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TOP STORY                                                          December 29, 2016

King David

Re-Introductions are in Order 

One of the wonderful things about the Christmas season is the way it re-introduces us to such interesting people. And it’s not limited to friends and family: some of the most memorable re-introductions come from the surrounding culture. Who can suppress a warm smile at their first yearly sighting of Santa, Rudolph, and the elves? Or at the Grinch, and the whole Peanuts gang?
But the church, too, is actively bringing some memorable people to our attention in the run-up to Christmas. It shares these vivid personalities with us through the feast days that occupy the weeks in the latter half of Advent.
We meet King David, poet and warrior; James, the apostle called the “Brother of the Lord”; Stephen, the first deacon of the church and its first martyr; Peter and Paul; and the brothers James and John. These are the stories the church re-introduces to us through the feasts of this week. Somehow, getting to know these figures prepares us for that greatest re-introduction of all, when we will once more welcome the infant Jesus into our hearts and lives.
Click here to read more on our blog.

Scripture of the Week

Is 51:15-52:3
Heb 13:18-25
Lk 22:24-30

Prayer of the Week

With your peace, Christ our savior, which surpasses all understanding and speech, defend us and keep us fearless of all evil. Make us equal to your true worshipers, who worship you in spirit and in truth; for to the most-holy Trinity is befitting glory, dominion, and honor, now and always. Amen.

Upcoming Saints & Feasts

29 December: Holy Apostles James and John, "Sons of Thunder." Barekendan of the Fast of Nativity

31 December: Holy Fathers Basil, Gregory of Nissa, Sylvester of Rome, and Ephrem the Syrian

5 January: Eve of the Nativity and Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ

6 January: Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ


Praying for Armenian Soldiers

A Prayer for Artsakh

Amid the joyful mood of the Christmas season, today brought a painful reminder of the simmering dangers to life in Nagorno-Karabagh and Armenia’s border regions. Armenia's Interior Ministry reported three casualties among Armenian troops in the border region of Tavush, as a result of the latest ceasefire violations by the Azerbaijani army.
Despite the decades-long diplomatic effort to end the border conflict, death and injury through unprovoked violence remains a heartbreaking reality for many of our countrymen. Today we offer prayers for those who have died defending our homeland, and for the safety of the Armenian people who remain vulnerable to attacks.
May God bestow a just peace upon the people of Armenia and Artsakh.


Chrismtas Service Live

Christmas Services at St. Vartan Cathedral 

The Feast of the Nativity and Baptism of Jesus Christ will be observed at New York's St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral on Thursday and Friday, January 5 and 6, 2017. Click here to view the special liturgical schedule for these "Armenian Christmas" services.

The Blessing of Water service will follow the Divine Liturgy on January 6. Artyom Sahakyan will serve as "godfather" of the Blessing of Water service. A live broadcast of the January 6 service will be available online here.

A Home Blessing service and Christmas reception will be held in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium following services on January 6. The Astxikner Junior Vocal Ensemble of St. Gregory Mission Parish of Brooklyn will perform. A special photo exhibition will be on view at the Diocesan Center during the celebration of Armenian Christmas (please see the item in “Events” below).

Most local parishes will celebrate Christmas on January 6, but the Primate has also directed that they may observe the occasion on Sunday, January 8. For information on services in your area, contact your local parish to ascertain the date and time of its Armenian Christmas celebration.


Share Photos

Christmas Photo Album 

How do you celebrate Armenian Christmas in your hometown? Send us digital photos from your local Christmas church services and other celebrations, and we will feature them in our online album the week after Christmas.

Please e-mail photos (with your name, parish, city, and country) to by Wednesday, January 11.

We look forward to receiving submissions from the parishes of the Eastern Diocese, as well as from our readers in Armenian communities across the globe.


St. Nersess Seminary

Didizians Visit St. Nersess Seminary 

Mr. and Mrs. Haig and Elza Didizian of London, England, the main benefactors of the new St. Nersess Armenian Seminary campus in Armonk, NY, visited the seminary on December 15, where they spent an afternoon with seminarians and staff. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, and the Rev. Fr. Mardiros Chevian, seminary dean, welcomed the Didizians.
The couple and their son Hagop Didizian received a tour of the grounds and facilities, and joined the seminarians for lunch. They had an opportunity to hear from the students about their studies at St. Nersess. The day culminated in a prayer service at the new St. Hagop Chapel.
Click here to read more.


2017 Liturgical Calendar

Download the 2017 "Oratsouyts"

The 2017 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 151 years.

The 2017 edition was prepared by Bishop Mikael Ajapahian, Primate of the Diocese of Shirak in Armenia. 



A New Classroom for Gavar School in Armenia

The Fund for Armenian Relief recently teamed up with HSBC Bank Armenia to renovate a psychotherapy classroom at Gavar Special School for students with physical and mental disabilities.
The initiative also provided a refresher training session for school psychologist Anush Zardaryan and social worker Lusine Najaryan. Click here to read more on FAR’s blog.


St. Vartan Bookstore


Caroling in Belliville

Belleville Parish Shares Joy of Christmas

The parishioners of Holy Virgin Mary and Shoghagat Church of Belleville, IL, spread Christmas cheer by caroling at senior living facilities in the local area on Sunday, December 18. The group was accompanied by parish pastor, the Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan.
Parishioners sang carols, distributed candy canes, and spent time visiting with the elderly residents. "This marks our fifth year of singing in the senior living facilities," said parish council chair Paul Nersesian. "This is truly a gift for both the carolers and residents to enjoy."
Later the parishioners gathered in the home of Paul and Michelle Nersesian for fellowship. Click on the following links to visit a photo gallery and to view a video.


Lecture at Fordham University

Bayside Pastor Speaks at Fordham University

Earlier this month, the Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan, pastor of Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, NY, gave a talk at Fordham University on the topic “How does spirituality relate to religion?" He spoke about Christian teachings in different church traditions and addressed the rise of secularism in America.
The lecture was organized by the Fordham Armenian Society, which presented Fr. Malkhasyan with a certificate of recognition. Fr. Malkhasyan is currently a student in the Doctor of Ministry program at Fordham.


St. Stepanos Church, Elberon, NJ

Elberon Women's Guild Presents Annual Gift to Parish

The Women's Guild of St. Stepanos Church of Elberon, NJ, presented its annual contribution to the parish on Sunday, December 18. This year the Women’s Guild collected $17,000 through the various fundraisers it organized.
The Rev. Fr. Daniel Karadjian, parish pastor, and parish council vice chair Jeffrey Surenian accepted the contribution and expressed their gratitude to the Women’s Guild members for their hard work and dedication to St. Stepanos Church.


St. Gregory the Enlightener, White Plains, NY

Christmas Pageant in White Plains 

On Saturday, December 24, St. Gregory the Enlightener Church of White Plains, NY, held an evening prayer service in observance of the Feast of St. Stephen, remembered as the first deacon of the church and its first martyr (the feast day fell on Monday, December 26). The evening began with a musical prelude, followed by the service. Church deacons wore crowns on this special occasion.
The Sunday School students then presented the Christmas pageant and the entire parish joined in signing Christmas carols. Santa Claus brought gifts for all the children present. Click here to view photos.


Upcoming Parish Events

Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church | Providence, RI
The Cultural Committee of Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church of Providence, RI, will host a Christmas concert titled “Aysor Don Eh” on Friday, December 30, at 7 p.m. The concert will go forward under the direction of Maestro Konstantin Petrossian, and will feature the Armenian Chorale of Rhode Island, Greater Worcester Armenian Chorale, and the Junior Choir of Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church. Click here to view a flyer for information.

St. David Church | Boca Raton, FL
On December 31, St. David Church of Boca Raton, FL, will host a New Year's Eve celebration at 8 p.m. Harout Pamboukjian and his band will provide the night's entertainment. Tickets can be purchased through the church and online at For more information, click here to view a flyer, or contact the church office at (561) 994-2335.

St. James Church | Watertown, MA
St. James Church of Watertown, MA, will host a New Year's eve celebration on December 31, beginning at 8 p.m. Enjoy entertainment by Alfred Galstyan. Click here for information. For reservations, contact Aaron Derderian at (781) 264-8680, or via e-mail at

St. Thomas Church | Tenafly, NJ
St. Thomas Church of Tenafly, NJ, will host a New Year's Eve dinner dance on December 31 at 8 p.m. The evening's festivities will include a full course dinner, Viennese table, free champagne and more. Children will dine and be entertained in a separate room and will have a special visit from Santa. Music entertainment will be provided by DJ Alan. For more information, click here to view a flyer, or call the church at (201) 567-5446.

Holy Resurrection Church | New Britain, CT
The Church of the Holy Resurrection of New Britain, CT, is teaming up with St. Vartan Church of Toronto, Canada, for a special project benefiting the residents of Artsakh. Parishioners are asked to donate knitted hats, gloves, and scarves—or to donate funds for the purchase of these items—no later than Sunday, January 8, 2017. All knitted items will be delivered to Artsakh by the Vancouver-Armenian Friendship Society. Click here to view a flyer for information.

St. Leon Church | Fair Lawn, NJ
St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, will host its 10th annual Christmas Dance on Saturday, January 14, at 7 p.m. Musical entertainment will feature Onnik Dinkjian and the John Berberian Ensemble. Click here to view a flyer for information.


Blessing of Pomegranates

New Year's Day Service at St. Vartan Cathedral

New York’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral will hold a special “Blessing of Pomegranates” service on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1. The Divine Liturgy is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
Also on January 1, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, will ordain sub-deacon Eric Vozzy to the diaconate. A reception will follow services. Click here to view a flyer for information.


Karapetian's Photography

A Photo Exhibition at the Diocesan Center

The Feast of the Nativity and Baptism of Jesus Christ will be observed at New York's St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral on Thursday and Friday, January 5 and 6, 2017. The Blessing of Water service will follow the Divine Liturgy on January 6. 
A special photo exhibition will be on view at the Diocesan Center during the celebration of Armenian Christmas. It will showcase candid portraits of Armenian dignitaries and celebrities in the homeland and the diaspora over the past 60 years, as captured by photographer Robert Karapetian.
The exhibition opens on January 5 at 8 p.m. in Guild Hall of the Diocesan Center, and will remain on view through January 6. It is free and open to the public. For information, call the Diocese at (212) 686-0710.


Film Screening in Manhattan 

An evening focusing on Diaspora-Armenia relations will be held at the Tribeca Film Center in Manhattan on Wednesday, January 4, beginning at 7:30.
The program will include the screening of Robert Davidian’s recent film “Referendum Rewind” followed by a discussion. Click here to view a flyer for information. 


The Diocese’s e-Newsletter will not be published on Armenian Christmas Eve, Thursday, January 5. We wish our readers a happy new year and a blessed Christmas season, and we look forward to resuming e-Newsletter publication on Thursday, January 12.

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