Diocese of the Armenian Church of America
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-686-0710
Fax: 212--779-3558
Email: [email protected]

** TOP STORY July 3, 2014
Independence Day

** Happy Independence Day
On behalf of Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and the entire Eastern
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, we wish all of our readers
a happy Independence Day.

For well over a century now, Armenians have been blessed to merge our
way of life with the bounty and liberty of this great nation of
America. On these shores our people found a refuge from persecution,
but also a land that would sustain and strengthen us as we sought to
honor our heritage, and worship our Lord.

This Independence Day, we renew our prayers, asking God to bless this
land and her people, so that she may continue to be the great beacon
of hope to our world, and a nurturing friend to our young homeland.

St. Vartan Camp
Campers enjoy the new pool at the Ararat Center, home of St. Vartan

** Summer Camp Season Begins
St. Vartan Camp-which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this
year-has opened for the summer season in upstate New York.

Session `A' began on Sunday, June 29, and campers have been busy with
classes, sports, and other activities. The Rev. Fr. Khatchatur
Kesablyan, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church of Chelmsford, MA, and the
director of Session `A,' is leading prayer services and joining
campers for various sessions throughout the day.

This year Session `A' has a higher camper and CIT enrollment than in
previous years, with participants from more than 20 parishes across
the Diocese. Limited space is still available for Sessions =80=9CB'
and `C.' For registration information, call the St. Vartan Camp office
at (518) 966-8380.

Prior to the camp season, staff gathered at the Ararat Youth and
Conference Center for intensive training. The program was designed and
led by Jennifer Morris, director of the Diocese's Department of Youth
and Young Ministries. Bible studies were led by all three camp
directors: Fr. Kesablyan; Rev. Fr. Vart Gyozalyan, pastor of the
Armenian Church at Hye Pointe of Haverhill, MA; and Rev. Fr. Vasken
Kouzouian, pastor of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, MA. Additional
staff sessions were led by Lorie Odabashian, Youth and Young Adult
Ministries coordinator, and Maria Derderian, youth minister at
St. James Church of Watertown, MA.

For the latest from St. Vartan Camp, click on the following links to
visit the camp blog
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and to view photos
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** Scripture of the Week

Is 1:21-31
Rom 7:25-8:11
Mt 12:38-45

** Prayer of the Week

My soul is always in your hands and I place my hope in your Holy
Cross, O Heavenly King. May the multitude of your saints intercede on
my behalf. You who are patient with everyone, do not neglect me who
trusts in you, but keep me in peace with your precious and Holy
Cross. Amen.

** Upcoming Saints & Feasts

5 July: St. Gregory the Enlightener (Discovery of his Relics)

8 July: St. Daniel the Prophet and Companions Shadrach, Meshach and

St. Catherine Armenian Church, St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Catherine Armenian Church is centrally located on Nevsky Prospect
in St. Petersburg, Russia.

** Renovating One of Russia's Historic Armenian Churches
The Armenian Diocese of Russia is renovating St. Catherine Armenian
Church in St. Petersburg, Russia. The project began earlier this year
under the direction of Archbishop Yezras Nersissian, Primate of the
Diocese of the Armenian Church of New Nakhichevan and Russia.

Restoration experts have worked to clean the church interior and
restore its sculpted reliefs and paintings. They expect to complete
the project in the fall of this year.

Armenians began to settle in Russia in the second half of the 14th
century, and by the time Peter the Great set out to build
St. Petersburg at the start of the 18th century, an Armenian community
had begun to plant roots in the area.

Especially influential was the Lazarian (Lazarev) family-merchants,
manufacturers, and miners who had come to Russia from Isfahan
(Iran). In 1771, when Russia was ruled by Catherine the Great, Ovanes
Lazarian decided to build an Armenian Church in St. Petersburg. Today,
more than 30,000 Armenians live in the city.

Click here
( 0_3f0172fcf2-3974c51ce2-159688434)
to view a video about the church restoration project.

Diocesan Council Meets in New York City
Council members Antranig Garibian (left) and Paul Mardoian.

** Diocesan Council Reviews Feedback from Assembly
Meeting at the Diocesan Center on Friday, June 27, members of the
Diocesan Council received and discussed reports pertaining to
St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, the ACYOA, and the Women's Guild
Central Council. The council also discussed the National
Representative Assembly which will convene at Holy Etchmiadzin later
this year.

Turning to the 2014 Diocesan Assembly, council members reviewed the
requests, recommendations, and decisions made at the assembly sessions
and parish council chairs' breakfast. In addition, they heard reports
from the Primate, Vicar, Treasurer, and the Diocese's Development

The council plans to issue quarterly informational updates to keep
clergy, delegates, and parish council chairs abreast of council
meetings and activities.

Andrea Halejian
Andrea Halejian.

** In Memoriam: Andrea Halejian
The Eastern Diocese mourns the loss of Andrea Lynn Halejian, a
lifelong member of St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, and a great
supporter of many Armenian causes. She passed away on June 28 at the
age of 61.

In her home parish, Mrs. Halejian taught Sunday School, took an active
part in the local Women's Guild, and dedicated countless hours to
planning and organizing church fundraising events and social
activities. She launched a blood drive initiative, and personally
called parishioners to encourage wide participation in this lifesaving

She was also a supporter of AGBU Camp Nubar, as well as other programs
for young people both in the Armenian community and beyond. In New
York City, she was a familiar presence at the Diocesan Center, where
she helped carry out various projects. Most recently, she dedicated
her time to organizing the celebration honoring the legacy of His
Beatitude Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, the late Armenian Patriarch of

She is survived by her devoted husband Dr. Barry Halejian, and her
children Alexis, Eric, and Sarah; and many friends and loved ones.

In a eulogy delivered during the funeral at the Fair Lawn parish on
July 3, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian said: `Andrea
carried on the legacy of her parents: Andrew and Dovie Tilbian. She
grew up in a loving Armenian family, where she learned the importance
of caring for others.'

`At the center of her life was a deep and abiding faith in the
goodness of God, and in the hope offered to all mankind through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ,' Archbishop Barsamian went on. `In
everything she did, Andrea truly embodied the Christian values of
humility and service.'

In-lieu-of-flowers donations may be directed to AGBU Camp Nubar (55
East 59th Street, New York, NY 10022) or St. Leon Armenian Church
(12-61 Saddle River Road, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410).

Deacons Training in Jerusalem
Deacons Training Program participants with local seminarians in prayer
at Sts. James Armenian Cathedral.

** Training for the Diaconate in the Holy Land
A group of 13 young altar servers from 10 parishes across the Eastern
Diocese are taking part in a Deacons Training Program at the Armenian
Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The two-week session, which began on June
25, is part of the St. Nersess Armenian Seminary summer program. It is
led by the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan and the Rev. Fr. Daniel

Participants are living in the Armenian monastery of Jerusalem, and
taking part in services at various holy sites, including the Church of
the Nativity of Christ, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and the
Church of the Tomb of the Blessed Virgin. They also visited Sts. James
Armenian Cathedral, and earlier this week they were welcomed by His
Beatitude Archbishop Nourhan Manougian, the Armenian Patriarch of
Jerusalem, who spoke to them about the importance of preserving the
ancient Armenian presence in the Holy Land.

The program was made possible thanks to a generous grant from Dr. and
Mrs. Garo and Cece Garibian in memory of His Beatitude Archbishop
Torkom Manoogian, the late Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Preparations are underway for the installation of new greenhouses in
Tavush, Armenia.

** New Greenhouses for Farmers in Tavush
Five families in Armenia's Tavush region will soon own new
greenhouses, thanks to the Fund for Armenian Relief's `Breaking the
Cycle of Poverty Program.'

The families have already participated in a training session on how to
best utilize the greenhouses. The initiative will allow the farmers to
control the growing environment of plants and increase fruit and
vegetable production.

`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

Click here
( 0_3f0172fcf2-3974c51ce2-159688434)
to read more on FAR's blog.

Holy Cross Church in Van
Holy Cross Church, a precious jewel of Armenian architecture, on
Aghtamar island in Lake Van.

** The Clock is Ticking
There is still time to register for the Eastern Diocese's pilgrimage
to historic Armenia, scheduled for September 3 to 15, 2014.

Participants will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at Holy Cross Church on
the island of Aghtamar, and take part in prayer services at the
St. Giragos Armenian Church of Dikranagert and the St. Gregory Church
in Kayseri.

The pilgrimage also includes visits to other cities of historic
Armenia=80'Kharpert, Malatya, and Sepastia, and other locales. The
journey will include a stop in Istanbul, where pilgrims will visit the
Armenian Patriarchate.

Click here
( 3aa2e2c3e9&utm_source=Eastern+Diocese+E-Newsletter&utm_campaign=3974c51ce2-February_9_20122_9_2012&utm_medium=email&utm_term= 0_3f0172fcf2-3974c51ce2-159688434)
to view a flyer for registration information. To view a short film
about the Diocese's 2012 pilgrimage to historic Armenia, click here
( 3aa2e2c3e9&utm_source=Eastern+Diocese+E-Newsletter&utm_campaign=3974c51ce2-February_9_20122_9_2012&utm_medium=email&utm_term= 0_3f0172fcf2-3974c51ce2-159688434)

Holy Trinity Church honors parishioners
>From left: Dn. Albert Keshgegian, Fr. Hakob Gevorgyan, and Gloria

** Cheltenham Community Honors Two Parishioners

During Sunday fellowship on June 29, the Holy Trinity Church of
Cheltenham, PA, honored two parishioners on the occasion of their
retirement. Gloria Basmajian and Dn. Albert Keshgegian were presented
with a celebratory cake, and the entire parish congratulated them on
this special milestone. The Rev. Fr. Hakob Gevorgyan, parish pastor,
said a prayer for Gloria and Dn. Albert, and wished them an enjoyable
and fulfilling retirement.

Gloria served for many years as the administrative manager of the
English Department at Temple University in Philadelphia. At Holy
Trinity Church, she has served on the parish council, been a longtime
manager of the parish bookstore, and is currently the church school

Dn. Albert dedicated more than 30 years to the field of medical
pathology. He worked as an assistant professor, then as medical
director of clinical laboratories and as system chairman of pathology
at Philadelphia area hospitals. He is the longest serving deacon at
the parish and the author of a number of resources published by the

Father's Day at St. Stepanos Church, Elberon, NJ
Richard McOmber with his grandchildren at St. Stepanos Church.

** Elberon Names "Father of the Year"

On Sunday, June 22, St. Stepanos Church of Elberon, NJ, honored
parishioner Richard D. McOmber as `Man and Father of the Year.' The
presentation of the award was made at the conclusion of the Divine
Liturgy in the church sanctuary, in the presence of Mr. McOmber's
family and the parish community.

He has been an active member of St. Stepanos Church for many years,
serving as chair of the annual parish assembly, singing in the choir,
leading the stewardship campaign, and assisting in other
capacities. He is currently working with the Rev. Fr. Daniel
Karadjian, parish pastor, on implementing a new Bible study class.

Later on the afternoon of June 22, the parish gathered for its annual
picnic. Also in attendance was U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone.

St. James Picnic
Kids enjoyed face painting and other activities at the June 8

** Armenian Festival in Watertown

On Sunday, June 8, St. James Church of Watertown, MA, hosted its
annual Armenian Festival.

Hundreds gathered on church grounds and enjoyed Armenian food,
dancing, and music provided by Jay Baronian, Leon Janikian, Ken
Kalajian, and Bob Raphalian. Children's games and activities included
a moon bounce, caricature artist, and relay games.

The festival was co-chaired by Emily Bedrosian and Mark Yacubian
Torre. Click here
( 0_3f0172fcf2-3974c51ce2-159688434)
to view photos.

Choir training at St. Vartan Cathedral
Maestro Khoren Mekanejian with Salpi Katanjian (left) and Rita

** Dallas Parishioners Study Hymns of the Badarak

Maestro Khoren Mekanejian, the Diocese's coordinator of music
ministry, recently trained two choir members of St. Sarkis Church of
Dallas, TX, at the Diocesan Center in New York City. Rita Katanjian,
17, and her mother Salpi traveled to New York on June 15, where they
spent a week studying the hymns of the Divine Liturgy and learning how
to conduct their church choir.

At the conclusion of the workshop, Rita was invited to sing with the
St. Vartan Cathedral Choir. In addition to strengthening the choir in
Dallas, she said she hopes to inspire young people in her home parish
to learn the sacred music of the Armenian Church.

Upcoming events

** Upcoming Parish Events

Sts. Joachim and Anne Church | Palos Heights, IL
Sts. Joachim and Anne Church of Palos Heights, IL, will host its
annual church picnic on Sunday, July 13, from 12 to 5 p.m.

Enjoy lamb, chicken, and shish kebob; khorovadz, and other Armenian
favorites. The event will be held on church grounds (12600 South
Ridgeland Avenue in Palos Heights). Click here
( 0_3f0172fcf2-3974c51ce2-159688434)
to view a flyer for information.

ACYOA Central Council Meeting

** ACYOA Central Council Meets with Primate

On Saturday, June 21, the ACYOA Central Council held its first meeting
since the organization's General Assembly in May. Archbishop Khajag
Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, presided. Also attending were Jennifer
Morris and Lorie Odabashian of the Department of Youth and Young Adult

The council extended its gratitude to outgoing member Armen
Terjimanian for his hard work over the past three years. Currently
serving on the council are: Ani Grigorian (chair), Jonathan Pelaez
(vice chair), Chelsea Kress (secretary), Shant Paklaian (treasurer),
Sarine Atamian (public relations coordinator), Adrienne Ashbahian
(programming coordinator), and Daniel Zalinov (chapter relations

The members focused on strategic planning and goal setting. ACYOA
programming, chapter relations, public relations, and fundraising are
at the forefront of the agenda for the coming year. They also reviewed
the successful 2014 General Assembly and Sports Weekend, which was
hosted by Holy Martyrs Church of Bayside, NY, and drew more than 500

ASP 2014
ASP participants await their flight at JFK Airport in New York City.

** Armenia Service Program Arrives in Yerevan

Participants in this year's ACYOA Armenia Service Program arrived in
Armenia this week.

The program of travel and service gives young adults a unique
opportunity to discover their homeland and to serve its people in a
meaningful way. Through a partnership with the Fund for Armenian
Relief, participants will volunteer at a summer camp and the Vanadzor
Old Age Home.

This year's trip is led by the Rev. Fr. Hratch Sargsyan, pastor of
St. Gregory of Narek Church of Richmond Heights, OH. The program runs
through July 20.