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TOP STORY                                                          March 9, 2017

Prodigal Son Sunday

Sunday of the Prodigal Son 

This Sunday of Great Lent takes its lesson from the “Parable of the Prodigal Son”—arguably the most concise, profound, and beautiful of our Lord’s statements on the nature of God’s love.

In a story of fewer than 600 words (related in Luke 15:11-32), Jesus depicts the follies of our fallen nature, the shame and self-loathing that lie at the heart of human vice, the tender love that can heal a fractured world, and the price such love exacts. And these grand ideas are all conveyed through characters one might find in an ordinary domestic comedy: “There once was a man who had two sons…”

Like all great works of storytelling, this parable invites the reader to approach it at different times in his or her life—as a child, an adult, a sibling, a parent—to experience it anew, and to discover new rewards, new wisdom, with each encounter.

This Sunday in church is the perfect opportunity to have that encounter, and perhaps to engage in the self-examination that is one hallmark of the Lenten season.


Choices with Fr. Tateos Abdalian

Watch "Choices" with Fr. Tateos Abdalian 

The Eastern Diocese is pleased to introduce a new video series this month, offering a pastoral perspective on the situations people face in their daily lives. Titled “Choices” and hosted by the Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian, the series’ central theme is the great gift God has given us—the ability to choose—and the rewards, or consequences, these choices bring.
In the inaugural episode, Fr. Abdalian reflects on the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” and how the personages in that story confront difficult alternatives. Click here to view the episode.

Scripture of the Week

Is 54:11-55:13
2 Cor 6:1-7:1
Lk 15:1-32

Prayer of the Week

Accept with sweetness, almighty Lord, my bitter prayers. Look with pity upon my mournful face. Dispel, all-bestowing God, my shameful sadness. Lift, merciful God, my unbearable burden. For you are glorified by all creation, forever and ever. Amen.

Upcoming Saints & Feasts

11 March: St. Cyril of Jerusalem

12 March: Sunday of the Prodigal Son


Save the Tomb

Campaign to Help Restore Tomb of Christ in Jerusalem

Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian has announced a fundraising campaign to help the restoration effort currently underway at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
The site marks the burial place of Jesus Christ, and has long stood as one of the most precious shrines of the Christian heritage. The Armenian Church, through its Patriarchate of Jerusalem, shares joint custodial oversight of the Holy Sepulchre, and is deeply involved in the current restoration.
In a letter to Diocesan leaders, the Primate announced that the Eastern Diocese aims to raise $300,000 to contribute to this effort. The campaign is called “Save the Tomb” — and has already begun operating. It is led by a committee chaired by Paul Korian.
A special website has been launched — — where individuals can find information on the project and make online donations.
Local parishes throughout the Eastern Diocese will be holding receptions to support the “Save the Tomb” project. These are being scheduled to go forward from April to June of this year. In addition, the Primate has designated Sunday, April 30 — the Sunday of the World Church — for a special collection to be taken in parishes in support of the “Save the Tomb” project.
Click here to read more.



Diocese Now Accepting Scholarship Applications 

Applications for Diocesan scholarships are now available online. The application deadline for the 2017-18 academic year is May 20, 2017.

Each year the Diocese awards scholarships to promising youth who are headed to college. The Diocese seeks students who are active in their local parishes and have assumed leadership roles in their communities. To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. citizens enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs.

Click here to access the scholarship application. For information, contact Maria Barsoumian at (212) 686-0710.



Working from the Heart

In Armenia and other countries around the world, yesterday was observed as “International Women’s Day.” To mark this occasion, the Fund for Armenian Relief profiled its programs director, Margarit Piliposyan.
“Doing non-profit work is close to my heart,” she said. “I have always admired seeing small civic groups trying to promote change.”
Click here to read more on FAR’s blog.



"Ayo!" Launches Drive to Help Kids in Hrazdan

The Fund for Armenian Relief’s crowdfunding platform “Ayo!” launched a new campaign to raise funds for the Hrazdan Day Care Center for disabled children.
The center provides social, educational, and healthcare support to almost 150 children in Hrazdan, Armenia. When it lost its funding earlier this year, “Ayo!” stepped up to the plate, with a  commitment to raise the needed funds by mid-April.
Click here to read more on FAR’s blog.


St. Gregory the Enlightener, White Plains, NY

Blessing Crosses in White Plains

On Sunday, March 5, the Rev. Fr. Mesrob Hovsepyan, pastor of St. Gregory the Enlightener Church of White Plains, NY, gave a special children’s sermon for students of the parish’s Armenian and Sunday Schools. He spoke about the meaning of Great Lent and the Sunday of the Expulsion.
Fr. Hovsepyan then blessed 14 crosses that will be installed in the Armenian and Sunday School classrooms. The crosses were made in Armenia and will serve to remind students of Christ’s sacrifice and their Armenian Christian heritage. All students participated in a fundraising effort to purchase the crosses.

Click here to view photos.


Holy Martyrs Church, Bayside, NY

Bayside Sunday School Students Receive New Bibles  

On Sunday, March 5, the Sunday School students of Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, NY, met with their pastor, the Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan, to learn about the Bible.
After their discussion, the kindergarten class and students in grades 6 through 11, along with their parents, received blessed Bibles from Fr. Malkhasyan and made a promise to read their new Bibles as a family.  
Bayside's Sunday School students are also marking Lent by selling handmade angels. Their goal is to raise money for Syrian refugees in Armenia as part of the Diocesan-wide Lenten drive. Click here to view photos.

Primate visits Naples Parish

Parishioners Recognized in Naples, FL

The Armenian Church of Southwest Florida welcomed Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian to Naples, FL, from February 25 to 27.
During a banquet following the Divine Liturgy on February 26, Archbishop Barsamian presented “Certificates of Service” to five members of the parish council who retired last season after eight years of dedicated service. The honorees are: Carole Meghreblian, Joseph Meghreblian, Suzanne Zakarian Szczesny, Mariam Tatosian, and Kathy Mekjian.
Click here to read more.


Upcoming Parish Events

Sts. Vartanantz Church | Chelmsford, MA
Sts. Vartanantz Church of Chelmsford, MA, will host a Lenten series on Friday evenings during Great Lent. The 48th annual "Very Rev. Fr. Ghevont Samoorian Lenten Program of Spiritual Renewal" will focus on Christian virtues. The six Friday evening programs will be presented by guest speakers who will discuss how the “Fruits of the Spirit” are vital ingredients in a recipe of living. The second session, on kindness, is scheduled for March 10. Click here to view a flyer for information.
St. David Church | Boca Raton, FL
St. David Church of Boca Raton, FL, will host a Lenten series on Wednesdays during Great Lent. Each of the sessions will highlight one of the Sacraments of the Armenian Church. Click here to view a flyer for information.

On March 18 and 19, St. David Church will host its annual “Art & Food Festival.” Enjoy Armenian delicacies to eat in or take out, activities for kids, and Armenian music. Browse vendors stations and a flea market organized by the students of the Armenian and Sunday School. Click here to view a flyer for information.

St. Stepanos Church | Elberon, NJ
The Women’s Guild of St. Stepanos Church of Elberon, NJ, will host an observance of Saintly Women’s Day, this year honoring the saintly women of Vartanantz, on Saturday, March 18. Click here to view a flyer for registration information.

St. Mary Church | Livingston, NJ
St. Mary Church of Livingston, NJ, will host a talk by the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, director of the Eastern Diocese’s Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, on the “Joy of the Gospel in the Times of Tragedy” on Friday, March 24, at 7 p.m. For more information, click here to view a flyer.

St. Gregory the Enlightener Church | White Plains, NY
The Culture Committee of St. Gregory the Enlightener Church of White Plains, NY, will host the 15th annual Lionel Galstaun Memorial Concert on Sunday, March 26. The concert will be held in the church sanctuary, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Cellist Eddie Pogossian and pianist Vatche Jambazian will perform. The concert is free and open to the public. Click here to view a flyer for information.

The Women’s Guild of St. Gregory the Enlightener Church will host a parish retreat on Saturday, April 1, at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in Armonk, NY. The retreat will explore the theme of “Filling the Deepest Thirst.” RSVP is requested by March 25. For more information, click here to view a flyer or contact Rita Kurkjian at (914) 522-8860 or


ACYOA Retreat

ACYOA Lenten Retreats 

The ACYOA kicked off its Lenten retreat season this month with a retreat  for the ACYOA Juniors at Camp Washington in Connecticut, from March 3 to 5. Some 70 young people from nine East Coast parishes took part in the weekend of prayer, Bible study, and discussion.  
This year’s retreats, themed “Feasting on the Fruit,” give participants the opportunity to learn about how to nourish themselves with the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
The Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian served as the chaplain on Friday and Saturday, leading prayer services and a session titled “Holy Spirit: 101.” Rev. Fr. Kapriel Mouradjian and Rev. Fr. Vasken Kouzouian were present throughout the weekend, as were some local youth directors. Members of the ACYOA Seniors served as chaperones. 
The young people also viewed and discussed episodes of the Diocese’s new “Bread and Salt” video series. On Sunday morning, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the Very Rev. Fr. Anania Tsaturyan, with the assistance of St. Nersess seminarian Levon Asadourian. 
The retreat was organized and led by Kathryn Ashbahian and Lorie Odabashian of the Diocese’s Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Click here to view photos.
ACYOA Retreat Schedule
March 10-12: Michigan and Ohio ACYOA Juniors Retreat, Michigan Christian Youth Camp, Attica, MI
March 11: New England ACYOA Seniors Retreat, St. Mark Church, Springfield, MA
March 17-19: Wisconsin and Illinois ACYOA Juniors Retreat, Camp Hickory, Ingleside, IL
March 18-19: Western Florida ACYOA Juniors Retreat, St. Hagop Church, Pinellas Park, FL
March 24-26: Texas ACYOA Juniors Retreat, St. Sarkis Church, Carrollton, TX
April 1: NY, NJ, Mid-Atlantic ACYOA Seniors Retreat, Armenian Church of the Holy Martyrs, Bayside, NY
April 1: Midwest ACYOA Seniors Retreat, St. John’s Church, Southfield, MI
To learn more about upcoming retreats, and to register, contact Kathryn Ashbahian at, or Lorie Odabashian at


Summer Camps

Registration Open for Summer Camps

St. Vartan Camp is searching for additional lifeguards for all sessions and volunteer nurses for Session C. The camp is also in need of a Water Safety Instructor (WSI) with proper certification from the American Red Cross to conduct swimming tests for the first night of each camp session.
Registration is now open for both St. Vartan Camp at the Ararat Center in upstate New York and Hye Camp in Illinois. Online registration and credit card payments are available for both programs.
Click on the following links to view the camps flyer with the 2017 camp dates, and to visit the camps website to register your child. To apply for CIT, staff, and volunteer positions, download and mail a completed application.
For more information about St. Vartan Camp, contact Lorie Odabashian at For Hye Camp, contact Kathryn Ashbahian at



Lincoln Center Concert in Honor of Armenia 

The Armenian Mission to the United Nations will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s membership in the U.N. with a concert at Lincoln Center on Thursday, March 16.
Titled “A Cultural Adventure: Joyfully Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Armenia Rejoining the Family of Nations,” the program will feature contemporary interpretations of Armenian folk and sacred music. It will include performances by Jivan Gasparian, Jr. and the Hover State Chamber Choir of Armenia. Visual artist Karen Mirzoyan, in collaboration with stage director Eric Hill, will project images inspired by Armenia’s culture, history, and landscape.
Click here to read more and for ticket information.


Walk Thru the Bible

"Walk Thru the Bible" in Fair Lawn, NJ

The Eastern Diocese’s Christian Education department is sponsoring a “Walk Thru the Bible: Old Testament” event on Saturday, March 18. The event is hosted by St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, and is open to all (children ages 8 and up are welcome to accompany their parents).
Participants will learn about biblical people, places, and eventsdiscovering how the Old Testament ultimately leads to the Cross. And forget tedious note taking! Attendees will learn the material using hand signs, catch phrases, group reviews, and enjoyable interaction with the instructor, Roger Petersen, a professor at Cairn University in Langhorne, PA, and a longtime instructor for the “Walk Thru the Bible” organization.
Click here to view a flyer for information. To register, contact your pastor, Sunday School superintendent, or Elise Antreassian at
The Diocese has sponsored seven “Walk Thru the Bible” events, attended by 800 people across the parishes, helping to rekindle a desire to know and love God through Scripture.


Hrant Dink

"Hrant Dink Contemporary Oratorio" at St. Vartan Cathedral

The "Hrant Dink Contemporary Oratorio"—a grand choral concert piece by composer Majag Toshigian and lyricist Bercuhi Berberyan—will be performed at the St. Vartan Cathedral Complex on Saturday, March 25.
The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. in the cathedral sanctuary, under the direction of Kris D. Kalfayan. Soloists include Karin Cubukcuyan Bozkurt, Elie Berberian, and Bogos Yegyazar. A dinner will follow in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium.
The event is being organized by the Constantinople Armenian Relief Society in honor of its 90th anniversary, and will go forward under the auspices of Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese. Click here to view a flyer for ticket information.



Akhtamar Dance Ensemble to Perform in New Jersey

The Akhtamar Dance Ensemble will give a performance featuring special guest Arsen Grigoryan to benefit the programs of the Fund for Armenian Relief. The special event will be held on Sunday, March 26, at Felician College in Lodi, NJ. Click here to view a flyer for ticket information.


Four Armenian Films to be Screened in New York

Four Armenian films will be shown as part of the fourth edition of the “SR: Socially Relevant Film Festival New York,” running from March 13 to 19 in Manhattan.
The evening of Wednesday, March 15, is dedicated to these four films: Echoes of Survival, The Stolen Childhood, Two Tales of a City, and Crows of the Desert. Audience members will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the directors and filmmakers. The March 15 event will be held at Cinepolis Chelsea, beginning with a reception at 5 p.m.
For tickets and information, visit the film festival’s website at

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