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TOP STORY                                                          December 30, 2010

Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord      

On Thursday, January 6, 2011, the Armenian Church will celebrate the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Armenian tradition, this feast day commemorates not only the birth of Christ, but also His baptism by John the Baptist. The latter is remembered through the “Blessing of Water” ceremony, which follows the Divine Liturgy on January 6.

On the eve of the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord— Wednesday, January 5—the Armenian Church will celebrate the Jrakalouyts (lamp-lighting) service.

At St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York, services will begin on Wednesday, January 5, with readings from the Old Testament at 6:30 p.m. by the Diocese’s Khrimian Lyceum students. Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian will be the evening’s celebrant. A reception will follow in Vartan Hall of the Diocesan Center.
On Thursday, January 6, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy, which will be preceded by a morning service, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The “Blessing of Water” will follow the Divine Liturgy; Hirant Gulian, a deacon of the church, will serve as “godfather” of the "Blessing of Water" service. A “Home Blessing” service and Christmas reception will be held in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium. Click here for more information.
St. Vartan Cathedral is located at 630 Second Avenue in Manhattan.
Armenian Christmas will also be observed at local parishes throughout the Eastern Diocese; contact a parish close to you to learn their schedule of services. To find an Armenian Church in your area, click here.
Click to read Archbishop Khajag Barsamian’s Christmas message, and to view a brief video about Christmas in the Armenian Church.

Scripture of the Week

Is 51:15-52:3
Heb 13:18-25
Lk 22:24-30

Prayer of the week

Lord our God, accept the supplications of us your servants, made with open arms, and be merciful to us according to your great mercy.

Send down your compassion on us and upon all your people, that await the abundant mercy which comes from you.

For you, being God, are merciful and love mankind: and to you is befitting glory, dominion and honor, now and always and unto the ages of ages.

Upcoming Saints & Feasts

1 January: Holy Fathers Basil, Gregory of Nissa, Sylvester of Rome, and Ephrem the Syrian

2 January: Sunday during the Fast of Nativity

5 January: Eve of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ

6 January: Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ

7 January: Remembrance of the Dead

9 January: Fourth Day of the Octave of Theophany


Bishop Artak Tigranian ordains deacons at Holy Etchmiadzin.

Deacons Ordained at Holy Etchmiadzin   

On Saturday, December 25, the Feast of St. Stephen the Protodeacon and First Martyr, 30 young seminarians were ordained to the diaconate at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, presided over the ordination service, which was performed by Bishop Artak Tigranian.

Ordinations to the diaconate are held every December at Holy Etchmiadzin, on the Feast of St. Stephen the Protodeacon and First Martyr. St. Stephen—the first deacon of the universal Church—was ordained by the Apostles and went on to preach in Jerusalem. He was persecuted for his faith and stoned to death, becoming the first Christian martyr.



Annual Appeal: 100K Challenge Deadline is Jan. 7

In the fall, the Eastern Diocese announced its Matching Grant fundraiser, whereby donors to the Diocese’s 2010 Annual Appeal could effectively double their contributions—thanks to a generous pledge which promised to match every donation up to $100,000.

Thanks to the generosity of people across the Eastern Diocese, we have achieved that goal, and will receive the entire Matching Grant pledge (click here to track our progress). Thank you for helping us meet this goal!

However, we’re still falling short of meeting our annual budget to maintain our programs, even after having made significant budget reductions.

Thankfully, a second benefactor has pledged another $100,000—this time as a “Challenge Grant.” Once again, donors will have their contributions matched dollar for dollar. But this time, the Diocese will only be eligible to receive the additional $100,000 if it first raises the same amount from other donors.

We need your help to meet this new Challenge Grant goal. Our deadline for this special challenge is January 7, 2011.


Rev. Fr. Aram Mirzoyan with children at St. Asdvadzadsin Church in Tavush, Armenia.

FAR Brings Support to Tavush in Time for Christmas

In recent years, the Fund for Armenian Relief has been expanding its work to support children in Armenia’s northeastern province of Tavush.

This Christmas generous donors—including John Thomas of the U.S., the Megerian Rugs Company, and the United Methodist Committee on Relief—helped the organization to continue this pattern.

FAR staff recently visited Tavush to deliver gifts and awards to local children at the Aygepar Kindergarten and the Berd Art School. Packages for children included toiletries, candy, and clothing, as well as stipends made possible by Mr. Thomas. The Megerian Rugs Company also donated much-needed materials, such as yarn and dye to help students learning traditional Armenian rug making at the Berd Art School.

The presentation of gifts was made at the local St. Asdvadzadsin Church, with the assistance of the Rev. Fr. Aram Mirzoyan. Participants prayed together and received a blessing from Fr. Mirzoyan.

Click here
 to visit FAR’s blog and to read more.
Gilda Kupelian (center) with students at the Diocese's Mesrob Mashdots Institute last week.

Fall Semester Concludes at Mesrob Mashdots Institute   

The Eastern Diocese’s Mesrob Mashdots Institute, an Armenian language course for adults organized by the Armenian Studies program of the Diocese’s Department of Youth and Education, held its final session of the fall 2010 semester on Wednesday, December 22. The session wrapped up with a special holiday gathering.

The Mesrob Mashdots Institute runs sessions during the fall and spring semesters; beginner, intermediate, conversation and literature appreciation levels are offered.

Classes are held at the Diocesan Center on Wednesdays. The two-hour sessions are taught by Shakeh Kadehjian, Maro Partamian, Ani Kelejian, and Gilda Kupelian, coordinator of Armenian Studies for the Diocese.

Spring semester classes are scheduled to begin in March. For more information about this program, e-mail Gilda Kupelian at

Send an E-Card to Friends and Family 

Log on to the Diocese’s website to send e-cards to friends and family for the New Year and Armenian Christmas. You can choose from a range of card designs, in multiple languages. Click here to personalize and send your e-card.

We also invite you to read about the celebration of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ, view a brief Christmas video, download activities for children, and explore other resources at

Additional updates and information are available on our YouTubeTwitter, and Facebook pages.



Sunday School students in Hartford sing Christmas carols to the elderly.

Sunday Schoolers in Hartford Share Christmas Spirit   

During the Christmas season, students at the St. George Church Sunday School of Hartford, CT, took part in a Christmas caroling party.

Following breakfast and lunch in the church hall, and an afternoon of cookie baking and decorating, students visited parishioners who are unable to attend church on Sundays. They sang Christmas carols and delivered the cookie trays they had prepared earlier in the day.

Assisting the students were Sunday School co-superintendents Cynthia Messikian and Virginia Wasynczuk, teachers, parents, and the parish pastor, the Rev. Fr. Gomidas Zohrabian.

The Christmas caroling party has become a tradition of the St. George Church Sunday School. Parishioners say it gives young people an opportunity to learn the importance of volunteering and brings joy to those who are homebound.

Upcoming Parish Events

St. David Church | Boca Raton, FL
St. David Church of Boca Raton, FL, announces a performance of the Antranig Dance Ensemble on Sunday, January 16, at 8 p.m. The event will be held at the Coral Springs Center for the Arts (2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, FL).

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the parish’s cultural, art education, and dance programs for young people. 

For more information, or to order tickets, call the Coral Springs Box Office at (954) 344-5990, or the church office at (561) 994-2335.

Holy Trinity Church | Cambridge, MA
Holy Trinity Church of Greater Boston and the Erevan Choral Society and Orchestra will present their 44th annual Christmas Holiday Concert, on Sunday, January 2, at 4 p.m., in the sanctuary of Holy Trinity Church.

The concert is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.
The ACYOA Seniors of Holy Trinity Church invite individuals ages 18 and older to join them for an evening of dancing and celebration on Saturday, January 8, beginning at 8 p.m.

The Winter Ball  will feature music of all decades and traditional Armenian favorites. Donation is $35 per person; $25 for those ages 18-24 (with ID). Advance paid reservations are required by January 2. Click here for more information.

St. Vartan Cathedral  | New York, NY
A New Year’s Day Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral on Saturday, January 1, beginning at 11 a.m.

Services will be followed by a fellowship hour. The cathedral is located at 630 Second Avenue in Manhattan.


St. David Church in Boca Raton, FL.

Take Part in the ACYOA Chapter Workshop in Florida

The ACYOA Central Council will hold its annual Chapter Workshop from January 14 to 16 at St. David Church of Boca Raton, FL.

Weekend sessions will help chapter executives design programs that incorporate the ideas embodied by the "five circles of the cross": Worship, Witness, Service, Education, and Fellowship. All parishes are encouraged to send representatives to take part in the three-day program.

Click here
 to view a flyer with additional information.



The Diocese’s e-Newsletter will not be published on Armenian Christmas, Thursday, January 6. We look forward to resuming e-Newsletter publication on Thursday, January 13.

We wish you a happy, healthy New Year and a Merry Christmas.

Krisdos dzunav yev haydnetzav! Orhnyal eh haydnootiunun Krisdosee!
Christ is born and revealed! Blessed is the revelation of Christ!