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TOP STORY                                                      April 30, 2015

Assembly 2015

Diocesan Assembly to Convene Next Week

Next week St. Mary Church of Washington, DC, will host the 113th Diocesan Assembly, bringing together Armenian Church leaders from throughout the Eastern Diocese. The Assembly will convene from May 6 to 8, and will be preceded by the annual Clergy Conference, which will be held from May 4 to 6. The Diocesan Women's Guild General Assembly also convenes during the week.

In addition to the regular business sessions and reports from Diocesan organizations, the clergy and delegates will take part in the events of the national observance of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide (see item below).

A highlight of the Assembly will be a hrashapar service to officially welcome His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, on Wednesday evening, May 6. His Holiness will address the Assembly on Thursday, May 7.

For more information on the Diocesan Assembly and Clergy Conference, visit the St. Mary Church website at

Armenian Genocide Centennial in Washington DC

National Genocide Centennial Observance

The Armenian-American community will gather in Washington, DC, next week for the national observance of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. Special events are scheduled for May 7 to 9—including an ecumenical prayer service at the National Cathedral, a Pontifical Divine Liturgy, a memorial concert, and an awards banquet honoring those who helped the survivors.

His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, both will journey to the United States to lead the Washington commemoration. They will be joined by Armenians from across the U.S., under the auspices of the Eastern and Western Dioceses, and the Eastern and Western Prelacies. 

On Sunday, May 10, "A Mother's Day Prayer Service and Blessing of Mothers" will be held in Washington. His Holiness Karekin II and His Holiness Aram I will preside. Click here to view a flyer.

Click here to learn more about the May events in the nation's capital.

Live Broadcast of Services

Both the ecumenical prayer service—scheduled for May 7 at the National Cathedral—and the Pontifical Divine Liturgy—scheduled for May 9 at the  Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception—will be broadcast live online.

The broadcast from the National Cathedral will begin at 7 p.m. on May 7. Click here to view it.

The broadcast from the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will begin at 10 a.m. on May 9. Click here to view it.


Scripture of the Week

Acts 17:1-15
1 Jn 1:1-10
Jn 7:14-23

Prayer of the Week

Christ, living Fire, inflame my soul with the fire of your love, which you sent forth upon the earth, that it may consume the impurities of my soul, cleanse my conscience, purge the sins of my body, and kindle in my heart the light of your knowledge. Have mercy upon your creatures, and upon me, a great sinner. Amen.

Upcoming Saints & Feasts

3 May: Apparition of the Holy Cross

14 May: Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ


Local residents stand amid ruins in Nepal.

Support Nepal Earthquake Relief

These have been a stirring, emotional few weeks, as Armenians worldwide mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

But in the midst of these observances, news came last Saturday of an earthquake in Nepal. The images on the news are terrible to see, reminding Armenians of the natural disaster that struck our homeland 27 years ago. A sense of solidarity in suffering has always inspired our people to reach out, spiritually and materially, to fellow victims of devastation.

In a directive issued earlier this week, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian asked people to offer prayers for all those who are suffering, and to consider contributing to earthquake relief. On Sunday, May 3, parishes will hold a special collection for earthquake relief in Nepal. Individuals can also make credit-card donations on the Diocesan website. (Please note: In the online information entry form, select “Nepal Earthquake Relief” in the memo bar that appears.)

All the proceeds collected—100 percent—will go to the relief efforts, to be distributed through Church World Service, the humanitarian aid arm of the National Council of Churches.


Thoughtful Perspectives on the Armenian Genocide

The centennial of the Armenian Genocide has spawned an extraordinary number of news items and essays recounting the events of 1915 and the observances of 100 years later. A good number deal with religious themes, or offer interesting, creative perspectives on the Genocide.

Click on the following links to read worthwhile articles by Dawn McKeen (on the destruction of the Der Zor monument), Peter Balakian (on Genocide themes in Elia Kazan’s film, America, America), and Mark Movsesian (on the significance of Pope Francis’s recognition), along with perceptive pieces by Filip Mazurczak, Stella Morabito, and Mark Krikorian.

Many internet videos dealing with the Genocide are likewise worthy of a few minutes of your time. These include a clip on the dedication of a new (and impressive) Genocide monument at Fresno State University; and a short animated depiction of a heartbreaking eyewitness testimony, from the BBC.

And if you haven’t watched them already, please view these two clips by the Diocese’s Communications department: an overview of the Times Square gathering last Sunday (set to the music of Sebu Simonian), and a narrated history of the Genocide featuring Dr. Richard Hovannisian.

Finally, follow these links to read how Germany and Austria became the latest countries to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and how Nevada became the most recent U.S. state to do so.


Centennial Commemoration in New York City
Clergy lead the crowd from St. Vartan Cathedral to Times Square.

Genocide Centennial Observed in New York

An estimated 15,000 people from up and down America’s east coast took part in the Armenian Genocide Centennial gathering in Times Square, New York City, on Sunday, April 26—the largest such gathering in the history of the event.

The day began with thousands of Armenian faithful filling St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral and its surrounding plaza and streets in Midtown Manhattan. The Divine Liturgy at St. Vartan Cathedral was celebrated by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, and the homily was delivered by Archbishop Osahagan Choloyan. A recording of the April 26 Divine Liturgy can be viewed online here.

Ambassadors and UN dignitaries took part in the service, including Armenia’s Ambassador to the United States Tigran Sargisyan and its United Nations Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. A visitor who garnered a special attention was America’s own UN Ambassador, Samantha Power.

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, a special service for the newly-canonized Genocide saints was conducted by the clergy, as the choir sang the soulful and solemn chant “Hrashatsan,” composed for this occasion by the late Archbishop Zareh Aznavourian.

Following the church service, the huge crowd marched to Times Square for the program organized by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, this year in affiliation with the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of America, Eastern Region. The event enjoyed the participation of all the Armenian churches, as well as compatriotic, social, political, and benevolent organizations.

Click on the following links to read more, and to view photos and a brief video clip with highlights of the Times Square march.

Rabbi Schneir
Rabbi Arthur Schneier at the podium, surrounded by religious leaders.

"Appeal of Conscience" Founder Honored

On Monday, April 27, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian was part of a group of religious, civic, and international dignitaries gathered to honor Rabbi Arthur Schneier, founder of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, as he was awarded with the “Papal Knighthood of St. Sylvester.” The honor conferred by Pope Francis was presented to Rabbi Schneier by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, at the residence of the Vatican’s UN representative, Archbishop Bernardito Auza.

In his introduction of the awardee, Archbishop Barsamian praised “the qualities of soul that allowed Rabbi Schneier to emerge as a survivor of the Holocaust, without losing his sense of optimism and hope for all mankind. Indeed, this has been the mission of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation since its beginnings 50 years ago.”

Other religious figures who attended were Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Bishop John of the Russian Orthodox Church, Rev. Fred Anderson of the Presbyterian Church, and Imam Abdur-Rashid of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem. Dr. Henry Kissinger and former mayor David Dinkins were among the secular notables present.

Click here to view photos.

A team of cyclists is journeying from Los Angeles to Washington, DC.

"LA2DC" Cycling Marathon

As the Armenian-American community gathers in Washington, DC, next week for the national observance of the Armenian Genocide centennial, they will also welcome a special group of cross-country cyclists who are making a journey from Los Angeles to the nation’s capital.

Called “LA2DC,” the marathon is organized to raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide and other modern day genocides. Their route includes stops in Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas , Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, and Maryland. They are scheduled to arrive in Washington on May 7.

Click here to visit the “LA2DC” website for information.

Armenian Studies

Armenian Studies Department Launches Blog

The Diocese’s Department of Armenian Studies has a new blog featuring information about the Armenian language, literary figures, and educational programs currently being developed at the Diocesan Center. In addition, the blog will soon include classroom resources, an events schedule, best practices, and other articles. Click here to visit the blog page.

The Department of Armenian Studies is welcoming input and entries from parish Armenian Schools. Educators are encouraged to share details of local programs and events. To submit an article, contact Gilda Buchakjian, director of Armenian Studies, at

Vazgen Gyoletsyan is one of the first graduates of GTech.

GTech Graduate Helps New Generation of Students

Vazgen Gyoletsyan worked as an engineer in Armenia, but he always dreamt of learning computer programming. When he heard of the Fund for Armenian Relief’s Gyumri Information Technology Center (GTech) in 2005, he enrolled in its course of study, and two years later became one of the program’s first graduates.

Today Mr. Gyoletsyan is a senior software developer at Synopsys Armenia. He also helps train new students at GTech.

“GTech made it possible for me to accomplish my dreams,” he told FAR recently. “I am really happy for the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with the students from Gyumri. I really see their motivation and desire to learn.”

Click here to read more on FAR’s blog.


Armenian Genocide Centennial in Boston
A procession from the State House to Armenian Heritage Park in Boston.


The Massachusetts Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee, comprised of all local Armenian churches and community organizations, and co-chaired by Anthony Barsamian, Jim Kalustian, and Ara Nazarian, organized a series of events in the Boston area to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

On Thursday, April 23, an ecumenical prayer service was held at Trinity Church in Copley Square. More than 1,200 members of the community and members of sister churches—including the Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Coptic, and Greek Orthodox churches—took part in the service. Governor Charlie Baker also attended and offered a message of welcome. Rev. Laura Everett, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, gave a sermon. Click here to read an article in The Boston Globe.

On Friday, April 24, a joint Divine Liturgy was celebrated at Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Cambridge. A commemoration at the Massachusetts State House was attended by Governor Baker, members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, and other dignitaries.

A crowd of 3,000 people walked in procession from the State House to Armenian Heritage Park, stopping at the Holocaust Memorial to pay tribute to the victims of that cataclysm. At the Heritage Park, attendees included Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, and U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey. The program included musical performances by Armenian dance and choral groups.

An evening vigil included multimedia video presentations, prayers and a moment of silence, and a ‘flash mob’ which led the crowd into celebration with Armenian dancing.

Click here to view photos from these events.

Ecumenical Prayer Service in Detroit
A young woman stands in prayer during the ecumenical service in Detroit.


On April 24, leaders of metro Detroit’s four Armenian churches organized an ecumenical service at St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Basilica in Livonia, MI, in observance of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Some 3,000 people took part in the service.   

A homily was given by Archbishop Allen Vigneron, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Detroit Archdiocese. Messages were also given by Metropolitan Nicholas of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Detroit and Archbishop Nathaniel of the Orthodox Church in America.

A 50-voice choir, under the direction of Dn. Rubik Mailian of St. John Armenian Church of Southfield, MI, and an 11-piece string ensemble provided the selection of hymns.

At a reception following the service, a triptych titled “100 Years of Endurance: Struggle, Survival and Desire for Truth and Reconciliation” was unveiled. It was painted by Andrea Kalajian, a young local mural artist.

Click here to view photos.

Genocide Centennial in Worcester
A march to City Hall in Worcester.


The Armenian community of greater Worcester County, under the auspices of the four local Armenian churches, jointly commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.  

On Saturday, April 18, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian led a march down Main Street to Worcester's City Hall. Some 500 people participated in the march, and were joined by more people at City Hall, where a special ceremony was held. 

Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty, Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, U.S. Congressman James McGovern, State Senator Harriette Chandler, and State Representatives John Mahoney and David Muradian, Jr., delivered messages of support and encouragement. Click here to view a video.

Archbishop Barsamian, Rev. Fr. Aved Terzian, and Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian blessed and dedicated a tree planted in front of City Hall in memory of the martyrs of 1915. Worcester's only living survivor of the Armenian Genocide also took part in the event. Click here to view a video. The crowd then proceeded to St. Paul's Cathedral for an ecumenical service hosted by Bishop Robert McManus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester.

On Friday, April 24, the Armenian Church of Our Saviour was filled to capacity for a joint Divine Liturgy. The Rev. Fr. Aved Terzian, parish pastor, celebrated the Divine Liturgy; the Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian gave the homily. Following the services, an elegant fellowship was held in the church's cultural center.

Click here to view photos.

Genocide Centennial in Ellis Island
A child places flowers at the base of the Ellis Island memorial wall.


On Saturday, April 25, St. Thomas Church of Tenafly, NJ, held a memorial prayer service on Ellis Island on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

The Very Rev. Fr. Papken Anoushian, parish pastor, offered prayers and led everyone in singing “Der Voghormya” and “Hayr Mer.” Parishioners sponsored flowers in memory of family members who were survivors of the Armenian Genocide. As Fr. Anoushian read each of the 100 names, family members placed purple flowers at the base of the Ellis Island memorial wall, which bears the names of those who passed through this historic gateway to the New World.

“It was truly a very moving experience being on Ellis Island on that sunny day, remembering our tragic history with sadness, but also feeling uplifted because we were surrounded by many children who were proudly carrying Armenian Genocide signs, telling the world that we have survived and their generation is growing up and flourishing in this blessed country,” said parishioner Madlen Setian. “Hayr Sourp gave a very moving address remembering our past, and mentioned with pride all those who recognized the Armenian Genocide.” He also expressed the Armenian community’s gratitude to America for helping the survivors of 1915. 

Click here to view photos.

Genocide Centennial Events in Bayside, NY
Children with Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan at Holy Martyrs Church.


On Thursday morning, April 23, Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, NY, screened the live broadcast from Holy Etchmiadzin of the canonization service of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. Students of the Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School exhibited information on Armenian culture.

That evening the Rev. Fr. Abraham Malkhasyan, parish pastor, was a guest speaker at the Kupferberg Resource Center and Archives program titled “How Do We Remember? The Armenian Genocide 100 Years Later.”

On Friday, April 24, some 100 students from the Holy Martyrs Day School, the parish’s language and Sunday schools, and its ACYOA Juniors group presented an “Evening of Remembrance.” A prayer service and program followed.

On Saturday, April 25, Fr. Malkhasyan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and spoke about the significance of the canonization of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. The graduating class of the Armenian School symbolically watered the memorial tree on the church plaza. A program about the life of Komitas followed.

The Holy Martyrs Genocide commemoration committee was chaired by Dr. Lynn Cetin. Click on the following links to read more and to view photos.

Centennial Commemoration in Richmond, VA
U.S. Congressman Dave Brat speaks at the luncheon in Richmond.


On Saturday, April 18, an interfaith service was held at St. James Church of Richmond, VA. The Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, Diocesan Vicar, presided over the service.

Clergy representing the United Methodist Church of Christ, Baptist General Convention, National Council of Churches, Greek Orthodox Church, Episcopal Church, and Maronite Church took part in the service. The guest homilist was Rev. Jonathan Barton, General Minister of the Virginia Council of Churches. The service concluded with prayers offered by representatives of the Jewish and Islamic communities.

The service was the culmination of a collaboration between the Virginia Council of Churches and the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Central Virginia. The Virginia Council of Churches passed a resolution to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide and encouraged each of its member churches to commemorate the centennial with a prayer service this month.

At a luncheon following the service, Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, gave the keynote address. Politicians and other dignitaries also made remarks. Awards were presented to groups and individuals who have helped promote awareness of the Armenian Genocide.

Click on the following links to read more and to view photos.

Ecumenical Prayer Service in Racine
Clergy, deacons, and altar servers at the ecumenical service in Racine.


The Armenian churches of southeastern Wisconsin hosted an ecumenical service at St. Mesrob Church of Racine, WI, on Friday, April 24.

In attendance were Bishop Steven Miller, Episcopalian Bishop of Milwaukee; Bishop Wayne Miller, the Lutheran (ELCA) Bishop of Chicago; Bishop Richard Sklba, the Auxiliary Roman Catholic Bishop of Milwaukee; and Fr. Rewis Awadalla of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Also participating were Scott Anderson, the executive director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches, and clergy representing the Racine Interfaith Coalition.

Bishop Miller gave a sermon titled "Remember, Forgive, Run (the race set before us by Christ)." The 300 people present were visibly moved by the worship service and the sermon.

Genocide Centennial in Austin
Edward Teveris prepared an exhibit in Austin on the Armenian Genocide.


On Sunday, April 26, the Armenian Church of Austin mission parish took part in a special service led by Monsignor Don Sawyer at Our Lady's Maronite Catholic Church to commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. 

The service included a procession with the Armenian flag, a sermon about the importance of acknowledging and remembering the persecution of Christian Armenians, the singing of the “Hayr Mer,” and a special exhibit in the church narthex prepared by Edward Teveris.

Upcoming events

Upcoming Parish Events

St. Thomas Church | Tenafly, NJ
On Friday, May 1, St. Thomas Church of Tenafly, NJ, will host an evening with Dr. Herand Markarian author of The Martyred Armenian Writers: 1915-1922. The anthology includes the works of 13 Armenian writers martyred in the Armenian Genocide. Click here to view a flyer for information.

Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church | Providence, RI
Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Church of Providence, RI, will host a concert in memory of the martyrs of 1915 on Saturday May 2, beginning at 7 p.m. Click here to view a flyer for information.

Hye Pointe Church | Haverhill, MA
Hye Pointe Church of Haverhill, MA, will host an “Armenian Pride Food Festival” on Saturday, May 2, from 12 to 7 p.m. Click here to view a flyer for information. 

Armenian Community of Albany
Christian Arts International will host Handel's "Messiah" concert in honor of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide on Sunday, May 3, at 3 p.m. The concert will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Albany, NY.
The program will feature mezzo soprano Solange Merdinian; the Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian, pastor of St. Peter Armenian Church of Watervliet, NY; and members of the Albany and Schenectady Symphony orchestras.
Click here to view a flyer with more information and sponsorship opportunities.

Armenian Community of Texas
On Monday, May 4, historian Taner Akçam, of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, will give a lecture on the Armenian Genocide at the Houston Holocaust Museum. Click here for information.

Port Washington Library | Port Washington, NY
On Tuesday, May 12, Margaret Tellalian-Kyrkostas, executive director of the Anthropology Museum of the People of New York and the Armenian Cultural Educational Resource Center Gallery at Queens College, will  give a talk on the historical background of Armenia, and the events leading up to the Armenian Genocide. The talk will take place at the Port Washington Public Library (1 Library Drive, Port Washington, NY), beginning at 7 p.m.

Holy Trinity Church | Cambridge, MA
The ACYOA Seniors of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, MA, will host a "Salsa Kef Night" on Saturday, May 16, beginning at 7 p.m. Enjoy an evening of live Salsa music and Armenian music for all ages. Participants will receive a Salsa dance demonstration and lesson. Featured bands include Black Sea Salsa and the All-Stars with Greg Krikorian, Leon Janikian, George Righellis, Bob Raphalian, Charles Dermenjian, and Steve Surabian.  

To purchase tickets, visit, or call the church office at (617) 354-0632. The event will be held in the church's Charles and Nevart Talanian Cultural Hall. All proceeds will benefit the 2016 General Assembly and Sports Weekend being hosted by the Holy Trinity ACYOA Seniors. 

Holy Cross Church | Washington Heights, NY
Holy Cross Church in uptown Manhattan will sponsor a performance of Taleen Babayan’s play “Where is Your Groom?” (Pesad Oor Eh) following church services on Sunday, May 17. The performance and lunch are free and open to the public; contributions are appreciated. The Divine Liturgy begins at 10:30 a.m.; the performance will follow at 1:30 p.m.


Sport Weekend

ACYOA General Assembly and Sports Weekend

The ACYOA Seniors of St. John Church of Southfield, MI, are hosting this year’s ACYOA General Assembly and Sports Weekend, scheduled for May 21 to 25. The weekend will include worship, discussion of the organization’s activities, athletic and social events, and service projects.  

Registration for the annual youth gathering is now open; the registration deadline is May 1. Click here for event information and registration materials, or contact

The committee is looking for support of its ad booklet; click here for information on how you can help.


Holy Martyrs
A detail of the new martyrs icon, which was consecrated at Holy Etchmiadzin last week.

A Symposium on Martyrdom in Washington 

In conjunction with the national observance of the Armenian Genocide centennial and the recent canonization of the martyrs of 1915, the School of Theology and Religious Studies of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, is hosting a one-day public symposium titled, “From Victims to Victors: The New Armenian Saints of 1915.”

The event is co-sponsored by the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center of the Eastern Diocese. Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian specialists in the phenomenon of Christian martyrdom will consider the meaning of Genocide martyrs in the context of the wider Christian practice of the canonization and veneration of saints and martyrs, with special attention to their practical impact on the faith and lives of Armenian-Americans today.

The symposium is free and open to the public. It will take place in Caldwell Auditorium of the Catholic University of America (620 Michigan Ave. N.E., Washington, DC). The program will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. For information, e-mail or call (212) 686-0710.

1915: The Movie

"1915: The Movie" Being Screened Across U.S.

“1915: The Movie”—a drama and psychological thriller co-written and directed by Garin Hovannisian in anticipation of the100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide—is playing at Quad Cinema in New York City through Thursday, April 30.

It will play in other cities across the United States this spring. Click here to visit the film’s official site. 


Armenian Genocide Talk at PEN Center

PEN American Center will present "Armenian Genocide: A Dark Paradigm"—a talk featuring Peter Balakian, Eric Bogosian, Maureen Freely, Nancy Kricorian, Robert Jay Lifton, Ronald Grigor Suny, and Ragip Zarakolu on Wednesday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m.

The event will be held at SVA Theatre in New York City (333 West 23rd Street). Click here to view a flyer for more information, or visit to purchase tickets.



The Diocese’s e-Newsletter will not be published on Thursday, May 7, while the Diocesan Assembly is in session. We look forward to resuming e-Newsletter publication on Thursday, May 14.