Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Chris Zakian
Tel: (212) 686-0710 or (973) 943-8697
E-mail: [email protected]
** TOP STORY January 22, 2015
Detail of a photo of Armenian Genocide refugees, United States Library
of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
** An Orphan’s Story
He was a child of war: born to a kingdom under siege. His high-born
parents died at the point of an Arab invader’s sword, and little Vahan
was taken into custody, brought in bondage to Damascus, and instructed
in the tenets of an alien religion. Life in the emir’s court was all
he would know as he matured.
But some faint ember of his earlier life remained in his heart. A
generation passed, and with it the regime of his captors; and the
now-adult Vahan seized a fleeting opportunity to return to the land of
his birth: the province of Goghtn in the ancient Armenian stronghold
of Vaspourakan. He entered Goghtn as a prince, to rule in the name of
the conquerors. Yet once immersed in the folkways of his people, it
was Vahan himself who was conquered. He took a wife, embraced the
Christian faith anew, and settled into tranquil Armenian life.
This was all too much for his Arab overlords, of course. Vahan was
forced to flee Goghtn, and spent endless fugitive days moving from
town to town, barely a step away from his pursuers. Eventually, he was
seized by the Muslim constable of Armenia and spirited away to
Syria-where he was reunited, in martyrdom, with his parents and his
Though Vahan lived and died in the 8th century A.D., what happened to
him 13 centuries ago in Goghtn (a region in present-day Nakhichevan)
still resonates with Armenians-perhaps more deeply than ever in this
100th year of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. In time, Vahan of
Goghtn was recognized as a saint of the Armenian Church; today marks
his feast day. As we honor his memory, let us also give thought to all
the other children of war-those of 100 years ago, and those, sadly,
among us today.
** Scripture of the Week
2 Tm 2:15-26
** Prayer of the Week
In faith I confess and bow down to you, Father and Son and Holy
Spirit, uncreated and immortal nature, creator of angels, of men, and
of all things. Have mercy upon your creatures, and upon me, great
sinner that I am. Amen.
** Upcoming Saints & Feasts
22 January: St. Vahan of Goghtn
24 January: 150 Fathers of the Holy Council of Constantinople
25 January: Barekendan of the Fast of Catechumens
** CHURCH NEWS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE
A soldier stands over skulls of victims of the Armenian Genocide from
the Armenian village of Sheyxalan in 1915.
** In the News
Monday’s edition of the British newspaper
The Independent contained an article touching on the worldwide
observance of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
The wide-ranging piece covers the main facts of the Genocide,
considers some ironies of subsequent history, and even exposes some
`diplomatic mischief’ intended to distract attention from the
To read the online version, click here
Hrant Dink (1954-2007).
** Remembering Hrant Dink
On January 19, 2007, the Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was
assassinated on the street outside his newspaper offices in
Istanbul. Dink’s prior writings on the Armenian Genocide had made him
a well known figure in Turkey, and had prompted his prosecution under
Turkey’s retrograde law forbidding anti-Turkish statements.
The murder of this brave and gentle man was later revealed to contain
elements of state persecution along with what we in this country would
call `hate crime.’ It became a cause cÃ©lÃ¨bre for Armenians the world
over, but also for elements of Turkish society longing for a more open
public discourse. At Hrant Dink’s funeral, more than 100,000 people,
Armenians side-by-side with ethnic Turks, jammed the streets of
Istanbul carrying placards reading, `We are all Hrant Dink.’
Even after eight years, the demoralizing horror of that terrible
January day still lingers; and the astonishing spectacle of the
subsequent weeks is likewise unforgettable. Today we again offer
prayers for the repose of Hrant Dink’s spirit, for the consolation of
his loved ones, and for the light of Divine truth, which even the
deepest darkness cannot extinguish.
To read an essay written on the first anniversary of Hrant Dink’s
murder, click here
** DIOCESAN NEWS
Armenian Genocide Cintennial
** Resources for the Genocide Centennial
With the 100th year of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide advancing
rapidly, the Eastern Diocese has created a special section on its
website for downloadable resources. Parishes, community groups, and
anyone else can obtain materials to help them inform local press and
reach out to their surrounding communities. This week, a downloadable
map of “Historic Armenia Through the Ages” was added to the
offerings-these can be accessed by clicking here
In the meantime, the Armenian-American community is building towards a
national observance in Washington, DC, in May 2015. Special events are
scheduled for May 7 to 9-including an ecumenical prayer service at the
National Cathedral, a Pontifical Divine Liturgy, a memorial concert,
and an awards banquet honoring those who helped the survivors. His
Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All
Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, the Catholicos of the Great House
of Cilicia, both will journey to the United States to lead the
Washington commemoration. They will be joined by Armenians from across
the U.S., under the auspices of the Eastern and Western Dioceses, and
the Eastern and Western Prelacies. Click here
to learn more about the May events in the nation’s capital.
The Eastern Diocese’s Annual Diocesan Assembly and Clergy Conference
will convene in Washington that same week; details on the 2015
Assembly will be forthcoming.
People in the New York metro region should also reserve the dates of
April 24, 25, and 26 for commemoration events in New York City. These
will include liturgical celebrations and the annual Times Square
program sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Knights and Daughters of Vartan.
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, has appointed George
and Lorraine Marootian as Diocesan liaisons to the Genocide
commemorative committees. They will be working with established
committees at the national, regional, and local levels, and have begun
reaching out to our parish communities. Contact them via e-mail at
[email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) .
Never Forget 1915
** Support the Genocide Awareness Campaign
The Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of America (Eastern Region)
is planning a creative national campaign spanning public relations,
social media, and print and broadcast outlets to raise awareness about
the Armenian Genocide in this milestone year.
The committee is raising funds to finance the national
campaign. Please consider supporting this ambitious outreach
effort. Click here
to make a donation.
In addition, the Centennial Committee (Eastern Region) has launched a
new website- will soon offer a listing of events
organized nationwide in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. They
are asking all local committees to share their contact information to
assist in this effort.
** Virginia Churches Approve Genocide Resolution
Last fall, the Virginia Council of Churches approved a resolution
calling for the commemoration of the 100th year of remembrance of the
Armenian Genocide by its member churches.
Rev. Dr. Jonathon Barton, executive director of the Virginia Council
of Churches, was instrumental in spearheading the
resolution. Fr. Barton has close ties with the St. James Armenian
Church of Richmond, VA, and is an honorary member of the Armenian
Genocide Centennial Committee in Virginia.
The resolution was presented at the Virginia Council of Churches
annual meeting last November by Bedros Bandazian and Sona Pomfret of
St. James Armenian Church.
It reads, in part: `The Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of
Central Virginia and the people of Saint James Armenian Orthodox
Church-a member of the Virginia Council of Churches-represent an
ancient Christian tradition, remain devoted brothers and sisters in
Christ, and strive to inform Virginians of all faiths about the
Armenian Genocide.’ The resolution also calls on Virginia churches to
participate in an ecumenical service on Saturday, April 18, organized
by the local Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee.
to read more.
Children take part in a theater therapy session at the FAR Children’s
Center in Yerevan.
** FAR Launches Daycare Service in Yerevan
The Fund for Armenian Relief’s Children’s Center recently launched a
new Daycare Service in Yerevan, Armenia, which provides at-risk
teenagers with after-school psychological support.
The sessions are held two to three times a week, and are designed to
mitigate the risks of dropping out, bullying, crime, and
suicide. Young people ages 11 to 16 attend the Daycare Service
sessions at the recommendation of school officials. The new initiative
has already reached 43 at-risk students from six schools in Yerevan’s
to read more on FAR’s blog.
** PARISH NEWS
St. Sarkis Church, Charlotte, NC
Fr. Samuel Rith-Najarian administers Holy Communion.
** A New Priest’s First Badarak
On Sunday, January 18, the newly ordained Rev. Fr. Samuel
Rith-Najarian celebrated his first Divine Liturgy at St. Sarkis Church
of Charlotte, NC.
The former Dn. Benjamin Rith-Najarian was ordained to the holy
priesthood at St. Sarkis Church on December 7 by Diocesan Primate
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, and spent his 40-day period of seclusion
at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary.
Also taking part in last Sunday’s badarak were the Very
Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Rev. Fr. Mampre Kouzouian, and Very
Rev. Fr. John Meno of the Syrian Orthodox Church, who is a close
friend of the Charlotte parish. Dn. Yervant Kutchukian, who served as
the godfather of Fr. Samuel’s ordination, assisted on the altar.
Fr. Rith-Najarian will serve as the pastor of St. Sarkis Church. Click
to view photos of his antranig badarak.
Deacon Gevork Gevorkian
Fr. Odabashian (center) dedicates Dn. Gevorkian’s books.
** New Books Dedicated in Providence
The Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar, visited
Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church of Providence, RI, on Sunday, January 18,
where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy and dedicated two new books
authored by a local parishioner.
The kinetson ceremony, in which wine is symbolically poured over newly
published tomes, was performed by Fr. Odabashian following
services. Dn. Gevork Gevorkian’s books-Examination of the Christian
Rejection of Cremation and St. John Chrysostom: How to Forgive the
Offense?-were recently published by Holy Etchmiadzin.
The first book, written in Western Armenian, explains the Christian
practice of burial and the belief that the body will rise together
with the soul. The book will serve as a guide for pastors advising the
faithful during times of bereavement.
In How to Forgive the Offense?, available in English and Russian,
Dn. Gevorkian compiled the homilies of the great church father
St. John Chrysostom on the Christian practice of
forgiveness. Dn. Gevorkian’s volume presents these historic works in
an accessible and applicable way. The book is dedicated to the Very
Rev. Fr. Shnork Kasparian, of blessed memory.
Armenian Church in Austin
Dn. Narek Garabedian with parishioners in Austin.
** Austin Parish Learns About Christmas in Jerusalem
On Saturday, January 17, the mission parish of Austin, TX, welcomed
St. Nersess seminarian Dn. Narek Garabedian. Dn. Garabedian performed
the mid-day service and gave a presentation on Christmas in the Holy
Land (which is observed on January 18 and 19).
Dn. Garabedian, who spent four years studying in Jerusalem, gave the
community a first-hand look at how the Armenian Patriarchate of
Jerusalem observes the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord
Jesus Christ. He later presented the parishioners with wooden crosses
that had been blessed in Jerusalem.
to view photos.
** Upcoming Parish Events
St. Leon Church | Fair Lawn, NJ
On Friday, January 23, St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, will host a
presentation by VahÃ© Tachjian, Ph.D., on the `Houshamadyan Project,’
an attempt to reconstruct Ottoman Armenian life through archival
documents, photographs, and other materials. The talk will begin at
7:45 p.m. Admission is free. Click here
to view a flyer for information.
St. Mary Church | Livingston, NJ
The Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest New Jersey, in
collaboration with St. Mary Church of Livingston, NJ, is hosting an
exhibit in commemoration of the 100th year of remembrance of the
Armenian Genocide. The exhibit will open on Monday, January 26, with
the screening of a film about the Armenian Genocide. It will run
through April 30. Click here
St. Sarkis Church | Dallas, TX
The Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Dallas-Fort Worth will
host two events this month in commemoration of the 100th year of
remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.
On Sunday, January 25, filmmaker Bared Maronian will speak about his
latest project, a documentary titled “Women of 1915.’ A preview of the
film and a discussion will be held at St. Sarkis Church of Dallas, TX,
beginning at 1:15 p.m.
On Monday January 26, Bared Maronian will screen his documentary film
“Orphans of the Genocide.” The film will be shown at the Magnolia
Theatre (3699 McKinney Avenue in Dallas) beginning at 7 p.m. Admission
St. Gregory the Illuminator Church | Chicago, IL
St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Chicago, IL, will host its
annual `Armenian Winter Fest’ on Saturday, January 31, from 4 to 10
p.m. Enjoy Armenian food, raffles, and other activities. Click here
to view a flyer for information.
St. Mary Church | Hollywood, FL
St. Mary Church of Hollywood, FL, will host an `Armenian Food and
Music Fest’ on Saturday, January 31 (12 to 10 p.m.) and Sunday,
February 1 (12 to 7 p.m.). Enjoy homemade Armenian food and pastries,
live music, arts and crafts vendors, and activities for
children. Click here
to view a flyer.
** YOUTH NEWS
ACYOA Lent Retreat
** ACYOA Lenten Retreats
The ACYOA Central Council has scheduled three regional Lenten retreats
for ACYOA Seniors across the Eastern Diocese. The day-long
retreats-themed `Living the Gospel of Christ: Legacy of Our
Martyrs’-will include Bible study, small group discussions, and
presentations focusing on the upcoming canonization of the martyrs of
the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
The New England retreat
will be held on Saturday, February 28, at Holy Resurrection Church in
New Britain, CT; the Midwest retreat
is scheduled for Saturday, March 14, at St. Mesrob Church in Racine,
WI; and the New York-metro and Mid-Atlantic retreat
will go forward on Saturday, March 21, at the Church of the Holy
Martyrs in Bayside, NY.
For information, contact the staff of the Diocese’s Department of
Youth and Young Adult Ministries: Lorie Odabashian at
[email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) , or
(212) 686-0710, ext. 143; or Jennifer Morris at
[email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) ,
or (248) 686-0702.
Concert at St. Vartan Cathedral
** An Evening at the Opera
St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral will host `An Evening at the Opera’ on
Friday, January 30, at 7:30 p.m.
Enjoy a program featuring Armenian and Western opera music, performed
by internationally-acclaimed artists Narine Ojakhyan and Yeghishe
Manucharyan. Lusine Badalyan will accompany on the piano.
to view a flyer for ticket information. St. Vartan Cathedral is
located at 630 Second Avenue (at 34th Street) in Manhattan.
Jordanian fusion artist Farah Siraj will perform during the dinner and
music program on February 14.
** Artist Farah Siraj to Perform at Diocesan Center
The recently formed St. Vartan Cathedral Community of New York City is
hosting an exciting evening of dinner and music featuring talented
Jordanian fusion artist Farah Siraj, on Saturday, February 14.
Join them in celebrating Poon Paregentan-the Armenian `Mardi Gras`-and
Valentine’s Day, from 7 to 11 p.m. in Haik and Alice Kavookjian
Auditorium (Second Avenue at 35th Street). Tickets are $50. Click on
the following links to view a flyer
and to purchase tickets
Zohrab Information Center
** Zohrab Center Announces Spring Schedule
The Diocese’s Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center will open its
spring season of lectures on Thursday, February 5, with a talk by
Dr. Vartan Matiossian titled `Code Name Haiko: Discovering the Last
Unknown Participants in Talaat Pasha’s Liquidation.’ The event will be
held at the Diocesan Center in New York, beginning at 7 p.m. Admission
Other Zohrab Center events planned for the spring include talks on
Armenian art, a guide to the Armenian Church’s Holy Week ceremonies,
and various book presentations. Click here
to visit the Zohrab Center blog for a complete schedule.