Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America
138 East 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-689-7810
Fax: 212-689-7168
e-mail: [email protected]
Contact: Iris Papazian

December 21, 2006

The Prelate, Archbishop Oshagan, will preside over the Divine Liturgy at
Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, this Sunday, December 24.
Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar General, will officiate the Divine Liturgy and
deliver the sermon this Sunday at St. Stephen's Church, New Britain,

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, continues
his series of dialogues with the youth. The seventh in the series was issued
this week entitled, "A Few Perspectives for the Renewal of the Armenian
His Holiness begins his message by referring to his gathering with the
youth which took place in Dearborn, Michigan, December 2 and 3. "The renewal
of the Armenian Church was the core of this gathering," His Holiness writes.
"In my dialogue with the youth I touched on a number of issues and
identified challenges pertaining to this pertinent theme. By carefully
listening to them, I became more aware of their expectations as well as of
their unwavering dedication to our Church and its values and traditions.
The Catholicos' message focuses on the renewal of the Church. "The
renewal of the Armenian Church is an urgent necessity. In order to carry on
its God-given mission efficiently, our Church is called to keep pace with
the changing conditions of modern societies. Therefore, the question is not
why renewal, but rather how renewal? The renewal of our Church will not be
accomplished simply by shortening the liturgy and introducing certain
adjustments within the church structures. This perception must be changed.
Renewal is not easy; it is a long, critical and all-embracing process. The
Church's total life in its institutional and spiritual, theological and
liturgical dimensions and manifestations must be included in any serious
renewal process."
To read the entire message click

The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Dr. Sam
Kobia, and the newly elected Moderator, Rev. Dr. Walter Altmann, traveled to
Lebanon to visit His Holiness Aram I at the Catholicosate in Antelias. The
two senior officials of the WCC came to Antelias to thank Catholicos Aram
for his great contribution to the WCC and his service as Moderator during
the last 15 years. They also met with the Catholicosate's Ecumenical

On Saturday, December 23, the Armenian Church commemorates David the
Prophet-King and James the brother of the Lord. David was the youngest of
eight brothers and was brought up to be a shepherd where he learned courage,
tenderness and caring. David became the second king of Israel. In Scripture
the name is his alone which shows the unique place he has as an ancestor and
forerunner of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the New Testament there are more
than 50 references to David, including the title given to Jesus-Son of
David. David was a poet and some of the Psalms are his work.
James, the brother of our Lord, became a leader of the early Christian
Church following the Resurrection. According to tradition he was appointed
the first bishop of Jerusalem by the Lord Himself.

On Monday, December 25, we commemorate the life of St. Stephen the
Proto-deacon and First Martyr. After Christ's Ascension, the apostles went
about spreading the Word of the new faith. It soon became apparent that more
persons more needed to serve the churches. A selection of seven worthy
individuals were made to serve the holy altar, and called deacons
(sarkavag). The most noteworthy of the original seven deacons was Stephen
and the Feast of St. Stephen is an important feast day in the Armenian
Church. It is also a day of honor for all deacons of the church. St. Stephen
was the first martyr for his faith and is therefore often called

On Tuesday, December 26, the Armenian Church commemorates the Holy
Apostles, Peter and Paul. On the day of the Crucifixion, Jesus came to Paul
and asked him to tell the other apostles of His appearance and give them His
message. This, in spite of the fact that at the time of the judgment of
Jesus, Peter denied knowing Him. Peter was known for his oratory skills and
used this talent to spread the Word and Christianity. The Roman Catholic
Church considers Peter as its founder. The Armenian Church has great love
and reverence for the Apostle and the name Peter (Bedros) is a popular
choice for newborns.

This Sunday, December 24, is the fifth Sunday of Advent. We continue our
period of quiet introspection in anticipation of the celebration of the
birth of our Savior on January 6. The biblical readings for this Sunday are:
Isaiah 41:4-14; Hebrews 7:11-25; and Luke 19:12-28.

Last Sunday's Book Review section of the New York Times featured a review
of Taner Akcam's new book, "A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the
Question of Turkish Responsibility." The reviewer, Gary J. Bass, gives the
book a very positive review. The reviewer notes, "He [Akcam] directly
challenges the doubters back home, basing his powerful book on Turkish
sources in the old Ottoman script-including the failed Ottoman war crimes
tribunals held after World War I. Although he bolsters his case with
material from the American, British and German archives, he writes that the
remaining Ottoman records are enough to show that the ruling party's central
committee 'did deliberately attempt to destroy the Armenian population.' "
Taner Akcam's book is available at the Prelacy bookstore. For information,
[email protected] or 212-689-7810.
An op-ed column in the Boston Globe on December 13, by Charles Fried
entitled "Getting at the Truth" speaks about the recent conference in Iran
on the Holocaust. While condemning the conference, he notes: "But
Ahmadinejad's tortured logic seems almost broad-minded compared with
Turkey's stringent criminal prohibition on any suggestion that such a thing
as its genocide of the Armenian people ever happened. Many brave Turkish
writers and journalists have suffered persecution in recent times for
proclaiming what no reasonable person would deny. Yet the Armenian genocide
is as certain a historic fast as Hitler's European Holocaust, for which
Ataturk's may well have served as a model and feasibility study. Turkey and
Iran turn truth into either a crime or charade." we told you several weeks ago, the History channel on cable TV
will be showing a documentary on "The Spear of Christ." It is scheduled to
air in most areas tonight as part of the "Decoding the Past" series. Check
your local listings for the exact time. The filmmakers went to Armenia to
investigate and film the Holy Lance in Etchmiadzin. Four artifacts claim to
be the holy spear, which is believed to have miraculous powers. The sites
are in Austria, Poland, the Vatican, and Armenia. Some viewers who have seen
a preview say that there are some inconsistencies, such as maps that
identify an area as "Turkey" at a period when there was no such country.
Watch it and see what you think.
Finally, a report on the internet states that Sylvester Stallone would
like to end his movie career with Franz Werfel's "Forty Days of Musa Dagh."
Stallone, whose sixth Rocky movie opened this week to universal critical
acclaim, has reportedly wanted to make this epic movie "detailing the
Turkish genocide of the Armenian community in 1915," for years. "The movie
would be 'an epic about the complete destruction of a civilization,'
Stallone said. Then he laughed at the ambition. 'Talk about a political hot
potato. The Turks have been killing that subject for 85 years.' "

Tomorrow, December 22, is the first day of winter. The wet and mild
weather here on the east coast has kept the ground soft and the grass green.

This Monday, December 25, is the day that nearly all of Christendom
celebrates the birth of our Lord. Originally all Christians celebrated the
birth, the baptism, and the visit of the Magi on January 6. Of course, no
one knows the exact birth date of Christ. In the fourth century the Roman
Catholic Church changed the date from January 6 to December 25, to coincide
with a pagan feast dedicated to the Sun. The Council of Chalcedon endorsed
this change; however, the Armenian Church remained faithful to the original
date and continues to celebrate the birth and baptism on January 6. Today
the Armenians are the only Christians who still celebrate Christmas on the
original date of January 6.
In the Holy Land, the Orthodox churches still follow the old calendar (a
difference of twelve days) and, therefore, the Armenians celebrate Christmas
on January 18.


December 24-Sunday School Christmas Pageant, St. Gregory the Illuminator
Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

December 31-New Year's Eve Dinner-Dance, Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield,
New Jersey and ARF Dro Gomideh, Parsippany Hilton, New Jersey. Featuring
Arthur Apkarian and Armenia Band. For full information contact the church
office 201-943-2950.

December 31-New Year's Eve Party, St. Sarkis Armenian Church, Douglaston,
New York.

December 31-New Year's Eve Party, St. Gregory Illuminator Armenian Church,
Granite City, Illinois.

January 6-St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
first Episcopal Badarak in Philadelphia by Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian.

January 6-Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, New Jersey, annual Christmas
luncheon hosted by the Ladies' Guild following church services on Saturday,
January 6. Adults $15; children 12 and under $10. For
reservations/information, 201-943-2950.

January 6-St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York, Christmas party and
special program for Saturday and Sunday school students.

January 28-Annual Membership Meeting, Soorp Khatch Church, Bethesda,
Maryland, at 1 pm.

February 4-St. Sarkis name day, celebrating the patron saint of the church
and requiem service for Archpriest Rev. Fr. Asoghik Kelejian, St. Sarkis
Church, Douglaston, New York.

February 11-General Membership meeting and elections, St. Sarkis Church,
Douglaston, New York.

February 17-St. Gregory Church, North Andover, Massachusetts, Annual
Membership Meeting.

February 18-Poon Paregentan, Eve of Great Lent, International Cuisine Night,
St. Sarkis Church, Douglaston, New York.

March 25-Musical Armenia 2007, Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, 2 pm.
Featured artists: Aleksandr Nazaryan (viola) and Serge Barseghian (basso).

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