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TOP STORY                                                          February 2, 2017

Tongues of Fire

How Did Christianity First Reach Armenia?

Everyone knows that Armenia became the world’s first Christian nation in 301 A.D. But it was a long journey from the Holy Land to the Ararat Valley. How did this faith first reach our homeland?
The story of Armenia’s conversion to Christianity is the theme for the second season of the Diocese’s video series, “Bread and Salt: Stories from the Armenian Church.”
The first episode, titled “Tongues of Fire,” introduces us to the two Apostles who carried the religion of Christ into Armenia. Future episodes will portray the heroic stories of saints Hripsime and Gayane, St. Gregory, King Drtad, and the other figures who shaped the history of early Christian Armenia.
Click here to view “Tongues of Fire,” and stay tuned for more in the months to come.

Scripture of the Week

Is 61:10-62:9
2 Tim 2:15-26
Jn 6:15-21

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

2 February: Sts. Sophia and her daughters Pistis, Elpis, and Agape

4 February: Sons and Grandsons of St. Gregory the Enlightener


Archbishop Aykazian Visits Iraq

Abp. Aykazian Tours Devastated Christian Communities in Iraq with WCC

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director, took part in a delegation of church leaders visiting Iraq from January 20 to 24.
The visit was organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and included meetings with political leaders, United Nations representatives, humanitarian aid workers, refugees, and local Christian leaders in Baghdad and the northern Kurdistan region. Among the local leaders they met with was Archbishop Avak Asadourian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Iraq, who organized an interfaith discussion on the threats facing people in Iraq.
The delegation stressed the importance of preserving Iraq’s cultural and religious diversity and called on the international community to stabilize and rebuild communities affected by war.  
“The suffering we witnessed is immense,” Archbishop Aykazian said, adding that the church leaders are advocating for the rebuilding of Iraq upon their return to their home countries.
Click here to read more.



Nazarian Family's Million-Dollar Gift to Diocese's Endowment Campaign   

The Eastern Diocese launched its endowment campaign four months ago with an ambitious goal: to inspire every Armenian, strengthen their faith, and make the church a relevant part of daily life.
To that end, the campaign set a goal of raising $15 million to support the Eastern Diocese’s ministries. In a short time, the campaign has reached the half-way point: $7.5 million in pledges—including a magnanimous pledge of $1 million from the Nazarian family.

“It’s all about the parishes,” said Seta Nazarian, daughter of legendary benefactors Nazar and Artemis Nazarian. “The Eastern Diocese’s endowment campaign—‘Our Church, Our Legacy’—is about the crucial importance of the local, individual parishes.”
Faithful church members—like three generations of the Nazarian family—are coming forward to help the Diocese provide the right tools for the church’s grassroots work in education, pastoral ministry, and community outreach. Recent initiatives to emerge from the effort revolve around digital education for youth and parishioners, and continuing training for parish clergy.
Click here to read more.



FAR Delivers Food Packages to Families in Need in Armenia    

The Fund for Armenian Relief distributed food to families in need in Armenia thanks to the generosity of the Pompeian family in Minnesota.
Ed Pompeian of Rochester, MN, made it possible for 60 vulnerable families, all beneficiaries of different FAR programs, to receive food packages containing enough provisions for the next two months—the coldest time of the year in Armenia, when it’s especially difficult for those in need to make ends meet. The packages include staples for a balanced diet, such as flour, grains, cooking oils, and nuts.
Click here to read more on FAR’s blog.


St. Stepanos Church, Elberon, NJ

A Cooking Class in Elberon

On Sunday, January 22, the Women’s Guild of St. Stepanos Church of Elberon, NJ, took part in a cooking class led by one of its members, Yester Garabedian. Mrs. Garabedian taught participants how to make St. Sarkis halva—a special treat prepared on the Feast of St. Sarkis the Warrior (Feb. 11).
The class opened with a brief overview of St. Sarkis, followed by step-by-step instructions in preparing the special halva, using sugar, rose water, marshmallow fluff, sesame seeds, and walnuts. Click here to view photos.
Additional cooking classes are planned for the coming months. The St. Stepanos Women’s Guild is now preparing for its “Saintly Women’s Day” observance, scheduled for March 18.


St. James Church, Watertown, MA

"Youth Sundays" in Watertown

At St. James Church of Watertown, MA, the last Sunday of the month is designated as “Youth Sunday.” On this occasion, Sunday School students attend the Divine Liturgy together, and take turns greeting parishioners, sharing the Kiss of Peace, and taking the day’s collection. 
The Rev. Fr. Arakel Aljalian, parish pastor, prepares a special sermon for the young people. His recent sermons have focused on liturgical vessels and items found in the sanctuary. He has spoken about the poorvar (censer), a 300-year-old Bible, and most recently, a chalice and unconsecrated nuskhar and wine. 
The students have enjoyed the opportunity to see these items up close, to ask questions, and to learn more about their significance. Click here to view photos.


St. Peter Church, Albany, NY

Watervliet Altar Servers Visit St. Nersess Seminary and St. Vartan Cathedral

On the weekend of January 13 and 14, six altar servers from St. Peter Church of Watervliet, NY, made their first pilgrimage to St. Nersess Seminary and St. Vartan Cathedral in New York.
The group set out on Friday afternoon with the Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian, pastor of St. Peter Church, and Dn. Yervant Kutchukian. At St. Nersess Seminary, the young people took part in Bible study and discussion on Psalm 50.
On Saturday morning, the altar servers traveled to St. Vartan Cathedral in Manhattan where they met with its dean, Very Rev. Fr. Mamigon Kilidjian, for an acolyte training session. The boys had an opportunity to put on deacon's robes and practice chanting on the cathedral altar.
“This experience changed their perspective of altar serving,” said Fr. Doudoukjian, “Inspiring them to consider going to the cathedral on another Sunday to serve during badarak.”
Before departing the city, the group visited Ground Zero and the Freedom Tower. Fr. Doudoukjian led a requiem prayer for the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

After returning home, the boys gathered on Sunday morning to serve on the altar. 
"The weekend trip was a great way to seek God through prayer and group discussions," said participant Hagopig Derian.
Click here to view photos.


Fr. Tateos Abdalian

Police Appreciation Day in Cheltenham

Last month, the Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian, in his capacity as police chaplain of the police department in Cheltenham, PA, participated in the annual “Mass of Appreciation for First Responders and Police Personnel” at a local Roman Catholic church.  
The morning began with a celebratory Mass and a special prayer and blessing offered by the pastor for the safety of all who serve their communities as first responders and police personnel.   
Students of the parish elementary school presented hand-made prayer cards to all members of the police department at the brunch following services.


Upcoming Parish Events

Hye Hearts Dance | Enfield, CT
The Armenian churches of Hartford and New Britain, CT, and Springfield, MA, will co-host a "Hye Hearts Dance" on Saturday, February 11, in Enfield, CT. The dance will be held at the Holiday Inn (1 Bright Meadow Blvd. in Enfield), beginning at 8 p.m. Enjoy music by Harry Bedrossian (oud, vocals), Leon Janikian (clarinet), Kenny Kalajian (guitar, vocals) and Charlie Dermenjian (dumbeg), as well as international music by DJ Chris Habibian. 
Click on the following links to view a flyer and purchase tickets. For information, contact Gary at or (860) 690-5959; Dina at or (860) 970-6726; or David at or (413) 727-2586.
Sts. Vartanantz Church | Chelmsford, MA
Sts. Vartanantz Church of Chelmsford, MA, will host a "Poon Paregentan Dinner Dance and Family Kef Night" on Saturday, February 25. Activities for children will start at 5 p.m. and dinner and dancing will begin at 6 p.m., with entertainment by the Jason Naroian Ensemble. Paid-in-advance tickets must be received by February 17. For reservations, contact Maria Kazanjian at (717) 240-3686 or For more information, click here to view a flyer.
St. Thomas Church | Tenafly, NJ
St. Thomas Church of Tenafly, NJ, will host a "Poon Paregentan Masquerade Ball" on Saturday, February 25, at 8 p.m. Enjoy musical entertainment by Kevork Artinian and his band. For reservations, contact Talar at (201) 240-8541, or Nadine at (201) 513-2700. For more information, click here to view a flyer.
St. Mary Church | Livingston, NJ
St. Mary Church of Livingston, NJ, will host a “Poon Paregentan Dance” on on Saturday, February 25. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. Click here to view a flyer for information.
St. Hagop Church | Pinellas Park, FL
St. Hagop Church of Pinellas Park, FL, will host an “Armenian Mardi Gras/Poon Paregentan” event on Saturday, February 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the church’s Shahnasarian Hall. Enjoy Armenian food, music, dancing, and a Heritage Collection showcase of collectible items. The day also will feature Tavloo games, activities for children, and church tours. For information, call Kelli at the church office at (727) 545-0380.


ASP 2017

Armenia Service Program Scheduled for July

The ACYOA has opened registration for its Armenia Service Program, which will take place from July 1 to 18, 2017. 
The program of travel, service, and worship gives young adults (ages 18 to 30) a unique opportunity to discover their homeland and to serve its people in a meaningful way. ACYOA members leave Armenia with a connection to their faith and heritage that continues to inspire them.
This year’s trip leader will be the Rev. Fr. Tadeos Barseghyan, pastor of St. Sahag Church of St. Paul, MN. The ACYOA is partnering with the Fund for Armenian Relief for the service component of the trip.
Click here to download the application; applications are due by March 15. To learn more about the program, visit, or contact Diocesan staff members Kathryn Ashbahian at or Jennifer Morris at

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Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) · 630 Second Avenue · New York, New York 10016 · USA