DIOCESE OF THE ARMENIAN CHURCH (EASTERN)
DEPARTMENT OF MISSION PARISHES
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate
Rev. Fr. Tateos R. Abdalian, Director
Diocesan Office: 212.686.0710 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE SUNDAY BULLETIN OF
THE DISCOVERY OF THE HOLY CROSS - KIUD KHATCH
October 26, 2008
Therefore I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people
that produces the fruits of the Kingdom. (Matthew 21:33-43)
While much is made of the unconditional love of God, the Bible clearly states conditions
for those who intend to enter the Kingdom of God. The main condition seems to be that we
start to live right now as if we were already there.
Using vineyards as their metaphors, both the Prophet Isaiah and the gospel writer St.
Matthew focus on the fruits of the Kingdom. For Isaiah, justice and righteousness are the
choice grapes God expects. For Matthew, these returns are not optional but owed. If those in
charge of the vineyard do not produce them for the owner, then the land will be given to others
To feel the sting of these parables, imagine someone striding into one of our churches or
into the midst of one of our gatherings or dinners with an empty basket over one arm.
“God sent me to collect your produce,” he says to us. “Where are the fruits of your
labor in this community? How many hungry people have you fed? How much money have you
given away? How many letters have you sent the bankers about their lending practices, or the
landlords about their rents? God wants samples of your results. What do you have to offer?”
Our presence in the Kingdom of God is not assured. If we cannot fill God’s basket with
justice and righteousness, then God is free to find others who will. And that is the word that
God speaks! Then what will you do?
In our Mission Parishes we talk and plan about building our own church sanctuaries,
which is to be one of our aims and goals. But unless we begin to build the Kingdom of God
here and now by our actions, then no building will ever bring us closer to God. The question
remains for us all – from the Catholicos of All Armenians, to the Bishops, the Priests, the faithful
- “Where are the fruits of your labor in this community?
Today, the Armenian Church celebrates the
Feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross.
In 326, Queen Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, visited Jerusalem for the purpose of
discovering where the true Cross of Christ lay. According to ecclesiastical chronicles, an
informed Jew named Judas aided her in ascertaining the true location of Golgotha. Roman law
required that the bodies of those who were executed, as well as the means of execution, were to
remain in their places as a visual reminder to the people of the powerful authority of Rome.
Pilate however, did allow for the body of Jesus to be removed and buried. But the Cross, along
with the other two crosses were left at Golgotha, (which later become a refuse dump for 300
years), remained there as an added insult to the Christians.
Excavations began, and at a depth of about twenty feet, three crosses were revealed. In order to
authenticate the true Cross of Christ, the body of a youth who had recently died was placed upon
each. When he was placed on the third cross, he returned to life this revealing the true Cross of
Bishop Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem, elevated the Holy Cross before the faithful who came to
venerate it. The commemoration of this historical event is celebrated on the seventh Sunday of
the Feast of the Holy Cross (Exaltation) within the interval of October 23 to 29, and is called the
Discovery of the Holy Cross.
BIBLE READINGS FOR THIS SUNDAY:
WISDOM 14:1:8: What folly is it to pray for safety at sea to the wood of an idol even though
one rightly trusts the wood of a ship, built and navigated by divinely given wisdom – as
illustrated by the example of Noah. Those who pretend to manufacture gods from created
things deserve to be punished.
ISAIAH 33:22-34:1: God is our master and Lord, without whom we are left adrift in this
world. When His Kingdom comes, all abundance will be divided among the inhabitants and
there will be no sickness or inequity. If you believe storing money and other material things will
guarantee your future having these as the master of your life, realize that in an instant, in the end,
all - ALL - will be take away from you.
I CORINTHIANS 1:18-25: The paradox of the Cross; to the Jews, the idea of a crucified
Messiah is self-contradictory, and blasphemous, a “stumbling block.” Jesus’ crucifixion leads
Greeks to conclude that it is “folly” to make Jesus a clever teacher or a strong hero; the divine
claims of one ignominiously executed cannot be taken seriously. Yet Paul reminds the
Corinthians that “Christ crucified” has done something for them that all the wisdom and power
of men could never accomplish conquer death forever.
MATTHEW 24:27-36: Jesus’ disciples ask Him about the second coming and end of the age.
He gives them an analogy of a fig tree: When the first signs are evident, the time of fruition is
not far off. But even so, no one, not even the Son, can predict the exact time of the end, since
that is known to God alone. It is our responsibility – and need – to be ever alert and prepared.
As a Christian community, we are called to offer our prayers for others as well as offer our own
personal prayers. Each week in the Sunday Bulletin, special prayers are requested asking YOU
to pause and to offer prayers for those who are in need.
Whether there is a celebration of Badarak in your community today or not, you are asked to pray
1 each member of your parish community in need of your prayers;
2 for the good health for His Beatitude, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Armenian
Patriarch of Jerusalem as well as His Beatitude, Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan, Armenian
Patriarch of Constantinople, that the presence of God be with them always;
3 the healing of infirmities and the presence of God in the lives of those who are ill in the
hospital or at home;
4 for Archbishop Avak Assadourian, Primate, the Christian people of Iraq, especially our
Armenian brothers and sisters, that they be kept safe from the harm which surrounds
them each day;
5 for the men and women who are serving in the armed forces of the United States, that
they kept safe and able to return to their families;
6 for peace and prosperity in the homeland of Armenia, in Artsakh, in Javakh and
throughout the world and among all people of all nations, especially in the Holy City of
Jerusalem, in the Middle East and wherever the ravages of war rages;
7 for the hungry and the homeless, the destitute, the oppressed, and the lonely,
that they be cared for by us all;
8 for those who are experiencing personal, marital and emotional conflicts in their lives;
9 for those who offer their time, talents and financial resources in the building up of our
Let us pray, DER, VOGHORMIA; LORD, HAVE MERCY.
In our Armenian Tradition, celebration of a Name Day or Feast Day is considered to be
spiritually important, for the celebrating individual develops a special spiritual tie with his
Patron Saint and, consequently, with God. When you know of a person whose Name Day or
Feast Day is being celebrated, honor the person by presenting them with a lit candle and saying
“anoonovut dzeranas” “may you grow old with your name” which in turns means wishing the
person a long life, or simply say, Happy Name Day.
NAME DAYS celebrated this week – Ardem, Christopher, Aiguile, Theodora.
News from our Diocese
Dn. Artur Petrosyan and Ms. Karine Abalyan, staff members of the Publicity Dept. of our
Diocese have done an outstanding job in preparing both videos and still photos on the various
activities that have taken place at our Cathedral and Diocese. Go to the Diocesan website,
www.armenianchurch.net and view their work through both the videos and photos of:
1 the visit of the President of Armenia, Serge Sarkisian to St. Vartan Cathedral on September
2 the Blessing of the Holy Miuron that took place in Holy Etchmiadzin on Sept. 28;
3 the Divine Liturgy celebrated on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of St. Vartan
Cathedral on October 12;
4 the distribution of the Holy Miuron to the youth representatives of our various parishes and
mission parishes of the Diocese during the Badarak that same day.
DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND
FOR ARMENIAN CHRISTMAS
Deadline for registration extended to October 30th
From January 13 to 22, 2009, the Eastern Diocese will lead a pilgrimage to the Holy Land
to celebrate Armenian Christmas according to the Old Calendar (January 18-19).
This pilgrimage will give participants the opportunity to visit some of the holiest sites of
our faith in Jerusalem and also to visit Jericho, the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, the Jordan
River, Tiberias and Qumran. Participants will tour the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem and the
Patriarchate Complex, where they will be received in a private audience by the Armenian
Patriarch, Torkom Manoogian.
On January 18, participants will travel to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Christ with a
Christmas procession and a midnight Divine Liturgy.
Planning to participate in the trip is Fr. Tateos and those priests of the Diocese whom
Patriarch Torkom ordained while serving as Primate. Der Hayr hopes to have a good
representation from the members of our Mission Parishes. The deadline for registration has
been extended to October 30th. Don’t be left out.
Travel is from Newark Airport. Cost is only $2378 per person, double occupancy. To
learn more or to download the registration form visit <www.armenianchurch.net>.
"Everyone Prays in Holy Etchmiadzin"
A documentary entitled "Everyone Prays in Holy Etchmiadzin" will air on ABC-affiliated
stations throughout the United States beginning on December 7, 2008.
The documentary, produced by Diva Communications under the leadership of the Eastern
Diocese and the National Council of Churches, will detail the history and spiritual heritage of the
Armenian Church, with a particular focus on the efforts of the modern Armenian Church to
foster Christian unity and interfaith dialogue.
To learn more, please visit this website: http://www.interfaithbroadcasting.com/vv.aspx
Please contact your local ABC affiliate and request that "Everyone Prays in Holy
Etchmiadzin" air during peak viewing times. Please visit this website for more information:
If you have further questions, please call Rachel Goshgarian at the Diocese: 212 686 0710.
Beginning in November, members of the ACYOA will be traveling with Der Tateos to
selected Mission Parishes to assist him in the celebration of Badarak and in the training of
young men to serve at our altars. These young men will need to be housed for the one
night. Presently communities scheduled for this activity are Jacksonville and Nashville.
If you would like to have one of these young men visit your community, please contact Der
Tateos at the Diocese.
As the months of the calendar go by and we begin to think about our holiday shopping, perhaps
this year you can add to your spiritual enrichment and for those whom you love with a quality
purchase from our Diocesan bookstore. There are a variety of books, DVDs, CDs, and religious
artifacts that offers one an opportunity to understand and develop their Armenian faith, culture
and history. Go to www.armeniandiocese.net and click on the site for the bookstore. If Fr.
Tateos can help with your selections or offer a suggestion, please feel free to contact him.
Frequently asked Questions about the Armenian Church
from the book by Fr. Krikor Maksoudian, available from the Diocesan bookstore
Has the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America developed a policy for its member
churches that deals with sexual immorality in its leadership, or does each church have its
Unlike certain other denominations, the Armenian Church has since ancient times
welcomed lay participation in matters of administration. Also the majority of its pastors here in
this country and throughout the world are married priests. There are only a small number of
celibate priests who serve as pastors. Laymen are involved in the administration of the Church
from the parish level to the highest body in the Diocese, which is the Diocesan Council. This
background information is important to know in order to understand the general operation of the
Church services here in the United States are usually held on Sundays. The Divine
Liturgy (Mass) is celebrated once a week on Sundays. Funerals and other services held during
the days of the week do not require altar boys. The altar boys are usually trained during the
Sunday School sessions by Sunday School teachers and serve in church only on Sunday morning
during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. As you can gather from this information, children
are almost never in any kind of one to one contact with their parish priest or with another adult
other than their parents or family members.
Since our communities are closely knit, sexual immorality does not go unnoticed, and in
most instances the individual, be he a priest or a layman, is forced by social pressure to abandon
his post before the issue reaches the hierarchy. Priests are known to have defrocked, not for
illegal or criminal activity, and laymen to have resigned from their positions in the church.
The Church is guided by a set of rules and regulations called canon law. The Armenians
also have a code of secular laws, which is based on canon law and ancient Graeco-Roman law.
In this country, where there is separation between the Church and the state, canon law is
presently applied to priests especially in matters of sexual misconduct. If a priest is formally
accused of such misconduct, the matter goes before the Diocesan Council—a body elected by the
Church Assembly—whose president is the Primate. The Diocesan Council forms a committee,
consisting of priests and laymen, which gathers all the evidence and reports its findings to the
Council. On the basis of these the Primate and the Council decide what to do. If the accused
clergyman is found guilty, he is immediately defrocked and the decision of the Primate and the
Council are announced publicly. The announcement will indicate the reason(s) for which the
priest has been defrocked. It must be noted that the immoral act committed may not necessarily
be of an illegal or criminal nature, but from a canonical point of view it is unpardonable for a
priest to be immoral.
On the parish level if a layman is accused or suspected of sexual immorality in a church
related activity or organization, the Parish Council and the Pastor look into the matter. Whether
the immoral act is of an illegal/criminal nature or not, the pastor will urge the accused to repent,
confess his sins and do penance. He will ask the accused to resign from his post and seek help.
If the committed immorality is of a criminal nature, penance will include willingly turning
oneself in to the authorities. At the time when the canon law was in full force in Armenia,
there was no separation of Church and state. Consequently, the Church literally arrested and
turned in the criminals to the authorities, and the Armenian canons—as opposed to the canons in
use in the Universal Church—determined the type of punishment according to the nature of the
With each weekly bulletin sent to our Mission Parishes, various teachings and practices of our
Armenian Church are offered to give instruction as to how one is to practice their faith. .
Attending and Participating in the Divine Liturgy
Please, always remember that when you attend and participate in the Divine Liturgy, one should
be present for the entire service, especially in preparation to receive Holy Communion.
Entering late, leaving during the service to speak with someone, re-entering is not only
disturbing to the worshiping faithful, but inappropriate behavior. This basic discipline and
teaching of the Church ought be practiced by everyone: to be present at the beginning of services
in order to participate fully in the Holy Sacrament of Badarak rather than entering the sanctuary
after services have begun at various times.
Blue colored Divine Liturgy Books have been prepared especially for our parishioners
who are primarily Russian speaking. These books contain a Russian translation as well as the
transliteration with Russian letters but Armenian words. We encourage that they be used during
the Divine Liturgy. The red coved books contain the English transliteration and translation.
Both may also be purchased from the bookstore of the Diocese 212-686-0710 x152.
During the time of receiving Holy Communion
The offering and reception of Holy Communion is the high point of the Badarak, and it is vital
that concentration be kept on what is to happen. Receiving Holy Communion is a sacred
privilege reserved only for those who have been baptized and confirmed into the Armenian
Apostolic Orthodox Holy Church. There should be no conversations with each other while
waiting to approach, but perhaps only with God the Father through one’s prayers. Those who
are spiritually prepared should come forward for the offering of their confession found on pg. 48
of the new pew book (on the opening pages of the previous editions).
1 You should approach the priest as close as possible,
2 Make the sign of the Holy Cross,
3 Offer the words of confession "Megha Asdoudzo," "I have sinned against God".
4 Open your mouth and stick out your tongue for the priest to place the portion of Holy
Communion upon it.
5 After receiving Holy Communion, once again make the sign of the cross and step to the
6 Women are asked to remove their lipstick before approaching as well.
If you are not to receive Holy Communion for a valid reason, you should stand quietly in your
place without talking until the priest offers the blessing.
During the Kiss of Peace
As the gifts of the Eucharist are brought to the Altar Table, the deacon proclaims, “Greet one
another with a holy kiss.” The person giving the greetings says, Kristos ee mech mer
Haydnestav - Christ is revealed amongst us. The recipient would respond, Orhnial eh
Haydnootiunun Kristosee - Blessed is the revelation of Christ. This greeting is to be given,
received and offered with joy, with love and with the conviction of Jesus’ presence. Learn the
words, practice saying it, mean it.
Questions & Answers
ARE YOU CONNECTED?
Parishioners are asked to send in or call in their e-mail addresses so that we will be able to send
out our Sunday bulletin electronically as well as other notices and announcements. Simply send
your address to: email@example.com or call one of the Parish Council members of
your community and give them the information.
We encourage you to visit your parish website for a listing of your parish activities, other
Armenian Churches, various Orthodox Sites, other news agencies or a way to make a donation.
Also, you can sign-up to receive the Sunday Bulletin via email. Just visit the website and submit
your address or, send the information to Fr. Tateos at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Holy Etchmiadzin: www.armenianchurch.org
Our Diocese: www.armenianchurch.net
Western Diocese: www.armenianchurchwd.com
Nashville, TN: www.armenianchurchofnashville.org
Columbus, OH: www.ohioarmenians.us
Cape Cod, MA: www.armenianchurchcapecod.com
Atlanta, GA: www.armenianchurchofatlanta.org
Jacksonville, FL: www.armenianchurchjacksonville.com
Orlando, FL: www.stgarabedarmenianchurch.org
Austin, TX www.armenianchurchofaustin.org
A smile received in der hayr’s email box
Baptizing A Drunk
A man is stumbling through the woods totally drunk when he comes upon a preacher baptizing
people in the river. The drunk walks into the water and bumps into the preacher. The preacher
turns around and is almost overcome by the smell of booze. Whereupon he asks the drunk, 'Are
you ready to find Jesus?'
'Yes I am' replies the drunk, so the preacher grabs him and dunks him in the river. He
pulls him up and asks the drunk, 'Brother have you found Jesus?'
The drunk replies, 'No, I haven't.'
The preacher, shocked at the answer, dunks him into the water again, but for a bit longer this
time. He pulls him out of the water and asks again, 'Have you found Jesus, my brother?'
The drunk again answers, 'No, I have not found Jesus.'
By this time the preacher is at his wits end so he dunks the drunk in the water again, but this time
he holds him down for about 30 seconds. When the drunk begins kicking his arms and legs, the
preacher pulls him up. The preacher asks the drunk again, 'For the love of God, have you found
The drunk wipes his eyes and catches his breath and says to the preacher,
'Are you sure this is where he fell in?