September 7, 2017
Monday, September 11, is the 16 th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Let us pray for those who perished, for the survivors, and for those who forever mourn the loss of their loved ones.
“We, the priests and people, entreat you, O merciful Lord, with those who have fallen asleep in faith, receive us also in the same hope of resurrection, into the city of Jerusalem, above, in which the just are assembled, so that with them we may always glorify the three persons of the Trinity.”

(From the Armenian Hymn sung during the Requiem Service)
Reverend Father Arnak Kasparian
Rev. Fr. Arnak Kasparian entered into heavenly peace on August 28, at his home in New Milford, New Jersey, at age 97. Der Arnak served the Church for nearly seven decades as a priest, educator, ecumenist, patriot, and community leader. His sweet and easy smile, humility, generous compassion, and inspiring words embraced everyone in the spirit of true Christian ecumenism, prompting many to embrace him as “the people’s pastor.”
Visiting hours will be held at St. Leon Armenian Church in Fair Lawn, New Jersey on Monday, September 11, from 2 to 4 pm and from 6 to 9 pm. The dahn gark service will be at 8 pm. The Divine Liturgy and Final Anointing will take place on Tuesday, September 12, at St. Leon Church, beginning at 10:30 am, officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).
Der Arnak is survived by Yeretzgin Violet, his devoted partner of 66 years, their children Stephen, Laurie, Maro, Ardis, and Thomas; nine grandchildren, and his brother Hagop. In-lieu-of-flowers donations may be made to St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, 486 Bedford Road, Armonk, New York 10504. May his memory be forever blessed.

Araxe (Roxy) Sookikian
Araxe Sookikian, who lived in Washington Heights in Manhattan most of her life, passed away on August 29, in New Jersey, three days shy of her 92 nd birthday. Araxe was a familiar name and face at the Prelacy, especially in the early years when she volunteered countless hours helping establish the Prelacy office. She continued her volunteerism throughout her life and up until a few years ago, when she moved to an assisted living facility in Tenafly, New Jersey, kept in touch with the Prelacy office, visiting whenever she was in the area.
Funeral service will take place tomorrow, Friday, September 8 at St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, 221 E. 27 th Street, New York, with visitation from 10:30 am to 11:30 am, followed by funeral service at 11:30 am, and interment at 1:15 pm at Cedar Grove Cemetery, Flushing, New York.
Survivors include her brother, Vahram Sookikian of Waltham, Massachusetts, her sister-in-law, Helen Sookikian, her niece, Linda Eckersley, and her nephew, Steven Sookikian. In-lieu-of-flowers donations may be made to Camp Haiastan ( ) or St. Illuminator’s Cathedral ( ). Asdvatz Hokeen Lousavoreh.
Continuing the tradition, Archbishop Oshagan opened the Games on Sunday, September 3 with an opening prayer and remarks at the 84 th annual Armenian Youth Federation Olympics that took place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin over the Labor Day weekend.
Archbishop Oshagan described the AYF as one of the most powerful forces in keeping the Armenian American youth together. He told the assembled olympians and spectators, “Since 1998, as your Prelate, I have been honored to be with you every Labor Day weekend. Nearly twenty years ago I stood before you as your newly elected Prelate and asked you to join with me hand-in-hand, heart to heart, in our collective journey as Armenian Americans with the goal of enriching our religious and community life. Today, my message remains the same for a new generation, knowing that by persevering ‘with each other and for each other’ our individual lives will be enriched and our Armenian Christian community will thrive.”
Noting that the year 2017 is the Year of Renewal as proclaimed by His Holiness Aram I, the Prelate said, “The Prelacy is taking strides to achieve the necessary goals of renewal especially in its ministry to the youth. I hope the Armenian Youth Federation will also participate in this process of renewal. Let us be renewed and with our collective effort become more dedicated, more Christian, and complete Armenians, with a true and unique image, the faith of the Illuminator, golden tongue, and immortal posterity.”
In his prayer, His Eminence thanked the Almighty for His bounty and blessings, asking for the heavenly protection of the young athletes. “Bestow upon them not only skill and endurance, but wisdom and insight to excel in all of their endeavor and their dedication to their ancestral heritage,” he said.

In anticipation of the 50 th anniversary of the ordination of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan, that will officially be celebrated on Sunday, October 29, a group of young adults have organized “Cocktails for a Cause,” to benefit the Karen Jeppe Armenian College in Aleppo. The event will take place at StudioArte, 265 W. 37 th Street, New York City. His Eminence taught literature and religion for a number of years at the Karen Jeppe College and is pleased that proceeds from this event will help the college recover and resume its educational leadership role in the area. Watch for the exciting details of this event.
The Religious and Executive Councils of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, invite you to attend a Jubilee Celebration in honor of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate, on the occasion of the 50 th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
His Eminence will celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 29, 10 am, at St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27 th Street, New York City, presided by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia.
Following the Liturgy a reception and dinner will take place at The Lotte New York Palace, 455 Madison Avenue, New York City.

The 2017-2018 term of the Prelacy’s Siamanto Academy is scheduled to start on Saturday, September 23. Except for September and October, classes will take place every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School in New Milford, New Jersey, from 10 am – 1 pm. The Academy, under the direction of the Armenian National Education Committee, presents classes on Armenian history, culture, and current issues. For information: or 212-689-7231.
Bible readings for Sunday, September 10, Fourth Sunday after the Assumption, (Eve of the Fast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross), are: Isaiah 14:1-11; 2 Corinthians 7:4-16; Mark 7:31-37. 

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 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. (2 Corinthians 7:4-16).

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 signed, 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 he charged them, 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)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here .
It was quite an auspicious gathering. It was 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. The number 318 has come to be the official number of delegates. Since each delegate could bring with him two priests and three deacons, the total attendance was much 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 9, 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.

Friday, 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.
This Sunday, September 10, is the Paregentan of the Fast leading to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross ( Khachveratz ), which is next Sunday, September 17. 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.

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Birth of Fr. Nerses Akinian (September 10, 1883)
Father Nerses Akinian was one of the most prolific and renowned names of Armenian philology in the first half of the twentieth century.
He was born Gabriel Akinian on September 10, 1883, in Artvin, an area in northeastern Turkey that was part of the Russian Empire at the time. He was sent to the Mekhitarist seminary of Vienna at the age of twelve, in 1895, and entered the Viennese branch of the congregation in 1901 when he was anointed a celibate priest and renamed Nerses. He followed the courses of the University of Vienna, where he studied Greek, Latin, and Syriac, history of Greco-Roman and Byzantine culture, philosophy, and theology. After graduation in 1907, he would have a wide number of functions in the Mekhitarist Congregation for the next decades. He was first a teacher at the seminary (1907) and later its deputy principal (1908-1911) and principal (1916-1920). Along his educational tasks, from 1909 until his death Fr. Nerses Akinian was also the head librarian of the Vienna monastery and the editor, with intermittencies, of Handes Amsorya, the Armenian Studies journal of the Viennese branch of the Mekhitarists. He became a member of the general board of the congregation in 1931 and superior of the monastery from 1931-1937.  
From the very beginning, Akinian passionately pursued historical studies, following the general orientation of the Viennese Mekhitarists, and researched the whole extent of Armenian history and literature with German-like rigorousness and method. He was an indefatigable traveler, and would go to many countries to study Armenian culture and gather thousands of Armenian manuscripts and printed books for the library of Vienna. In 1912 he represented the Mekhitarists of Vienna at the consecration of Catholicos Gevorg V Sureniants (1911-1930) and traveled to his birthplace, Artvin, and Eastern Armenia, where he visited Ani, Garni, Geghard, and other ancient places. During World War I, he collected money to help the refugees of the Armenian Genocide, as well as Armenian war prisoners in Germany and Austria.
In 1924 Fr. Akinian was assigned to pastoral mission in Soviet Armenia and he would also visit Moscow, Nor Nakhijevan (Rostov-on-the-Don), Batumi, Tbilisi, and Lvov. This gave him the opportunity to visit ancient monuments and research collections of ancient Armenian manuscripts, particularly in Armenia, where he worked at the collection of Holy Etchmiadzin (which would be later moved to Yerevan and became the basis for the collection of the Matenadaran). In 1929 he was arrested, suspected of being a foreign spy, and forced to leave Armenia after a forty-day imprisonment. He went back to Vienna and continued his studies in different cities of Western Europe, including Berlin, Munich, Tubingen, Paris, Rome, and Livorno. In 1939 he went to the Middle East, but remained stranded in Beirut for the next seven years due to World War II. He spent his time teaching at the local Mekhitarist School and studying available Armenian manuscripts. He returned to Austria in the fall of 1946 and spent his last years in Vienna. In 1954 he earned an honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna.
Akinian published most of his studies in Handes Amsorya over more than a half century . Many of them were also published in book form. He published more than 40 books related to Armenian medieval literature, Armenian text issues, and Armenian Studies in general. He also compiled catalogues of Armenian manuscripts conserved in collections of Cyprus, Poland, Ukraine, and elsewhere. He discovered and published works by fathers of the Church and various early Christian authors (John Chrysostom, Pseudo-Dionysus the Areopagite, Irenaeus, Ephrem the Syrian, Proclus, and others). Some of his studies on Armenian ancient authors, like Koriun, Movses Khorenatsi, Yeghishe, Ghazar Parpetsi, and others, became controversial due to his penchant to accommodate their texts and chronologies to his views. He passed away on October 28, 1963, in Vienna, leaving more than a dozen unpublished works in the archives of the Mekhitarist Congregation. 

Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web page ( ).
(Prepared by the Armenian National Education Committee)
Federation and Democracy Have Many Names

When politics and words cross paths, one of them is bound to cede. This is what happened with the words “federation” and “democracy” in Armenian.
In 1890 all Armenian revolutionary groups, including the newly founded Social Democrat Hunchakian Party (1887), came together to form the Federation of Armenian Revolutionaries (Հայ Յեղափոխականների Դաշնակցութիւն / Hay Heghapokhaganneri Tashnagtsootioon ). However, when the alliance with the Hunchakian Party fell apart, the new political party changed its name into Armenian Revolutionary Federation ( Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցութիւն / Hay Heghapokhagan Tashnagtsootioon ).
In 1908, after the coup d’état of the Young Turks, a party of conservative leanings was founded in Constantinople, the Armenian Constitutional Democratic Party (Հայ Սահմանադիր Ռամկավար Կուսակցութիւն / Hay Sahmanatir Ramgavar Goosagtsootioon ). This party would last until 1921. There was a short-lived National Democratic Party (Ազգային Ռամկավար Կուսակցութիւն – Azkayin Ramgavar Goosagtsootioon ) founded in 1919, and then, in 1921, the Constitutional Democratic party joined other parties into the creation of the Democratic Liberal Party (Ռամկավար Ազատական Կուսակցութիւն / Ramgavar Azadagan Goosagtsootioon ).
As anyone familiar with Armenian issues knows, both the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Democratic Liberal Party exist today. The former is known in brief as Tashnagtsootioon (Դաշնակցութիւն) “Federation,” and the latter, as Ramgavarner (Ռամկավարներ), namely, “Democrats.”
The word դաշնակից ( tashnagits ) is composed by the terms դաշն ( tashn , “harmonious”) and կից   (gits ) , root of the verb կցել ( gtsel “to join”), which yield the basic meaning for “ally” (the Allied side in both world wars was called tashnagits in Armenian). Then, tashnagtsootioon could be used with both meanings “alliance” and “federation,” although the name of the party adopted the latter one.

Interestingly, the members of the party were designated with the adjective դաշնակցական (tashnagtsagan ), literally meaning “federal” or “federative.” Over time, this adjective was reserved to that exclusive use, and whenever the word “federal” or “federative” comes, the adjective դաշնակցային ( tashnagtsayin ) is used. A more extreme case happened in Eastern Armenian after the disintegration of the Soviet Union: the Russian loanword ֆեդերացիա ( federatsia ) “federation” was dropped from use. However, it was not replaced by the Armenian term tashnagtsootioon, but by a newly created word, դաշնութիւն (tashnootioon ) , and the adjective “federal/federative” became դաշնային ( tashnayin ) Thus, the name of the Russian Federation was turned from Ռուսական Ֆեդերացիա ( Roosagan Federatsia) into Ռուսական Դաշնութիւն ( Roosagan Tashnootioon ), and, for good or worse, it entered Western Armenian usage (where it was Roosagan Tashnagtsutioon before). The expression “federal government” became դաշնային կառավարութիւն ( tashnayin garavarootioon ).
In the case of ramgavar, we also deal with a literal translation derived from the Greek roots demos (“common people”) and kratia (“rule”). However, over time, the word and its derivation ռամկավարութիւն ( ramgavarootioon ) “democracy” were reserved for its exclusive use for anything related to the party. Today the word “democratic” (and the related “democrat”) has become another literal translation from the same Greek roots: ժողովրդավար (zhoghovurtavar ), from ժողովուրդ ( zhoghovoort “people”) and վար ( var “rule”). There are two exceptions to this rule, again to avoid confusion:
a)     The Hunchakian Party continues using the original foreign words in its name, Սոցիալ Դեմոկրատ ( Sotsial Demokrat “Social Democrat”);
b)     The name of the Democratic Party of the United States—and sometimes its namesakes in other countries—is translated as Դեմոկրատ ( Demokrat “Democrat”) into Armenian, where it is not an epithet as in English.
As a funny anecdote, it is worthy to mention the case of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, which joined Armenians, Georgians, and Tatars (the future Azerbaijanis) from April-May 1918, right before the independence of the first Republic of Armenia. In his famous book on the history of the latter, Simon Vratzian (1882-1969), its last prime minister, translated the name of that short-lived Transcaucasian republic as Անդրկովկասի Ռամկավար Դաշնակցական Հանրապետութիւն ( Anturgovgasi Ramgavar Tashnagtsagan Hanrabedootioon ). Someone who read those words and did not know their meaning might think that it was a republic founded by Ramgavars and Tashnagtsagans…

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

SIAMANTO ACADEMY— New term begins Saturday, September 23. Meets every second Saturday of the month at the Hovnanian School, 817 River Road, New Milford, New Jersey. For information: or 212-689-7810.

September 9 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, opening of Nareg Armenian School.

September 10 —St. Sarkis Church Annual Picnic, 38-65 234 th Street, Douglaston, New York. Armenian BBQ and desserts; Live Music; Kids Zone and Family Fun. Starts at 1 pm until evening. Information: 718-224-2275.

September 10 —Church Picnic, St. Stephen’s Church of Hartford-New Britain, 167 Tremont Street, New Britain, Connecticut, in church hall and outside lawn. Enjoy good food, music and fellowship. Music by DJ Ara Stepanian . Roast Chicken, Lu-Le Kebab, Hot Dogs, Pilaf, Salad, Dessert Table .

September 10 —St. Gregory Church of Merrimack Valley, Picnic-Festival on the church grounds, 158 Main Street, North Andover, Massachusetts, 12 noon to 5:30 pm. Featuring Armenian music by Leon Janikian (clarinet); John Berberian (Oud); Jason Naroian (dumbeg, vocals); John Arzigian (accordion, vocals). Shish, Losh, Chicken Kebab dinners, pilaf, salad, pita bread. Vegetarian dinners, Armenian pastries. Games and activities for all. Free parking. For information : 978-685-5038.

September 14 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, 15th Annual Golf Classic.

September 17 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, opening of Sunday School.

September 23 —Celebratory Concert dedicated to the 26 th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Armenia. Shnorhali Chorus and Hamazkayin Arekag Chorus with special guest appearance by SIBIL, At Sts. Vartanantz Church, 461 Bergen Boulevard, Ridgefield, New Jersey, 7:30 pm. Sponsored by ARF Dro Gomideh, AYF Arsen Chapter; ARS Agnouni, Bergen County, Shake, and Spitak chapters of New Jersey, and Hamazkayin and Homenetmen of New Jersey. Admission: $35 and $45. Proceeds will benefit Sts. Vartanantz Church. For tickets: or 201-470-4780.

October 2-6 —Clergy Conference for Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies will take place in Montreal, hosted by the Prelacy of Canada.

October 7 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey presents “The Battle of the Bands.” Dance all night with two bands featuring Onnig Dinkjian and Kevork Artinian. Mezza and Dessert tables. For information and reservations contact: Bea Movsesian 201-445-6867; Lynn Mahlebjian 201-739-6217; Silva Kouyoumdjian 201-779-6744.

October 7-8 —50th Anniversary Weekend, St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, 8701 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Saturday evening: “Golden Evening Kef Celebration,” featuring the Vosbikian Band. Sunday, Golden Anniversary Banquet, following the Divine Liturgy. 

October 14 —Armenian Friends of America, Inc., present “Hye Kef 5,” a five hour dance featuring Onnik Dinkjian with John Berberian (Oud); Mal Barsamian (Clarinet); Ara Dinkjian (keyboard); Ron Tutunjian (Dumbeg), at DoubleTree by Hilton, 123 Old River Road, Andover, Massachusetts. Tickets: $55 (before September 1); $65 (after September 1); $50 for students 21 and under. Continuous buffet 7:30 to 9:30 pm; coffee and dessert will follow. Advance tickets only. Proceeds will benefit five Armenian churches. For information: Sharke Der Apkarian 978-808-0598.

October 29—CHANGE OF DATE / SAVE THE DATE . Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ordination of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, under the auspices and presence of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia. Divine Liturgy at St. Illuminator Cathedral, 221 East 27th Street, New York City, at 10 am. Followed by reception and dinner at The New York Palace, 455 Madison Avenue, New York City.

November 3 & 4 —St. Stephen's Church (Watertown, MA) 61st Annual Church Bazaar will take place Friday-Saturday, November 3-4 at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (47 Nichols Ave, Watertown). Come by with family and friends for delicious chicken, beef, and losh kebab, kufteh and kheyma dinners, mouth watering pastries, and specialty gourmet items. We'll showcase our hand made arts and crafts, the treasure-finding White Elephant table. This is an annual event not to miss. Come reconnect with parishioners, friends and support the future of our Church. Visit our website for information on menus, pastry and gourmet items, and gift shoppe. items!  

November 11 and 12 —Armenian Fest 2017, Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Food Festival at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, 60 Rhodes Place, Cranston. Featuring chicken, losh and shish kebabs 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 from noon to 9 pm; Sunday noon to 7 pm. Free admission and parking. Valet parking available. For information: or 401-831-6399 .

December 5-8 —World General Assembly of the Great House of Cilicia, at the Catholicosate in Antelias, Lebanon.
The Armenian Prelacy 
Tel: 212-689-7810 ♦ Fax: 212-689-7168 ♦ Email:

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