On Sunday, November 24, 2013, after the Badarak, congregation and guests gathered in the John Pashalian Hall to enjoy a Thanksgiving Luncheon and Cultural Program organized by the St. Illuminator’s Ladies Guild. The Hall was filled with anticipation of a delicious meal and an enjoyable program.

On behalf of the Ladies Guild, Mrs. Ani Piranian, Vice-Chairlady, opened the event by welcoming everyone. Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian then offered an opening prayer and Thanksgiving message.
The Thanksgiving meal was a bountiful table of tasty meze, turkey, rice pilaf and pumpkin pie for

The cultural program opened with a poem dedicated to the Armenian mothers, recited by Ladies Guild member Mrs. Seta Balmanoukian. Musical pieces were then beautifully performed by St. Illuminator’s Saturday school teachers Meghry Tutunjian on flute, and Maral Tutunjian on violin. Maral Tutunjian also blessed the audience by singing Giligia and Erebouni. A raffle and the auctioning of a lovely handmade blanket concluded the event.

Elizabeth Alahverdian

Fr. Mesrob and Yn. Ojeen Lakissian with Board members Yervand Kasparian, Joseph Vartanian, Antranig Vartanian, Viken Najarian and Lalig Vartanian
Fr. Mesrob and Yn. Ojeen Lakissian with Board members Yervand Kasparian, Joseph Vartanian,
Antranig Vartanian, Viken Najarian and Lalig Vartanian
Mrs. Ani Piranian
Mrs. Ani Piranian
Mrs. Seta Balmanoukian
Mrs. Seta Balmanoukian
Ms. Meghry Tutunjian
Ms. Meghry Tutunjian
Ms. Maral Tutunjian
Ms. Maral Tutunjian
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian










Անցեալ շաբաթ, Նոյեմբեր 23-ին, Ս. Լուսաւորիչ Շաբաթօրեայ Վարժարանի աշակերտները Գոհաբանութեան Օրուան առիթով պատրաստած էին գեղեցիկ ձեռային աշխատանքներ, նուիրուած իրենց ընտանիքներուն: Հայերէնով անսխալ գրած էին բազմաթիւ բառեր, որոնցմէ յիշենք. Աստուած, Եկեղեցի, Ընտանիք, Հայր, Մայր, Եղբայր, Քոյր, Ընկեր եւ այլն:

Սրտանց կը շնորհաւորենք մեր աշակերտներն ու իրենց ուսուցչուհիները:




Rev. Fr. Mesrob and Yn. Ojeen Lakissian attended the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) “Mher Megerdchian” theatrical group’s 15th anniversary by special invitation. The event took place at St. Thomas Armenian Apostolic Church in NJ on Sunday, November 24, 2013.

Rev. Lakissian offered the opening prayer and the artistic program included performance by St. Illuminator’s “Huyser” ensemble.

For the past 15 years the “Mher Megerdchian” company presented 18 theatrical works. Both the “Mher Megerdchian” as well as New York Hamazkayin theatrical groups have survived for many years, presenting the Armenian theater in Armenian.

TCA chairman Hagop Vartevarian noted that for the first time in the group’s history clergy from the Armenian Prelacy offered the opening prayer and blessed the tables.

Rev. Mesrob Lakissian offering the Opening Prayer
Rev. Mesrob Lakissian offering the Opening Prayer
Ara Yegoryan, Diran Jebejian, Maria Barsoumian and Harout Barsoumian
Ara Yegoryan, Diran Jebejian, Maria Barsoumian and Harout Barsoumian
Rev. Mesrob Lakissian offering the Opening Prayer


When one attends an extraordinary event, at first it seems easy to write about that much- enjoyed event. At first, I said. But once confronted by the blank screen or a white sheet of paper, the simple task of describing the event turns into an insurmountable task. Where to begin and how to describe the depth of the meticulous research, the wealth of painstakingly collected archival material – both textual and visual – the incredible dedication to the subject, the respect to the audience? The danger of gushing is lurking, the fear of overuse of superlatives is real, and yet a disciplined journalistic report simply will not do justice to this particular subject. Perhaps, a word of appreciation to the organizers would be a good start.

Those of us who were present at Hazel Antaramian Hofman’s “Repatriation and Deception: Post World War II Repatriation to Soviet Armenia” lecture/ presentation on Friday, November 8, 2013 first and foremost are indebted to the lecturer, the organizer – New York chapter of Hamazkayin Educational and Cultural Society and the always-gracious host Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of the St. Illuminator’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Opening remarks were made by Mrs. Asdghig Sevag, vice-chair of Hamazkayin’s New York chapter. Closing remarks were offered by Rev. Lakissian in his usual thoughtful and encouraging manner.

Ms. Antaramian Hofman’s impressive achievements (see had set the bar of our expectations high, however her actual presentation far exceeded all expectations. The all-encompassing presentation contained information worthy of a book and reflected the focused attention she has given to reconstruction of true stories of Armenians from several countries, who repatriated to then-Soviet Armenian in 1947 and 1949. From the vast historical and political setting of the of time to the national and from the overview of the dynamics of the repatriation plans to experiences of families and even single individuals, Ms. Antaramian Hofman walked us through a significant part of our national history, which has deeply affected both the local population of Armenia, the repatriants and the Armenians in Diaspora. Films, photographs, documents and artistic images enriched the presentation, granting the audience the rare opportunity and pleasure of learning much in only an hour’s time. Generous with her time, Ms. Antaramian Hofman earnestly answered the questions from the audience.

The repatriation, followed by expatriation, are painful subjects for our nation. It is admirable that Hazel had the courage and much patience to research in such depth and record those facts of our history, those personal accounts and narratives, which would undoubtedly have faded within individual families and eventually vanished.

Arevig Caprielian

Hazel Antaramian Hofman during the presentation
Hazel Antaramian Hofman during the presentation
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian asked for a moment of silence in memory of Roupen Barsoumian, long time member of Hamazkayin of NY, who passed away on Friday, November 8, 2013
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian asked for a moment of silence in memory of Roupen Barsoumian,
long time member of Hamazkayin of NY, who passed away on Friday, November 8, 2013


On Wednesday, November 13, the Prelacy’s Vahakn and Hasmig Hovnanian reception hall was filled with faithful of the metro area who came to learn more about the recently published bilingual book, Commentary on the Nicene Creed. The book is based on a series of lectures given by Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian, of blessed memory, in Antelias. The lectures, which were originally published in Armenian, are now available in both English and Armenian, thanks to Deacon Shant Kazanjian who undertook the task of translating.

Bishop Anoushavan, Vicar of the Prelacy, opened the evening by welcoming everyone and introducing Dn . Shant who spoke about the late Archbishop and his own journey of translating the work. The Creed (Havadamk) is the official declaration of the Christian faith, written and accepted by the Holy Fathers of the first two ecumenical councils—Nicea (325) and Constantinople (381). Dn. Shant described how he first embarked on translating this important work during his spare time and then set it aside, until a few years ago when he began to complete the project in earnest. Dn. Shant had the opportunity to spend time with Archbishop Zareh during the months he was in New York for medical treatment. He described that time as “a gift” filled with many lessons.

Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian (1947-2004) was a member of the Brotherhood of the Catholicosate of Cilicia. He was a prominent biblical scholar, translator, and specialist in Armenian liturgical music, as well as a composer of religious music. He wrote numerous books, articles, musical scores, and directed the Department of Christian Education at the Catholicosate from 1982-2004.
After a period of questions, the guests enjoyed a reception with refreshments and fellowship, and the opportunity to purchase the new Havadamk book, as well as the many other books written by Archbishop Zareh that are available at the Prelacy Bookstore. The Commentary on the Nicene Creed was under the sponsorship of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral.

Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian presented the first copy of the Creed book to  Fr. Mesrob Lakissian. The book was sponsored by St. Illuminator's Cathedral.
Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian presented the first copy of the Creed book to Fr. Mesrob Lakissian.
The book was sponsored by St. Illuminator’s Cathedral.
Dn. Shant Kazanjian
Dn. Shant Kazanjian


I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

(Psalm 121:1-2)



The powerful typhoon that killed thousands of people and effectively obliterated the once thriving city of Tacloban and many coastal towns of the Philippine Islands has left an estimated eleven million people in need of immediate help. Many communities in the archipelago of more than 7,000 islands are cut off from outside communication and the full human toll of dead, injured, and homeless is not yet known.

Archbishop Oshagan has instructed all parishes within the Eastern Prelacy to offer prayers for the souls of the victims and for the safety of the survivors during the Divine Liturgy this Sunday, November 17. Donations for relief efforts should be collected and remitted to the Prelacy immediately. All collected funds will be contributed to AmeriCares on behalf of the faithful of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America for immediate lifesaving aid to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan.

Individual donations may also be sent directly to the Prelacy, 138 E. 39th Street, New York, NY 10016. Checks should be payable to “Armenian Apostolic Church of America.” Please indicate “Philippine Relief” in the memo area.
Armenian Prelacy – “Crossroads”


On Sunday, May 19, 2013 the St. Illuminator’s Armenian Saturday School culminated its activities with a recital prepared and presented by the teachers and students. Welcoming remarks were given by Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian and student Rita Yonan. The performance was dedicated to the “Year of the Armenian Mother” and students recited poems and sang songs dedicated to mothers as well as St. Mesrob Mashdots, the founder of the Armenian Alphabet.

The stage—set specifically to depict a mothering sun shining down on its flowers—was prepared by local artist Eliz Alahverdian. The event concluded with a rendition of “Giligia” on the trumpet played by student Bedig Wannessian. Students then presented Mother’s day cards to their families that they completed at school in the weeks prior to the event. Each child was called from the stage to present their card and receive a small gift from their teacher.

Antranig Vartanian, vice-chairman, spoke on behalf of the St. Illuminator’s Board of Trustees, congratulating Der Hayr, committee, teachers and students on their accomplishments in the five months since the school opened its doors. Then he presented each teacher and committee member a gift as a small token of appreciation.






Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian and his childhood                                                         friend Bared Maronian, director of                                                                         “Orphans of the Genocide” documentary
Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian and his childhood friend Bared Maronian, director of
“Orphans of the Genocide” documentary

Ungh.Sevan Kolejian , welcomed the quests and thanked Rev. Fr. Mesrop Lakissian for his hospitality and allowing us to use St. Illuminators Church for our event and then introduced the members of the ARS Regional Board of Directors.

Ungh. Ani Attar, Chairperson of ARS Eastern Regional Board of Directors, welcomed everyone and thanked the ARS Erebouni and Mayr Chapters for hosting this Regional Educational Seminar.

As His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia has declared 2013 The Year of the Armenian Mother, ARS decided to dedicate this seminar to the Armenian Mother.

Armenian mothers are the pillars of our national existence, their sacrifice and dedication throughout history is highly commendable. The Armenian mother is the caregiver, educator, a hero and a role model in our national life. As the famous writer Hovannes Shiraz wrote:

Mer houysi toorn eh mayrs
Mer dan madurn eh mayrs
Mer hatsn ou choo eh mayrs Mer teghn ou jarn eh mayrs
Mer dan jerakn eh mayrs

We salute and honor our Armenian Mothers for their continued selfless act in meeting the humanitarian need of the Armenia people in Armenia and the Diaspora. Ms. Attar Introduced guest speakers Dr. Chris Garo Sassouni, grandson of Garo and Leola Sassouni and Mr. Bared Maronian, producer and film maker, of the “Orphans of the Genocide” documentary. Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor of St. Illuminator’s Cathedral offered his words of appreciation thanking all the participants and wishing them well as they return to their communities near and far. The seminar concluded by Rev. Lakissian’s benediction.

Participants of the ARS Eastern USA Regional Educational Seminar with Dr. Chris Sasouni and Mr. Bared Maronian
Participants of the ARS Eastern USA Regional Educational Seminar with Dr. Chris Sasouni and Mr. Bared Maronian