Untitled DocumentPRESS RELEASE
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]
Website: http://www.armenianprelacy.org
Contact: Iris Papazian

JANUARY 3, 2008


Krisdos dzunav yev haydnetsav
(Christ was born and made manifest)

Orhnyal e haydnootyoonn Krisdosi
(Blessed is the manifestation of Christ)

"A wonderful and great mystery is revealed on this day; the shepherds sing
with the angels who announce the good news to the world. A new King is born
in the city of Bethlehem; O you people, bless him, for he became flesh for
our sake. He whom heaven and earth cannot contain is wrapped in swaddling
clothes, without being separated from the Father, he rested in the holy
Hymn of Censing for the Nativity from the Armenian Liturgy.

This Sunday, January 6, is Christmas, the day Armenians celebrate the
birth and baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ. Check the schedule of your local
parish for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.
The Prelate, Archbishop Oshagan, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy on
Christmas Day at Sts. Vartanantz Church in Ridgefield, New Jersey. On
Christmas Eve, His Eminence will preside over Christmas Eve services at St.
Sarkis Church in Douglaston, New York. .
The Vicar, Bishop Anoushavan, will celebrate the Liturgy on Christmas at
St. Illuminator's Cathedral in New York City. Following the Liturgy and
Baptism service, His Grace will go to the Armenian Old Age Home in Flushing,
New York, where he will visit the residents and join them and the home's
administrators for dinner.
* * *
The Armenian Church has remained faithful to the original January 6th
date for the celebration of the Nativity and Baptism, which all of
Christendom celebrated. Rome changed the date of the birth to December 25
(and kept January 6th as the date of baptism) in 336. This date gradually
became accepted by all except by the Armenian Church and in Jerusalem where
they continued to celebrate Christmas on January 6th, until they were
coerced and forced to adopt the December 25th date. In the Holy Land the
Orthodox churches still use the old calendar, which has a difference of
twelve days.
On Christmas Eve, the Liturgy is preceded by readings taken from various
books of the Bible that cite the birth or the coming of the Messiah. The
third chapter from the book of Daniel is read by a deacon and three young
persons, representing Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego-the youths who refused
to worship graven images and kept their faith in spite of threats of death
by fire. This service is called "Candlelight Service," (Jrakalouys) and
parishioners would return home carrying lighted candles to announce the
birth of Christ. Traditionally, following Christmas Eve service, choir
members would go from house to house singing hymns dedicated to the Nativity
and Epiphany
On January 6, following the Christmas Divine Liturgy, a special ceremony
of the Blessing of the Water (Churorhnek) takes place commemorating the
Baptism and manifestation (Epiphany) of Christ. During the early centuries
the baptism ceremony took place-with great splendor-on the shores of a
river. In modern times, especially here in the United States, the Blessing
of the Water service takes place in the church immediately following the
Divine Liturgy. Prayers are said, passages from the Gospel are read, and the
dove-shaped vessel containing Holy Oil (Muron) is ceremoniously brought
forward and the officiating clergyman pours the Muron into the basin of
water at the altar. The priest dips the cross into the blessed water while
reciting special prayers. A member of the congregation serves as the
Godfather-a coveted honor. At the conclusion of the ceremony the faithful
come forth to kiss the cross and take a small portion of the blessed water

In the tradition of the Armenian Church the day following each of the
five major feasts (Nativity, Easter, Transfiguration, Assumption, Holy
Cross) is a memorial day, when the faithful go to the cemetery to have the
graves of their loved ones blessed and offer prayers for the souls of the

On Sunday evening, January 6, Archbishop Oshagan will host his annual
Christmas open house at the Prelacy in New York City, from 6 to 9 pm. The
traditional home blessing ceremony will take place.
The Armenian tradition of home blessing has unfortunately greatly
diminished in recent times. During our childhood it was considered essential
to have our home blessed during the Christmas and Easter holy days. During
the ceremony the priest blesses bread, water, and salt-all considered to be
essential to life. It is customary to burn incense, echoing the words of the
psalmist, "Let my prayer be counted as incense before you," (Psalm 141).
The priest usually places a wafer (nushkhar) with the bread, water and salt.
The wafer can be distributed amongst family members, or can be kept with
staples such as flour, rice, salt.
"Oh Christ our God, guardian and hope of all your faithful, protect and
keep in peace your people under the protection of your holy and venerable
cross; and especially this family, their home, the bread, the salt and the
water. Save them O Lord, from visible and invisible enemies and make them
worthy to glorify you with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and always,
forever and ever. Amen."
The Benediction from the Armenian Blessing of Homes Ceremony

As he does each New Year, Catholicos Aram I and a number of members of
the Cilician Brotherhood shared the joy of the New Year and Christmas with
various segments of the Armenian community. His Holiness visited the
children who reside in the "Birds' Nest," a home for orphans. The Birds Nest
is under the sponsorship of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, and His Holiness
recently appointed a new Board of Trustees to oversee the orphanage along
with the director, Very Rev. Fr. Yeghishe Manjikian.
During the holiday season the Catholicos visited the Home for the
Elderly in Bourdj Hammoud. The elderly residents expressed their happiness
by singing and reciting poems and offered words of gratitude to the
Catholicos for remembering them.
Also on the list of visits was the Azouniyeh National Sanatorium, where
the Pontiff expressed the good cheers of the New Year and conveyed the
joyous news of the birth of Christ. His Holiness also visited those
residents who were sick and confined to their beds.
Some members of the Cilician Brotherhood paid a visit to the "Roumye"
prison where they performed a short religious service for the inmates and
gave Holy Communion to those wishing to receive it.

The Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia announced that His Holiness
Catholicos Aram I will consecrate the Holy Muron (Holy Oil) on June 7, 2008.
The Holy Muron, symbol of the grace of the Holy Spirit, is traditionally
blessed every seven years. Only the Catholicos can consecrate the oil which
is then distributed to the various dioceses for distribution to the
parishes. The oil consists of 48 different herbs, flowers, and oils which
are combined in a special vessel and mixed with some of the old Muron, thus
creating an unbroken chain with the past. The Muron Blessing is expected to
attract a large number of pilgrims from various parts of the world. More
details will be forthcoming.

An international gathering of youth is being organized by the Holy See
of Cilicia. His Holiness Aram I is inviting the youth, 18 years and older,
to attend this gathering which will include a one-week pilgrimage to Der
Zor. Details will follow.

The complete listing of Bible readings for 2008 is on the Prelacy web page.

Bible readings for today, January 3, the fifth day of the Fast of the
Nativity, are: Hebrews 12:25-13:6; Luke 21:20-33.
"When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its
desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains,
and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must
not enter it; for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that
is written. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing
infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and
wrath against this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword and be
taken away as captives among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on
by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the
earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the
waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the
world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see 'the
Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory. Now when these
things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your
redemption is drawing near."
Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as
soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer
is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know
that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not
pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass
away, but my words will not pass away."
Luke 21:20-33.
For listing of the entire week's Bible readings click here.

In the Land of Blood and Tears: Experiences in Mesopotamia during the
World War (1914-1918), by Jacob Kunzler. This book is a translation (from
the original German) of the memoirs of Jacob Kunzler, who together with his
wife Elisabeth worked in a mission hospital in the city of Urfa. Kunzler, a
Swiss missionary and physician, witnessed how the Young Turk regime carried
out genocide against the Armenians. The Kunzlers later became head of the
Near East Relief orphanage in Ghazir, Lebanon, where thousands of Armenian
orphans were protected by Jacob and Elisabeth Kunzler, who were
affectionately called "Papa" and "Mama" by the children.
This English translation is edited by Ara Ghazarians, who also wrote the
Preface. A Foreword by Vahakn N. Dadrian and an Introduction by Hans-Lukas
Kieser, the editor of the German edition, bring added value to this volume.
This soft cover edition is $25, plus shipping and handling. Contact the
Prelacy Bookstore by email, [email protected] or by phone

Come Into My Kitchen: Old-World Armenian Recipes and International
Favorite Cuisines, by Dorothy Arakelian. This is a nice collection of
recipes from Dorothy Arakelian, whose children have long encouraged her to
produce a cookbook of her treasured recipes. Her mother, Dekranouhi
Ajdaharian, was well-known in Philadelphia for her outstanding culinary
talent. Many of the recipes in this book are those that were handed down
>From mother to daughter; others are the author's own favorites.
Come Into My Kitchen, is $31.99 (hard cover), plus shipping and

EMAIL, [email protected] OR BY TELEPHONE, 212-689-7810.


And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you
good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is
Christ the Lord.
(Luke 2:10-11)

Calendar of Events

February 10-Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, Worcester,
Massachusetts, Annual Membership Meeting. Snow date: February 24.

February 24-Annual Membership meeting, St. Gregory Church (North Andover,

March 2-Musical Armenia, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York City,
featuring Aleksandr Nazaryan on viola and Karen Tchougourian on piano.

June 7-Blessing of Holy Muron in Antelias, Lebanon. Details will follow.

June 27 to July 6-St. Gregory of Datev Institute, Summer Christian Studies
Program for youth ages 13-18 at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson,
Pennsylvania, organized by the Armenian Religious Education Council. For
more information click here.

July 19-"A Hye Summer Night 3," dance hosted by Ladies' Guild of Sts.
Vartanantz Church and ARS Ani Chapter, Providence, Rhode Island. For details

August 15-17-International Gathering of Youth and Pilgrimage to Der Zor,
organized by the Catholicosate of Cilicia. Details will follow.

October 25-Gala celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Prelacy of the
Armenian Apostolic Church of America under the jurisdiction of the Great
House of Cilicia and the 110th anniversary of the establishment of the
Armenian Church of America. Marriott at Glenpointe, Teaneck, New Jersey.
Details to follow.

Web pages of the parishes can be accessed through the Prelacy's web site.

To ensure the timely arrival of Crossroads in your electronic mailbox, add
[email protected] to your address book.

Items in Crossroads can be reproduced without permission. Please credit
Crossroads as the source.

Parishes of the Eastern Prelacy are invited to send information about their
major events to be included in the calendar. Send to:
[email protected]