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TOP STORY                                                         April 7, 2016

Annunciation

Annunciation to the Virgin Mary

Today, April 7, the Armenian Church celebrates the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. This feast day is one of five devoted to the blessed mother of Jesus Christ, and the first such feast to arise in a given year. It concerns the defining event of Mary’s life: her realization that she had been chosen by God to be the mother of His Son.

The announcement came by way of the angel Gabriel, and it troubled Mary at first. But Gabriel tried to allay her fears: “Behold,” he told her, “you shall conceive and bring forth a son, and call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and be called the Son of the Highest…and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

In her youthful sweetness and innocence, Mary asked the angel how this could ever come to pass. Gabriel’s reply—“With God, nothing shall be impossible”—is one of our greatest expressions of Christian hope. And Mary’s reply is equally great for the example it sets for all people who sense God’s hand in their lives: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.”

Nine months later, her son was born—and with him, the hope of the world’s redemption. It’s worth noting that the Armenian Church’s fixed date for the Annunciation, April 7, comes exactly nine months before the Armenian Church’s fixed date for the celebration of Christmas, January 6.

The entire touching story is told at Luke 1:26-38. Click on the following links to read more about St. Mary, and to view a brief video.
 

Scripture of the Week

Acts 9:23-31
1 Pt 2:1-10
Jn 2:23-3:12

Prayer of the Week

Let the Lord Jesus Christ preserve and have mercy on us through the intercession of the Holy Mother-of-God, from whom the fruit of life and immortality was given to us. Amen.

Upcoming Saints & Feasts

7 April: Annunciation to the Virgin Mary

10 April: Sunday of the World Church

 

CHURCH NEWS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE

Artsakh Relief

United in Support of Artsakh

Our joy in this hopeful season of Eastertide was shaken this week by the terrible news that border towns in Nagorno-Karabagh (Artsakh) were shelled by the Azerbaijani army. The military operations against Artsakh led to a loss of both military and civilian life, with casualties among men and women, children and the elderly, and numerous civilians and soldiers among the wounded.
 
While a cease-fire has halted open hostilities, the situation remains tense and unstable. At this writing, His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, have announced a joint visit to Artsakh to be among the beleaguered people.
 
This week Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian sent an urgent message urging members of the Armenian-American community to take a proactive role in helping our countrymen in Artsakh. (Click here to read the message.)
 
Echoing the call of His Holiness Karekin II, the Primate asked churches to fundraise in support of the Armenian families of Artsakh. Diocesan parishes will hold special plate collections on April 10, 17 and 24. Online donations can also be made on the Diocesan website, by clicking here. (The united proceeds from the Eastern Diocese will be sent to Holy Etchmiadzin for the relief effort.)
 
Parishioners are also encouraged to contact their representatives in Congress. Click on the following links to access the Action Alert page on the Armenian Assembly’s website, or on the Armenian National Committee site.

Diocesan parishes will hold special hokehankisd services on Sunday, April 10, for our countrymen who lost their lives in the attacks this week. We pray that in this desperate time, our Lord will have mercy on the brave Armenians of Artsakh, strengthening them in defense of their homeland, and granting consolation to their suffering and grief.

DIOCESAN NEWS

Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian
Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian will be honored on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his ordination into the holy priesthood of the Armenian Church.

A Celebration at St. Peter Church

Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and Director of Administration Dr. Armen Baibourtian will visit St. Peter Church of Watervliet, NY, this weekend as the parish celebrates its pastor’s milestone. During the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, the Primate will ordain 15 acolytes.
 
At a banquet following services, the community will honor the Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian, parish pastor, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his ordination into the holy priesthood of the Armenian Church. The community also will recognize the efforts of longtime parishioners archdeacons Hrant Bardakjian and Hagop Derian with the Diocese’s "St. Vartan Award."
 
Also during the weekend, Maestro Khoren Mekanejian, the Diocese’s Music Ministry coordinator, will conduct rehearsals with the St. Peter Church choir.



 

Hranush Hakobyan Visits Diocesan Center

Armenia's Minister of Diaspora Visits Diocesan Center

On Friday morning, April 1, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian welcomed Armenia's Minister of Diaspora, Hranush Hakobyan, and Armenian's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, to the Diocesan Center in New York.
 
Also present for the meeting were the Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar; Armen Baibourtian, the Diocese's Director of Administration; Garnik Nanagoulian, Executive Director of the Fund for Armenian Relief; Artur Petrosyan of the Diocese's Communications department; and Taleen Babayan of the Development department.

Ms. Hakobyan shared the accomplishments of the Ministry of Diaspora. She spoke of the importance of building a strong bridge between the diaspora and Armenia, as facilitated through the ministry's programs of travel and education in the homeland. Ms. Hakobyan also spoke about the ongoing assistance offered to Syrian-Armenians arriving in Armenia.
 
Archbishop Barsamian shared with Ms. Hakobyan the Diocese's efforts in leading the centennial commemorations of the Armenian Genocide in Washington, DC, last spring. Both the Primate and Ms. Hakobyan stressed the importance of working together to continue to strengthen ties between the diaspora and Armenia.
 
Click here to read more.



 
ACEF
ACEF board members at last week's meeting.

ACEF Reports Highest Distribution in History 

The Board of Directors of the Armenian Church Endowment Fund (ACEF) met at the Diocesan Center on Friday, April 1, with Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, presiding.
 
The meeting focused on reviewing ACEF’s portfolio returns, investment strategies, and the annual distribution. It was noted that the distribution, which totaled in excess of $4.16 million, was the largest in ACEF's history, reflecting an increase of 2.28% over last year's distribution. That increase followed increases of 10.3% and 5.15% for 2013 and 2014, respectively.
 
Outgoing board members were thanked for their service, including retired chair Bruce Ballard, who served as treasurer and chair from 2007 to 2015, as well as Stephen Haratunian, who served on the Investment Committee, then as vice chair from 2007 to 2015.
 
New chair Charles Demirjian was welcomed. A member of the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Chicago, IL, he has served on the ACEF board since 2011. Mr. Demirjian is president of Tillotson Limited and also serves as a managing director of Forbearance Capital, LLC. 
 
Other incoming board members include Greg Zorthian, a member of the St. Gregory the Enlightener Church in White Plains, NY (who previously served on ACEF's board as vice chair, secretary and treasurer), as well as Melanie Dadourian, a member of the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York City. 
 
ACEF is an independent non-profit that supports parishes and individuals who are creating a legacy through endowments. ACEF encourages parishes and individuals to make long-term investment planning an everyday practice, and helps them maximize financial returns by investing as a community.



 
FAR
A CME meeting in Armenia. 

Reforming Armenia's Healthcare System

For more than a decade the Fund for Armenian Relief, through its Continuing Medical Education Program (CME), has been supporting professional development opportunities for Armenia’s regional doctors and actively advocating for reform of Armenia’s healthcare system.
 
Thanks to these efforts, Armenia recently updated its licensing regulations for medical providers. Whereas in the past responsibility of licensing had been with medical institutions, the new code requires individual doctors to obtain licenses and expands the ways in which doctors can meet the licensing requirements.
 
Click here to read more on FAR’s blog.


 

PARISH NEWS

Primate Visits St. March Church, Sprigfield, MA

Springfield Parish Welcomes Primate 

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, and Dr. Armen Baibourtian, the Diocese’s Director of Administration, visited St Mark Church of Springfield, MA, last weekend.
 
On Friday evening, April 1, Archbishop Barsamian and Dr. Baibourtian had a dinner meeting with the Rev. Fr. Sevak Gabrielyan, parish pastor, and members of the parish council to discuss recent accomplishments and new goals. On Saturday, the Rev. Fr. Vasken Kouzouian, a former pastor of St. Mark Church, the Primate, and Dr. Baibourtian had a breakfast meeting with the local ACYOA chapter. This was followed by visitations to the sick and elderly and a meeting with the Women’s Guild.
   
On Sunday, April 3, Archbishop Barsamian celebrated the Divine Liturgy, with Fr. Sevak Gabrielyan assisting. The service was followed by a “town hall” meeting attended by 75 parishioners. Fr. Gabrielyan spoke about his six months of service to the parish. Dr. Baibourtian gave an overview of Diocesan resources and programs available to parishes and screened two recent videos produced by the Diocese’s Communications department.
 
Archbishop Barsamian stressed that the Diocesan Center welcomes the feedback of parishes in order to provide a stronger support network to all churches of the Eastern Diocese. Parishioners asked questions and engaged in a discussion with the Primate and Dr. Baibourtian.
 
Parish council chair Jeri Humphries expressed appreciation on behalf of the entire parish for the visit, and noted that the productive meetings and discussions will help the parish in the coming year. Click here to view photos from the weekend visit.



 

St. John Church, Detroit, MI

Detroit Parish Visits the Elderly

On Saturday, April 2, members of the Komitas Choir and Women's Guild of St. John Church of Southfield, MI, visited Manoogian Manor, an assisted living facility in nearby Livonia. They were led by the parish pastor, the Very Rev. Fr. Aren Jebejian, and Dn. Rubik Mailian.
 
Dn. Mailian conducted the parishioners in signing sharagans, and Fr. Jebejian distributed Holy Communion to the residents. The Women’s Guild prepared colored Easter eggs and khalkha for all the residents.
 
The St. John choir and Women’s Guild visits Manoogian Manor periodically throughout the year. 



 
Indian Orthodox Church, Hollywood, FL
Fr. Vartan Joulfayan (right) at the St. Thomas Malankara Orthodox Church consecration.

New Malankara Orthodox Church Consecrated in Florida

The Rev. Fr. Vartan Joulfayan, pastor of St. Mary Church of Hollywood, FL, participated in the consecration of the new St. Thomas Malankara Orthodox Church in Pompano Beach, FL, last weekend. Presiding over the services was Metropolitan Alexios Mar Eusebius of the Malankara Diocese of South-West America.
 
Other hierarchs and clergy of the Malankara Orthodox Church were also in attendance. Fr. Joulfayan took part in the celebration at the invitation of the Rev. Fr. Joseph Karapurayil, vicar of St. Thomas Church.

“It was an honor and a great blessing to stand with our sister church clergy and parishioners, to pray together, and to celebrate this milestone,” Fr. Joulfayan said.

 
Forget Me Not

Genocide Centennial Emblem Pins Available

Last year, as Armenians across the world came together to commemorate the centennial year of the Armenian Genocide, the forget-me-not flower became the official emblem of this worldwide observance. The flower continues to be a reminder of the endurance of the Armenian people.
 
Holy Resurrection Church of South Milwaukee, WI, is making forget-me-not lapel pins available to parishioners across the Diocese. The pins are 7/8 of an inch across, and crafted using the cloisonné decorating technique. The packaging includes a small box and a card explaining the elements making up the forget-me-not emblem.

To place an order, or for more information, visit the parish website at www.holyresurrectionsm.org.



 
Upcoming Events

Upcoming Parish Events

Church of the Holy Resurrection | New Britain, CT
The Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, director of the Diocese’s Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, will give a talk at the Church of the Holy Resurrection of New Britain, CT, on Sunday, April 10, following services. Titled “From Victims to Victors,” Fr. Findikyan’s talk will focus on the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. Click here to view a flyer for information. 

Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church | Providence, RI
Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church of Providence, RI, will host a concert of Armenian songs performed by the Armenian Chorale of Rhode Island in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on Saturday, April 16, beginning at 7 p.m. The concert will be held at the church. Click here to view a flyer for information.
 
Sts. Vartanantz Church | Chelmsford, MA
Sts. Vartanantz Church of Chelmsford, MA, will observe the centennial of the consecration of its original church building on Saturday, April 16. A service and program will be held at the original location of Sts. Vartanantz Church (60 Lawrence Street in Lowell, MA). The program begins at 5:30 p.m. with an architectural tour of the building, followed by a prayer service and a presentation on the formation of the parish. For information, call (978) 256-7234, or e-mail office@stsvartanantz.com.

Holy Trinity Church | Cambridge, MA
Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, MA, will host a “Saintly Women’s Day” observance for the parishes of Massachusetts and Rhode Island on Saturday, April 16, beginning at 10:15 a.m. Sister Bridget Haase will be the guest speaker. Click here for information.  
 
On Sunday, April 17, Holy Trinity Church will host a concert by the Erevan Choral Society. Titled “In Commemoration of Our Sainted Martyrs of 1915,” the program is dedicated to the memory of the late Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian. The concert is free and open to the public. It is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in the church sanctuary. Click here for information.

Holy Martyrs Church | Bayside, NY
The Women’s Guild of the Church of the Holy Martyrs will celebrate its diamond (60th) anniversary with a luncheon on Sunday, April 17, from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the North Hills Country Club in Manhasset, NY. For ticket information, call Marie-Louise at (516) 365-9185 or Zarmi at (917) 446-8249.

St. Leon Church | Fair Lawn, NJ
On Friday, April 22, St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, will co-host a discussion with Dr. Talin Suciyan, author of The Armenians in Modern Turkey. Dr. Suciyan, a professor at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, has used Turkish state archives, personal diaries, memoirs, oral histories, newspaper accounts, and other sources to write about the Armenian community of Turkey in the decades after the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The event is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. in the church’s Charles and Grace Pinajian Youth Center. Click here to view a flyer for information.
 
An evening of songs and stories by Onnik Dinkjian and Ara Dinkjian will be held in Abajian Hall of St. Leon Church on Saturday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. Click here to view a flyer for ticket information.

Armenian Genocide Commemoration | Hartford, CT
The Armenian community of Connecticut will hold its annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on Saturday April 23, at the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford. The flag-raising ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., followed by a program in the House Chambers at 11:30. Shant Mardirossian, chairman emeritus of the Near East Foundation, will be the keynote speaker.
 
Armenian Genocide Commemoration | Chicago, IL
The Armenian churches of Chicago will host a joint Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, Sunday, April 24. Click here to view a flyer for information.
 

YOUTH NEWS

Khrimian Students at St. Nersess Seminary
Khrimian Lyceum students toured the seminary, including its exercise facility.

Khrimian Lyceum Visits St. Nersess Seminary

A group of Khrimian Lyceum students, parents, and teachers visited St. Nersess Seminary in Armonk, NY, last Saturday. They learned about the seminary’s history and vision and some of its current programs. The group also received a tour of the new campus. Operations manager Dn. Levon Altiparmakian and seminarians Dn. Alex Calikyan (a Khrimian Lyceum alumnus) and Dn. Nareg Garabedian answered questions.
 
The Khrimian Lyceum is a language and cultural program for Armenian students ages 12 to 18. It is run by Diocese’s Armenian Studies department. For more information, contact Gilda Kupelian at (212) 686-0710, ext. 148.
 
Click here to view photos from Saturday’s visit.


 

EVENTS

Peter Balakian
Peter Balakian.

Peter Balakian to Speak at Diocesan Center

The Diocese will host a discussion with award-winning author and poet Peter Balakian on Friday, April 8, at 7 p.m. The evening will include a partial screening of Elia Kazan’s Oscar-winning film America, America, with commentary by Peter Balakian. A reception and book signing will follow.
 
Click here to view a flyer for information.



 

My Climb to Mt. Ararat

A Presentation at the Zohrab Center

The Diocese’s Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center and the Fund for Armenian Relief are hosting a discussion with Robin Barone about her climb to the top of Mt. Ararat last summer. Ms. Barone will show photos and videos from the trip and answer questions.
 
The event is scheduled for Thursday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m.



 
Prayer

Prayer Service for Middle East Christians

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in America (SCOOCH) will host a “Common Prayer Service” on the evening of Thursday, April 21, at St. Gabriel Syriac Orthodox Church (750 Sunset Avenue) in Haworth, NJ. The service will begin at 7 p.m.
 
This service is meant to bring people together as they pray for the safety of two Syrian hierarchs held in captivity—Syriac Orthodox Archbishop John Ibrahim, and Antiochian (Greek) Orthodox Metropolitan Paul Yazigi—and for all suffering calamities in the Middle East. The Assembly of Bishops and SCOOCH invite all residents and visitors of the Tri-State Area to join in prayer on the evening of April 21.
 
Click on the following links to read more and to view a flyer



 
Armenian Genocide Commemoration in Chicago

Ecumenical Prayer Service in Chicago

The Joint Committee of Armenian Churches of Greater Chicago and Wisconsin will hold an Ecumenical Prayer Service for the intercession of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. The event is scheduled for April 16 at 3 p.m. at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church (601 S. Central Avenue) in Chicago.
 
Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, will be the guest homilist.
 
Click here to view a flyer for information. 



 
Armenian Genocide Commemoratin in Boston

Armenian Genocide Prayer Service in Boston

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston will host a commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
 
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, the Catholic Archbishop of Boston, will host a prayer service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Saturday, April 23, beginning at 4 p.m. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, will participate in the service.
 
Click on the following links to read an article in the Boston Globe and to view a flyer for information.




 
Times Square

April 24 Events in New York City

The Feast of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide will be observed at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral on Thursday, April 24.
 
The Very Rev. Fr. Shahe Ananian, a visiting priest from Holy Etchmiadzin, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy beginning at 10:30 a.m. The annual Genocide Commemoration sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Knights and Daughters of Vartan will be held in Times Square (43rd Street and Broadway) following services. Click here to view a flyer for information on the Times Square event.