Armenia-France defense cooperation encompasses all military sectors – minister


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 23, ARMENPRESS. The agenda of the Armenia-France defense cooperation encompasses nearly all sectors of the military, Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan has said.

He described his discussions with his French counterpart Sébastien Lecornu as substantial.

“The agenda of our cooperation encompasses nearly all sectors of the activities of the armed forces. I must underscore the comprehensive consultative support in the direction of defense reforms, the military education sector, the rapidly developing training direction, and of course the modernization of defense measures and development of military-technical cooperation process. Starting this year, bilateral cooperation has been placed on a clear planning base, and it is developing in more than a dozen directions,” Papikyan said at a joint press conference with Lecornu in Yerevan. 

Papikyan said he presented to the French minister the course of the Armenian military reforms which are aimed at forming a military in line with modern standards capable of withstanding modern challenges.

Azerbaijan Criticizes Armenia’s Military Acquisitions As Baku Bolsters Armed Forces With Sophisticated Turkish Akinci Drones

Feb 22 2024

Azerbaijan officially revealed its acquisition of the sophisticated Turkish Bayraktar Akinci combat drone on Feb. 9, following criticisms by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev of neighboring Armenia’s recent arms purchases.

Aliyev inspected the newly-acquired high-altitude long-endurance, unmanned combat aerial vehicle on Feb. 9 and various accompanying Turkish-made weaponry, including SOM and Cakir cruise missiles produced by Turkey’s Rokestan missile manufacturer. He even signed the drone.

The Akinci ACAV is much larger and has more advanced and sophisticated sensors than its widely exported predecessor, the Bayraktar TB2. It also has more hardpoints and can carry heavier and more sophisticated bombs and missiles than the TB2. Azerbaijani TB2s devastated Armenian ground forces during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, which ended in a decisive victory for Baku.

The Akinci can also carry long-range munitions, such as the cruise missiles Aliyev inspected, meaning it could potentially launch standoff strikes against Armenian targets while staying out of range of air defenses and even without leaving Azerbaijani airspace.

The UCAV’s powerful active electronically scanned array radar and sensors could complete valuable intelligence-surveillance-target acquisition (ISTAR) and command-control-communications (C3) tasks for the Azerbaijani armed forces.

The Akinci is the most advanced drone Azerbaijan has procured to date and is another testament to the close military ties between Baku and Ankara.

The UCAV’s unveiling came mere months after Aliyev sharply criticized France and India for selling Armenia military hardware. He accused those countries of “pouring oil on fire” and creating “unrealistic illusions in Armenia” that it could retake Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku completely conquered the enclave in a lightning military offensive on Sept. 19, which resulted in the entire ethnic Armenian population of over 100,000 people fleeing in terror to Armenia, causing a humanitarian crisis.

Armenia has signed significant arms deals with France and India in recent months. These deals coincided with Yerevan’s growing frustration with Moscow, which traditionally served as its leading arms supplier and security guarantor since the end of the Cold War, after Moscow failed to prevent, or even significantly protest, Azerbaijan’s military offensives. Furthermore, Armenia wants to diversify its sources for military hardware since Russia has become a much less reliable provider of arms, spare parts, and technical support since launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Most of the weaponry Armenia has ordered so far is defensive. It’s acquiring short-range Mistral air defenses and Bastion armored personnel carriers from France. From India, it has ordered Pinaka multiple rocket launchers and medium-range Akash air defenses.

Armenia’s interest in diversifying its air defenses is unsurprising. During the 2020 war, Azerbaijan’s Israeli-built Harop loitering munitions sought out and destroyed Armenian Soviet-built long-range S-300 air defense missile systems within Armenia’s borders. The Akash can purportedly target aircraft and cruise missiles from up to 28 miles away, which Yerevan would need if it came under attack from Azerbaijani Akincis. The Mistral can do little more than provide point defense for specific bases or installations, certainly no game-changing capability.

In other words, while these acquisitions will enhance Armenia’s defenses, they won’t alter the balance of military power in the South Caucasus. And Azerbaijan already possesses equivalent and even superior systems.

Azerbaijan notably live-fired an Israeli Barak air defense system during a large air defense drill in the week leading up to its September 2023 Karabakh operation. The move was likely in preparation to prevent Armenia from intervening with its modest air force or retaliating with its Iskander short-range ballistic missiles. Azerbaijan is widely believed to have downed an Armenian Iskander in 2020 with a Barak 8. Like Armenia, it also has S-300s, which participated in a training exercise this month.

Baku also reportedly used Harops and Israeli-made LORA theater quasi-ballistic missiles during the September operation. Israel supplied the Azerbaijani military with equipment and ammunition in the lead-up to both offensives.

Most recently, Armenia lost four of its soldiers to Azerbaijani fire on the border on Feb. 13. Even Aliyev’s closest ally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urged him to avoid such flare-ups and pursue a comprehensive peace deal with Yerevan.

Armenia has already agreed to relinquish all claims to Karabakh provided its national sovereignty is recognized and not violated in line with its Soviet-era borders. The Azerbaijani president has coveted parts of southern Armenia to establish a land bridge, which Azerbaijan dubs the Zangezur Corridor, to link up with its western Nakhchivan exclave. However, he has shown openness to establishing an alternative corridor through Iran.

In the meantime, without a peace agreement, and with Azerbaijan continually enhancing its modern military with cutting-edge Akinci drones and Israeli weaponry, Armenia is investing in relatively modest defense acquisitions in preparation for the utterly unthinkable: a third conflict in the region in this decade.


Armenia-EU partnership agenda enriched with new important mechanisms – Foreign Minister


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 13, ARMENPRESS.  The Armenia-EU agenda has been enriched with new important mechanisms, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan announced this at the end of  the fifth meeting of the EU-Armenia Partnership Council during the  joint press conference with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.
The parties noted with satisfaction that since the latest session, the Armenia-EU agenda has been enriched with new important mechanisms. Security, economy and mobility issues were at the center of the discussion.
Ararat Mirzoyan, highlighting the political and security dialogue and the deployment of EU observation mission on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, noted that the EU continues to be one of Armenia's main trade partners in the economic sphere.
"We have agreed to utilize all the existing mechanisms to further strengthen trade and economic ties, both at the bilateral level and through regional projects. In this regard, the importance of Armenia's participation in the Black Sea electric cable project, as well as the effective implementation of economic and investment programs was emphasized," said Mirzoyan.
The Armenian Foreign Minister  touched on the process of liberalization of the visa regime and emphasized that all the necessary requirements have been fulfilled and it is time to start a dialogue on the liberalization of the visa regime between Armenia and the EU.
"This is a choice that will bring our people together and ensure tangible results of our cooperation," Mirzoyan said.

Turkish Press: President Ilham Aliyev reelected after winning 92% votes in Azerbaijan’s election

Yeni Safak

Turkey – Feb 8 2024

President Ilham Aliyev reelected after winning 92% votes in Azerbaijan's election

Landslide victory for Aliyev in election which saw recently liberated Karabakh region vote for first time

Incumbent Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is leading with 92.1% votes, according to the country's Central Election Commission (CEC).

The figure was announced by election commissioner Mazakhir Panakhov after counting 93% of votes from Wednesday's presidential election.

Zahid Oruj, an independent candidate, trailed with 2.19%, followed by Great Creation Party leader Fazil Mustafa with 2% of the vote.

Other candidates scored less than 2% of the vote.

The main feature of the 2024 Azerbaijani presidential election was that for the first time in the history of Azerbaijan they were held throughout the entire territory of the country, including the liberated Karabakh region.

The turnout there has become one of the highest in the country. Two hours after the start of the elections, about 30% of votes were cast in the region, the election commission said.

Foreign and local observers monitored the election, along with a large number of journalists.

Debt estimated at 48,4% of GDP


YEREVAN, JANUARY 31, ARMENPRESS. Armenia’s state debt as of 2023 is estimated to comprise around 48,4% of the GDP, according to preliminary data, finance minister Vahe Hovhannisyan has said.

“In 2023, Armenia’s economic potential increased,” he said at a press conference. “And the state debt, according to preliminary data, will be around 48,4%, increasing a bit compared to the 2022 level. Tax revenues grew progressively. And as a result of 2023 we have a 24,1% tax revenue-GDP indicator,” Hovhannisyan said.

GDP estimates are still preliminary.

Citing the growing share of investments by non-residents, the minister said that Armenia is becoming attractive for international institutional investors.

Crossroads of Peace: Armenia’s call for global cooperation in an evolving world

The European Sting
Jan 15 2024

Author: Vahagn Khachaturyan, President of Armenia, Office of the President of Armenia

  • Amid complex geopolitical shifts and a globally fragmented policy landscape, Armenia envisions a world strengthened by global cooperation.
  • The Crossroads of Peace project advocates building trust through peace and explores how democracy and technological innovation can be transformative.
  • Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan calls on leaders across the world to work together on building a sustainable and harmonious future.

As President of Armenia, I am serving a nation that has weathered historical storms, emerged resilient: adapted to reality and learned to survive.

In the context of today’s complex geopolitical shifts and the globally fragmented policy landscape, Armenia envisions a world strengthened by global cooperation in the framework of renewed and effective multilateralism.

Here I outline Armenia’s strategic initiatives, including the Crossroads of Peace project, which addresses the importance of acknowledging the cost of crises, advocates for building peace through trust, and explores how genuine democracy and technological innovation can be transformative and how mutually they protect and embolden each other.

Furthermore, it emphasizes the significance of economic cooperation and shared values in the new world order. Drawing inspiration from the biblical tale of Noah’s Ark, Armenia’s metaphor serves as a reminder to humanity of the importance of peaceful coexistence, hope, and joint efforts to confront global challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, armed conflicts and humanitarian crises.

Economic cooperation stands as a linchpin for global stability, security and prosperity. Armenia, with its skilled workforce and commitment to sustainable development is well-positioned to play an instrumental role in the emerging economic landscape.

Recognition of the importance of fostering economic ties that go beyond national borders – from regional to global, promoting responsible business practices, and contributing to worldwide economic growth is a key for global stability.

In the spirit of cooperation, we actively seek opportunities for trade, investment and partnership with other nations worldwide. By aligning economic interests with shared values, we aim to contribute to a more interconnected and agile world by prioritizing sustainability, innovation and inclusivity, fostering economic relationships that benefit not only our nation but also the global community.

In the evolving world order, liberty, democratic institutions and innovation emerge as powerful tools to address global challenges and navigate geopolitical shifts.

Democracy, with its emphasis on inclusivity and consolidated decision-making, provides a framework for nations to come together. Technological innovation, when wielded responsibly, has the potential to empower individuals and nations to overcome challenges and foster positive change.

Armenia is committed to upholding democratic values and leveraging innovation as tools for positive change. Recognizing the potential of “liberation technology”, we aim to empower citizens, promote their social and economic rights, enhance good governance, transparency and promote accountability.

By harnessing the power of digital innovation, Armenia seeks to create an environment where democracy flourishes, and technology becomes a force for good in addressing global challenges.

The 21st century has seen the world grapple with crises, from pandemics to environmental challenges, and the recognition of the cost of crisis is not merely economic; it is also human and environmental.

In the times of the current polycrisis and in light of unprecedented interdependence and evolving changes of the world order, one nation’s crisis is a challenge for all. As we navigate these challenges, building peace through trust becomes paramount.

Acknowledging the cost of crises and the importance of addressing them with resilience and determination must become an imperative. The recent conflict and forced displacement of persons in the South Caucasus serves as a stark reminder of the impact of geopolitical shifts on civilians.

Principles of Armenia’s Crossroads of Peace project. Image: The Government of Armenia

However, Armenia is committed to turning the aftermath of the crisis into an opportunity for building lasting peace and promoting regional cooperation.

The Crossroads of Peace project, initiated by the Government of Armenia, places a significant emphasis on building mutual trust as the foundation for peace. By actively engaging with neighbours and international partners, Armenia seeks to rebuild new cooperation in the region and foster understanding among nations.

Through diplomatic initiatives, dialogue, and cultural exchange, we aspire to bridge divides and create an environment where nations can work together to confront global challenges.

Armenia, with its rich history and strategic location, has launched the Crossroads of Peace project as a testament to its commitment to global cooperation.

This visionary initiative aims to transform the region into a hub for a political dialogue, cultural exchange and international cooperation. It seeks to transcend traditional geopolitical divisions, fostering an environment where nations can converge to jointly address common challenges.

The Crossroads of Peace has the potential to transform a fragmented region with closed borders into a macro-regional cooperation hub, to unleash the whole potential of the Caucasus, tout court.

The biblical tale of Noah’s Ark serves as a powerful metaphor for our collective journey in the face of global challenges, including climate change. Armenia, with its legacy of resilience and hope, aligns with the spirit of Noah’s Ark, symbolizing a modern-day ark for humanity.

The ark is a timeless symbol of survival, peaceful coexistence, and renewal. Armenia, too, envisions itself as a symbol of hope by fostering global cooperation, acknowledging the cost of crises, building peace through trust, championing democracy and innovation, and promoting value-based economic cooperation.

Armenia strives to be a beacon of hope in a multipolar world. At the crossroads of history, we urge for strengthened global cooperation as we navigate geopolitical shifts in an evolving world order.

The Crossroads of Peace project, inspired by our commitment to peace and partnership, exemplifies Armenia’s vision for a more interconnected world where nations are united in the face of global challenges.

In the spirit of Noah’s Ark, let us embark on this collective journey, keeping hope alive and working together for a sustainable and harmonious future. 

Armenia Commemorates 34th Anniversary of Baku Pogroms, Calls for Prevention of Future Atrocities author By: Rizwan Shah

Jan 15 2024

By: Rizwan Shah

Yesterday, the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs solemnly marked the 34th anniversary of the pogroms against Armenians in Baku – a series of tragic events which unfolded during the Azerbaijani SSR period. The commemoration was a poignant reminder of a violent chapter in history, one that the ministry described as the pinnacle of a policy aimed at forcibly displacing and ethnically cleansing the Armenian population from Azerbaijan.

The Ministry’s statement shed light on the harrowing experiences of hundreds of Armenians who were either murdered, mutilated, or went missing during the pogroms. It was a stark reminder of the atrocities of the past and the long-lasting impact these events have had on the Armenian community.

The commemoration also brought to attention the plight of half a million refugees generated by this violence. These individuals, torn from their homes and communities, represent the human cost of such policies and serve as a stark reminder of the consequences of hate and division.

The Ministry used this commemoration to emphasize the importance of preventing such policies in the future. It highlighted the necessity for all rights to be respected and addressed, an essential element in creating a just and peaceful society. The tribute to the innocent victims of the pogroms underscored this message, underscoring the dire need for reconciliation and progress.

Meanwhile, in related news, Armenian National Assembly Speaker Alen Simonyan expressed that there is not a single provision in the draft peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan that concerns only one of the parties. This assertion came in light of ongoing peace negotiations between the two countries. Simonyan also noted that while Azerbaijan has not referred to Armenia’s 29,800 square kilometers, Armenia expects it to occur. In a separate statement, Artur Vanetsyan, a prominent Armenian political figure, discussed his future presence at various events.

Yeremyan Academy recertified by Activate Learning Group, City of Oxford College- Director

 15:51, 15 January 2024

YEREVAN, JANUARY 15, ARMENPRESS. "Yeremyan Academy of Culinary Arts and Hospitality"  is summarizing the activities of 2023.

In an interview with Armepress, the director of the academy, Aida Tigranyan discussed the programs implemented during the previous year, highlighted achievements, touched upon international collaborations and further activities.

Ahead of the 5th anniversary of  the Yeremyan Academy, the center  has been recertified by Activate Learning Group, City of Oxford College

2023 was quite a productive year for the Academy, both from the point of view of international and local collaborations and from the point of view of replenishing the army of our students.

One of our most significant achievements in 2023 was the re-certification by our partner, City of Oxford College. This achievement is a testament to our years of effective, consistent, and purposeful efforts.

Assessment and re-certification are carried out in line with high international standards and, usually, after the assessment, certain observations and instructions related to improving the  work quality are given.

I am proud to announce that we have received outstanding assessments from our international partners. This circumstance is, of course, more binding, and the Academy is committed to maintaining the same level of dedication and pace in  the future activities.

In terms of programs implemented through international cooperation, 2023 was a remarkably fruitful year for us.

Similar to previous years, 2023 continued to be marked by active collaboration, joint projects, and interesting initiatives for us.

Cooperating with various organizations and embassies, we welcomed guests and organized events for the exchange of experience and knowledge.

In June, we had a successful cooperation with the US Embassy in Armenia. As part of the joint initiative of the Culinary Diplomacy Program and the US Embassy, we hosted a famous American chef, the star of the "Chopped" cooking TV show, Amanda Freitag.

Amanda also organized a competition for our students, following the format of the renowned American cooking show "Chopped." Subsequently, she  shared her experience and skills. Amanda was deeply impressed by the enthusiasm and creative approaches displayed by the participants, and, naturally, by the Academy as well.

Our joint work with the Italian Embassy in Armenia was our second initiative. As part of the "Days of Italian Cuisine" event, we hosted a master class and facilitated an experience exchange program for both Italian chefs and students.

 On the initiative of the Italian Embassy in Armenia, Professors Raffaele Massanova and Giaquinto Michele Aniello, along with students from the Ancel Case Higher Culinary Educational Institution of Italy, visited Armenia. We exchanged the secrets of our cuisine and traditions, and our Italian colleagues reciprocated by sharing theirs. This experience proved to be highly successful for both parties; our guests were thoroughly impressed with the Academy, its technical equipment, and programs.

These two cooperations will be continuous; we have already agreements. During the year, we hosted various guests, high-ranking officials, ambassadors. Those visits will be the basis for interesting and important projects for further strong cooperation.

 One of the significant projects implemented in 2023 was the "Hot Kitchen," in which the Academy was also actively involved. The project applicants and participants, witnessing the Academy's capabilities, became even more enthused and interested in pursuing a career as a chef. This stands as the most significant assessment and proof that we are on the right track in fulfilling our mission, continuing to contribute to elevating the role of the chef profession. Several participants have already applied to us to further their professional education.

 Assisting our compatriots from Artsakh remains a top priority for us.

We have always implemented projects for our compatriots. Following the events of September 2023, our entire team  mobilized. We developed programs for accelerated courses in cooking, confectionery, and restaurant management and service, and we started the acceptance of forcibly displaced persons from Artsakh.

 Our goal was to assist them by providing the necessary knowledge and skills to address employment challenges. Following the courses, job opportunities were offered, especially within "Yeremyan Projects" restaurants, and many participants accepted the offers. The course program for citizens of Artsakh is currently ongoing.

Ahead are the 5th anniversary events

In 2023, we had around 400 students, which is quite a good result. 2024 is a jubilee year for us. We will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Academy's activity, and we will carry out interesting initiatives and events.

We will continue to improve our educational programs, new collaborations and projects.

Renewable energy ‘theft’: COP29 host Azerbaijan in legal battle with neighbour

Jan 18 2024

Dispute centres on resources in mountainous region Azerbaijan seized back from Armenia following lightning offensive in 2020

By Cosmo Sanderson 

A first-of-its-kind claim in which upcoming COP climate summit host Azerbaijan is suing its neighbour Armenia for allegedly stealing its green energy resources is underway in the Netherlands.

A tribunal at the Peace Palace in The Hague last week began hearing the international legal action Azerbaijan has brought alleging Armenia illegally exploited its renewable energy resources.

The case is kicking off in a year in which the eyes of the world will fall on Azerbaijan after it was named as the host of the COP29 climate change summit, which will take place in December.

Azerbaijan has already courted controversy by naming a 28-strong organising committee that doesn’t feature a single woman and appointing an oil industry veteran Mukhtar Babayev, now its minister of ecology and natural resources, as president-designate of the summit.

The renewables resources at the centre of its legal case are based in the landlocked mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has been the source of two wars between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Both countries have claimed the enclave as their own since the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917.

Azerbaijan controlled the territory for much of the 20th century and built various energy resources there, including the 50MW Tartar hydro-electric plant in the 1970s.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenians seized most of the territory in the First Nagorno-Karabakh War. It fell under the leadership of the internationally unrecognised Republic of Artsakh, which was dominated by ethnic Armenians.

After simmering tensions for decades following that conflict, Azerbaijan seized the territory back in a lightning offensive in 2020 that resulted in a 44-day war with Armenia.

Azerbaijan last year launched a claim against Armenia under the Energy Charter Treaty – the first ever inter-state case under the multilateral framework for energy cooperation – seeking compensation for the alleged illegal exploitation of its resources in the region while it had been under its neighbour’s control.

In a press release last week, Azerbaijan said: “Throughout the illegal occupation, Armenia wrongfully excluded Azerbaijan from accessing its energy resources, expropriated those resources for its own use and benefit, and deprived Azerbaijan of the opportunity to develop them.”

Azerbaijan also said it was “prevented from harnessing the abundant hydropower, wind and solar energy resources” in the region.

The exploitation of hydropower is a key part of the claim. Azerbaijan argues Armenia illegally used the Tartar plant and built at least 37 “additional unauthorised hydropower facilities” during its control of the territory, which contains a quarter of Azerbaijan’s internal water resources.

The claim also concerns fossil fuel assets – Azerbaijan is rich in oil and natural gas resources – including the alleged extraction of coal from the region and damage to a natural gas pipeline.

Armenia has dismissed Azerbaijan’s case as “groundless”.

The proceeding is being administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Three arbitrators have been appointed to hear the case at the Peace Palace.

Azerbaijan launched another international legal action last year in which it accused Armenia of destroying the region’s biodiversity.(Copyright)

Finding God’s “True Peace”: Armenian Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral


Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)

630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Contact: Chris Zakian

Tel: (212) 686-0710

E-mail: [email protected]





EDITOR: Three photos attached, with captions below. Please credit Diran
Jebejian, Jebejian Images. Find additional photos at the following link:




God’s “True Peace”: Armenian Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral


Stephan S. Nigohosian


Armenian Christmas Divine Liturgy on Saturday, January 6, 2024, at New York’s
St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral once again brought the Armenian Christian family
together to mark the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus
Christ. Consistent with the early traditions of Christianity, the mystery
of the baptism of Jesus Christ is also commemorated on this day, with a special
“Blessing of Water” (Churorhnek) ceremony following the Divine Liturgy.


As the
congregation rejoiced together in this celebration of the revelation of God to
mankind through Christ’s nativity, it was abundantly clear that faith united
them as one body as the Kingdom of God became present and active within the


his first Christmas since his consecration as a bishop of the church, Diocesan
Primate Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy
before the faithful in the cathedral sanctuary, as well as to a global audience
via a livestreamed Internet broadcast.


year’s observance also provided an inspiring testament to the healing power of
Our Lord, as Bishop Mesrop robustly stood and walked throughout the entire
service despite having been gravely injured in a car accident less than two
years ago. It was, without a doubt, a time to give thanks for the blessings the
Lord has bestowed upon our bishop and the Armenian people, carrying them
through catastrophic events during the past year, particularly in Armenia and


candlelight bathed the bright red poinsettias adorning the holy altar, wisps of
incense billowed from the censers, enveloping the sanctum as it lifted the
prayers of the Badarak toward the heavens. Bishop Mesrop, clad
in violet and gold-colored liturgical vestments, led the congregation in prayer
and blessed parishioners as he walked in procession.


present among the lay people were Bishop Mesrop’s parents, Mihran and Manya
Parsamyan, who traveled from Armenia to share in the blessed joy of the
Christmas service with their son.



* A
Child’s Trust


Mesrop’s homily thoughtfully examined the meaning of the true peace that God
offers us, by juxtaposing a child’s simple, playful activities with that of an
adult’s life clouded with trepidation and burden.


child has the security and trust that his parents are watching over him to
ensure his safety, allowing him to completely immerse himself in the joy of the
moment without concern for the past or anxiety about the future,” he
said.  “We, too, have the assurance of placing our trust in a loving,
trustworthy parent—our Heavenly Father—who watches over us at all times.”


reiterated that our faith calls us to place our trust in God, enabling us to
live in the moment, liberated from the weight of our past regrets and future
anxieties. “We then can fully engage in the peace that God offers us,” he said,
“one that surpasses all understanding and guides our hearts and our minds in
Christ to guide our steps and embolden our spirits.”


Mesrop concluded his message by encouraging the faithful to trust in our
Heavenly Father and live in the present moment, so we can share that peace in
our hearts with others.


Godfather of the Cross (gunkahayr) for the Christmas Blessing of Water
ceremony was Kirk Hachigian, a member of St. Kevork Church in
Houston, TX, whose selfless involvement, guidance, and support of countless
initiatives have benefitted the Diocese and the larger Armenian community.


Christmas Day Divine Liturgy was also made possible with the participation
of Fr. Davit Karamyan, Vicar of St. Vartan Cathedral, as well as a large
contingent of deacons and altar servers. Maestro Khoren Mekanejian directed the
angelic voices of the St. Vartan Cathedral Choir, accompanied by organist
Florence Avakian.


the service, a Christmas reception took place in Haik and Alice Kavookjian
Auditorium of the Diocesan complex. The online broadcast was directed by
Yervant Keshishian, with Chris Zakian providing the narration. Dn. Diran
Jebejian photographed the service inside the sanctuary.


Vartan Cathedral’s Christmas celebration began on the evening of January 5,
with the solemn Jrakalouyts (“Lamp-lighting”) service followed
by scripture readings traditionally celebrated on Christmas Eve. The
Divine Liturgy, celebrated by Fr. Karamyan, immediately followed. In accordance
with Armenian Church tradition, the Feast of Theophany will be formally
observed through January 13, completing the “octave” of Theophany.


the following links to:


VIEW photos of
Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral.

WATCH the full
 of the Christmas liturgy.

WATCH Bishop
Mesrop’s sermon
 in English and Armenian.




* * *


Armenian Christmas at New York’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, on Saturday, January
6, 2024. Diocesan Primate Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan (at center) celebrated the Christmas
liturgy and led the Blessing of QWater Ceremony, shown here. Standing at right
is Mr. Kirk Hachigian, this year’s Godfather of the Cross, who hails from the
Diocese’s St. Kevork parish in Houston, TX.


Holy Communion on Armenian Christmas at St. Vartan Cathedral, NYC. Pictured are Cathedral Vicar Fr. Davit Karamyan, Deacon Adam Bullock, and Deacon Manouel Rakoubian.



Primate Bishop Mesrop Parsamyan and Godfather of the Cross Kirk Hachigian,
during the Armenian Christmas service at NYC’s St. Vartan Cathedral.

* * *




Photo Gallery
(credit Diran Jebejian, Jebejian Images):


Service Recording:


Mesrop’s Sermon:


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