiful, and it was a blessing to participate in the services in the Cathedral. Our meetings with Vehapar were very insightful, and his sermons during some of the services there were very inspiring.

“During the weekends, we took trips to different areas of Lebanon. This included the village of Anjar, medieval ruins of the Islamic Caliph’s summer residence, and the Trchnatzpooyn (Birds Nest) that served as an orphanage for young Armenian genocide survivors in the early twentieth century. What was most interesting about these trips was that I was able to see how the Catholicosate helps the Armenians of Lebanon, such as helping children from unstable family situations. Also to see how Antelias and Bourj Hammoud are continuations of Western Armenian culture that was almost completely wiped out by the Ottoman government of 1915.

“Perhaps the highlight of my trip was the nine mile walk from Antelias to Bikfaya as part of a pilgrimage for the Feast of Asdvadzadzin . This was a unique and beautiful experience. Attending the Badarak (Holy Liturgy) in the chapel in Bikfaya, as well as the large outdoor stone altar was very moving.

“The Summer Youth Academy is definitely a program that our Prelacy should continue to support, as it will give our youth a wonderful opportunity to see the spiritual center of our Prelacy.”

Shant Eghian
Bible readings for Sunday, September 8, 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. Birth of the Holy Virgin Mary Mother of God, Proverbs 31:29-31; Isaiah 61:9; Galatians 3:24-29; Matthew 1:1-17.

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


I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. With all our affliction, I am overjoyed.

For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in 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 that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not only because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting; for you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through 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 suffered the wrong, but in order that your zeal for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. Therefore we are comforted.

And besides our own comfort we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his mind has been set at rest by you all. For if I have expressed to him some pride in you, I was not put to shame; but just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting before Titus has proved true. And his heart goes out all the more to you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, and the fear and trembling with which you received him. I rejoice because I have perfect confidence in you. (2 Corinthians 7:4-16)

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

This Saturday, September 7, the Armenian Church commemorates the Feast of the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God. The birth of the Holy Mother is not recorded in the Bible; the account of this event comes to us from other writings that are not part of the New Testament. According to tradition, Joachim and Anna were faithful and pious and waiting for the promised Messiah. They were elderly and childless. They prayed to God for a child and were blessed with a daughter they named Mary, who became the mother of the Messiah.
This Sunday, September 8, 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.
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, he 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 creation 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 7, 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 and Father, Only Begotten, of the substance of the Father. God from God, light from light, true God, begotten and not made,” (from the Nicene Creed recited during the Armenian Divine Liturgy).

Prior to the Council’s conclusion, the delegates celebrated the 20 th 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.
Several years ago, the Armenian Prelacy published a bilingual book,  Commentary on the Nicene Creed . The book is based on a series of lectures given by Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian, of blessed memory, in Antelias. 
Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian (1947-2004) was a member of the Brotherhood of the Catholicosate of Cilicia. He was a prominent biblical scholar, translator, and specialist in Armenian liturgical music, as well as a composer of religious music. He wrote numerous books, articles, musical scores, and directed the Department of Christian Education at the Catholicosate from 1982-2004. 
In  Commentary on the Nicene Creed , Archbishop Zareh discusses the Creed line by line, phrase by phrase, offering a clear and concise biblical and theological interpretation. The book also includes an appendix comprised of the two other creeds used by the Armenian Apostolic Church—the baptismal creed and the confession of the orthodox faith of the Armenian Church. Those interested may order a copy from the Prelacy Bookstore.
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 Kristine*, who is sponsored by the members of the Ladies Guild of St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts.

*In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.
Dear Sponsor,

This is Kristine. . . . I am a first year student in Gyumri State Medical college. My mother died and my father abandoned us.

I live with my grandmother, grandfather, and two brothers. We rent our apartment, and my grandmother takes care of us. Both my grandparents have health issues.               

Thank you very much for your charitable support. I wish you happiness, health and a long life.

(signed) Kristine
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. 

Death of Nigoghos Tashjian (September 9, 1885)
Nigoghos Tashjian is not a familiar name when we speak of Armenian religious music, but we owe to him the use of modern notation to transcribe the ancient hymns and songs. In this way, those pieces were rescued from becoming undecipherable for modern musicians and musicologists.

Tashjian was born in Constantinople on June 17, 1841. He studied at the Nersesian School of Haskeuy, where he was a student of Kapriel Yeranian (author of the music for the song “Guiliguia”).

In the 1860s Tashjian was involved in the publication of several music journals. First, he published a semi-annual journal called Nvak osmanian (“Ottoman Melody”), with his brother Hagopig Tashjian, and then he joined his teacher Yeranian to publish another periodical, Knar Arevelian (“Oriental Lyre”). In 1863 Tashjian, Vartan Papazian, and composer Tigran Chuhajian (the author of the first Armenian opera, “Arshag II”) published together yet another music journal, Osmanian yerazhshdutiun (“Ottoman Music”). All three journals were printed in lithography (from a stone plate, hence the name) and included Armenian and Turkish songs.
Tashjian printed interesting articles in the Armenian press of Constantinople, and in 1871 he was invited to Holy Echmiadzin to teach music at the Kevorkian Seminary, where future composer Makar Yekmalian was his student. Three years later, he published his Textbook of Armenian Ecclesiastic Notation , where he first explained the notation system of his predecessor Hampartzum Limonjian, and he later presented the nature and a brief history of Armenian music.

His most important service to Armenian music would be, as we said, the use of modern notation to transcribe religious songs and hymns, trying to maintain the authentic meaning of the ancient Armenian khaz (neumes). By the second half of the nineteenth century, the key to the khaz was lost and there was nobody left to sing them accurately. This is why various authors, like Limonjian and Tashjian, tried to “translate” them into modern notation. Tashjian published four books of transcribed songs in Holy Echmiadzin: Songbook of the Divine Liturgy (1874); Songbook of Armenian Liturgical Hymns (1875); Songs with Notation of the Book of Hours of the Armenian Holy Church (1877), and Excerpts of Blessings with Notation (1882).
In 1879 he returned to Constantinople, where he taught music at various schools and was the choirmaster at the Armenian Cathedral of Constantinople. He was also the author of various patriotic songs, which Yekmalian and Gomidas Vartabed later arranged for polyphonic version.

Tashjian passed away in Constantinople on September 9, 1885, at the age of forty-four, but his legacy would outlive him and become a stepping stone for his successors in the field of Armenian religious music.
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( ). 

Don’t Eat Those Things
Languages have their formal standard, namely, a way of written expression regulated through grammar and syntaxis, but also an informal standard, which is mostly composed by colloquial expressions. You use certain expressions in a conversation that probably would not be part of a written text, unless you made a point of including them. Whether they are acceptable or not, that is a different matter.

We have such cases in English, but also in Armenian, whether Western or Eastern Armenian. There is a widespread misconception that, because of the loss and dispersion that occurred after the genocide of 1915, Western Armenian has become a purely literary and formal language, losing the colloquial language. It is true that the disappearance of most dialects, as well as the gradual lack of daily use, except in some areas of the Diaspora, have been detrimental to the development and the survival of Western Armenian. However, this does not mean that the colloquial language does not exist, or that it cannot have further development.

The verb  ուտել  ( օօdel ) “to eat” offers examples that are worthy of being used in spoken language, because they add to its flavor. Thus, instead of saying  Քեզի պիտի ապտակեմ  Kezi bidi abdagem  (“I will slap you”), you can say  Ապտակ մը պիտի ուտես  ( Abdag me bidi oodes ). The threat is the same, but the way of saying is more colorfully menacing: “You will eat a slap”!

In the same way you “eat” slaps, you can eat other things, like a beating, indeed:

Ծեծ մը կերաւ, որ այլեւս չի մոռնար  ( Dzedz muh gerav, vor aylevus chi mornar)
(“He ate a beating that he will no longer forget”)

You can “eat” slaps or beatings because you actually “ate” something else:
Մարդուն դրամը կերաւ   ( Martoon tramuh gerav ).

“He ate the man’s money,” namely, he took his money through deception. Therefore, the person became a “money-eater” ( դրամ ուտող – tram oodogh ).

Of course, there are people who make recourse to verbal threats instead of (or before) battery, and they can say:

Ինձմէ խօսք մը պիտի ուտէ որ… (Intzmeh khosk muh bidi oodeh vor…)
The threat is: “He will eat such [hard] words from me that…”

The best advice is not to “eat” these things, whether slaps, beatings, money, or hard words. They can really affect your digestion.
Previous entries in “Armenian Language Corner” 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 photo goes back fifty-six years ago to October 1963. It is an image of the historic meeting of His Holiness Khoren I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, and His Holiness Vasken I, Supreme Catholicos of All Armenians in Etchmiadzin. This photo was taken at the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem where the meeting took place. In response to His Holiness Vasken’s invitation His Holiness Khoren I arrived in Jerusalem on October 26, 1963. The two leaders embraced and jointly prayed for the unity and peace of the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church.

A communiqué issued by the Cilician See on November 4, 1963 stated, in part: “We hereby inform our Armenian faithful that His Holiness Catholicos Vasken I, the Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians, and His Holiness Catholicos Khoren I of the Great House of Cilicia met in an atmosphere of Christian love and spiritual fellowship in the City of Peace. The historic meeting took place at the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem in the presence of His Grace Patriarch Yeghishe, bishops and various notables. Through a holy embrace they renewed their pledge to serve the Holy Armenian Apostolic Church and the noble Armenian people. With the Holy embrace of the two Supreme Patriarchs, the eight-year-old conflict plaguing the Armenian Church was brought to an end. . . .” (Excerpt from the communiqué issued by the Cilician See in Antelias, Lebanon on November 4, 1963).
A special concert-event of “Gorky’s Dream Garden” will offer a gateway for audience’s to witness the work’s timely call for inclusivity. The Newark Museum of Art will present the new musical theatre opera in a site-specific Love Songs Showscape chamber preview this Saturday afternoon, September 7 (with a pre-concert spectacle at 1:30 pm). The exclusive 80-minute show will take place at the Museum’s Billy Johnson Theater and is free with Museum admission. Created by well-known award winning composer Michelle Ekizian, Gorky’s Dream Garden comes to life with a cast of performers from Broadway, Opera, Film, and Dance.

The opera is based loosely on the story of the artist Arshile Gorky, whose Newark murals are a part of the Newark Museum’s collection. Born Vostanig Adoian in Van, Turkey in 1904 and died in Connecticut in 1948, Gorky was a child witness to the Armenian Genocide of 1915. For more information: or 973-596-6550.
( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
September 7 —The Newark Museum of Art presents a concert-performance of “Gorky’s Dream Garden,” a musical-theater opera of love, courage and modern art, at the Museum, 49 Washington Street, Newark, New Jersey, at 1:00 pm. Based on the life of Arshile Gorky by composer Michelle Ekizian. Admission is included with Newark Museum admission. For information: or 973-596-6550.

September 8 - Saint Gregory Church, North Andover, Annual Picnic, Sunday, 12:00-5:30 P.M; Great Procession of the Holy Cross will take place at 2:30 P.M. under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate.

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.a

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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