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TOP STORY                                                          August 4, 2016

Council of Ephesus

Theological Throw-Down 

It was the most rancorous matchup of the early 5th century. In one corner: Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople, who preached a doctrine of separation between Christ’s human and divine natures. In the other corner: Bishop Cyril of Alexandria, known as the “Doctor of the Incarnation,” who affirmed the indivisible nature of the Word of God made flesh.
The two intellectual heavyweights met in the city of Ephesus, where the Roman Emperor Theodosius II convened the Third Ecumenical Council in A.D. 431. At stake was the future shape of orthodox Christian belief.
As a result of his doctrine, Nestorius had been spreading the notion that the Virgin Mary could not be called the mother of God, but only the mother of the human being Jesus. That claim scandalized Cyril and a large body of learned figures of the early church. At Ephesus the two camps battled it out before a jury of more than 200 clergymen from the great Christian centers of the world. As they argued their deeply held positions, neither side flinched from the kind of political maneuvering that we associate with the phrase “Byzantine intrigue.”
In the end, the Council condemned Nestorius as a heretic; he was defrocked and deposed from his position. It ratified Cyril’s defense of Christ as the Incarnate Word of God, and affirmed St. Mary as the genuine Theotokos, or “birth-giver of God.”
In the summer of 431 Armenia found itself embroiled in a growing rivalry with Persia. The Catholicos St. Sahag (the same who had collaborated in the creation of the Armenian alphabet) could not dispatch any of his bishops to the Council of Ephesus. But the Armenian Church stood firmly with St. Cyril, and accepted the conclusions of the 3rd Ecumenical Council, along with those of the councils of Nicaea (in A.D. 325) and Constantinople (A.D. 381), as the foundation for its theological understanding.
An echo of the Council of Ephesus can still be heard in the honored term Asdvadzadzin—the Armenian version of the Greek Theotokos—which we use to describe St. Mary, and which provides the name for countless individual Armenian churches. The church also devotes a feast day to the “200 Fathers of the Holy Council of Ephesus,” which will be observed this Saturday, August 6.

Scripture of the Week

Is 7:1-9
1 Cor 13:11-14:5
Mk 2:1-12

Prayer of the Week

By the holy cross let us beseech the Lord, that through it He may deliver us from our sins and save us by the grace of His mercy. Almighty Lord, our God, save us and have mercy on us. Amen.

Upcoming Saints & Feasts

6 August: 200 Fathers of the Holy Council of Ephesus (AD 431)

7 August: Barekendan of the Fast of Assumption



Master of Seascapes

Moscow’s famed Tretyakov Gallery has mounted an impressive exhibition of Ivan Aivazovsky’s seascapes a year ahead of the 200th anniversary of the artist’s birth next summer. On display are 150 works, ranging from such beloved paintings as “The Ninth Wave” and “The Rainbow” to the previously un-exhibited work, “On the Shores of the Caucasus.” The Tretyakov exhibition runs through November 20, 2016. Click here to view a video promo.
Aivazovsky (1817-1900), born Hovhaness Aivazian, was the son of Armenian parents living in the Black Sea port of Feodosia. He completed more than 6,000 works during his lifetime, achieving international recognition for his magnificent portrayals of the sea. His tomb at St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Feodosia bears an inscription from the writings of Movses Khorenatsi: “Born a mortal, his memory is eternal.”


Camp Nubar

Clergy Visit AGBU Camp Nubar

Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and Eric Vozzy of the Diocese’s Christian Education department visited AGBU Camp Nubar in upstate New York last week. Archbishop Barsamian joined the camp community for a talent show on Thursday evening, July 28. On the following morning, Archbishop Barsamian led the campers in prayer, spoke to them about Pope Francis’s visit to Armenia earlier this summer, and answered questions about the Armenian Church.
Also last week, Archbishop Barsamian and Eric Vozzy visited the Diocese’s St. Vartan Camp, where the Primate observed classes and spent time in discussion with the campers and counselors.
Other Diocesan clergy visiting Camp Nubar last month include the Rev. Fr. Daniel Karadjian, Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, and Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian. Fr. Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar, visited the camp during its annual Open House program on Sunday, July 24. Click here to view photos from clergy visits to Camp Nubar.



FAR Launches Tutoring Program for Syrian-Armenian Refugees

The Fund for Armenian Relief started a new program this year to offer tutoring sessions to Syrian-Armenian students whose families have resettled in Armenia. The after-school sessions are conducted in Eastern Armenian, and help students review coursework in math and physics.
FAR also provides scholarships to Syrian-Armenian students in partnership with the Armenian government, AGBU, and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Click here to read more on FAR’s blog.


Hye Pointe Church

Primate Visits Hye Pointe 

The Armenian Church at Hye Pointe welcomed Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian for the celebration of a special outdoor Divine Liturgy on Sunday, July 31. The day brought together parishioners at the site of Hye Pointe Church’s future home to mark the start of the construction of the community’s new church and cultural center.
The Rev. Fr. Vart Gyozalian, pastor of Hye Pointe Church, assisted the Primate. Other area clergy also joined the parish on this occasion. Click on the following links to view photos and to read an article about the day’s celebration featured in a local newspaper.


Holy Trinity Church, Cheltenham, PA

Faith Discussions in Cheltenham 

The adult Christian Education ministry of Holy Trinity Church of Cheltenham, PA, conducted three “Summer Faith Discussions” in the homes of local parishioners last month. The program was conceived to reach out to those parishioners who are unable to participate in the church’s morning weekday education activities due to work commitments.
On three consecutive Wednesday evenings, the faithful gathered at the homes of Jeanette and Larry Der Hagopian, Dr. Albert and Patrice Keshgegian, and Brian and Joyce Hoyle for conversations about their faith and relationship with God. The Rev. Fr. Hakob Gevorgyan, parish pastor, led two of the discussions and senior deacon Albert Keshgegian led the third session.
Attendees said they enjoyed the warm gatherings in the homes of their fellow parishioners. “Having this type of program will help us grow and learn more about what the Church teaches,” said Silva Hovhanessian.

Fr. Tateos Abdalian
Fr. Abdalian at the Baton Rouge police station.

Honoring the Fallen in Baton Rouge

When Diocesan Mission Parishes director the Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian recently visited the St. Garabed Church in Baton Rouge, LA, he took time to make a bereavement visit to the city’s police department, still grieving over the murder of three officers.
The July 17 shooting—in which a gunman shot six police officers, killing three and wounding the rest—made national headlines. The murdered officers were members of the Baton Rouge P.D. and the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.
Accompanied by members of the parish council, Fr. Abdalian visited the local police station to offer a prayer for the fallen officers, and for all the men and women who serve each day. The station presented Fr. Abdalian (who serves as a police chaplain for the Pennsylvania State Troopers and the Cheltenham Township Police) with the insignia shoulder patch of the Baton Rouge P.D.
After badarak on Sunday, a requiem service was held for departed parishioners as well as for the fallen officers: Montrell Jackson, Brad Garafola, and Matthew Gerald. Later Fr. Abdalian offered prayers at the shooting site, where people continue to place flowers on a makeshift memorial.


Upcoming Parish Events

St. Leon Church | Fair Lawn, NJ
St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, will co-host the screening of the film “The Narrow Streets of Bourj Hammoud” on Thursday, August 4, at 7:45 p.m. A discussion with filmmaker Joanne Nucho will follow the screening. Click here to view a flyer for information.

St. Gregory the Illuminator Church | Chicago, IL
St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Chicago, IL, will host its 41st annual "Armenian Fest" on Saturday, August 13 (from 5 to 10 p.m.), and Sunday, August 14 (from 12 to 8 p.m.). The fest will take place on church grounds. Enjoy live music, raffles, silent auctions, and kid-friendly entertainment. Click on the following links to view a flyer and to visit the event page on Facebook.
Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church | Providence, RI
Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church of Providence, RI, will host its annual picnic on Saturday, August 20, beginning at noon on church grounds. Enjoy Armenian food, music, dancing, a tavloo tournament, art exhibits, and other activities. Click here to view a flyer for information.
Holy Resurrection Church | New Britain, CT
The Church of the Holy Resurrection of New Britain, CT, will hold its annual Armenian Festival on Sunday, August 21, from 12 to 6 p.m. (rain or shine) on church grounds. The festival will feature traditional Armenian food, live music by the Harry Bedrossian Ensemble, and dancing. For directions or information, e-mail, or call Gary at (860) 690-5959. Click here to view a flyer.



Discovering Armenia through Travel and Service

A group of 16 young people from parishes across the Eastern Diocese traveled to the homeland as part of this year’s ACYOA Armenia Service Program, led by the Rev. Fr. Tadeos Barseghyan from July 2 to 17.
The ACYOA partnered with the Fund for Armenian Relief to prepare the service aspect of the pilgrimage. Participants spent three days at Camp Aragats in Meghradzor village and volunteered at the FAR Children’s Center in Yerevan and at an apricot orchard in Yerevandashat village. They also toured the country’s religious and cultural sites, visited local families, and learned about Armenia’s history.
Click on the following links to read more and to view photos.