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TOP STORY                                                     January 29, 2015

St. Sarkis the Warrior

Faith of a Soldier

He became a figure of enduring spiritual stature in the Armenian Church. But he began his sojourn among our people as a stranger. This Sunday we will honor his memory once more—some 17 centuries after his death—during the Feast of St. Sarkis the Warrior.

Sarkis, or Sergius, was a 4th-century Roman soldier who became a Christian, and was persecuted for his faith. Fleeing Rome with his son Mardiros, Sarkis found refuge in Armenia, which at the time had been a Christian nation for two generations.

Father and son were eventually martyred in Persia. But years later, their relics were retrieved by St. Mesrob Mashdots, and brought back to Armenia—where Sarkis has remained a beloved saint, and an inspiring example of courage and conviction for our people.

It’s noteworthy that St. Sarkis came to our homeland seeking refuge. What he found in Armenia was a welcoming home, a sanctuary of safety and acceptance, and a place where his memory would make a lasting, inspirational impression.

To learn more about his story, which still holds meaning for us today, click here.


Scripture of the Week

Is 63:7-18
2 Tm 3:1-12
Jn 6:22-38

Prayer of the Week

O Lord our God, turn not your face from me. O beneficent Lord, I beseech you, be my helper. O Lord, despise me not and forsake me not, O God, my Savior. Amen.

Upcoming Saints & Feasts

30 January: Remembrance of the Prophet Jonah

31 January: St. Sarkis the Warrior


Komitas Museum in Yerevan
President Sargsyan, His Holiness Karekin II, and His Holiness Aram I were among the honored guests at the opening of Yerevan's Komitas Museum.

Preserving the Legacy of Komitas

The recently completed Komitas Museum and Institute was unveiled earlier today in Yerevan, Armenia. The new facility brings together the Komitas collections previously housed at the Yeghishe Charents Literature and Art Museum and the Art Institute of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences.

Among the items on display are photographs, instruments, documents, and publications belonging to the great Armenian composer and musicologist. The center also houses a performance space and offers resources for scholars.

The Komitas Museum and Institute is located in Yerevan’s Komitas Park—the burial site of Armenian artists and writers, including Komitas, Aram Khachaturian, William Saroyan, and Martiros Saryan. It’s comprised of two structures: one originally designed as a movie theater by architect Koryun Hakobyan in the Soviet period, the other created by Arthur Meschian in 2014.

His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; Armenia’s President Serge Sargsyan, and Nagorno-Karabagh President Bako Sahakyan were among those taking part in the opening ceremony on January 29.

Click here to view photos.

Amal Clooney
Amal Clooney and Geoffrey Robertson prepare to argue their case before the European Court of Human Rights.

Human Rights and Historic Wrongs

A landmark case involving the denial of the Armenian Genocide and questions of freedom of expression came before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France, this week.
The case is an appeal of a ruling by the ECHR—described by some as the “Supreme Court of Europe”—in which the court considered a Swiss law that made it a crime to publicly deny the Armenian Genocide. In December 2013, the ECHR ruled that such a law constituted a violation of free speech, and had to be overturned.

At the time, His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, condemned the ruling in letters to Swiss President Didier Burkhalter; the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, head of the World Council of Churches; and Bishop Markus Büchel, president of Switzerland’s Conference of Bishops. The Catholicos encouraged Swiss authorities to press for an appeal.

Now Switzerland is indeed appealing the verdict, and the outcome of the trial could have implications for other European nations that have outlawed genocide denial. An article in Wednesday’s UK Telegraph covered the case and some of the personalities involved. Click here to read it.

Liturgical Calendar 2015

2015 Oratsouyts Available for Download

The 2015 Oratsouyts (Liturgical Calendar) issued by the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin is now available as a PDF document. Click here to download the Oratsouyts.

The Armenian-language publication is a daily guide to scripture readings, hymns, and feast days of the Armenian Church. It has been continuously published by Holy Etchmiadzin for the past 149 years.

The 2015 edition was prepared by Bishop Mikael Ajapahian, Primate of the Diocese of Shirak in Armenia.


Armenian Genocide Cintennial

Resources for the Genocide Centennial

With the 100th year of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide advancing rapidly, the Eastern Diocese has created a special section on its website for downloadable resources. Parishes, community groups, and anyone else can obtain materials to help them inform local press and reach out to their surrounding communities.

This week, a downloadable brochure on the Armenian Genocide was added to the offerings—these can be accessed by clicking here.

In the meantime, the Armenian-American community is building towards a national observance in Washington, DC, in May 2015. Special events are scheduled for May 7 to 9—including an ecumenical prayer service at the National Cathedral, a Pontifical Divine Liturgy, a memorial concert, and an awards banquet honoring those who helped the survivors. His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, both will journey to the United States to lead the Washington commemoration. They will be joined by Armenians from across the U.S., under the auspices of the Eastern and Western Dioceses, and the Eastern and Western Prelacies. Click here to learn more about the May events in the nation’s capital.

The Eastern Diocese’s Annual Diocesan Assembly and Clergy Conference will convene in Washington that same week; details on the 2015 Assembly will be forthcoming.

People in the New York metro region should also reserve the dates of April 24, 25, and 26 for commemorative events in New York City. These will include a Divine Liturgy at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral on Sunday, April 26, with the participation of Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. The annual Times Square program sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Knights and Daughters of Vartan will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on April 26.

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian has appointed George and Lorraine Marootian as Diocesan liaisons to the Genocide commemorative committees. They will be working with established committees at the national, regional, and local levels, and have begun reaching out to our parish communities. Contact them via e-mail at

Never Forget 1915

Support the Genocide Awareness Campaign

The Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of America (Eastern Region) is planning a creative national campaign spanning public relations, social media, and print and broadcast outlets to raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide in this milestone year.

The committee is raising funds to finance the national campaign. Please consider supporting this ambitious outreach effort. Click here to make a donation.

In addition, the Centennial Committee (Eastern Region) has launched a new website——which will soon offer a listing of events organized nationwide in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. They are asking all local committees to share their contact information to assist in this effort.

St. Nersess Seminary Library
Aida Pisani has been cataloging books at the seminary’s Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan Library.

St. Nersess Launches Online Book Catalog

Last spring, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, NY, welcomed librarian Aida Pisani, who is volunteering her time to catalog books at the seminary’s Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan Library. To date, Mrs. Pisani and her team of volunteers have cataloged 4,000 books, and created an online catalog open to the public.

Click on the following links to read more about this project and to visit the online catalog.

Camp Directors Meet
Diocesan summer camp directors and administrators pose for a group photo at the Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference this month.

Orthodox Christian Camp Workers Meet

The Very Rev. Fr. Aren Jebejian, director of Hye Camp; the Rev. Fr. Vart Gyozalyan and the Rev. Fr. Khatchatur Kesablyan, directors of St. Vartan Camp; and Jennifer Morris and Lorie Odabashian, of the Diocese’s Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, joined some 100 clergy, camp, and youth ministry workers from across the nation at the annual Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference this month. The conference was held from January 22 to 24 at the Antiochian Village Conference Center in Bolivar, PA.

Themed “Walking Alongside Our Youth,” the conference workshops focused on understanding the needs of children and young adults. Jennifer Morris gave a presentation titled “Out of the Darkness” on preventing suicide. Other topics included working with youth with disabilities, using social media platforms, and pursuing a ministry of love and service. Camp and youth ministry workers were also able to share their experiences and ideas for strengthening local programs.

Click here to learn more about the Eastern Diocese’s summer camps, St. Vartan Camp and Hye Camp.

Teachers in Berd, Armenia, learn about “informatics.”

GTech Trains Teachers in Armenia and Karabagh

This winter, with support from the Fund for Armenian Relief and the Armenian Education Foundation, GTech held training courses for teachers in “informatics,” the science of computer information systems. More than 40 teachers in Armenia’s Berd region and in Nagorno-Karabagh benefited from this program and received certificates of completion. 

GTech was established in 2005 by FAR, in partnership with U.S. and Armenian technology companies, and with strong support from FAR’s Young Professional alumni community. The goal of the center is to strengthen the information technology skills of young Armenians and to expand employment and business opportunities in the region for young professionals. GTech also helps to bolster development by incubating new start-up IT businesses.

Click here to visit FAR’s blog and to read more.


10,000 Strong

The Eastern Diocese’s weekly electronic newsletter hit a new milestone this week when we added our 10,000th subscriber. We are grateful to our readership for your continued interest in and support of our publication. As always, we welcome your comments and story submissions.

Please help us share our newsletter with relatives and friends who are not already on our mailing list. Click here to submit an e-mail address for subscription.



Sunday School in Wynnewood, PA
Sunday School students with the “bedside craft kits” they assembled for children at a local hospital.

Sunday School Outreach Project in Wynnewood

On Sunday, January 25, the Sunday School of St. Sahag and St. Mesrob Church of Wynnewood, PA, completed its annual community service project for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 

Sunday School students assembled more than 100 “bedside craft kits,” each of which included Play-Doh, crayons, coloring books, sticker books, and pads of paper for the hospital’s young patients.
The project was financed by the parents and teachers of the Wynnewood Sunday School.

Upcoming events

Upcoming Parish Events

St. Gregory the Illuminator Church | Chicago, IL
St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Chicago, IL, will host its annual “Armenian Winter Fest” on Saturday, January 31, from 4 to 10 p.m. Enjoy Armenian food, raffles, and other activities. Click here to view a flyer for information.

The parish will host a Poon Paregentan dinner and dance on Saturday, February 14. Highlights include music by the Kevork Artinian band and a magic show for children. Click here to view a flyer for information. 

St. Mary Church | Hollywood, FL
St. Mary Church of Hollywood, FL, will host an “Armenian Food and Music Fest” on Saturday, January 31 (12 to 10 p.m.) and Sunday, February 1 (12 to 7 p.m.). Enjoy homemade Armenian food and pastries, live music, arts and crafts vendors, and activities for children. Click here to view a flyer.

Vendors and sponsors are welcome. Click here to download a sponsorship form. For information, e-mail, call (954) 450-5578, or visit

Church of the Holy Ascension | Trumbull, CT
The Church of the Holy Ascension of Trumbull, CT, will host a “Mardi Gras Fun Night” on Saturday, February 14, from 6 to 10 p.m. Enjoy music, dance performances, and more. Click here to view a flyer for information.

Armenian Church of Southwest Florida | Naples, FL
The Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Armenian Church of Southwest Florida on Sunday, February 8. The service will take place at 1:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (3901 Davis Blvd. in Naples). The parish’s annual bake sale featuring Armenian breads and pastries will follow; a light luncheon will be served. For information, contact Carole Meghreblian at (239)348-3804, or via e-mail at


Diocesan Summer Camps

Get Ready for the Summer Camp Season

Mark your calendar for a summer filled with friendship, fellowship, and fun at St. Vartan Camp and Hye Camp. St. Vartan Camp is housed at the Ararat Youth and Conference Center in Greenville, NY. Hye Camp is located at Camp Hickory in Ingleside, IL.

Online registration is now open through the new camp website: Brochures and flyers can be picked up at your local parish or downloaded on the new website.

To add your name to the camp e-mail list, or for more information, contact Jennifer Morris, the Diocese’s director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, at

St. Vartan Camp Dates
Staff Training: Wednesday, June 24 – Saturday, June 27
Session A: Sunday, June 28 – Saturday, July 11
Session B: Sunday, July 12 – Saturday, July 25
Session C: Sunday, July 26 – Saturday, August 8

Hye Camp Dates
Staff Training: Thursday, July 23 – Sunday, July 26
Two-week session: Sunday, July 26 – Saturday, August 8
One-week session: Sunday, July 26 – Saturday, August 1 (all participants)
One-week session: Sunday, August 2 – Saturday, August 8 (for those unable to attend week 1)


Concert at St. Vartan Cathedral

An Evening at the Opera

St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral will host “An Evening at the Opera” on Friday, January 30, at 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy a program featuring Armenian and Western opera music, performed by internationally-acclaimed artists Narine Ojakhyan and Yeghishe Manucharyan. Lusine Badalyan will accompany on the piano.  

Click here to view a flyer for ticket information. St. Vartan Cathedral is located at 630 Second Avenue (at 34th Street) in Manhattan. 

Farah Siraj
Jordanian fusion artist Farah Siraj will perform during the dinner and music program on February 14.

Artist Farah Siraj to Perform at Diocesan Center

The recently-formed St. Vartan Cathedral Community of New York City is hosting an exciting evening of dinner and music featuring talented Jordanian fusion artist Farah Siraj, on Saturday, February 14.

Join them in celebrating Poon Paregentan—the Armenian “Mardi Gras“—and Valentine’s Day, from 7 to 11 p.m. in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium (Second Avenue at 35th Street). Tickets are $50. Click on the following links to view a flyer and to purchase tickets.

Zohrab Information Center

Zohrab Center Announces Spring Schedule

The Diocese’s Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center will open its spring season of lectures on Thursday, February 5, with a talk by Dr. Vartan Matiossian titled “Code Name Haiko: Discovering the Last Unknown Participants in Talaat Pasha’s Liquidation.” Through research in the Armenian press and secondary literature, Dr. Matiossian was able to identify the mysterious third conspirator in the 1921 assassination of Talaat Pasha. The event will be held at the Diocesan Center in New York, beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Other Zohrab Center events planned for the spring include talks on Armenian art, a guide to the Armenian Church’s Holy Week ceremonies, and various book presentations. Click here to visit the Zohrab Center blog for a complete schedule.