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TOP STORY                                                    September 10, 2015

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

We see it soaring atop church spires and standing solemnly over graves. It ornaments our places of worship, and dangles from the neck to rest close to the heart. It flashes through our field of vision when an ambulance speeds by on a mission of mercy, and lends a reserved dignity to the crests of great universities.

It is the sign of the Cross: the universal symbol of Christianity, which lends its eloquent simplicity of form to the distinctive virtues of our religion. Faith, hope, and charity. Righteousness, compassion, and mercy. Humble appreciation for learning, and for conveying the fruits of accumulated knowledge. Comfort in the trials of living, and the promise of life after death.

These are the impressions we take for granted after 2,000 years of Christian civilization. But it was not always this way. In ancient times, the cross was an object of fear and loathing; and it was in this guise that the cross was made the instrument of painful death for our Lord, Jesus Christ. It was only in the light cast by his resurrection that the cross took on a new symbolic meaning.

Christ’s apostle St. James was the first to perceive the cross not with fear, but with reverence and awe. In raising up the cross, and bowing before it, St. James showed the world that Christ’s resurrection marked a decisive turning point in history. The old era’s symbol of death would henceforth be known as the Christian era’s symbol of everlasting life.

This is the story the Armenian Church will remember this Sunday, on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It’s one of the major feast days of the church calendar, and the first of several celebrations marking the season of our Lord’s Cross.

Click here to read more about the Exaltation of the Cross. And to read a special blog feature on the Exaltation posted in honor of September 11, click here.

The “Hero’s Cross” at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.

This Day of Infamy

This Friday marks 14 years since the dreadful event that altered the landscape of our country—in ways both literal and figurative. Who will ever forget, having lived through September 11, 2001, the horror and outrage we felt, as we confronted the terrible loss of life, and the prospect of an evil enemy who would willfully extinguish those lives?

We pray for the souls of those who were cruelly taken from this world in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and we ask our Lord to grant peace to those who have suffered loss and hardship in the long aftermath of that infamous day.

As Armenian Christians—who are no strangers to the sufferings of destruction and death—we may cast our thoughts upon the Holy Cross: once a fearsome instrument of death, but transformed, through the suffering of our Lord Jesus, into a sign of divine life. In the Cross of Christ, we receive our highest assurance of God’s loving solidarity with mankind—even in our deepest pain and suffering.

To read a short meditation on the Holy Cross and 9/11, click here.


Scripture of the Week

Is 49:13-23
Gal 6:14-18
Jn 3:13-21

Prayer of the Week

Guard us, O Christ our God, in peace under the shadow of your holy and venerable Cross. Deliver us from the visible and invisible enemy. Make us worthy to give you thanks and to glorify you together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always. Amen.

Upcoming Saints & Feasts

13 September: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

14 September: Remembrance of the dead


Holy Martyrs Icon in Yerevan
Armenian clergy and lay people carry the icon of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide to Yerevan's St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral.

A Tale of Two Treasures

Last week, two “new treasures” of the Armenian Church were brought together for the first time in a solemn and uplifting ceremony.

The icon of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide—which was consecrated last April 23, during the canonization service of the Genocide saints—was carried in procession to Yerevan’s St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, the mammoth edifice that was consecrated a mere 14 years ago to honor the 1700th anniversary of Armenia’s conversion to Christianity.

The icon arrived at the cathedral on September 8—the Feast of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin Mary—with the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. A half dozen young Armenian clergy and lay people carried the icon tenderly up the approach to the cathedral, leading a large procession of Yerevan’s faithful.

Inside the sanctuary the public had an opportunity to venerate and pray before the icon. It will remain at the St. Gregory Cathedral for a month, and will subsequently be taken to other churches in the region before returning to its home at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Click here to view video footage of the day—including some thoughtful reflections by the icon artist, Tigran Barkhanajyan.

Here in the Eastern Diocese, a replica of the Holy Martyrs icon will soon ornament every local church. The Diocese has provided every parish with a reproduction of the icon, to be placed in a permanent location in their respective sanctuaries. Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian has designated Sunday, November 1, as the date when special icon consecration ceremonies will take place across our Diocese. Mark the date—and look to future newsletters for details.


Holy Cross Church

Primate to Visit Manhattan's Holy Cross Church

Holy Cross Church in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood will host its name-day dinner on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Sunday, September 13. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, will visit the parish and celebrate the Divine Liturgy.

Following the Divine Liturgy, a madagh dinner will be served. The day’s program will include the awarding of the parish’s Mabel Fenner Scholarships.

Click here to visit the parish website.

Armenian School

St. Vartan Armenian School to Start Fall Classes

St. Vartan Armenian School will begin the 2015-16 academic year on Saturday, September 26. Registration will open at 10 a.m., followed by a full day of classes.

Classes will be held every Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The school offers a bilingual curriculum in Western Armenian and English. It will be led by new principal Maran Bagdasarian.

Children ages 3 to 12 are encouraged to enroll. Tuition is $300 ($275 for each additional child). For information, call (212) 293-1286, or e-mail Maran Bagdasarian at

Diocesan Center

Executive Search

The Eastern Diocese is seeking candidates for the position of Director of Administration. The Director of Administration will be responsible for managing the administrative and operational functions at the Diocese, in accordance with the policies established by the Primate and the Diocesan Council. Responsibilities will encompass the areas of finance, administration, and facilities management.

Click here for a complete job description and list of qualifications. Qualified applicants should send a resume and cover letter to Only those applicants meeting the requirements for this position will be interviewed. The review of applications will continue until the position is filled. 



St. Mark Church, Springfield
Armenian dancing at Sunday's festival in Springfield.

"Armenian Fest" in Springfield

St. Mark Church of Springfield, MA, held its annual “Armenian Fest” on Sunday, September 6, on the church grounds. The event drew more than 700 people, including parishioners, Armenians from sister parishes, and members of the greater Springfield community. 

St. Mark parishioners worked diligently in the months leading up to the fest. They served traditional Armenian food and homemade pastries. Visitors also enjoyed live Armenian music performed by the David Ansbigian band of Boston, and American tunes sung by “The September Girls.” Other activities included dancing and a raffle featuring prizes donated by local businesses.

Parishioners said last Sunday’s event was the community’s most successful fest to date. Click here to view an album of photos from a local newspaper.  

Junior Choir Visits Providence

Junior Choir Committee Visits Providence

On Wednesday, August 26, members of the Diocesan Junior Choir Committee visited Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church of Providence, RI, as part of the committee’s ongoing effort to promote and encourage the development of junior choirs throughout the Eastern Diocese.  

Chair Dn. Gregory Krikorian and members Paul Ketchoyian and Linda Bullock met with the Rev. Fr. Shnork Souin, parish pastor, and Maestro Konstantin Petrossian, the parish’s culture and music director. Committee members shared materials describing the Junior Choir program, and discussed ways to recruit and train young choir members. 

Holy Trinity, Cheltenham, PA

A Movie Screening in Cheltenham

At the Holy Trinity parish of Cheltenham, PA, more than 40 people stayed after services on Sunday afternoon, August 30, to watch a faith-based movie called “I am Gabriel.” 

The film tells the story of people residing in a small and declining Texas town whose lives change with the arrival of a mysterious young boy who teaches them that there is no hope without Christ.  

Parishioners said that the story of revival was a powerful reminder of God’s love for all his children. They are planning additional movie screenings for the coming year.

Upcoming events

Upcoming Parish Events

Holy Martyrs Church | Bayside, NY
The Church of the Holy Martyrs of Bayside, NY, will host its annual "Oceania Street Armenian Festival" on Saturday, September 12, from 12 to 8 p.m. The event will be held on Oceania Street in Bayside. Enjoy Armenian food, street vendors, raffles, games for kids and performances—including appearances by the Aradzani and Hye Bar dance groups, the Antranig Dance Ensemble, and others. Click here to view a flyer.

Holy Ascension Church |Trumbull, CT
Holy Ascension Church of Trumbull, CT, will hold its annual "Armenian Picnic Festival" on Sunday, September 13, starting at noon. Enjoy lamb and chicken shish kebab and other Armenian foods. The day will feature Armenian folk and pop music, and activities for children. Click here to view a flyer for information or visit the parish's Facebook page.

Holy Trinity Church | Cambridge, MA
Holy Trinity Church of Greater Boston will host the "Trinity Family Festival" on Sunday, September 13, from noon to 5 p.m. Join the local community for an afternoon of Armenian food, music, and fellowship. The blessing of the madagh will take place at 4 p.m., followed by the raffle drawing. Click here to read about the festival. For more information, contact the Holy Trinity Church Office at (617) 354-0632, or e-mail

St. James Church | Watertown, MA
On Monday, September 14, the Men's Club and Women's Guild of St. James Church of Watertown, MA, will host a joint dinner meeting featuring keynote speaker Eric Bogosian, author of Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot that Avenged the Armenian Genocide. The evening begins with a social hour at 6:15, followed by dinner at 7. For information and reservations, call the church office at (617) 923-8860.

Church of Our Saviour | Worcester, MA
The Church of Our Saviour of Worcester, MA, will host its 22nd annual golf tournament at the Sterling National Country Club in Sterling, MA, on Monday, September 14. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.; the tournament is scheduled for 10 a.m. A dinner will follow the day's game. Click here for information and registration materials. The parish welcomes sponsorships and donations. Click here for a sponsorship form.
St. Mary Church | Livingston, NJ
The St. Mary Church of Livingston, NJ, will hold its annual Food Festival on Saturday and Sunday, September 19 and 20. The festival has been a much-anticipated fall event for the northern New Jersey Armenian and surrounding communities for more than 25 years.

Click here to view a flyer. Additional information on the St. Mary Food Festival, including sponsorship opportunities, is available on the St. Mary Church website.

St. Thomas Church | Tenafly, NJ
The Kirikian Armenian School of St. Thomas Church will hold its opening day of classes and registration on Saturday, September 19, beginning at 9:15 a.m. Sessions for the upcoming year will run from September through June, with classes for toddlers and nursery through 7th grade. For information e-mail To view a flyer, click here.

Hye Pointe Church | Haverhill, MA
Hye Pointe Church of Haverhill, MA, will host a sphagetti dinner on Saturday, September 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. Enjoy dinner and fellowship in the church hall. Click here to view a flyer for information.

St. Gregory the Enlightener Church | White Plains, NY
St. Gregory the Enlightener Church of White Plains, NY, will host its annual picnic on Sunday, September 20, from noon until 6:00 p.m. Enjoy music by the Johnny Berberian Ensemble, featuring Onnik Dinkjian; a raffle; and activities for adults and children. The menu includes homemade Armenian mezzes and pastries, luleh kebab, and grilled chicken. Click here to view a flyer for information, or call the church at (914) 428-2595.

St. Vartan Cathedral | New York, NY
This fall, St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral will offer Armenian language courses on Wednesday evenings. Classes will begin on September 23; the registration deadline is September 16. Click here to view a flyer for information.


Leadership Conference
Young people take part in the Divine Liturgy at a past Leadership Conference.

ACYOA Leadership Conference Planned for November

The annual ACYOA Leadership Conference is scheduled for the weekend of November 13-15 at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center in Kansasville, WI (outside Milwaukee).

The Leadership Conference is an opportunity for young adults, ages 18 and older, from across the Diocese to gather for a time of education, worship, leadership building, and fellowship. This year’s conference will explore the Diocese’s theme “Living the Gospel of Christ: Legacy of Our Martyrs” through lessons, small group discussions, and personal reflection.

The ACYOA Central Council is underwriting all costs for lodging and meals. Click on the following links to view a flyer and to register online. The registration deadline is November 5. For information, contact Lorie Odabashian, coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, at or (212) 686-0710 ext. 143.




Armenian Photo Exhibit in Southern Connecticut

A new exhibit of photographs from the Armenian Genocide will go on display at Southern Connecticut State University this evening.

Titled “Bearing Witness to the Lost History of an Armenian Family through the Lens of the Dildilian Brothers," the exhibit features photographs from SCSU’s Professor Armen Marsoobian's family collection.

At tonight’s opening reception SCSU President Mary A. Papazian will present the “SCSU President's Medal” to special guest Ruben Mirzakhanyan, rector of Armenian State Pedagogical University, in recognition of his commitment to enhancing the quality of education in Armenia.

The exhibit will remain on view through October 18. Click here for directions and information.

Jazz at St Vartan Cathedral

Jazz on the Plaza at St. Vartan Cathedral

An evening of sophisticated jazz music will be held on Friday, September 18, beginning at 7 p.m. on the plaza of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, in New York City.

The evening will feature a live performance by the ensemble "Instant Culture Music," and is being sponsored by the St. Vartan Cathedral Council. Click here to view a flyer for information.

Forty Martyrs: Armenian Chanting from Aleppo
Jason Hamacher's new CD “Forty Martyrs: Armenian Chanting from Aleppo.”

Zohrab Center to Host an Evening of Music and Stories

The Diocese’s Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center will inaugurate its fall season of lectures with an evening of music and stories on Friday, September 18, beginning at 7 p.m. in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium. Musician Jason Hamacher will speak about his new CD “Forty Martyrs: Armenian Chanting from Aleppo.” 

Over six years, Mr. Hamacher has documented the ancient prayers, hallowed rituals, and sacred spaces of the Sufi, Armenian, Syriac, and Assyrian musical traditions of Aleppo. He recorded Armenian Church hymns sung by the Very Rev. Fr. Yeznig Zegchanian in the 600-year-old Armenian Church of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste in the old city of Aleppo. Mr. Hamacher will share personal experiences, play vinyl records, and show photographs from his travels in Syria.

Click here to read more on the Zohrab Center’s blog.

Ride For Remembrance

St. Vartan Cathedral to Host Bike Ride

St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral will host a bike ride in New York in observance of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, September 26, beginning at 10 a.m. Riders will proceed from 34th Street to the East River Bike Trail and continue to the Staten Island ferry terminal, from where they will take the ferry to Governors Island.

Vasken Melikian, Lebanon cycling champion and Guinness World Record holder for towing a car by bicycle the farthest distance, will be the day’s featured participant.

Click here to view a flyer for information, or call Maria Barsoumian at (212) 293-1244.