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TOP STORY                                                       February 11, 2016

Seeking Stillness

A New Video About Great Lent

The Eastern Diocese’s “Bread and Salt” video series continues this month with an episode about Great Lent.

Click here to watch the video about our need to turn away from worldly distractions, and embrace this season of  prayer, fasting, and introspection.


Presentation of the Lord to the Temple

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord to the Temple

On Sunday, February 14, the Armenian Church will observe the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord to the Temple: a beautiful story from the infancy of Jesus, in which he is confirmed as the Holy Messiah or Christ—the world’s long-awaited savior. In Armenian, it is known as Dyarnuntarach, meaning "the Lord brought forward.”

Forty days after Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph brought their baby to the temple, as was the pious custom at the time. There they encountered Simeon, an elderly and devout man who had prayed to God to keep him alive until he could see the savior promised to mankind. 

When Simeon saw Mary and her baby, he sensed God's presence, and said: "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel" (Luke 2:29-32).
While the altar curtain is customarily closed during Great Lent, it will be opened this Sunday in observance of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and the celebrant will distribute Holy Communion to the faithful.

Click here to read more, and to find activities and resources for children and adults.

Scripture of the Week

Is 24:21-25:8
Acts 7:47-50
Gal 4:1-7
Lk 2:41-52

Prayer of the Week

Christ, guardian of all creatures, let your right hand be a shadow over me day and night, tarrying at home and traveling, sleeping and rising, that I may never fail. Have mercy upon your creatures, and upon me, a great sinner. Amen.

Upcoming Saints & Feasts

13 February: St. Theodore the Warrior

14 February: Presentation of the Lord to the Temple


Ordinations in Armenia
The ordinations took place on the Feast of St. Leontius.

Priests Ordained at Holy Etchmiadzin 

Twelve young deacons were ordained into the holy priesthood at Holy Etchmiadzin on the Feast of St. Leontius the Priest and his Companions, Tuesday, February 2. His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, presided over the service. The ordination was performed by Bishop Mkrtich Proshyan, Primate of the Diocese of Aragatsotn.
In his message, Bishop Proshyan reflected on the sacrifice of Leontius and the clergy who fought at the Battle of Avarayr, and encouraged the newly ordained priests to draw strength and inspiration from their example. 
Two of the 12 priests took the vow of celibacy and became members of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin. Click here to read more.


US Ambassador to Armenia
Ambassador Richard Mills is the United States ambassador to Armenia.

A Town Hall Meeting with Ambassador Mills

The Eastern Diocese will host a “town hall” meeting with the current United States ambassador to the Republic of Armenia, Ambassador Richard M. Mills, Jr., on the evening of Tuesday, March 1. The event will begin at 7 p.m., in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium.
Ambassador Mills will be visiting the area as part of a general effort to get to know, and to be known by, the Armenian-American community. Parishioners in the New York metropolitan area are encouraged to attend. The town hall is free and open to the public.
The Diocese is hosting the gathering, with the participation of a number of Armenian organizations. Click here to view a flyer detailing the participating organizations and listing general information.


Clergy Retreat

Clergy in Midwest Gather for Lenten Retreat

Clergy from parishes in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and Minnesota met for a Lenten retreat from February 8 to 10. The retreat was held at the Cardinal Stritch Retreat Center in Mundelein, IL.

Led by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, clergy gathered for prayer, meditation, and discussion focusing on “The Art of Evangelization.” Talks were given on evangelization in the Armenian Church from the time of Mesrob Mashdots to the present day.

Similar retreats will be held for clergy in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Fr. Daniel Findikyan
Fr. Daniel Findikyan was the keynote speaker on February 4. (file photo)

Vartanantz Day Observed at St. Vartan Cathedral

Cultivating a living church is the foremost way to honor the legacy of St. Vartan and his companions. That was the theme of a talk by the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan during the Sts. Vartanants observance at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York on February 4.
“Our holy Genocide martyrs and all the rest gave their lives not so that we might be faithful curators of their memory, but so that we might be awakened to the life-giving power of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” Fr. Findikyan said.
“If we are to be truly the church, then it must be our task—or rather our privilege—to discover in everything we do, at all times, the magnitude of God’s love for us, and to recognize the awesome power of that love.”
The evening began with the Divine Liturgy in the cathedral sanctuary, celebrated by Fr. Findikyan. A dinner and program sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Region Knights and Daughters of Vartan followed the service. Awards were presented to members of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan. The program also included a performance by the Astxikner Junior Vocal Ensemble of Brooklyn. Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian presided over the observance and delivered a message at its conclusion. 

St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, NJ

Clergy Gather for Ghevontiantz Day

On Tuesday, February 2, clergy in the New York metro region gathered for the annual observance of Ghevontiantz Day, which commemorates the leadership of St. Leontius (Ghevont) and his fellow priests during the Battle of Avarayr.  

At St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, the Rev. Fr. Kapriel Mouradjian, pastor of Holy Resurrection Church of New Britain, CT, celebrated the Divine Liturgy. The Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan, pastor of Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, NY, delivered a sermon. Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian presided over the service and meeting that followed.

Prayer for Life
The National Prayer Vigil for Life was held at the National Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, DC.

Diocese Takes Part in National Prayer Vigil for Life

The National Prayer Vigil for Life was held on January 21 and 22 at the National Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, DC. Thousands of pilgrims from across the U.S. gathered for prayer in anticipation of the annual March for Life. The vigil marked the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions.
The Rev. Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan, pastor of Washington’s St. Mary Church, represented the Eastern Diocese and its Primate, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, at the prayer vigil. He was among a number of Orthodox Christian guests participating in the gathering.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, was the principal celebrant and homilist at the vigil’s opening Mass, which was con-celebrated by his fellow cardinals and Catholic bishops and priests.
Washington’s Shrine of the Immaculate Conception played a memorable role in Armenian affairs in May of 2015, when His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians, and Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia celebrated the Divine Liturgy in its cavernous basilica to honor the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.

Children in Tavush receive food and candy.

Russian-Armenian Youth Association Supports FAR

An Armenian youth association from Russia recently extended a helping hand to families living in Armenia’s Tavush region.
Working with the Fund for Armenian Relief and its “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program,” the young people provided funds for the purchase of food, medicine, and home improvements for six families living in villages along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan.
Click here to read more on FAR’s blog.



St. David Armenian Church, Boca Raton, FL

A New Parish Council in Boca Raton

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, visited St. David Church of Boca Raton, FL, last weekend, where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy and installed the community’s new parish council.
In a sermon on the Diocese’s theme for the year, “Legacy of Our Martyrs: A Gift to Carry Forward,” Archbishop Barsamian spoke about the importance of carrying forward the legacy of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.
“The faithful legacy of our martyrs is grounded in the gift of Jesus Christ,” he said. “It is our Lord who will guide our steps, comfort our hearts, and help us press forward—as he did for the Holy Martyrs, and as he does to all who honor his sacrifice.”
On the previous day, Saturday, February 6, Archbishop Barsamian held a meeting to discuss goals and strategies for the year ahead with the new members of the parish council. That evening the entire community gathered for a Poon Paregentan dance and celebration in the church’s Mardigian Hall. 
On Sunday, Archbishop Barsamian celebrated the Divine Liturgy, with the Rev. Fr. Paren Galstyan, parish pastor, assisting. Following services, he installed the new parish council members: Marta Batmasian, Homer Gregorian, Beatrice Babgouni, Sonia Kradjian, Ara J. Garibian, Talin Kalender, Hovig Gregoryan, Maral Khanjian, Phillip Pilikyan, Marieta Akopyan and Dr. Rosemary Mencia.  Carol Norigian will serves as the parish’s delegate to the Diocesan Assembly.

Stratigic Planning in Belleville, IL
Parishioners discuss goals at Holy Virgin Mary and Shoghagat Church.

Strategic Planning Underway in Belleville

On Sunday, January 31, the Holy Virgin Mary and Shoghagat Church of Belleville, IL, held a special strategic planning session to set goals for the next four years. Called “Vision 2020,” the session was facilitated by Lisa Bedian, Ann Kelly Bryan, Judy Martin Finch, Susie Mathieu, and Lauren Ryan.
Working in four small groups, parishioners discussed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges facing the parish. They then set short-term and long-term objectives. The data collected will be shared with the parish’s Strategic Planning Committee, which will develop an action plan to present to the parish.
Click here to view photos.

Religious Leaders Meet in Detroit

St. John Church Welcomes Local Religious Leaders

On Monday, February 8, St. John Church of Southfield, MI, hosted the quarterly meeting of the Religious Leaders Forum of Detroit, which consists of Christian and inter-faith leaders serving in the Detroit metropolitan area.
The Very Rev. Fr. Aren Jebejian, pastor of St. John Church, opened the meeting by leading a tour of the church sanctuary and its adjacent Manoogian Museum. Participants had an opportunity to learn about the local Armenian church and to view some of the remarkable Armenian artifacts on display at the museum.
This month’s meeting paid particular attention to the plight of refugees arriving in Detroit from the Middle-East. Click here to view photos.


Sts. Vartanantz Day in Chelmsford

Chelmsford Church Celebrates Name Day

Sts. Vartanantz Church of Chelmsford, MA, observed its name day on the evening of Vartanantz Day, Thursday, February 4. The Rev. Fr. Vart Gyozalian, pastor of Hye Pointe Church of Haverhill, MA, celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered a sermon.
The Rev. Fr. Khachatur Kesablyan, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church, and the Rev. Fr. Sevak Gabrielyan, pastor of St. Mark Church of Springfield, MA, also participated in the Divine Liturgy. A reception followed the service.

St. Mary Church, Hollywood, FL
Parishioners prepare to serve freshly baked choreg.

Food Festival in Hollywood, FL

The St. Mary Church of Hollywood, FL, held its annual food festival on January 30-31. More than 80 volunteers cooked food and made other preparations for the weekend event. The festival included music, games and activities for children, and crafts vendors.
On Sts. Vartanantz Day the parish gathered to commemorate the legacy of the Battle of Avarayr. Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, former primate of the Western Diocese, presided over an evening prayer service and delivered a message. Other participating clergy included the Rev. Fr. Mampre Kouzouian, Rev. Fr. Nersess Jebedjian, Rev. Fr. Paren Galstyan, and Rev. Fr. Vartan Joulfayan, pastor of St. Mary Church.
The Women’s Guild sponsored a reception after the service. The members of the Knights of Vartan Hayasdan Lodge presented a short film on the Battle of Avarayr. Fr. Vartan Joulfayan and Fr. Paren Galstyan sang songs dedicated to the martyrs of Avarayr. Archbishop Hovsepian closed the evening with a prayer. Click here to view photos from these events at St. Mary Church.

St. John Church, Detroit, MI
Fr. Jebejian joins the parish children for face-painting.

Poon Paregentan in Detroit 

St. John Church of Southfield, MI, celebrated its 85th anniversary and Poon Paregentan with a luncheon hosted by the Women’s Guild.
The Harry Kezelian Band performed; children enjoyed face-painting, crafts, cookie decorating, and a balloon artist. The Very Rev. Fr. Aren Jebejian, parish pastor, took the first swing at a piñata and joined the children for face-painting. 
Parishioners also played tavloo, chess, and checkers. More than 300 people joined in the celebration. Click here to view photos.

St. George Church, Hartford, CT
Children perform in Hartford.

A Talent Show in Hartford

St. George Church of Hartford, CT, celebrated Poon Paregentan on Sunday, February 7, with a program featuring performances by local children.  
Young performers included Quintin Zakarian, Paul Virdokian, and sisters Carla and Christine Hovsepian. The recently formed Hartford ACYOA band “Sound of Armenia” sang “Yerevan Yerebuni” and the Vanush Khanamiryan Dance Academy of Hartford performed an Armenian dance to the song “Yeraguyn.”
Sunday School students sang six hymns of the Divine Liturgy, conducted by ACYOA members Angel Zohrabian and Victoria Abalyan. Elder parishioner Haige Garabedian, a longtime choir member of St. George Church, closed the program with “Im Anoush Davigh,” "Dzirani Dzar," and “Varde.”
The Rev. Fr. Gomidas Zohrabian, parish pastor, thanked all the participants and the Women’s Guild for organizing a memorable event. Click here to view photos.

Fr. Findikyan Visits the Armenian Church in Niagara Falls
Fr. Findikyan celebrates the Divine Liturgy at St. Sarkis Church. 

A Lecture on Martyrdom in Niagara Falls

The Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, director of the Diocese’s Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, visited St. Sarkis Church of Niagara Falls, NY on Sunday, February 7. Fr. Findikyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy with Dn. Albert Amato assisting on the altar.
Following services, he gave a talk on the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, focusing on the martyrs icon unveiled at the historic canonization service last April.

Armenian Church in Baton Rouge
Young adults attempt to unwrap candy while wearing oven mittens during a Poon Paregentan game in Baton Rouge.

Poon Paregentan in Baton Rouge

The Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian, director of the Diocese’s Mission Parish program, visited St. Garabed Church of Baton Rouge, LA, last weekend as the parish celebrated Poon Paregentan.
During the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, nine-year-old Joseph Yessayan served on the altar for the first time, alongside his older brother David, assisting Fr. Abdalian. 

At a luncheon following services, parishioners enjoyed games and fellowship. Click here to view photos.

Upcoming events

Upcoming Parish Events

Holy Resurrection Church | New Britain, CT
Following services on Sunday, February 14, Holy Resurrection Church of New Britain, CT, will  host a book presentation by Matthew Karanian on his latest book, Historic Armenia After 100 Years: Ani, Kars, and the Six Provinces of Western Armenia. Through beautiful photography and text, the book offers a historical guide to the Armenian homeland in Western Armenia.
Sts. Vartanantz Church | Chelmsford, MA
Sts. Vartanantz Church of Chelmsford, MA, as part of its “Very Rev. Fr. Ghevont Samoorian 47th Annual Lenten Program of Spiritual Renewal,” will host a series of six discussions on the faith and legacy of those who established the parish over the past century. The discussions will be held on Friday evenings during Great Lent. Click here to view a flyer for information.

St. Leon Church | Fair Lawn, NJ
On Thursday, February 18, St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, will host an evening with Vicken Cheterian, author of Open Wounds: Armenians, Turks and a Century of Genocide. The event will begin at 7:45 p.m. Open Wounds examines how Turkey forcibly erased the memory of the Armenian Genocide. Click here to view a flyer for information. 

St. Mary Church | Livingston, NJ
St. Mary Church of Livingston, NJ, will host the New Jersey-area “Saintly Women’s Day” observance on Saturday, February 27, beginning at 11 a.m. Reservations for the program must be made by February 17. Click here to view a flyer for information.


ACYOA Retreats

ACYOA Lenten Retreats

This Lenten season, retreats for the ACYOA Juniors and Seniors will be held across the Eastern Diocese, on the following dates:
February 12-14: Wisconsin and Illinois ACYOA Juniors Retreat, Camp Hickory, IL
February 26-28: Michigan and Ohio ACYOA Juniors Retreat, Michigan Christian Youth Camp, Attica, MI
February 27-28: Western Florida ACYOA Juniors Retreat, St. Hagop Church, Pinellas Park, FL
March 5: New England ACYOA Seniors Retreat, St. James Church, Watertown, MA
March 5: Midwest ACYOA Seniors Retreat, St. James Church, Evanston, IL
March 5: NY, NJ and Mid-Atlantic ACYOA Seniors Retreat, St. Gregory the Enlightener Church, White Plains, NY
March 11-13: East Coast ACYOA Juniors Retreat, Camp Washington, Lakeside, CT
Please contact your pastor or youth advisor for a registration packet. For more information, contact Jennifer Morris, the Diocese’s director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, at or at (248) 648-0702.

St. Nersess Conferences

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.


Lucine Amara

An Evening with Lucine Amara in New York

The Metropolitan Opera Guild will host an evening with the Met’s celebrated soprano Lucine Amara on Tuesday, February 23, at 6 p.m. The event will be held at Lincoln Center.
From 1950 to 1991, Lucine Amara appeared 748 times in 48 different roles at the Metropolitan Opera. She will share memories of her career and her many colleagues. 
Click here for ticket information.

Poetry Reading at Zohrab Center

Zohrab Center to Host Poetry Reading

The Diocese’s Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center will host an evening of poetry on Thursday, February 25, at 7 p.m.
Hear original poetry in English and Armenian by Sarah Giragosian,  Albert Kapikian, and Lola Koundakjian. Click here to view a flyer for information.

Praying with Narek
St. Gregory of Narek by Hagop Torosian.

"Praying with Narek" Lenten Series

St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral will host a Lenten series titled “Praying with Narek” on Thursday evenings during Great Lent. Gatherings will be led by Eric Vozzy of the Eastern Diocese’s Christian Education Department, and will focus on St. Gregory of Narek’s powerful “Book of Lamentations.”
The sessions will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Click here to view a flyer for information.