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TOP STORY                                                      November 5, 2015

Angels

The Bodiless Powers

Every year, a Saturday in early November brings us to one of the more unusual observances of the Armenian Church calendar: the feast day dedicated to the holy archangels Michael and Gabriel. We’ll greet it again this weekend, on November 7.

Angels in popular culture seem like benign, even childlike beings. But the Bible depicts them as something else entirely—something truly incomprehensible to the human mind. “Fear not!” is the characteristic greeting that issues from an angel when it is sent to converse with a human being—suggesting that there is something potentially terrifying in our encounters with them.

The multitude of angels make up the “heavenly hosts”—the armies of God waging an invisible war against evil forces. The archangel Michael (whose name means “Who is equal to God?”) is symbolically shown as a warrior who protects God’s people and contends with Satan; Gabriel (“God is my strength”) is best known as the messenger who announced Christ’s impending birth to St. Mary.

The Christian tradition regards the angels as “bodiless powers”: thought without physicality; will without animal substance; beings of pure spirit, who do not occupy even a single point in space. The very possibility of such creatures opens up deep questions about our experience of the material universe—and about man himself. For example: Are our thoughts just chemical reactions, or is human intelligence itself a sign of something beyond and above physical existence?

In that sense, the idea of angels enriches our understanding of the universe that God has created, and of the place He has given to His human creations.



 
Veterans Day

The Unbroken Promise

Our blog post highlights the observance of Veterans Day on Wednesday, November 11. In our time, it is a day to pay tribute to the courageous service and sacrifice of American soldiers.

But Veterans Day began as a commemoration of the end of the First World War—the greatest ordeal of bloodshed mankind had endured up to that time. To console a weary, dispirited population, leaders of the time insisted on calling it “the war to end all wars.” But it was a promise they could not fulfill.
 
That failure has not stopped the powers of the world from making other promises, however. As recently as 25 years ago we were promised an end of history and a new world order. And today, from science and medicine to politics and the law, we receive an endless stream of promises intended to raise our expectations and hopes.
 
Should we believe them? The Gospel has some guidance to offer on the question. It appears in an unlikely place: in a quiet human drama, where Jesus tends to a father mourning the death of his child. In a world where broken promises are the norm, we learn which promises we should trust.
 
Click here to read more.

 

Scripture of the Week

Is 24:1-12
Eph 5:15-33
Lk 8:49-56

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

7 November: Holy Archangels Gabriel and Michael

 

CHURCH NEWS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE

Holy Etchmiadzin

Supreme Spiritual Council Meets

Meeting at Holy Etchmiadzin on November 3-5, members of the Supreme Spiritual Council shared news from their respective dioceses and discussed matters concerning the worldwide Armenian Church.
 
His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, presided over the meeting, which was jointly chaired by Archbishop Aram Ateshian, Vicar of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople; Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese; and Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese.  
 
Participants reviewed the many Armenian Genocide centennial events held in Armenia and the diaspora, and discussed the Armenian Church’s ecumenical activities, liturgical and canonical matters, and the possibility of organizing a meeting of the National Ecclesiastical Assembly next year. In addition, they spoke about the persecution facing Christians in the Middle East, with an emphasis on the Armenian community of Syria. They resolved to continue supporting Armenian refugees from Syria who have settled in Armenia, and also to continue assisting those still living in the war-torn country.  

DIOCESAN NEWS

Iconic Sunday

An Iconic Sunday Across the Eastern Diocese

On Sunday, November 1, parishes across the Eastern Diocese held a special ceremony in which the local pastor consecrated a replica of the icon of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide—the original of which was unveiled last April, during the canonization service at Holy Etchmiadzin.

In many parishes, young parishioners took part in the service, helping to wash the icon with water and wine and distributing prayer cards to the congregation. At the conclusion of the service, the faithful came forward to venerate the icon, which will now be permanently displayed in Armenian churches across the Diocese.
 
Click here to view photos from the day, or follow #holymartyrs on social media to see what others have shared.



 
Blessing of Water

"Blessing of Water" Service on November 15

At Holy Etchmiadzin on September 27, His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, blessed the Holy Muron and proclaimed it the “Muron of Victory” in commemoration of the centennial year of the Armenian Genocide.
 
The newly-blessed Holy Muron was distributed to all dioceses of the Armenian Church. It will be distributed to local church pastors of the Eastern Diocese in a ceremony at New York’s St. Vartan Cathedral on November 12.
 
On Sunday, November 15, all parishes across the Eastern Diocese will conduct a special “Blessing of Water” service with the new Holy Muron. For more information on the November 15 event, contact your local parish.
 
Click on the following links to view video highlights of the September 27 service at Holy Etchmiadzin and to view a video on the making of the Holy Muron.



 
FAR
Runners in the 4K-race held in Berd, Armenia, last month.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Tavush

As part of its “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program,” the Fund for Armenian Relief organized a 4K-race in Berd, Armenia, last month. The race drew 200 young participants, as well as many spectators from local villages who gathered to cheer on the runners. Gevorg Adamyan,19, took first place, having completed the course in 19 minutes.
 
FAR said the purpose of the race was to help the community come together and see the positive outcomes of working in solidarity to accomplish a common goal. This is particularly important in Armenia’s Tavush province, where residents cope daily with cross-border violence. Click here to read more on FAR’s blog.
 
The “Breaking the Cycle of Poverty" program was established by the Mardigian Family Foundation through the largest-ever contribution made to FAR. The five-year project addresses malnutrition, unemployment, poverty, and infrastructure weaknesses in Armenia’s northeastern Tavush province.



 
Annual Appeal

Support the Diocese's 2015 Annual Appeal

The Eastern Diocese’s 2015 Annual Appeal is now underway. The Appeal is the only Diocesan-wide fundraiser conducted each year to help the Diocese undertake the many ministries, programs, and resources that enrich life in our parishes.

The past year has been a genuine milestone in the story of the Armenian people. The Armenian Genocide centennial was a call to remember the great calamity—the unforgettable crime against our people—that has affected every Armenian life of the past century.

But 2015 was also an opportunity for our entire community to reach out in a united fashion, to bring the story of the Genocide to a broad audience: to steer our society towards official recognition, and towards a renewed determination to combat genocide wherever it occurs. We saw the legacy of our Armenian martyrs brought to life.

But none of it happened in a vacuum. We met the challenge of 2015 because our community institutions were strong, prepared, and ready to act. And the Eastern Diocese was a leader in this effort. 

Year in and year out, the Eastern Diocese works to preserve the precious legacy we have inherited. And it is the generous support we receive from people like you that allows us to maintain and expand our vital ministries involving Christian education, Bible study, Armenian language, summer camps, youth outreach, mission parishes, and advanced technologies for communication and instruction, to name a few.

Please accept this invitation to strengthen our efforts. Your generous contribution to the 2015 Annual Appeal will help spread the good work of the Armenian Church across our local communities—and across the generations.
 
Follow this link to donate now to the 2015 Annual Appeal.

PARISH NEWS

Gabriel's Day of Kindness

Gabriel's Kindness Helps Make a Difference

The Rev. Fr. Arakel Aljalian, pastor of St. James Church of Watertown, MA, and Yn. Natasha Aljalian organized “Gabriel’s Day of Kindness” on Tuesday, November 3—a special day in honor of their six-year-old son Gabriel, who was diagnosed with leukemia on November 3, three years ago. Gabriel has completed treatment and is now a healthy first-grader.
 
People across all 50 states, and even in countries overseas, took up the challenge to perform a kind act in Gabriel’s honor this week. In Boston, Gabriel and parishioners from St. James Church brought gifts to Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana Faber Cancer Center on November 3. They also distributed care bags to the homeless in Harvard Square.
 
Click here to read more and view a video on Boston’s local CBS channel.



 
Upcoming events

Upcoming Parish Events

St. John Church | Detroit, MI
St. John Church of Detroit, MI, will host a concert featuring violinists Ani and Ida Kavafian on Saturday, November 7, at 7 p.m. Click here to view a flyer for ticket information.

Sts. Sahag and Mesrob  Church | Providence, RI
Sts. Sahag and Mesrob  Church of Providence, RI, will host Its 85th annual “Food Fair & Bazaar” on Saturday, November 7 (11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.) and Sunday, November 8 (12 to 6 p.m.). Sample Armenian foods and pastries, enjoy activities for children, take part in raffles and a silent auction, browse Armenian vendor booths, and more. Click here to view a flyer for information.

Hye Pointe Church | Haverhill, MA
Hye Pointe Church of Haverhill, MA, will host “Autumnfest 2015” on Friday, November 6 (12 to 8 p.m.) and Saturday, November 7 (12 to 7 p.m.). Enjoy Armenian food and pastries, as well as raffles and other activities. Click here to view a flyer for information.

St. Sarkis Church | Dallas, TX
St. Sarkis Church of Dallas, TX, is sponsoring a multimedia performance titled "Travel with Me to Armenia." The event will be held on November 6, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Plano Courtyard Theatre (1509 H Ave in Plano, TX).
 
Enjoy an art exhibition featuring the works of Armenian artists. Then watch St. Sarkis singers and dancers perform in an engaging program featuring a technological show. Click on the following links to view a flyer and to purchase tickets.

St. Thomas Church | Tenafly, NJ
The Cultural Committee of St. Thomas Church of Tenafly, NJ, and the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of New Jersey will host a discussion with author Chris Bohjalian on Friday, November 6, beginning at 8 p.m. Mr. Bohjalian's presentation is titled "The View from the Crevasse: What I have learned since ‘The Sandcastle Girls' was published." A reception will follow the talk. Admission is free. Click here to view a flyer. For information, call Talar at (201) 240-8541, or Hamazkayin at (908) 866-6150.

The Cultural Committee of St. Thomas Church will host an HD opera presentation on November 20. Enjoy the screening of "L'Elisir d'Amore," followed by a wine and cheese reception. Click here to view a flyer. For information, call the church at (201) 567-5446 or Talar Sesetyan Sarafian at (201) 240-8541.

Armenian Church of Southwest Florida | Naples, FL
The Divine Liturgy at the Armenian Church of Southwest Florida mission parish  will be celebrated during the months of November, January, February, and March. All services are held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (3901 Davis Blvd. in Naples).
 
The first service is scheduled for Saturday, November 7, at 1:30 pm.  The Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian will officiate. For  information, contact Carole Meghreblian at (239) 348-3804, or carolemeghreblian@gmail.com.

Holy Martyrs Church | Bayside, NY
Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, NY, will host two performances by “Taline and Friends” on Saturday, November 7. A performance scheduled for 2 p.m. is sold out, but names are being taken for the waiting list. The second performance is scheduled for 5 p.m. A reception and meet-and-greet with cast members will follow the shows. For tickets and information, contact Shoushan at (516) 876-0865, or shoushan13@yahoo.com; or Lara at (917) 951-7287 or lciamician@gmail.com.
 
Holy Trinity Church | Cambridge, MA
The Trinity Men’s Union of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, MA, will host an evening with Mark Kolligian, former vice president of Customer Insights at CVS Health, on Monday, November 9, beginning at 6 p.m. Mr. Kolligian will speak on “The State of the Nation’s Healthcare System.” The event is open to all; it will be held in the church’s Johnson Hall. Click here for reservations and other information.  
 
On Sunday, November 15, Holy Trinity Church will host a “Day of Recognition” in honor of Dn. Gregory Krikorian, who has served on the altar for 50 years. The event is open to all; it will be held in the church’s Johnson Hall. Click here for information.
 
In the evening of Sunday, November 15, Holy Trinity Church will host a concert featuring Razmik Mansourian with Albert Bulbulyan and Hovhannes Meghrilyan. The event begins at 5 p.m. in Charles and Nevart Talanian Cultural Hall. Click on the following links for ticket information and to read more about the artist.
 
St. Leon Church | Fair Lawn, NJ
St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, will host a presentation by author Peter Balakian on Thursday, November 19, beginning at 7:45 p.m. The evening will include a partial screening of the Oscar-winning film “America America” and a discussion of Professor Balakian’s new collection of essays. Click here to view a flyer for information.
 
St. Peter Church | Watervliet, NY
The Women’s Guild of St. Peter Church of Watervliet, NY, is sponsoring a “Pet Food Drive” as part of its annual holiday bazaar. From October through December 6, parishioners are encouraged to contribute pet food, toys, and other items to benefit local pet rescue shelters. Click here to view a flyer for information.

Holy Resurrection Church | New Britain, CT
The Women's Guild of Holy Resurrection Church of New Britain, CT, will host its Holiday Fair on Saturday, November 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Purchase Armenian foods and pastries, browse vendor booths, and more. Click here to view a flyer for information.

St. David Church | Boca Raton, FL
St. David  Church of Boca Raton, FL, will host a fall picnic on Sunday, November 22. Enjoy Armenian-style BBQ, games for children, and other activities. Click here to view a flyer.

Sts. Vartanantz Church | Chelmsford, MA
Sts. Vartanantz Church of Chelmsford, MA, will host its annual "Bazaar and Foods Festival" on Friday, November 20, and Saturday, November 21, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Enjoy lunch and dinner, arts and crafts, jewelry sales, white elephant booths, raffles, silent auctions, and games for kids. Other highlights include a backgammon tournament and live Armenian music. Click here for information.
 
St. Mary Church | Livingston, NJ
St. Mary Church of Livingston, NJ, will host its annual Holiday Dance on Saturday, November 28, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The evening will be held in the church’s Haroutune and Siranoush Toufayan Hall. Enjoy music by the Gostanian Ensemble and reconnect with old friends. Reservations required; advanced ticket sales only. Click here to view a flyer for ticket and other information.

YOUTH NEWS

Leadership Conference

ACYOA Leadership Conference

The ACYOA Central Council will host its annual Leadership Conference the weekend of November 13-15, at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center in Kansasville, WI (outside Milwaukee).

The Leadership Conference is an opportunity for young adults, ages 18 and older, from across the Diocese to strengthen their leadership skills and to come together for worship and fellowship. This year’s conference will focus on the Diocesan theme “Living the Gospel of Christ: Legacy of Our Martyrs,” and include presentations, small group discussions, and time for personal reflection.
 
All conference costs (except travel expenses) are covered by the ACYOA Central Council. Click here for online registration. For information, contact Lorie Odabashian, the Diocese’s Youth and Young Adult Ministries coordinator, at LorieO@armeniandiocese.org, or by phone at (215) 452-8322.
 

EVENTS

Art in Fall
The Hovnanian School's annual "Art in Fall" exhibit will run Nov. 14-15.

Art Exhibition at the Hovnanian School

On November 14 and 15, the Hovnanian School will host its seventh annual “Art in Fall” exhibition, featuring works by 35 artists.

Exhibit hours are 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, November 14; and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 15. The exhibition will be held at the Hovnanian School Hall, in New Milford, NJ.

Click here to view a flyer for information.





 
St. Nersess Seminary

St. Nersess Banquet to Celebrate New Campus

On Sunday, November 22, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary will celebrate its new campus with a banquet at the Rockleigh Country Club in Rockleigh, NJ. The evening will pay tribute to the institution’s past and highlight its vision for the next chapter of its history. Grand benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Haig and Elza Didizian will be honored.

Nadine Ariyan and Lucie Bandazian are co-chairing the banquet. To read more and for reservation information, visit the seminary’s website at www.stnersess.edu.

Prior to the celebratory banquet, St. Nersess seminarians will be available at the seminary’s new campus in Armonk, NY, to give tours and speak about their experience. For information on this Open House program, contact the seminary at (914) 273-0200.