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TOP STORY                                                         April 21, 2016

Alive in Heaven

Old Wound, New Pathway

Armenian Church history was made last year when the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide were ceremonially recognized as holy saints. The splendid service at Holy Etchmiadzin marked the first time in centuries that new saints were designated in the Armenian Church. With their canonization, the Genocide martyrs joined other great exemplars of holiness, virtue, and sacrifice, in the “canon” of revered saints from church history.
This year, Sunday, April 24, will be observed as the “Feast of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.” Parishes across the Eastern Diocese will perform a special service following the Divine Liturgy on this occasion.
To prepare for that service, view the latest episode of “Bread and Salt: Stories from the Armenian Church.” Kathryn Ashbahian revisits last April’s canonization service, and explains what has shifted in the way we now regard the Holy Martyrs of 1915. Click here to view the video.
For a more in-depth look at the meaning of sainthood and martyrdom in the Christian tradition, click on the following link to view “A Great Cloud of Witnesses.”

Annual Assembly

Diocesan Assembly to Convene Next Week

The 114th Diocesan Assembly will convene April 28 through 30, in Cleveland, OH. The St. Gregory of Narek Church of Richmond Heights, OH, will host the Assembly, bringing together several hundred Armenian Church leaders from throughout the Eastern Diocese. Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian will preside over all the events.
Prior to the Assembly, clergy from across the Diocese will meet for their annual Clergy Conference and retreat, April 25-28. The Diocesan Women’s Guild General Assembly also convenes during the week.
A highlight of the gathering will be the annual awards banquet, on the evening of Friday, April 29. At that time, AGBU president Berge Setrakian will be honored for his longtime leadership of the community as the Diocese’s 2016 “Armenian Church Member of the Year.” Honored as this year’s “Friend of the Armenians” will be scholar Taner Akçam, author of A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility.


Scripture of the Week

Acts 17:1-15
1 Jn 1:1-10
Jn 7:14-23

Prayer of the Week

Christ our God, you crown your saints with triumph and you do the will of all who fear you, looking after your creatures with love and kindness. Hear us from your holy and heavenly realm by the intercession of the Holy Mother of God and by the prayers of all your saints, especially the Holy Martyrs who gave their lives during the Armenian Genocide for faith and for the homeland, whom we commemorate today. Hear us Lord, and show us your mercy. Forgive, redeem and pardon our sins. Make us worthy thankfully to glorify you with the Father and with the Holy Spirit. Now and always unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Upcoming Saints & Feasts

24 April: Feast of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide; Apparition of the Holy Cross

28 April: 48th Anniversary of the Consecration of St. Vartan Cathedral

5 May: Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ



Peter Balakian

Peter Balakian Wins 2016 Pulitzer Prize 

Armenians around the world were electrified by this week’s announcement that Peter Balakian had won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Best known for his nonfiction writings on the Armenian Genocide—such as Black Dog of Fate, The Burning Tigris, and his edition of Armenian Golgotha—Balakian has been a widely-praised American poet for his entire literary career. The first of his many volumes of verse appeared in 1980.
“Poetry has been the center of my life from the start, even when I was writing in other genres,” Balakian told the Washington Post this week. Indeed poems are among the earliest documentations of his interest and immersion in Armenian history and the critical 1915 period.
The same can be said of his Pulitzer-winning work, Ozone Journal: a 54-section poem set primarily in 1980s Manhattan, following a young man through a crisis in his personal life. One thread of Ozone Journal draws upon Balakian’s 2009 trip to the desert of Der Zor, with a film crew from CBS’s "60 Minutes," to excavate bones of the Armenians killed during 1915-16. (View the segment featuring Balakian and the late Bob Simon here.) Armenian readers will recognize glimpses of New York’s St. Vartan Cathedral, and the final words of the Hayr Mer, figuring in the poem.
We convey our congratulations to Peter, who has been a longtime friend of the Diocese. Click on the following links to read the Washington Post interview with him, and to read about Ozone Journal on the publisher’s website and on


Pope Francis to Visit Armenia

A Diocesan Pilgrimage to Armenia 

Holy Etchmiadzin announced last week that His Holiness Pope Francis will make an official visit to Armenia from June 24 to 26. On the occasion of Pope Francis’s visit to Armenia, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, invites parishioners of the Eastern Diocese to take part in a pilgrimage to Armenia, from June 19 to 27.
Participants will have an opportunity to pray with the Pope and His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, in a service at Holy Etchmiadzin. The weeklong trip also includes stops at Oshagan, Lake Sevan, Geghard monastery, Khor Virab, Gyumri, and more.
Click here to view a flyer for registration information. The deadline to register is May 10.


Ecumenical Service in Chicago

Ecumenical Service Held in Chicago

On Saturday, April 16, the Joint Committee of Armenian Churches of Greater Chicago and Wisconsin held an Ecumenical Prayer Service for the intercession of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. The service was held at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago.
Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, was the guest homilist, and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director, delivered remarks. The Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar, and local Armenian clergy were in attendance.
The service was sponsored by 11 Armenian churches in the greater Chicago area; Dn. Larry Farsakian, of St. James Church of Evanston, IL, chaired the committee.
Click on the following links to view photos and a video recording of the service

Christopher Zakian
Diocesan Communications director Chris Zakian at the RCC convention.

Genocide Centennial Booklet Wins National Award

Last year, in anticipation of the milestone commemoration in Washington, DC, the National Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide committee commissioned the staff of the Diocesan Communications department to produce a special booklet for the thousands who flocked to the nation’s capital in May of 2016. The result was a striking keepsake, titled simply The Armenian Genocide: 1915—dramatically designed, compellingly written, which concisely described the Genocide and its aftermath.
Earlier this month, that publication was honored with a prestigious DeRose-Sinkhouse Award, bestowed by the Religion Communicator’s Council (a nation-wide professional organization) during its 2016 national convention. Diocesan Communications director Chris Zakian (who edited and wrote much of the volume) received the award in person on behalf of his two collaborators, Karine Abalyan and Artur Pertrosyan.
The RCC convention met in New York this year, with its final banquet taking place at the Diocesan Center, after which media dignitaries from around the country were given a rare late-night tour of St. Vartan Cathedral.
Copies of The Armenian Genocide: 1915 are still available from the Diocesan Center. For ordering information, e-mail

Travel to Armenia

"Venture Armenia": A Program of Travel and Education

This summer, the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) and the Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America (AESA) are jointly offering an exciting professional development opportunity in Armenia. The two-week “Venture Armenia” journey, scheduled for July 16 to 27, will allow participants to experience Armenia in a new and unique way, with the potential to contribute to the country’s development.
The program will cover five main areas: healthcare, education, IT, business, and science. While the itinerary also includes visits to some of Armenia’s key cultural and historic sites, the trip largely focuses on networking and forging professional connections to expand participants’ career goals. 
The deadline to register is May 15. Click here to visit the “Venture Armenia” website for information, or contact Arto Vorperian, FAR’s project director, via e-mail at, or at (212) 889-5150.


Richard Hovanissian

Richard Hovannisian Lectures in Cleveland

Richard Hovannisian, Professor Emeritus of Armenian and Near Eastern History at the University of California, Los Angeles, visited Cleveland, OH, from April 4 to 6, where he gave several talks on the Armenian Genocide.
At Case Western Reserve University, Professor Hovannisian spoke at the inaugural “Cleveland Humanities Festival.” In a talk titled “Under Cover of War: The Armenian Genocide and Its Continuing Ramifications,” he discussed the crimes against humanity committed in the decades following the events of 1915.
Professor Hovannisian also addressed a crowd at the Federal Building in Cleveland as part of the “Holocaust Remembrance” program there. Dzaghig Poundardjian, a Department of Defense employee and chair of the “Holocaust Remembrance” committee, introduced Professor Hovannisian and shared her family’s story of survival.
St. Gregory of Narek Church of Richmond Heights, OH, hosted a reception for Professor Hovannisian on the evening of April 5. The parish presented him with a commemorative plaque. Click here to read more.

St. David Church

St. David Church School Hosts Dinner Dance

On Saturday, April 9, the Alex and Marie Manoogian Armenian and Sunday School of St. David Church of Boca Raton, FL, held a dinner dance in Mardigian Hall, featuring entertainment by Joseph Krikorian. 
More than 200 people attended the event in support of the church school. The Alex and Marie Manoogian Armenian and Sunday School has an enrollment of close to 50 students.

Alec Brummer
Fr. Chevian and Alec Brummer.

An Eagle Scout in Syracuse

Alec Brummer, an altar server at St. Paul Church of Syracuse, NY, and a longtime member of the Boy Scouts of America, attained the rank of Eagle Scout earlier this month. The Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian gave the invocation and benediction at Alec’s Court of Honor ceremony.
Among the badges Alec earned as an Eagle Scout was the “Ararat Award” bestowed by the Eastern Diocese. As a scouting project, he painted and renovated the back entrance to the St. Paul Church.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Parish Events

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.

Holy Resurrection Church | Trumbull, CT
Holy Resurrection Church of Trumbull, CT, will host a “Post-Mardi Gras Night” on Saturday, April 23, from 6 to 9 p.m. Click here to view a flyer for 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.

St. David Church | Boca Raton, FL
St. David Church of Boca Raton, FL, will observe the Feast of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide with services on Sunday, April 24, beginning at 10 a.m. Later that day, the Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale, FL, will screen “The Cut”—a movie about a father’s search for his daughters in the aftermath of 1915. The movie is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
Armenian Church of Rochester | Rochester, NY
The mission parish of Rochester, NY, will observe the Feast of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide with services on Sunday, April 24. The Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy (he will be assisted by Dn. Albert Amato of Niagara Falls). The service will begin at 3 p.m. at Incarnation Episcopal Church (Five Mile Line and Whalen Roads in Penfield, NY). The day’s plate collection will be made for Artsakh. For information, call (585) 381-0195.
St. Gregory the Enlightener Church | White Plains, NY
On Sunday, April 24, St. Gregory the Enlightener Church of White Plains, NY, will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the Harry and Edna Keleshian Hall. The parish is raising funds for the construction project. To contribute, contact the church at (914) 428-2595.

St. Mary Church | Washington, DC
St. Mary Church of Washington, DC, will host its annual “Armenian Spring Food Festival” from Friday, May 6, through Sunday, May 8. Enjoy traditional foods, including shish kabob, rice pilaf, lahmajoon, kufta, and dolma. Click here to view a flyer for information.
St. Sarkis Church | Dallas, TX
On Sunday, May 8, St. Sarkis Church of Dallas, TX, will hold a groundbreaking and cornerstone blessing ceremony for its new sanctuary. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the new property (4421 Charles Street in Carrollton, TX). At the conclusion of services, the Primate will bless all mothers. A picnic will follow. Click on the following links to view a flyer and to view a 3D rendering of the new complex.
Hye Pointe Church | Haverhill, MA
The Women’s Guild of Hye Pointe Church of Haverhill, MA, will host an “Armenian-American Dance” on Saturday, April 30, beginning at 7 p.m. Click here to view a flyer for information.
Hye Pointe Church will host an “Armenian Food Festival” on Saturday, May 7, from 12 to 7 p.m. Hot food will be served, and specialty items will be available for purchase. Click here to view a flyer for information.

Holy Cross Church | Union City, NJ
Holy Cross Church of Union City, NJ, will celebrate its 110th anniversary on Sunday, May 15. The day will begin with the Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m., followed by a banquet at 1:30 p.m. The banquet will be held at Villa Amalfi in Cliffside Park, NJ. Banquet reservations must be made by May 1. Click here to view a flyer for information.

St. Mary Church | Livingston, NJ
On Tuesday, May 10, the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ, will present a free program titled "From the Armenian Genocide to the Holocaust: Remembering for the Future." The program will run from 4:30 to 9 p.m. It is open to the public. New Jersey school teachers who register and attend will receive a “Certificate for Professional Development Hours” and curriculum materials. Keynote speakers Professor Richard Hovannisian and Professor Michael Berenbaum will make presentations, and the film “1915” will be screened. Click on the following links to view a flyer and to register online.
Holy Trinity Church | Cambridge, MA
Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, MA, will host a lecture by human rights activist and author John Prendergast on Thursday, May 12, at 7 p.m. The evening will take place in the church's Charles and Nevart Talanian Cultural Hall. Titled "Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity: Lessons Learned and Hope for the Future," Mr. Prendergast's talk is part of the Dr. Michael and Joyce Kolligian Distinguished Speaker Series. The lecture is free and open to the pubic. Click here for more information.


St. Nersess Seminary

Register for the St. Nersess Summer Conferences

St. Nersess Armenian Seminary has announced its schedule of 2016 Summer Conferences for high school and post-high school students. For the first time, the conferences will be held at the new St. Nersess campus in Armonk, NY.
Deacons' Training Program: June 25-July 3
Directed by Fr. Daniel Findikyan

High School Summer Conference A: July 15-24
Directed by Fr. Ghevond Ajamian

High School Summer Conference B: July 29- August 7
Directed by Fr. Shnork Souin

Post-High School Summer Conference: August 9-13
Directed by Fr. Samuel Rith-Najarian
Click here to visit the St. Nersess Seminary website to read more and for application information.



Benefit Luncheon for FAR Children's Center 

The “Friends of the FAR Children's Center” will host a Spring Benefit Luncheon to support children in Armenia on Thursday, April 28, at 11:30 a.m. The luncheon will take place at the
Chart House Restaurant in Weehawken, NJ. Click here to view a flyer for information.  
For 15 years, the Fund for Armenian Relief’s Children’s Center has been transforming lives by performing crisis intervention and critical short-term rehabilitation to vulnerable and victimized children. The center is a full-service facility and the only institution in Armenia where children can access shelter, medical care, psychological counseling, and legal assistance.

Armenian Genocide Commemoratin in Boston

Armenian Genocide Prayer Service in Boston

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston will host a commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on Saturday, April 23, beginning at 4 p.m.
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, the Catholic Archbishop of Boston, will host a prayer service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. 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. The service will be broadcast live online (beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) at the following link:

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 Sunday, 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.

Linda Buzard
Organist Linda Buzard.

Organ Music at St. Vartan Cathedral

St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral will host "An Evening of Organ Music" on Saturday, May 7, beginning at 7 p.m. 
Organist Linda Buzard, choirmaster at the Episcopal Chapel of St. John the Divine in Champaign, IL, will play works by Bach, Mendelssohn, and Franck. The concert will be held in the cathedral sanctuary (630 Second Avenue in New York City).
Tickets will be sold at the door. Click here to view a flyer for information.

Zohrab Center

A Talk at the Zohrab Center

On Thursday, May 5, Bedross Der Matossian, Associate Professor of Modern Middle East History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will present a lecture at the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, titled “The Political Culture of the Young Turk Revolution of 1908: Space Symbolism, and Language.” The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Guild Hall of the Diocesan Center.
Click here to read more on the Zohrab Center’s blog.



The Diocese’s e-Newsletter will not be published on Thursday, April 28, while the Diocesan Assembly is in session. We look forward to resuming e-Newsletter publication on Thursday, May 5.