First yeretzgin conference a success

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

June 10, 2004


About 20 yeretzgins from throughout the Diocese of the Armenian Church
of America (Eastern), gathered at the St. Gregory the Enlightener Church
of White Plains, NY, on Thursday, April 28, 2004, for the first-ever
Yeretzgins’ Conference.

Organized in conjunction with the Clergy Conference and Diocesan
Assembly, the day of lectures, discussion, and prayer gave the women a
chance to learn from experts and from one another.

Lecturers included Valery Goekjian Zahirsky, an Armenian graduate of St.
Nersess Armenian Seminary, who is married to a priest in the Orthodox
Church of America; and Dr. Roberta Ervine Woods, associate professor of
Armenian studies at St. Nersess Seminary.

Zahirsky, a former religious education director at the Diocese, spoke to
the women about the different types of gifts they bring to parish life.

“She spoke about gifts people have, and seeing ourselves as having gifts
we can give to the community, even if it is something like hospitality,”
said Yn. Tirouhe Boyajian, who organized the event with Yn. Patricia
Dagley. “There are gifts anyone of us might have that we don’t
recognized as gifts. They might be simple things, like just not being
judgmental of others. She helped stretch our perceptions a little, got
us to think about ourselves as having gifts we might not have thought we

Dr. Ervine spoke about how women can find balance in their lives, filled
with parish responsibilities, family, and sometimes a full-time career.

“Her emphasis was that there isn’t any one balance that can be found for
all yeretzgins’ it is a question of balancing many things unique to each
of us,” Yn. Boyajian said.

Along with the workshops, the yeretgins also took time to talk among
themselves, sharing tips between generations. At the end of the day
they paired off for prayer, and were encouraged to keep their prayer
partner in their thoughts throughout the year.

While the yeretzgins traditionally have a breakfast together during the
Diocesan Assembly, they have never before had a full day together to
talk and socialize. However, with the conference deemed successful by
the attendees, plans are underway to hold another in conjunction with
the 2005 Diocesan Assembly in Bayside, NY.

“If this improves the morale of a yeretzgin, and makes her job as a
supporter of her husband easier, then he’s able to perform his job even
better,” Yn. Boyajian said. “Yeretzgins focus on the aspect of support
to their husbands. Sometimes it is a visible support, sometimes it’s
behind-the-scenes support. But without it, his job would be harder.”

— 6/10/04

E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable on the Eastern
Diocese’s website,

PHOTO CAPTION (1): About 20 yeretzgins gathered at the St. Gregory the
Enlightener Church of White Plains, NY, on Thursday, April 28, 2004, for
the first ever yeretzgin conference.

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