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TOP STORY                                                           July 30, 2015

AGBU Interns visit Diocesan Center in NYC
Interns and clergy pose for a group photo on the steps of St. Vartan Cathedral.

AGBU Summer Interns Visit Diocesan Center

Close to 30 participants in the AGBU New York Summer Internship Program visited the Diocesan Center on Wednesday evening, July 29, where they received a tour of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral and enjoyed dinner with Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian.

The young people were greeted on the plaza of St. Vartan Cathedral by the Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar; Dn. Aram Kaberjian; and Eric Vozzy of the Diocese’s Christian Education department. The latter led them on a tour of the cathedral and answered questions about its history and architecture.

Later in the evening, the interns enjoyed dinner and conversation with Archbishop Barsamian, who spoke to the group about the significance of the 100th year of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide and the recent canonization of the Holy Martyrs of 1915. He noted that the martyrs lived the Gospel of Christ, and that it is the new generation’s responsibility to carry forward their legacy.

The Primate also spoke about his personal journey to the priesthood, the ecumenical spirit of the Armenian Church, and the work of the Eastern Diocese. Interns had the opportunity to ask questions. Click here to view photos.


Scripture of the Week

Is 10:12-19
2 Cor 2:12-3:3
Mk 6:30-44

Prayer of the Week

Heavenly King, grant me your kingdom which you promised to your beloved, and strengthen my heart to hate sin and love you only and to do your will. Have mercy upon your creatures, and upon me, a great sinner. Amen.

Upcoming Saints & Feasts

1 August: Holy Fathers Athanasius, Cyril, and Gregory the Theologian 



Ordination to the Priesthood
Bishop Vardan Navasardyan anoints the forehead of a young man during the ordination service.

Young Men Answer the Call to Serve

At Holy Etchmiadzin on Sunday, July 26, seven deacons were ordained to the holy priesthood by Bishop Vardan Navasardyan. Six of the newly ordained are married priests; one was ordained a celibate priest and joined the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin.  

“Today these seven dedicated servants are witnesses of faith who will serve at the Lord's altar,” said Bishop Navasardyan. He reminded the young priests to keep their hearts open and to remain attuned to the needs of their flock.

Following the traditional 40-day period of fasting and prayer, the new priests will be assigned by His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, to new positions in Armenia and the diaspora.



Antiochian Patriarch in New York City
Archbishop Barsamian welcomes Patriarch John X.

Patriarch of Antioch Visits New York

On Tuesday, July 28, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, and the Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar, attended a reception in honor of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, at the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese in Englewood, NJ.

The evening was hosted by Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Guests included clergy and representatives of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches; local Muslim spiritual leaders, as well as diplomats representing countries in the Middle East.

Patriarch John X, who is based in Damascus, Syria, spoke about the struggles facing Christians in Syria and across the Middle East. He stressed the need to end violence and restore order in the region. On behalf of those present, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America offered prayers for peace.

Church of the Brethren
A choir from Nigeria at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Tampa.

Church of the Brethren Passes Genocide Resolution

The Church of the Brethren passed a resolution concerning the centennial year of the Armenian Genocide at its Annual Conference in Tampa, FL, on July 14.

The document expresses concern about violence targeting Christians in Nigeria and the Middle East. Noting the decline of Christian communities in places such as Iraq and Syria, the resolution states that “the elimination of these ancient yet still vital Christian communities would not only be a human rights disaster and a loss for the peoples of the region, but also a tragic loss of historic Christian witness in the land where the church first took root.”

It goes on to outline action items for members of the Church of the Brethren: “In this year commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we reaffirm our commitment to stand with targeted minority groups across the world and call not only for increased awareness of their persecution, but for renewed efforts by the church and the international community to build solidarity and protect minority religious groups who are under threat.”

Click here to read the resolution in its entirety.

Karen Antonyan received much-needed medical care thanks to FAR's "Breaking the Cycle of Poverty” program.

Making a Difference in Tavush

Thanks to the Fund for Armenian Relief’s “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty” program in Armenia’s Tavush region, 13-year-old Karen Antonyan recently received much-needed medical care.

Karen suffers from an illness that affects his central nervous system. Last year doctors determined that he needed a special procedure, but his family could not afford the $1,200 hospital bill. That’s when the “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty” program kicked in, making it possible for Karen to receive the treatment. Click here to read Karen’s story on FAR’s blog.

The Antonyans are one of the 263 families who benefit from the “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty” program in Tavush. Established by the Mardigian Family Foundation through the largest-ever contribution made to FAR, the program addresses malnutrition, unemployment, poverty, and infrastructure weaknesses in one of Armenia’s poorest provinces.


Bible Camp in Hollywood, FL
A child at the St. Mary Church "Vacation Bible Camp."

Vacation Bible Camp in Hollywood, FL

St. Mary Church of Hollywood, FL, hosted “Vacation Bible Camp” for children ages 4 to 11, from July 20 to 23. The 14 campers in the program enjoyed Bible study, arts and crafts, dance, music, singing, Armenian language, and games. 

The children were supervised by Mrs. Pilafian and the Rev. Fr. Vartan Joulfayan, parish pastor. Women’s Guild members and mothers also volunteered in teaching, cooking, and serving the campers. 

On Thursday afternoon, July 23, the children enjoyed dinner with their parents and then gathered for the closing program. The program featured an exhibition of the campers’ art work and musical talent.

Click here to view photos.

Vartavar in Dallas, TX
Children enjoy a water slide in Dallas.

Vartavar Luncheon in Dallas 

The choir of the St. Sarkis Church of Dallas, TX, hosted the parish’s annual “Vartavar” luncheon on Sunday, July 12.  The Rev. Fr. Ghevond Ajamian, parish pastor, asked the choir to perform two newly learned hymns dedicated to the Feast of the Transfiguration.

The day featured Armenian food and water games for kids. The church’s Kechejian Hall was decorated with colorful tablecloths, and videos were played of the St. Sarkis dance teams’ performances.  

Event organizer Annie Graham thanked the choir members and other parishioners who donated food and items for the luncheon. The annual gathering is the main fundraising event for the church choir.

Sts. Vartanantz Church, Chelmsford, MA
Granite benches bearing the names of those who perished in the Armenian Genocide will be installed at Sts. Vartanantz Church.

Chelmsford to Expand Genocide Memorial

As part of the Armenian Genocide centennial year observance, the Memorials Committee at Sts. Vartanantz Church of Chelmsford, MA, has launched a “Remembrance Bench Project,” through which several benches will be installed on the church grounds bearing the names of people who perished in the Armenian Genocide.

The granite benches will be installed at the existing Sts. Vartanantz Genocide Memorial. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for the fall. Parishioners who wish to have family names engraved should contact Dn. James Magarian at (978) 649-6875, or via e-mail at The deadline for the engraving project is August 10.

Click here to view a flyer. For additional information, visit the project Facebook page or the parish website.

Upcoming events

Upcoming Parish Events    

St. Gregory the Enlightener Church | White Plains, NY
The Women's Guild of St. Gregory the Enlightener Church of White Plains, NY, will host an “All-American BBQ FUNdraiser” on Saturday, August 8, beginning at 6 p.m. on church grounds. Click here to view a flyer for information.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Fuller Center for Housing in Armenia. St. Gregory the Enlightener Church has already helped build three homes in Armenia, and looks forward to donating $10,500 toward the completion of a fourth house for a family in need.

St. Gregory the Illuminator Church | Chicago, IL
St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Chicago, IL, will host its 40th annual “Armenian Fest” on Saturday, August 8, and Sunday, August 9, on church grounds. Enjoy Armenian food, live music and dancing, games for children, and more. Click here to view a flyer for information.

Armenian Church at Hye Pointe | Haverhill, MA
Hye Pointe Church will hold its annual picnic on Sunday, August 23, from 12 to 5 p.m. at the American Legion Farm (1314 Main St. in Haverhill). Enjoy live music by the Jason Naroian Ensemble and Armenian foods and pastries. Other activities include field games, face-painting, and kickball. Click here to view a flyer for information, or call (978) 327-9227.

Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church | Providence, RI
Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church of Providence, RI, will host its annual picnic on August 15 and 16, starting at noon on both days. Enjoy Armenian food, live music, dancing, and other activities. Click here to view a flyer for information.


Diocesan Vicar visits camp Nubar
Fr. Odabashian celebrates the Divine Liturgy at Camp Nubar.

Vicar Visits Camp Nubar

On Sunday, July 26, the Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar, visited AGBU’s Camp Nubar, where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy and joined the camp community for “Open House.”

The day began with services in the camp’s Harry and Suzanne Toufayan Pavilion. Set against the backdrop of the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, the recently built pavilion provided a beautiful site for the celebration of badarak. Later that day, Fr. Odabashian took part in the “Open House” activities. Click here to view photos.

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, is scheduled to visit Camp Nubar next week.


Return to Asbury

"Return to Asbury" Planned for August

The annual Asbury Park gathering will be held August 7 to 9 in Asbury Park, NJ. Events include a beach day, tavloo tournament, Armenian music, and more.

Part of the proceeds from the weekend will benefit the Eastern Diocese’s St. Vartan Camp. Click here for information.

Blessing of Grapes

Feast of the Assumption at St. Vartan Cathedral

On Sunday, August 16, the Armenian Church will observe the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother-of-God, which commemorates how St. Mary was taken up in body and soul, or “assumed,” into heaven. On this feast day, the “Blessing of Grapes” service takes place immediately after the Divine Liturgy.

At St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York City, the Divine Liturgy will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 16. The “Blessing of Grapes” service will follow.

A picnic on the cathedral plaza will be held at the conclusion of services.

Click here to view a flyer for information.