At the invitation of Armenia’s UN Ambassador H.E. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, you are invited to attend the celebration of the 26th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Armenia, which will be held at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York City, on Thursday, September 21st.
Organized by the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations, the event will begin at 7 p.m. with a prayer service in the Cathedral, followed by a concert and reception in the Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium.
Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Edward Nalbandian, will be the guest of honor and deliver remarks.
The Haigazian University Armenian Diaspora Research Center (HUADRC) is established to study diverse aspects of the Armenian Diaspora communities in general and in the Middle East in particular, their history, culture, interaction with and integration to the hostland, the Homeland and other Diaspora communities beyond the Middle East.
The Center functions under a “Center Director” in collaboration with the University President’s Academic Cabinet and in cooperation with the Faculty and Librarians.
The Center organizes conferences, hosts public lectures and focus-group discussions, offers internship programs, coordinates and channels efforts in and towards Armenian Diaspora studies in the Middle East.
The Center is engaged in collecting, sorting, and analyzing primary data on the Middle Eastern Armenian Diaspora communities in the context of saving and protecting Armenian Diaspora cultural heritage. It disseminates and promotes academic awareness and knowledge about the Diaspora phenomenon and relevant issues of identity, integration and preservation.
During the past five years HUADRC has organized five conferences:
May 15-17, 2013: Armenian Trans-Nationalism and the Modern Age of Communications
May 14-16, 2014: Armenians of Lebanon (II)
May 24-27, 2015: Armenians of Syria
May 22-24, 2016: Armenians of Jordan
May 29-31, 2017: Armenians of Iraq
Read the Report on the Haigazian Armenian Diaspora Research Center
Organized by the Armenian Diaspora Research Center at Haigazian University, and supported by the Armenian Communities Department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the recent conference on “Armenians of Iraq” took place over the course of three days May 2017.
On Monday, May 29, the official opening took place in the presence of the Prelates of Lebanon and Iraq, community leaders from Iraq and Lebanon, the Ambassador of Armenia in Lebanon, Armenian intellectuals, historians, and academicians. The Ceremony began with the opening words of Dr. Antranig Dakessian, Director of the ADRC, followed by a presentation by Dr. Razmig Panossian, head of the Armenian Communities Department of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Haigazian University’s President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian’s words were followed by the opening reflections of the Prelate of Armenians in Iraq, Arch. Avak Asadourian.
The conference, with its eight sessions, extended over three days and covered thirty-four topics, presented by thirty-four scholars coming from countries such as the United States, Egypt, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Philippines.
The Haigazian University Armenian Diaspora Research Center has scheduled its next conference on “Armenians of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia” for May 2018. Two other conferences are planned for 2019 and 2020, namely Armenians of Cyprus and Greece, and Armenians of the Arab Gulf area (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE.)
An Enchanted Summer Evening in Support of Haigazian University
Celebrating Rev. Dr. John Markarian’s 100th
by Gilda Buchakjian (Kupelian)
On the occasion of the upcoming Centennial of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), a splendid program organized by the Development Committee of Haigazian University (HU) of Beirut was a fitting occasion to celebrate the centenary of Rev. Dr. John Markarian, the founding president of the University. The elegant gala, attended by alumni and supporters of the University, was graciously hosted on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at the residence of alumnus Andreas Roubian in Saddle River, New Jersey.
Describing the only Armenian university in the Diaspora as the “jewel” of the Middle East, the Master of Ceremonies, alumnus Serge Buchakjian spoke of the culture of “academic excellence inspired by our heritage” that HU has fostered over the years. The unwritten mission of the institution, as the MC deftly qualified, was being a “bridge linking students of diverse backgrounds, a beacon of hope and peace, reflecting the cosmopolitan pluralistic society where it is located.” Poignant testimonials from HU graduates spoke volumes about the significance of this unique institution of higher learning.The opening prayer was delivered by AMAA’s West Coast Executive Director, Levon Filian. As he described how a painting differs from a masterpiece, Mr. Filian drew from the Biblical narrative, and likened the attendees to masterpieces in the image of the Creator.
AMAA’s Executive Director/CEO, Zaven Khanjian spoke of the achievements of the AMAA in the Diaspora and in Armenia, and Haigazian University as “the product of vision, and sacrifice” which inspired the present. And looking into the impending future, Mr. Khanjian said, “those who make up the AMAA with their talents, resources and contribution will guarantee the future.”
On this most auspicious occasion, Mr. Khanjian presented a special congratulatory letter to Dr. Markarian from His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, a former student of Dr. Markarian’s at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut during the latter’s tenure in the early 1970’s.
Joyce Stein, the daughter of Stephen Philibosian, one of the visionary founders of HU, a member of the Board of the AMAA and of the HU Trustees and herself a loyal and unwavering supporter of the University, introduced the honoree Rev. Dr. John Markarian. Mrs. Stein recounted how her father and Steven Mehakian approached John Markarian, then a member of the faculty at Lafayette College, with the proposal to “change the face of education in the Middle East.” Markarian, “the very fitting, unflappable, intrepid academic, with a sense of humor” took on the challenge thus launching HU. He created an environment for academic excellence, which continues to this day under the capable presidency of Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian. She then awarded the honoree a rare photo representing his early years in Beirut.
Prior to the heartwarming celebration of his 100th birthday with cakes and communal wishes, Dr. John Markarian thanked all those instrumental in the success of HU. And in characteristic humility he said that his work has “been a privilege rather than a chore.” He highly praised the current administration at HU under the leadership of Dr. Haidostian. He credited his family for joining him on his initial venture in Beirut, and his wife Inge for his youthful life. With his unique sense of humor, he imparted a gem of wisdom about longevity that centered on posnology, “the science and the art of joyful living”.
The museum-like residence of host Andreas Roubian, a connoisseur and expert of Aivazovsky, was replete with a myriad paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky, an impressive representation of Russian and Napoleonic art. Roubian has spent his entire life researching and collecting Aivazovsky’s paintings, and his collection is considered by some the world’s most important outside of Russia.
Sotheby’s Chairman, Americas, and Senior Auctioneer, Mr. Doller, a senior expert in 19th century European Art focused on Aivazovsky’s legacy and how Andy Warhol was mesmerized with Aivazovsky’s art. Mr. Doller who is also involved in charitable causes to benefit education expressed his appreciation for Roubian’s involvement in philanthropy, and credited the host with being a true collector, acquiring art because he primarily loved and appreciated its beauty.
Dr. Ani Darakjian, the dedicated chairperson of the Haigazian University Board of Trustees, and granddaughter of Rev. Dikran Antreassian, Chair of the Musa Dagh Defense Council during the Armenian Genocide (the real-life clergyman portrayed in the film “The Promise”) congratulated Dr. Markarian for his two tenures as the proficient president of the University. She commended the academic contribution of the University to all learners of the region, and especially for “providing a chance to those who cannot afford it”.
Current HU president, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, forwarded his heartfelt appreciation and congratulations to Dr. Markarian for his pioneering role and innovative work, and to the AMAA for their momentous and far-reaching accomplishments.
A welcome surprise announcement was the generous contribution of Tina and David Segel to underwrite the cost of updating the HU website.
An enchanting musical interlude, interspersed with enthusiastic applause, was provided by the talented soloist Liliana Natalie Buickians, and pianist Kurt Eric Galvan who played expertly on a 19th century Steinway. The well-selected repertoire, included renditions by Italian and French composers, and culminated in much appreciated Armenian songs by Gomidas.
Warm words of appreciation were addressed to the guests and supporters of Haigazian University, to the co-chairs of the Development Committee Serge Buchakjian and Tina Segel, to the hosts Andreas and Priya for their superb hospitality and home-prepared delectable buffet, to the AMAA leadership, Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, and AMAA staff, to all the speakers, to Anita Buchakjian for her indispensable assistance at the gala, and to Dro Abrahamian, Maria Bakalian at HU for their support, and to Dr. Haidostian for his remarkable work at HU.
To conclude in the words of Serge Buchakjian, “after 62 years of existence, resilience, and excellence,” the hope is to continue to support Haigazian University. The quote from Winston Churchill sums it all: “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”.
Interview with Rev. Dr. John Markarian, Founding President of Haigazian College, during his 100th Birthday celebrations on Saturday, July 22 at Andreas Roubian’s House. Interview is conducted by Vartan Abdo of Armenian Radio Hour and PAREV TV of NJ.
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian Awarded Presidential ‘Medal of Gratitude’ in Armenia
During a May 28th ceremony at the Presidential Palace, held on the occasion of Republic day in Armenia, RA President Serzh Sargsyan awarded a group of individuals with the highest state awards and honorary titles for their contributions in the spheres of science, education, health, economy, arts & culture, sports, productive work and patriotism.
For his contributions toward the strengthening of Armenia-Diaspora relations and preservation of the Armenian identity, AMAA Executive Director/CEO, Zaven Khanjian received the Medal of Gratitude. The Medal of Gratitude is awarded for state, economic, social, scientific-technical and public activities, as well as for major personal contribution, many years’ of devotion and fruitful activities aimed at promoting the spheres of health, education and culture.
“On this momentous occasion, the 99th anniversary of the first republic of Armenia, the ultimate contentment of service lies in the well preservation of what has been earned through the sacrifice of our forebear” said Mr. Khanjian. “I praise God for our homeland as we continue to advance the spiritual and physical wellbeing of our people everywhere.”
Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, AMAA President, extended congratulations on behalf of the Board of Directors: “We were delighted to hear that Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia, has honored Zaven Khanjian, the Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA by awarding him the ‘Medal of Appreciation’. Mr. Khanjian has dedicated his life to the service of the Armenian people in the Homeland and the Diaspora and is clearly deserving of this honor. On behalf of the entire AMAA family I congratulate Mr. Khanjian on this wonderful occasion.”
Mr. Khanjian was born and raised in Aleppo, Syria where he grew up in the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church and was an active member of the Church’s Youth Group.
Upon graduating from Aleppo College, Mr. Khanjian attended the American University of Beirut, Lebanon and in 1967 earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Soon after his graduation he moved to the Persian Gulf and for 13 years worked in his profession assuming top positions in prestigious companies, while creating “Little Armenias” together with like-minded peers.
In 1979, Khanjian moved with his family to California and after working for a few years in his profession, went into the real estate business starting his own successful company, Kanjyan Realty in Glendale, Calif., in 1987.
Prior to becoming the Executive Director/CEO at the AMAA in 2014 he remained an active member of the Greater Los Angeles Community serving in leadership capacities at the Armenia Fund, The Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, The Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School, The United Armenian Congregational Church, Haigazian University of Beirut, the Glendale Family YMCA, The Salvation Army-Glendale Corps, Americans for Artsakh, The Armenian American Real Estate Association and as Founding Chair of the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund – SARF.
Mr. Khanjian has authored volumes of bilingual articles to the American Armenian media and published three Armenian books. He is married to Sona Kellikian, is father of three children and grandfather of six.
The Armenian Missionary Association of America
Orphan and Child Care Committee cordially invites you to its
26th Annual Celebration in the Spirit of Giving
to benefit Armenian children in crisis
An evening of food, wine and fun – featuring a Live & Silent auction, wine pull and Zankagner Performing Arts Ensemble
Music by special guest John Baboian
Thursday, September 28, 2017 7:00PM
WELLESLEY COUNTRY CLUB
294 Wellesley Avenue
Wellesley Hills, MA 02481
One Hundred Dollars Per Person RSVP By September 12
The AMAA supports various relief programs, providing basic necessities of life to people, including orphans and needy children.
Through the Orphan and Child Care Fund, the AMAA continues to operate and support programs such as the Child Sponsorship Program, Shogh Day Centers, Summer Camps, and Christmas and Easter Programs.
To learn more about AMAA Orphan and Child Care Programs visit our Sponsor a Child page.
“We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our State of California leaders to build a historic cultural and educational center that will honor the rich history and celebrate the diverse cultures who call our great state home,” stated Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
“We would like to express our special thanks to Senator Anthony J. Portantino, Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León, and Budget Subcommittee Chair Richard Roth for leading the efforts to prioritize the funding in the 2017-2018 state budget,” stated Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.
The $3 million funding request was initiated in the State Senate by Senator Anthony J. Portantino with the support of Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León and Budget Subcommittee Chair Richard Roth. Upon the approval by the Senate Budget Subcommittee and Budget Conference Committee, the new funding for the Armenian American Museum was included in the 2017-2018 state budget proposal approved by the State Legislature on June 15.
“There is a long history of California supporting laudable museum projects around the state,” stated Senator Anthony J. Portantino. “I wanted to make sure that the Armenian American Museum garners equal and fair support.”
“It was an honor to work with my colleagues in the California legislature to secure $3 million dollars in funding for the Armenian American Museum,” stated Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León. “I am proud to stand in solidarity with the Armenian community.”
AMAA LIFE MEMBER, ACTIVIST AND BENEFACTOR ELIZABETH AGBABIAN HONORED BY THE PRESIDENT OF ARMENIA
Elizabeth Agbabian, past Board member, Benefactor and Life Member of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), and a respected longtime activist in the Armenian Evangelical Community and the Armenian American Community at large, was recently awarded the Movses Khorenatsi Medal by Republic of Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan, on the 99th Anniversary of the First Republic.
The President’s award decree reads: “Guided by the 2005 amendments to Article 55, paragraph 16 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, and based on the Law of the Republic of Armenia on state awards and honorary titles of the Republic, I have decided; On the occasion of the Day of the Republic, to award philanthropist Elizabeth AGBABIAN (USA) for her contribution to the preservation of the Armenian identity, with the Movses Khorenatsi Medal.” May 17, 2017.
The Movses Khorenatsi Medal is the Republic of Armenia’s highest cultural award. It is presented by the President to those who have significantly contributed to the advancement of Armenian culture in the spheres of culture, art, literature, education, social sciences and sports.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon to Reverend Hovhannes and Aznive Apkarian, Elizabeth Apkarian Agbabian earned a B.A. degree in Social Work and has worked as a trained social worker first in Cleveland, OH and then in Los Angeles, CA, where she has lived since her marriage to Dr. Mihran Agbabian in 1953.
Elizabeth has been active at the United Armenian Congregational Church and has served on the Boards of the Armenian Missionary Association of America and the Armenian Evangelical Social Service Center. She was a founding Co-Chair of the AMAA’s Orphan and Child Care Committee, which was formed soon after the devastating December 7, 1988 earthquake in Armenia and has continued to serve on the Committee for over 28 years. She has visited Armenia frequently to view firsthand the living conditions of the children. Elizabeth was also a founding member of the Haigazian University Women’s Auxiliary and the Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School’s Women’s Auxiliary with the late Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, then Executive Director of the AMAA, and Zaven Khanjian, then Chairman of the Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School.
Elizabeth is also one of the co-founders of the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA-LA), a non-profit organization dedicated in promoting and enriching the lives of Armenian women worldwide. Along with her committee members, she was also supportive of many ground-breaking initiatives on the West coast including the opening of Armenia’s Consulate General in Los Angeles. With her husband Dr. Mihran Agbabian, founding President of the American University of Armenia, Elizabeth has played a critical role in establishing the University, a most renowned educational institution in Armenia.
Over the years, Elizabeth has earned many prestigious awards. They include the Humanitarian Award of Ararat Home of Los Angeles in 1994, a proclamation of Pontifical Blessings from His Holiness Karekin II in 2003, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2006, a Medal from the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East for her long standing educational services in 2008, the Gold Medal of the Ministry of the Diaspora of the Armenian Government in 2011, Distinguished Humanitarian Award from the Armenian Assembly of America in 2012 and Tributes from the AMAA Board in 1999, 2003 and 2016.
“Volunteers and humanitarians do not help people for medals and decorations,” said Mrs. Agbabian. “Our greatest reward is, knowing that our efforts have helped the needy and the neglected children of Armenia. Important things are the small acts that make our world a better place. I am grateful to God for giving me this opportunity to serve my people through the AMAA. It was Armenia who called me to give to orphans and destitute children the gift of love, compassion and Christian service which I have received from my family and friends in my childhood and adult life. Our reward will be to see a new generation of youth coming out of despair to a productive and happy life.”
“The AMAA salutes Elizabeth Agbabian for this honor coming from the Homeland,” said Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA. “She has an indelible fountain of energy, love of the nation and a natural urge to help all anchored on her faith in God. On behalf of the larger family of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, we congratulate Elizabeth for the honor bestowed on her by President Sargsyan and thank her and Dr. Agbabian for all they do to support the Mission of the AMAA.”
On Tuesday June 22, the Paros Chamber Choir (artistic director Raffi Mikayelyan, conductor Ruben Karaseferian) jointly with the Avedisian School Orchestra (art director Argentina Poghosyan) presented a Concert at the Khoren and Shooshanjig Avedisian Community Center and School Auditorium, dedicated to the first graduates of Avedisian high school.
During the Concert, the Paros Chamber Choir and Avedisian School Orchestra presented Armenian folk and spiritual songs as well as works by Western European composers. The audience warmly welcomed this most impressive performance.
Paros Chamber Choir is the world’s only Choir, that the vast majority of its members are disabled and wheelchair users.
The Avedisian Orchestra founded in 2016 has already presented a few successful concerts in just one year.
Original article in Armenian: http://avedisianschool.am/am/երևանի-ավետիսյան-դպրոցում-տեղի-ունեց/
AMAA Congratulates Long-time Board Member and Major Benefactor, Edward Avedisian as He Receives Inaugural American University of Armenia Presidential Commendation
It isn’t every day somebody turns a century old. We praise God that Rev. Dr. John Markarian is one of them. He has touched so many lives and has been a blessing to many. The AMAA looks forward to celebrating this special milestone on July 22nd in NJ.
The Rev. Dr. John Markarian was born in Windham, a town in Greene County New York affectionately named “Gem of the Catskills” on June 7, 1917, two months after the US entered into World War I. Dr. Markarian’s father, The Rev. Hagop Markarian, was born in Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul. He attended the missionary-run St. Paul’s Apostolic Institute and was one of eight Armenian men in the inaugural graduating class of 1893. In 1898, he left Turkey and entered the United States, where he enrolled in Lafayette College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and was awarded the Astronomy Prize and Math Prize at the time of his graduation in 1901. He went on to Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating in 1904 and was ordained into the Presbyterian ministry.
John’s mother, Dora Benedict Euth, traced her American ancestry thru the Benedict Family whose first arrival in the United States was Thomas Benedict in 1638. She was the great-great-great-granddaughter of The Rev. James Benedict, founding Pastor in 1776, of the Pittston Baptist Church in Luzerne County, PA. The Markarian family eventually moved to Scranton, PA where Hagop was the French Professor at Scranton Central High School and stated supply pastor of two Presbyterian Churches, Old Forge and Duryea.
John graduated from Scranton Central HS in the class of 1935. For three years, he was employed as a clerk in S.H. Bezdjian Oriental Rugs in Wilkes-Barre, PA. During that period of time, he attended the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Finance evening classes earning The Diploma after three years of study. In 1938, he was employed as a clerk in the Plant Record and Cost Department of the Scranton Electric Company until 1941 and enrolled in Lafayette College as a pre-theological student. He graduated in 1943 with a BA Degree in Philosophy. During his enrollment in Lafayette, he worked the nightshift in the Payroll Department at Ingersoll Rand Corporation where he met Ruth Miller. They married in 1943, after his graduation, and moved to New Jersey where John enrolled in Princeton Theological Seminary and Ruth joined the Gallup Corporation in Princeton. In 1945, John graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and was awarded a Bachelor of Divinity Degree. Following in his father’s footsteps, John became an ordained Presbyterian minister in the Lackawanna Presbytery.
In 1946, Dr. Markarian joined the Religion Department at Lafayette College. It was during this time, one of his students, Harry Balukjian, introduced him to the Armenian Community in Philadelphia. In 1955 he took a two year leave of absence from his position at Lafayette to accept an invitation from the Armenian Evangelical Church to organize a church-related college in Beirut, Lebanon, to be named Haigazian. The family of three, his wife Ruth and their 5-year old daughter Joanne, set sail from New York to Beirut on an Egyptian mail line, the SS Mohammed Ali el-Kebir. The completion of Markarian’s dissertation for his Ph.D. in Theology, postponed because of the move to Beirut, was awarded by Drew University Graduate School in Madison, New Jersey in 1963, during a sabbatical for that purpose. This challenging job, the founding and forming of a University college, lasted 11 years until 1966. The family moved to Pella, Iowa, where Dr. Markarian became head of the Religion Department and Dean of the Chapel at Central College, a liberal arts college affiliated with the Reformed Church of America. During this three-year period, Ruth lost her life in a tragic automobile accident. Dr. Markarian eventually returned to Beirut and became Professor of Theology and Director of Development of the Near East School of Theology until 1971, when he returned to the Presidency of Haigazian University College.
In 1973, Dr. Markarian met Inge Wilke, a member of the staff of the German Embassy in Beirut. The two were married in December, 1974, at the Old First Church in Huntington, New York. They spent the years up to 1982 on the door-step of the war in Lebanon. Dr. Markarian retired in 1982 and the two moved to Los Angeles, living there from 1982 – 1986, when they moved to West Pittston where they presently reside. His daughter Joanne lives in Los Angeles, and his grandson, born in 1983 in Los Angeles, now resides in Sydney, Australia.
On May 22, Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO, visited AMAA’s Camp Bedrosian in Shushi, Artsakh, where renovations and refurbishments are underway. The Camp is adding green spaces, opening new lanes, landscaping the playground and making renovations inside the buildings in preparation for the upcoming Camp season. After reviewing, the renovation process, Mr. Khanjian, visited AMAA’s Bilezikian Kindergarten where he met with Diana Danielyan, Director of the Kindergarten and the Senior Director of Shogh Day Care Center, housed in the Kindergarten. Mr. Khanjian reviewed the education and learning process at both the Kindergarten and the Day Care Center, praised the work and reiterated AMAA’s support of continued improvements at the Kindergarten and Center to cope with the implemented programs.
Mr. Khanjian next visited AMAA’s Stepanakert office as well as the Baghdikian Kindergarten next to the Center. At the Baghdikian Kindergarten, the children are nourished, educated, take naps in comfortable beds and have playtime in the adjacent playground.
On May 23, Mr. Khanjian visited the Honorable Ashot Ghulyan, Speaker of Artsakh’s National Assembly. Mr. Ghulyan warmly welcomed the ED and highly commended the humanitarian mission the AMAA carries in Artsakh. Mr. Khanjian expressed his delight witnessing the continuous developments in the economic and social life of the people of Artsakh. He confirmed AMAA’s commitment to continue its humanitarian projects in improved facilities and expanded services where needed. They also discussed the current situation on Artsakh’s Eastern border and relations with the Diaspora.
On the same day, Mr. Khanjian met with Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, Prelate of the Diocese of Artsakh. Mr. Khanjian thanked the Archbishop for his spiritual leadership of the people of Artsakh and expressed confidence in the strengthening of the continued cordial and brotherly relations between the Armenian Apostolic and Evangelical churches.
In the evening, Mr. Khanjian, accompanied by AMAA representatives in Armenia and Artsakh, visited the President of Artsakh Republic, HE Bako Sahakyan. The President noted with satisfaction AMAA’s historic presence in Artsakh and the different educational, social, youth support and humanitarian aid programs that it implements. Mr. Khanjian reiterated AMAA’s commitment of continued and elevated support of the people of Artsakh through its various programs.
The following message was delivered by Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO on the 102nd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey at St. Sahag Armenian Church in Minneapolis, MN, on April 24, 2017
Pursuit of the Iron Ladle
Two years ago and on April 24, 2015, the world, well, the world that orbits around us, commemorated the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
Today is April 24, 2017
Collectively, humanity has surrendered two more years to the whirlpool of history.
It was a solemn occasion, a distinct anniversary. An occasion to relive the anguish and yet rejoice the miracle of survival. An anniversary that stirred both sorrow and pride in our collective soul.
Justifiably, and following the poet’s example, we can and ought to ask ourselves.
Յաշուեյարդար, ին՞չ մնաց, կեանքէն ինծի ին՞չ մնաց:
‘To sum it up, what remains? From the Centennial, what remains?”
I want to start sharing a personal story, which will be a prelude to our expectations, aspirations and dreams emanating from our struggle for recognition of the Armenian Genocide and quest for justice.
You have probably heard of Armen Aroyan, a prominent member of the Southern California Armenian community. Armen Aroyan earned his fame during the past three decades since he pioneered to lead hundreds of Armenians from all over the world and in particular, the United States to visit their ancestral homeland in occupied historic Armenia.
Two of my sisters and brother took this pilgrimage back to their roots in the early 90s.
At the time, I was not yet ready. For a long time I did not have the predisposition and psychological maturity to confront the people and the country which stopped the clock on the lives of my two grandfathers, half my nation and most of my historical fatherland in their attempted Genocide of 1915.
My sister Laura took her trip to her ancestral home in September 1994. On a hillside in Agin, a village in the outskirts of Arapkir sit two homes one across the other. They belong to my paternal and maternal grandfathers. My father was born in one of these homes a few years before the ‘Yeghern’ started. Aroyan has taken many of his guests who visit the area to drive by the street and has talked to them about the Khanjian heritage. Not everyone is privileged to enter the house. My sister however, not only had the opportunity but the right to be there and she was not deprived. During the tour, the matriarch of the family, a woman of my father’s age and generation, who personally knew my father and had hosted him in the house on two occasions in the 50s and 60s, points to a room in the house and invites my sister in.
My father was born in that room.
Entering the room, praying, sobbing, touching and talking to the walls, my sister would have thought her pilgrimage had culminated.
However, there was more in store for her.
As she gets ready to leave, the matriarch gathers her family around her and instructs.
‘Anytime this lady or one of her siblings visit the house, you welcome them with dignity and respect and treat them like the owners of the house”In 2006, it was my turn.
My wife and I took our pilgrimage to our roots.
Before taking the trip, Sona and I wondered as to how we could make the pilgrimage to the land, to the parental home, significant and memorable. How can we honor and memorialize my two grandfathers, brutally killed on this soil; my father, resting in a foreign soil with the longing and love of Agin and all those who were martyred for the sin of having been born Armenian. We contemplated, concluded and planned to plant a tree, a walnut tree, in the backyard of my paternal grandfather’s home where my father was born. A walnut tree will live long, develop, grow and flourish. It will provide shade and shelter to those living under it. It will be strong, firm and a long-lived providing fruit for years unknown. All that to immortalize the sacred sacrament of the renowned poet Levon Zaven Surmelian who penned
«Մեռելներուս իբրեւ խաչ՝ ես այս ծառը տնկեցի»
“As a cross for my departed, I planted this tree”
Walking up a hill, Aroyan leads us to the house. In my haste, I find myself leading the group with the walnut sapling in my hand. I notice an adult man on the balcony who is the son of the matriarch my sister had met earlier. I salute him in my broken Turkish and without waiting for his welcoming words enter the house and walk up the stairs to the upper floor. Restless and uncomfortable, I introduce myself to the ‘owner’ and immediately realize that he knows me well, he knows my father and the whole Khanjian clan. He describes in detail my father’s second visit to Agin in 1969 when he was a boy of thirteen. He talks about the Khanjians, Armenian Turkish relationship, the ‘exodus’ of the Armenians. He talks about his profession, his father and recites how his father had acquired the house. He talks about his mother my sister had met in 1994 and says she died in 1998. Evidently, faithful to her mother’s commandment, Hussain, that was his name, affirms that we could be his guests in the house anytime and for as long as we desire. All the while, he is following me in my emotional walk through the house. Suddenly, he approaches me, and throwing an arm on my shoulder, I wonder out of guilt or anxiety, asks me in an easily understood Turkish.
“Now tell me, IS THIS YOUR HOUSE OR MINE?”
I feel a blow on my head. A cold sweat covers my face. I did not answer. Instead, with a forced smile and pointing to the walnut sapling placed on the table, I said:
I have a gift for you where shall we plant it.
Hussain and I plant the tree; the late Serpazan Arch. Datev Gharibian of Brazil blesses it following Surmelian’s prayer.
“Lord, bless this tender tree. Here I plant it
In the crumbly and black soil where my ancestors are lain”
We leave with Hussain’s question lingering in my head. “Is This Your House or Mine?”
I wrote a book about our pilgrimage and you guessed it the title was.
“Is This House Yours or Mine?”
Dr. Taner Akcam, the Turkish Historian who currently holds the Kaloosdian – Mugar Chair of Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University, is one of the foremost proponents of dialogue between Armenians and Turks. At a lecture in Toronto on May 25, 2001, where the Zoryan Institute launched Akcam’s publication titled, “Dialogue Across International Divide: Essays Towards a Turkish-Armenian Dialogue” (He has since published several books covering the Armenian Genocide) he explains:
“Someone looking at me sees only one person, but I represent the tip of the iceberg of those involved in the process, who are seeking an open society in Turkey. I am a product of this process in Turkey and I am not alone” “Civil society in Turkey knows that without coming to terms with history, we cannot build a democracy in Turkey” “Not only we should remember history, but actually to institutionalize remembering is essential for the process of democratization”
Two years after the Centennial, we are gathered here tonight to commemorate the anniversary of the Genocide.
What do we want today?
Two years ago, we poured in our hearts and commemorated the Centennial.
So going back to Vahan Tekeyan, we ask ourselves:
‘To sum it up, what remains? From the Centennial, what remains?”
It should be jubilantly acknowledged that we worked hard and can confidently claim a degree of reward and victory. The Centennial raised our national struggle to an unprecedented plateau of universal awareness, respect and recognition that was worthy of the cause and powerful in its impact. Intangible victories may be, but nevertheless a firm foundation upon which we can (and should) continuously build.
The inevitable and hard question to ask is – what comes next?
The path is still long and thorny, the obstacles and hindrances many. However, the collective will and determination is in place and our resolute faith in our just struggle is unshakable. God is the foundation of our quest for justice and the recognition of the truth. We need not sit idle in acquiescence. The struggle continues.
Despite the many achievements and victories, we have not gained much on the road of reparations, restitutions and recognition from the heirs of the perpetrators. All recognition, sympathy and acknowledgment in the civilized world have come with impunity without legal muscle. The heirs of the perpetrators still lie in a deep coma of self-denial. Adding insult to injury, the ‘civilized’ world, with total acquiescence, turned a blind eye to the continuing crime committed by the same perpetrator in Syria. The institutionalization of remembrance and the move towards democratization in Turkey that Taner Akcam was talking about in 2001 remains hostage in 2017 to the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish penal code which criminalizes any and all remembrance of the Genocide. And despite the goodwill of a mountain of Turkish or Kurdish intellectuals involved in the process and seeking an open society in Turkey, Hrant Dink was murdered by the Deep State in Turkey and ten years after his martyrdom his trial has still not exposed the masters behind the hired assassin, 17 year old Ogun Samast. Erdogan remains on a fast pace of amending the constitution pulling Turkey behind and creating an autocratic regime with most powers centralized in the hands of ‘sultan’ Erdogan.
In the face of all these challenges from the East and the hegemony, hypocrisy and double standards of the West we can only depend on ourselves. The realization of our quest for justice remains solely on our selfless and sacrificial devotion and commitment to the application of Khrimian Hayrig’s ‘iron ladle’. Երկաթէ Շերեփ
Over the span of time and under the effect of various conditions and circumstances, which influence our national path, our priorities, focus and agendas, should justifiably remain flexible and malleable. Our collective psyche cannot and should not remain hostage to the fetters of the Genocide. Therefore, until that promised dawn when our collective national soul is able to bring the iron ladle home without any impediment or procrastination we have to focus on the following essential priorities.
In 2016, Armenia celebrated the 25th anniversary of independence. Despite the fact that we had no input in the realization of our collective dream; despite the fact that we were even confused for a while; we were jubilant. We had our place in the league of nations. We raised our heads in dignity and pride and saluted the tricolor. We built a nation and created a country from the ashes of the Soviet system. We bore the shock therapy of moving from a very centralized socialist economy to a radical capitalist system, from an atheist system that persecuted believers, to a society, which created an unprecedented opportunity to resurrect the faith of our fathers in the land of a nation, which embraced Christianity in 301 AD. We fought a liberation war in Artsakh, and at the cost of thousands of martyred lives, enormous economic sacrifices and a faithful and supportive diaspora we were able to win the war.
Twenty-five years after independence, we are not where we wanted to be. The road has not been rosy as our homeland continues to face the challenges of tumultuous times. Having won a liberation war, we failed to win the peace and continue to face an aggressive enemy whose consistent breaches of a shaky ceasefire has reaped the lives of hundreds of young conscripts defending our borders, and countless civilians peacefully living on their land. An enemy, whose behavior continues to obstruct scores of development projects so vital for the economy of the area. Our Homeland continues to experience skyrocketing unemployment, extreme poverty, economic paralysis, mass migration, the rise of oligarchs and widespread corruption.
We have not and should not lose faith. Our vision of the new citizen in the Homeland is one of indelible integrity, who upholds the highest values and earns an unblemished reputation. One who advocates social justice, freedom of conscience, expression or speech; a citizen who exercises voluntarism, sustains society, respects human rights and sacrifices for the Homeland; a citizen who respects the law and equal rights of others under the law; a citizen who loves the Lord and reflects His love. These are fundamental prerequisites of the concrete foundation of a strong, self-sustained, proud developing democracy, ripe for a growing economy that will create a new, creative and happy society and a strong army capable to defend its borders. There lies the hope of the promised ‘iron ladle’ in the Homeland.
Centuries of persecution, invasion, aggression, discrimination, usurpation and successive massacres have created waves of exodus from our historic homeland resulting in the Armenian Diaspora. The 1915 Genocide was the culmination of all, dispersing the remnants of the survivors all over the world. Independence brought the hope of a shrinking Diaspora but the reality on the ground came to expand the Armenian Diaspora because of the exodus from the Homeland. The story of the Diaspora is not the subject of the day. However, it is essential to recognize the realities of an expanding Diaspora in terms of its struggle to perpetuate (գոյատեւում կամ ազգապահպանում) and enormous potential to assist the Homeland.
In order to achieve that desired role we have to attain a healthy and prosperous Diaspora. The reality on the ground here too seems to be short of the aspired.
For many decades after the Genocide, the throbbing heart of the Armenian Diaspora remained to be the communities of the Middle East. Active, thriving, energetic, industrious and spirited communities remained the beehive of Armenian culture and education, exporting able leadership in all realms of Armenian community life all over the globe. No more. The Achilles’s Heel of the Armenia Diaspora remains the tragic situation in Syria. Five years of death and destruction has devastated the Mother Diaspora Community of Syria, dispersing its masses across the region and beyond and diminishing its role and power potential. It is hard to shape an ‘iron ladle’ in the region.
Despite all the difficulties described above I see a new dawn rising on the horizon of the new Armenian Diaspora. What we came to witness on the Genocide Centennial and since then, has anchored an unwavering confidence in our youth, making us proud of their alertness, accomplishments, creativity, sense of belonging and sense of responsibility. A mental survey of our youth around the globe reveals that never before in the history of our nation have we had such an army of students in higher education who constitute contingents of potential professionals, scientists, educators, and prominent stars in the fields of science, art and public service ready to take charge of our communities. Are we molding an iron ladle? I do not know but I am optimistic.
With the strength gathered thru the legendary Kirk Kerkorian’s “Promise”; Near East Foundation’s “They Shall Not Perish” just aired on PBS; and the baby steps of the recently conceived Armenian American Museum in Glendale, California to give a few examples, we seem to be on the right path.
With a strong and truly democratic Homeland and a new Diaspora taking shape we vow to perpetuate the faith, the language, the culture and overcome evil with song and dance, hope and prayer, smiles and joy all for the Glory of God who said in Romans 12:19 “It is mine to avenge; I will repay”
Erdogan can dream of an Empire and hold tight to Article 301. However, the heirs of the Matriarch of Agin, her son Hussain, Taner Akcam and his fellow intellectuals will multiply and prevail.
God is faithful; He will deliver the Iron ladle.
April 24, 2017
Bear Grylls, the British adventurer and television presenter, once said, “The rules of survival never change, whether you’re in a desert or an arena.”
These are words that Alik Sarian, Haigazian University freshman and HU’s Future Armenian Leadership Fund (FALF) scholarship recipient lives by. Coming straight out of war-torn Aleppo with her family last summer, Alik has emerged on campus with a clear direction and focus. Life and hope have emerged from a wilderness. In the words of the prophet, “The desert… shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” (Isaiah 35:1) But behind her sweet shyness and pleasant demeanor is an inner determination and resolution to be her best and to make an impact on society as she prepares her future to help those in greatest need.
Besides being honored on the President’s List, Fall 2017, Alik has also become a rising star as the starting point guard on the Haigazian University Women’s basketball team. Just recently she earned her personal best, with twenty-seven points in a 51-28 win against the University of Balamand, topping her twenty-three points against LAU (Byblos) only days before.
But Alik’s drive to excel is nothing new. Under constant danger in Aleppo, Alik managed to play basketball and take piano lessons while also pursuing her high school career. A stellar student, she represented the Karen Jeppe Armenian College well, winning first place in the (All) Syrian Science Olympiad four years straight. When the fighting intensified, with daily bombings in her neighborhood, the school moved to the safer, smaller Gulbenkian Middle School, and her studies were never disrupted.
With Alik’s diploma and her acceptance to Haigazian University in hand, the entire family (father, mother, and younger sister) uprooted themselves and moved to Lebanon in August, where years earlier her grandfather had wisely invested in property in Jounieh. Though safe and secure, Alik and her family’s transition and experiences have not been unaccompanied by challenges. Alik has been met with some unfounded biases: distrust, prejudice and misinterpreting her to be uneducated because of her Syrian Arabic dialect.
But true to form and undeterred, Alik keeps her eyes on the horizon. She is fascinated by science, but is more interested in entering a field where she can help people. That is why she has chosen Biology as her major, with the intent to practice medicine. Her favorite professor at Haigazian University is Dr. Nadim Hassoun, who serves as Pre-Med advisor. She is amazed at his experience, knowledge and perspective.
Alik expresses enormous gratitude for the FALF Scholarship as “simply AMAZING!” She realizes that with the scholarship, new doors have appeared and her future intentions have a chance for being realized. She could have easily received a Merit-based Scholarship or a Scholarship for Syrian students. But FALF has extra meaning in the word “Leadership.” Supporters of FALF can rest assured that their investment in students like Alik and the 7 other recipients is a strong investment for the future.
WAYS TO GIVE
For more information on how you can support students like Alik and invest in students who will follow Alik’s lead and make an impact on their world in the future, you may contact Dro Abrahamian, Executive Counsel for Advancement at email@example.com or visit Haigazian University’s Ways to Give Page at http://www.haigazian.edu.lb/Giving To HU/Pages/WaysToGive.aspx
To download a copy of Haigazian University’s Case for Support, click on http://www.haigazian.edu.lb/Giving%20To%20HU/Documents/Caseforsupport.pdf
Armenian organizations in North America band together to ensure the success of the film through grassroots efforts
For the first time, a big budget, wide-release feature film—complete with a-list, Hollywood celebrities and a renowned, Academy Award-winning director—will depict the Armenian Genocide. This monumental film, The Promise, will be released in mainstream theaters across the United States and Canada on April 21, marking a major triumph for the Armenian community. Due to the exceptional caliber of the film, it will not be screened privately at community events. Instead, groups are strongly encouraged to go en masse to their local theaters to support the film and help it reach the highest possible box-office sales. For exact dates of the film’s international release, please see the end of this release and continue to check social media.
All Armenians and non-Armenians are urged to support the grassroots efforts leading up to the premiere of the film to ensure its success and encourage the film industry to produce more films about Armenian history. (1) Bring friends and family to the film during its opening weekend. (2) Spread the word about The Promise on social media with the hashtags #KeepThePromise and #ThePromiseTheFilm and invite friends and family to join the campaign. (3) Go to daytime and night screenings of The Promise during its opening week. (4) Review the film online at www.rottentomatoes.com and www.imdb.com as honestly as you see fit.
Produced by the legendary Kirk Kerkorian’s Survival Pictures and directed by Academy Award winner Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), The Promise features an outstanding international cast, including Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Angela Sarafyan, and many more. All proceeds from the film will be donated to non-profit organizations, the first time for a film of this scale.
In the film, it is 1914. As the Great War looms, the vast Ottoman Empire is crumbling. Constantinople (Istanbul)—its once vibrant, multicultural capital—is about to be consumed by chaos. Michael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac) arrives in the cosmopolitan hub as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine to Siroun, his ancestral village in southern Turkey where Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians have lived side by side for centuries. Photo-journalist Chris Meyers (Christian Bale) has come only partly to cover geo-political news. He is mesmerized by his love for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father. When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men, even as Michael hangs on to a promise from his past. After the Turks join the war on the German side, the Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities. Despite their conflicts, everyone must find a way to survive—even as monumental events envelope their lives.
In addition to the all-star cast, acclaimed musician and activist Serj Tankian served as the film’s executive music consultant and contributed a modern rendition of the Armenian folk song, “Sari Siroun Yar,” to the soundtrack. “It’s been an honor to be an impartial ear and eye to the film,” said Tankian. “The best way to counter high budget disinformation campaigns by the Turkish government is to move people with the truth via the arts. I’ve been doing it for years with music and wanted to help do it through film somehow.” The original title song for the film was written and performed by Chris Cornell of the band Soundgarden and the original score was composed by Academy Award winner Gabriel Yared (The English Patient).
In addition to the release in the United States and Canada on April 21, The Promise will also be released in the Middle East (Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, UAE, Yemen) on April 20; in Armenia and Russia on April 27; in the United Kingdom on April 28; in Poland on May 5; in Australia on May 25; in Thailand on June 1; in Spain on June 2; in Belgium on June 14; in the Netherlands on June 15; in Singapore on June 22; in South Africa on June 23 and in Italy on August 24. Please continue to check social media for updates on the film’s release in more countries.
The grassroots campaign to ensure the box-office success of The Promise has been a worldwide effort supported by a joint coalition of Armenian organizations in North America, including: All-Armenian Student Association (All-ASA), Armenia Fund, Armenia Tree Project, Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian Dramatic Arts Alliance, Armenian Catholic Eparchy in the United States & Canada, Armenian Film Foundation, Armenian Gay and Lesbian Association of New York (AGLA NY), Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA), Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), Armenian Missionary Association of Canada (AMAC), Armenian National Committee (ANC), Armenian National Institute (ANI), Armenian Network of America, Armenian Prelacy of Canada, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of the United States, Armenian Students’ Association of America, Arpa Foundation for Film, Music and Art (AFFMA), Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), Constantinople Armenian Relief Society (CARS), Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), Diocese of the Armenian Church of Canada, Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to Canada, Embassy of the Republic of Armenia to the United States, Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society (GALAS), Hamazkayin Educational & Cultural Society of the United States, Hayastan Foundation Canada, Knights and Daughters of Vartan, National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), Office of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in the United States, ONEArmenia, Organization of Istanbul Armenians (OIA), Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada, Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR), Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and Zoryan Institute.
To join the joint effort in North America, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about The Promise, please visit www.survivalpictures.org/the-promise/
To book a local theater to host a large group showing of the film, please email KeepThePromise@agbu.org
While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ Luke 24:36
The year 2017 is going by ever so quickly and both Easter and Spring are suddenly upon us. Easter, the most important date on our religious calendar, means that He has risen. Alleluia!
The power of resurrection is the spring of peace for all Christians. Now more than ever we look to our Savior, Jesus Christ, for peace in the world and for peace in our own lives. If we have faith in His victory over death, we can overcome our troubles, doubts, worries and concerns.
Heeding the call and trusting the power of His resurrection, the Armenian Missionary Association of America continues to spread His peace and love in 24 countries all over the world. We are doing this by helping our brothers and sisters throughout the Middle East who have lost memory of what living in peace is like. We are spreading hope and love to our precious children by providing them with an education and vital health care. We are building churches, community centers and camps where our people can find a little peace, practice their faith and experience fellowship and love.
We hope that you will join us this Easter and support our call to love and serve our God by caring for our brothers and sisters. Your gift, no matter how large or how small, will help us support so many who are in desperate need of our help.
May the victorious Savior continue to bless you and your family throughout this Easter Season. Please join us to spread the words of Jesus and may “Peace be with you.”
Քրիստոս Յարեաւ ի Մեռելոց!
Keep the members of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Alfortville (Paris, France) who are still in shock from a 6:00 am, Sunday arson attack on the Church.
According to reports, a trash bin in front of the Church was deliberately set on fire. Thankfully, firefighters arrived in time to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading. This is the third attack on the Church over the past year, the last one was on March 26th, when stones were thrown against the building causing some damage.
Concerned with the welfare of families of martyred Armenian soldiers, and directed by AMAA Headquarters in Paramus, Harout Nercessian, AMAA Representative in Armenia, and Lusine Ohanyan, Coordinator of AMAA-Armenia’s External Affairs, visited Armenia’s First Deputy Minister of Defense, David Tonoyan.
They discussed AMAA’s cooperation with the Defense Ministry in programs aimed at providing medical and humanitarian assistance to the wounded soldiers; humanitarian assistance and medical equipment AMAA had shipped to Armenia; AMAA’s commitment to financially support the family of martyred Air Force helicopter pilot Sergei Sahakyan; and the renovation of the Norashen home of the martyred conscript Hayk Tevoyan.
AMAA expressed readiness to assist soldiers’ families, in particular those martyred during the four-day war of April 2016.
The Ministry of Defense provided AMAA with a list of martyred soldiers. Staff visited each of these families, both in Armenia and Artsakh. After reviewing each case, children who qualified were placed in AMAA’s Child Sponsorship Program. Nineteen families with various home renovation needs were identified. AMAA appropriated funds and renovation work has already commenced on the homes of these 19 martyred soldiers.
AMAA continues its Karabagh Relief efforts. Lend your support today – make a donation and help make a difference!
One Year Later…
Just this week, on March 28th, Armenian serviceman, Artak Rafaelyan, was killed in the line of duty.
As the one year anniversary of the April 2016 four-day war is upon us, let us continue keeping our thoughts and prayers with the people of Artsakh, the families of our martyred soldiers and our brave men defending the Fatherland. We stand in solidarity with our people, and pray for successful negotiations toward a peaceful resolution.
It is hard to believe, but the crisis in Syria started six years ago. During these six years of fighting, civilians have been heavily affected by the war. Below is a summary update we recently received from Rev. Haroutune Selimian, President of the Armenian Protestant Community in Syria.
When it comes to Aleppo we can say that the situation has improved for everyone. There has been a lot of work toward getting buildings habitable again so that families can return to their homes. There are, of course, many buildings that must be torn down and totally rebuilt.
On March 14th, Water Resources Minister Nabil al-Hassan announced that water had reached the Sleiman al-Halabi station, and from there it will be pumped to residential neighborhoods in Aleppo. Electricity remains the real problem as the neighborhoods in Aleppo receive no more than two hours of electricity a day.
Although the overall security situation in Aleppo is stable, missiles are occasionally launched into our neighborhoods.
The situation for the Churches in Aleppo is at its best since July 2012. In spite of the hardships that our people are experiencing, our churches are still functioning just like before and all school groups are up and running. The eleven churches of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria are: In Aleppo the Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church, the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church, the Armenian Evangelical Martyrs’ Church, Church of Christ, and the Syriac Evangelical Church. In Kessab the four are actively responding to the needs of their communities according to the means at hand as well as the Armenian Evangelical Churches in Damascus and Homs.
The Armenian Evangelical Community as a whole has continued to provide aid to its people in various forms of assistance. As the war has brought about an incredible rate of inflation, the assistance being given by the church is more necessary than ever.
Bethel Polyclinic, which was established to assist people who are in need of medical check-ups, diagnosis and medication for chronic patients, has also continued their services free of charge.
Armiss Conservatory also continues its mission with a highly qualified teaching staff. This year, the Conservatory has accommodated thirty students, who are also members of Bethel Church and also students from Bethel Secondary School. The students learn solfege, piano, violin, guitar and flute.
We thank you so much for praying for us and for the whole country of Syria.
May the Lord Jesus Christ always be glorified in the lives of our churches.
Rev. Haroutune Selimian
President, Armenian Protestant Community in Syria
Despite the trauma our people in Syria have endured these past six years, these updates provide proof that your prayers and generosity have indeed made a difference.
So far, your gifts have provided:
- Food, water, heating and other basic necessities
- Medical assistance
- Educational assistance
- Resettlement in Armenia
You need to have courage to swim against the tide.
By Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO
Growing up in the Middle East, recollection of my conscious life mostly reveals a constant single direction of human migration to the West. It is true that our lives revolved around our insular communities and the notable migrating currents were from within. Not surprisingly, I discovered later in life that currents of indigenous Middle Eastern masses of other faiths and ethnicities also joined the constant Westward migration flow. Communities of (Greater) Syrian origin punctuate landmarks both in Europe and in North and South America.
Oppression, tyranny and persecution of minorities in the Ottoman Empire had long led to a smaller degree of flight to the West. A further splash deep in the history of mankind clearly reveals the constant flow of civilizations from their cradle in the Middle East toward the promising land of opportunities and safer new found territories of the West.
The realized promise of an independent Armenia did not change the direction of the flow. On the contrary, since independence, the Homeland has been one third depopulated losing 48,000 more people to the tide of exodus in 2016 alone (www.aniarc.am ANI Armenian Research Center).
Pursuing a better life, education, freedom or escaping from persecution, tyranny or discrimination, the flow is a going with the tide. Natural, justified and far-sighted it may be, but with the tide.
On Sunday, January 29, 2017, a service, sponsored jointly by the Armenian Missionary Association of America and the Common Global Ministries Board of the United Church of Christ, the successor body of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, commissioned Philadelphia-born Rev. Nishan Bakalian, Pastor of the Armenian Martyrs Congregational Church since 2007 ?, and Maria Bakalian as Missionaries to Beirut, Lebanon. On Tuesday, January 31, the Missionary couple left for the Middle East.
On Monday, January 30, 2017, Jerusalem-born Samuel Chekijian, a successful businessman, longtime resident of Boston, Massachusetts, and member of the Armenian Memorial Church in Watertown, passed away in his self-built residence in Yerevan. He had resettled in Armenia and extensively invested in the Homeland.
What do Rev. and Mrs. Bakalian and Mr. Chekijian have in common?
They all meaningfully exemplify a move against the tide.
The world we know today is undergoing a great deal of distress. Whether personal, ethnic, religious or regional anxiety, sorrow or physical and mental suffering, there is ample pain around that calls for attention and attendance. Driven by the fear of physical violence, discouraged by the lack of opportunities, disillusioned by shattered dreams and unrealized promises, hope is at the risk of extinction. Enter the courageous few, filled with the spirit of the greatest healer, Jesus Christ, His eternal love, ever enduring mercy, unlimited compassion and ultimate sacrifice, ready to move against the tide, injects hope, radiates love, reaches out, creates opportunities and provides comfort and peace.
The Bakalians set sail to a region plagued with violence, uncertainty, economic spiral, turmoil and poverty, a region daunted with fear, intolerance and anguish. Armed with love, knowledge and compassion, they will teach, mentor and advise. They will heal, encourage and sow hope.
Sam loved the Homeland, invested in Armenia, embarked on an ambitious construction project and built a uniquely luxurious residential complex. He created employment and supported families. He loved his Creator, worshiped at the Evangelical Church of Armenia and graciously funded the renovation of the Church Hall at Baghramyan. Sam loved Armenia’s children and generously supported the Avedisian School.
Moving against the tide takes courage, involves risk taking and demands ample sacrifices. It is the hard and narrow road but one which leads to happiness experienced only by the few.
AMAA’s Centennial Campaign also embodies vehicles, endorses missions, empowers imagination, encourages ‘homecoming’ and enables potential moves against the tide. The AMAA’s Centennial Campaign does not build empires or raise monuments. It builds and re-builds lives and resurrects hope.
Please keep Rev. and Mrs. Bakalian and Mr. Chekijian’s loved ones in your prayers and partner with us to push back the tide and make our world and our Homeland a better place worthy of His glory.
At the invitation of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Toronto, Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO, visited the Armenian Evangelical Community of Toronto March 17-20 and had three busy days filled with meetings and activities organized by the Church.
On Friday evening, the Church organized a special event dedicated to the 10th Anniversary of the assassination of Hrant Dink. Church member Hagop Anserlian gave the opening remarks which were followed by a Musical Program presented by violinist Daniel Temnick who offered two pieces by Johan Sebastian Bach−Violin Sonata #1 Siciliano and Presto and Nicolo Paganini–Caprice #10.
Rev. Serop Megerditchian, Pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Church, introduced Mr. Khanjian who spoke about Hrant Dink and Camp Armen – The Roots of Dink’s Struggle. After Mezzo-Soprano Sona Hovsepyan’s musical offering of Groung and Paree Arakeel, the Program ended with the Benediction offered by Rev. Megerditchian. Refreshments followed the lecture in the Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian Fellowship Hall of the Church where the guests had an opportunity to greet Mr. Khanjian.
On Saturday morning, Mr. Khanjian met with the Armenian Missionary Association of Canada’s Board in the Levon Fermanian Library of the Church. The Montreal members of AMAC joined the meeting via Skype.
On Saturday evening, the Church’s Missions Committee organized a fundraising Mission Banquet which took place at Lara’s Restaurant with 150 guests. Mihran Jizmejian, AMAC President, gave the opening remarks and violinist Jonathan Garabedian offered three pieces by Aram Khachadourian. Rev. Megerditchian introduced Keynote Speaker Mr. Khanjian who, with the aid of a video presentation, discussed AMAA’s mission worldwide, especially in Armenia. The Banquet ended with Rev. Megerditchian’s closing remarks and Benediction.
The Sunday morning Worship Service was held with more than 250 in attendance. The theme of Mr. Khanjian’s sermon was “You are the Light of the World.” With a video presentation Mr. Khanjian also spoke about the ministry of the AMAA. The Sunday School of the Church also participated in the Worship Service by singing two hymns. On behalf of the Church, Rev. Megerditchian thanked Mr. Khanjian for his visit and presented him with a torch thanking him and the AMAA for their dedicated ministry to the Armenian communities worldwide.
During the Social Hour, Mr. Khanjian had an opportunity to meet with the congregation and the newcomers from Aleppo, Syria in the Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian Fellowship Hall.
It was a blessed weekend not only for the Armenian Evangelical Church, but also for the whole Armenian Community of Toronto. Those in attendance were very touched by the detailed presentations of the AMAA ministries.
The Armenian Evangelical Church of Toronto
Presents a lecture on
HRANT DINK and CAMP ARMEN
The Roots of Dink’s struggle
by Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO
Friday, March 17, 2017, 8:00 pm
Armenian Evangelical Church of Toronto
Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian Fellowship Hall
2600 14th Avenue Markham, ON L3R 3X1
Refreshments to follow for more info please call the Church at (905) 305-8144
But one thing I know is that things will change, for better or worse. How do I know? I don’t see the change, I’m living the change.
HRANT DINK (1954-2007)
The prominent British journalist, correspondent of the London ‘INDEPENDENT’ in the Middle East, Robert Fisk, described Hrant Dink as the 1,500,001st victim of the Armenian Genocide.
The shock was overwhelming even for Turkish society. So much that a hundred thousand of them walked at the procession of his funeral, carrying signs, banners and placards reading “we are all Hrant Dink,” “we are all Armenians.”
Hrant Dink was a shining star among the students. After contributing to the building of Camp Armen in Tuzla he grew up to take a leadership role in the Gedik Pasa Armenian Evangelical Church after the seizure of the Camp by the Turkish authorities and Guzelian’s arrest and exile.
A study of Hrant Dink’s life reveals that the story of the Tuzla Camp, its creation and its seizure by the Turkish authorities, the childhood labor invested and the earthly heaven (Hrant’s ATLANTIS) created there, left a deep scar on his psyche that went on to be the driving force in his years of struggle for the return of Camp Armen, for justice, fairness, freedom of expression, minority rights and true democracy for all Turkish citizens under Turkish law.
On January 19, 2007 Hrant Dink was slain.
The 17 year old teenager assassin, Ogun Samast, was the trigger man. But the murder was committed by the forces of darkness, by Turkish penal code 301, by Deep State in the Republic of Turkey.
Hrant’s struggle partially paid off. On October 27, 2015 Camp Armen was returned to the Gedik Pasa Armenian Evangelical Church in Istanbul.
But 101 years after the Genocide and 10 years after Dink’s assassination the Turkish State still lies in a deep coma of denial.
We share Dink’s values of justice, fairness, freedom of expressions and true democracy in the land he justifiably called home.
We thank God for the legacy and bow to the memory of the martyred hero.
We firmly believe that his blood was not shed in vain and his voice will never be silenced!
AMAA Executive Director/CEO
Hrant Dink’s 11/05/06 Address United Armenian Congregational Church, Hollywood, CA
Տարեգլուխ է կրկին:
Մարդկային կեանքի եւ պատմութեան անիւի հոլովոյթով, անհատապէս եւ ազգովին տարի մը եւս բոլորած ըլլալու խոկումի եւ խորհրդածութեան հայելիին առջեւ կը գտնուինք: Հետեւաբար անյարիր չէ մտքերը հրապարակաւ արտայայտել: Քննարկման անհրաժեշտութեան հրամայականը մտքի մարզանք չէ այլ յենած տարուայ մը եւս փոrձաութեան վրայ, ազգային ուղեւորութեան ճանապարհին յարկ եղած բարեփոխումներու ձգտումին գիտակցութիւն է:
Աշխարհագրականօրէն Հայ ժողովուրդի պատմութեան այս հանգրուանի ծանօթ երեք յենարաններն են՝ Հայաստանի Հանրապետութիւնը, Արցախի Հանրապետութիւնը եւ տարաշխարհով տարտղնուած Սփիւռքահայութիւնը:
Ահաւասիկ համառօտ ակնարկ մը սոյն յենարաններուն:
Ա. 2016ը Հայաստանի երրորդ հանրապետութեան անկախութեան քսանհինգամեակն էր: Պատշաճօրէն՝ հայրենիքի եւ սփիւռքի տարածքին տպաւորիչ զինուորական տողանցքով եւ բազմաթիւ փայլուն հանդիսութիւններով յիշատակուեցաւ պատմականօրէն մանուկ այս հանրապետութեան տարեդարձը: Սեպտեմբեր 21ի երեկոյան Երեւանի մարզահամալիրի փառաւոր հանդիսութեան, ՀՀ Նախագահի արտասանած խօսքը անզուգական նկարագրութիւն մըն էր այն իտեալ հայրենիքին զոր բոլորս կը փաղձանք: Հայաստանի քաղաքացիին իրաւունքներու եւ ազատութիւններու նկարագրութիւնը մարմին փշաքաղող դասագրքային շարահիւսութիւն էր: Իրականացնելու համար ժողովրդավար եւ զարգացած երկրի մը մէջ անհրաժեշտութիւն եղող ընկերային արդարութիւնը եւ տնտեսական բարեկեցութիւնը, կը մնայ հաւաքական ջանքերով եւ պահանջքներով իրականացնել բոլոր այդ գեղեցիկ իրաւունքներու կիրարկումը երկրին մէջ: Երկրի նոր վարչապէտը այդ իրաւունքներու ցանկէն անպայման օրինակ մը ունենալու է իր գրասեղանին վրայ: Քաղաքացին, պայքարելու եւ պահանջելու հարկանդրանքին տակ գտնուելու չէ վայելելու համար սահամանադրականօրէն իրը եղող որեւէ իրաւունք: Հայրենիքի պաշտպանութեան համար սահմանները հսկող եւ կամ իր արիւնը յեղող քաղաքացին տէր է այդ իրաւունքին: Նմանապէս իր հարկերը կանոնաւորապէս վճառող քաղաքացիին բնական իրաւունքն է հեզասահ կերպով վայելել մարդկային իրաւունքներու գեղեցիկ փունջը զոր երկրի սահմանադրութիւնը ապահոված: Այս իրաւունքներու ծիրին մէջ է նաեւ օրէնքի արդար եւ հաւասար կիրարկումը բոլոր քաղաքացիներու վրայ առանց խտրականութեան զոր կաշառակերութեան, փտածութեան եւ ինքնահարստացման դէմ պայքարի առաջնահերթ միջոցն է:
Հայրենիքի հողին վրայ գտնուող ամէնաթանկագին հարստութիւնը երկրի քաղաքացին է: Անոր գոհունակութիւնը, պատիւն ու արժանապատուութիւնը երաշխիքն է հայրենիքի յարատեւութեան, գոյութեան եւ զարգացման: Պետութեան կողքին, հզօր հայրենիքի մը ապահով սահմաններուն մէջ գոհունակ քաղաքացիութեան մը ապահովումը նաեւ իմ եւ քու պարտաւորութիւնն է, մեր հաւաքական յանձնառութիւնը եւ աշխատանքը զոր մեզմէ կը պահանջուի առանց պայմանի, առեւտուրի կամ վարձատրութեան:
Ուրիշ ելք չկա’յ:
Բ. 2016ին Արցախի Հանրապետութիւնը եւս յիշատակեց իր անկախութեան քսանհինգամեակը: Հակառակ տօնախմբութեան մթնոլորտին եւ ոգիին, Արցախը՝ Ապրիլեան քառօրեայ պատերազմի փորձառութեամբ նորոգուած ցաւով կը մնայ խոցելի: Արեւելեան ճակատի ոսոխին անակնկալ եւ վայրագ յարձակումին պատճառած աղետը երկար դարմանումի կարօտ է: Ամէնափոքր վնասն եւ մէկ զոհն իսկ շատ է մեզի համար: Համահայկական ընդոստ նեցուկը թէեւ մխիթարական է, սակայն թշնամիին նենգ եւ դաւադիր դիրքը կը մնայ լուրջ սպառնալիք: Արցախը մեր անսակարկելի ճակատն է, արժանի ամէն զոհողութեան եւ նեցուկի: Արցախը մեր Աւարայրն ու Սարտարապատն է: Արցախեան ճակատը, Հայաստանի գոյութեան, հզօրութեան եւ գերիշխանութեան գրաւականն է, անսասան թումբը եւ անխախտելի գիծը: Մեր բոլորին բնական եւ տրամաբանական ակնկալութիւնն է որ Պետութիւն եւ իշխանութիւն ի Հայաստան եւ Արցախ պէտք եղած բարեփոխութիւնները կատարելագործած ըլլան Ապրիլեան ճակատումի որպէս արդիւնք ի յայտ եկած եւ սերտուած բացթողումներու փոռձարութենէն:
Գիտակից ենք թէ վերջերս Արցախեան տագնապը լուծելու փորձերը աշխուժացած իսկ ճնշումները հայկական կողմին վրայ ուժեղացած են: Ճշմարիտ է նաեւ թէ սերունդներ շարունակ պատերազմի սպառնալիքին տակ պահելը անփաղձալի է: Այդ վիճակը կրնայ ժողովուրդի մը ստեղծագործելու եւ արդիւնաբերելու կարողականութիւնը ջլատել իսկ անոր Աստուածատուր խաղաղ եւ արժանավայել կեանք մը ապրելու արդար իրաւունքը զլանալ: Ամէն սակարկութիւն սակայն եւ ակնկալուած զիջում ազգային ռազմագիտական անկիւնէ սահմանուած գին մը ունի որը կարելի չէ խախտել: Մեր երկրի ղեկավարները պարտին գիտնալ զոհողութեան եւ զիջումի այդ սահմանը եւ այդ գիտակցութեամբ մտնեն բանակցութեան տաղաւարը: Խաղաղութեան ճանապարհը սուրբ է եւ փշոտ: Հարկ է սրբութեամբ մօտենալ այդ ճանապարհին վրայ մեր կարողականութեան համոզումին եւ կարելիութիւններու եւ միջոցարումներու ինքնավստահութեան: Արցախեան ազատագրութեան ճանապարհը որոգուած է նահատակ ազատամարտիկներու արիւնով, որեւէ լուծում այդ զոհողութեան արդար գինը նժարի վրայ դնելու է:
Հաւաքաբար պատրաստ պէտք է ըլլանք տագնապի լուծման արդար գինը պարտադրող լուծումին:
Ուրիշ ելք չկա’յ:
Գ. Սփիւռքահայութեան կազմաւորման, հաւաքական կարողականութեան, հայապահապանումի, ֆիզիքական գոյութեան պայքարի, ստեղծուած նոր գաղութներու, լեզուի եւ մշակոյթի պահպանումի, հայրենիքի եւ Արցախի նկատմամբ նուիրագործուած միաձոյլ ճակատ մը կազմելու եւ այլ մտահոգութիւններու տուն տուող հարցերը բազմաթիւ են: Թաւալող տագնապներ՝ որոնք կը ժառանգուին սերունդէ սերունդ:
Հինգ տարի է սակայն որ հայ ժողովուրդը կ’ապրի եւ կը դիմագրաւէ Սփիւռքահայութեան արմատները խախտող եւ գոյութեան սպառնացող յետ Եղեռնեան ամէնամեծ Ազգային Աղէտը: Սուրիահայութեան տագնապին, Սփիւռքահայ Մայր Գաղութի անդամահատումին եւ Սուրիահայ հոծ գաղթականներու անյոյս եւ անմխիթար վիճակին՝ մենք հաւանաբար հարկ եղած լրջութեամբ չմօտեցանք: Այո՝ գոյութիւն քաշքշող սնունդ մը կարողացանք հայթայթել կրակի տակ գտնուողներուն: Գորովագին օժանդակութեամբ թեթեւցուցինք Հայրենիք ապաստան գտնող անկողմնացոյց գաղթականներու ցաւը: Սակայն չկրցանք մեծ պատկերը տեսնել եւ գաղութի քայքայումէն փխած նուազագոյն օգուտը քաղել: Որովհետեւ՝ Սուրիահայութեան տագնապէն փխած բոլոր չարիքներուն դիմաց միայն մէկ մխիթարութիւն եւ ազգային շահ կրնայ ըլլալ՝ անոնց հայրենիք հաստատուիլը եւ հայրենիքը մարդուժով, տաղանդով, մասնագիտութեամբ եւ կարողականութեամբ հարստացնելը: Սուրիան եւ Սուրիահայութիւնը, փրկութեան կարօտ ոգեղէն Արեւմտահայաստանն է եւ մենք եր՞բ որոշեցինք պատմութեան կորսուած էջերուն յանձնել Արեւմտահայաստանը:
Վտանգի նուազումի եւ յարաբերական ապահովութեան վերադարձի մշուշոտ յոյսեր կ’երեւան Սուրիական հորիզոնի վրայ: Հալէպը մանաւանդ, ազատագրուելու վերջին հանգրուանի վրայ ըլլալ կը թուի: Մենք երախտապարտ ենք Սուրիական հայրենիքին՝ որ դար մը շարունակ ապահով ապաստան եւ հովանի պարգեւեց առաջին ցեղասպանութենէն փրկուած հայու բեկորներուն եւ այդ բեկորները իրենց կարգին, երկրագունդի վրայ արտակարգօրէն ծաւալած Սփիւռքահայութեան զարթօնքի աւիշն ու արիւնը հանդիսացան:
Այսօր այդ գաղութի զաւակներէն ոմանք, հաւատարիմ նոր հայրենիքին, հաստատ եւ գիտակից կերպով թերեւս փափաքին շարունակել իրենց կեանքը, վերջ ի վերջոյ օր մը, խելայեղօրէն զարգացումի, վերաշինութեան եւ վերականգնումի ենթակայ ծննդավայրի մը մէջ: Եւ մենք, յարգելով անոնց կամքն ու որոշումը, մղուած մարդկային եւ ազգային պարտաւորութիւններէ, պարտինք սատարել անոնց վերականգնումին: Ժողովուրդի մը կեանքին մէջ սակայն, մի քանի սերունդի բաժանումով անկողմնացոյց երկու բռնագաղթ անկրկնելի մնալու է եւ ուրեմն հարկ է հաւաքուիլ հարազատ հողամասի մը վրայ ուր աւելի տրամաբնօրէն ապահովելի է աղետի անկրկնելիութիւնը:
Հայ Սփիւռքը ընդհանրապէս եւ Սուրիահայ Սփիւռքը յատկապէս հարկ է հաւաքել ապահով, հիւրընկալ եւ գուրգուրալից հայրենիքի մը հողին վրայ:
Ուրիշ ելք չկա՛յ:
Դեկտեմբեր 31, 2016
Քրիստոս ծնաւ եւ յայտնեցաւ
Ձեզի, մեզի, Մեծ Աւետիս
Paramus, NJ – In the fall of 2015, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), as part of its Syria Relief efforts, established the Syria LifeLine program to help willing individuals and families who are victims of the war in Syria to resettle in Armenia. These families had little or no money. The AMAA provided them with all the financial and logistical assistance for ground transportation to Lebanon and subsequently a flight to the safety of the Homeland. To date, through AMAA’s Syria LifeLine, 113 Syrian Armenians have arrived at Zvartnotz Airport in Yerevan, where they were welcomed by AMAA-Armenia staff and social workers and escorted to temporary homes and shelters.
AMAA’s Syria Relief efforts are directed to four areas:
- Aid to those who wish to stay in Syria and need assistance
- In conjunction with Armenian Evangelical churches in the communities, aid to those who have found refuge outside the borders of Syria, such as Lebanon and Canada
- Help to those who are forced to leave Syria and willfully wish to relocate in the Homeland
Help settle all those who have arrived in the Homeland.
AMAA’s Relief Programs in Syria provide:
- Food, water, heating and other basic necessities
- Medical assistance
- Educational assistance
- Resettlement in Armenia
AMAA’s Relief Programs in Armenia provide:
- Temporary housing and rent subsidies
- Medical and Dental assistance
- Infant formula
- Entrepreneurship training and job placement support
To coordinate its relief efforts In Armenia, the AMAA cooperates with the Ministry of Diaspora, the Aleppo Compatriotic Union, the Center for Coordination of SyrArmenians’ issues, and the social services departments of the Administrative Districts of the City of Yerevan.
To date, the AMAA has provided over two million dollars for its Syria Relief efforts around the globe. Financial assistance is still needed to ensure our continuous efforts to reach out and help those who are still in Syria and those who are struggling daily to settle in Armenia and re-establish their lives. Your caring gift, no matter how large or small, will help provide much needed relief to these families who have undergone so much suffering and unrest. They are also in need of your daily prayers.
Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան “Syria LifeLine” Ծրագիրը կը հովանաւորէ 113 Սուրիահայերու տեղափոխումը դէպի Հայրենիք
Բըրէմըս, Նիւ Ճըրզի – 2015-ի աշնան, Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութիւնը (ԱՀԱԸ), Սուրիահայերու Օգնութեան իր ծրագրի ոլորտին, ստեղծեց Syria LifeLine ծրագիրը, օժանդակելու բոլոր անոնց, որոնք Սուրիոյ պատերազմին պատճառով, կամովին կը փափաքէին հաստատուիլ Հայրենիքի մէջ։ Այս ընտանիքները կարիքը ունէին նիւթական օգնութեան իրականացնելու իրենց փափաքն ու երազը։ ԱՀԱԸ-ը օժանդակեց այս ընտանիքներուն նիւթապէս, ինչպէս նաեւ մատուցեց յատուկ կարգադրութիւններ անոնց ցամաքի ճամբով դէպի Լիբանան ուղեւորութեան եւ ապա ապահովելով դէպի Մայր Հայրենիք չուերթը։ Մինչեւ օրս, ԱՀԱԸ-ի սոյն ծրագրին միջոցով 113 Սուրիահայեր արդէն հասած են Երեւանի Զուարթնոց Օդակայանը, ուր շատեր դիմաւորուած են ԱՀԱԸ-ի Հայաստանի մասնաճիւղի պաշտօնեաներուն կողմէ եւ առաջնորդուած ժամանակաւոր բնակարաններ կամ հանրակացարաններ։
ԱՀԱԸ-ի Սուրիահայերու Օգնութեան ջանքերը ուղղուած են՝
- Օժանդակութիւն բոլոր անոնց որոնք կառչած կը մնան Սուրիական հայրենիքին
- Հայ Աւետարանական Եկեղեցիներու հետ համատեղ՝ տուեալ համայնքներու մէջ նիւթապէս եւ
- բարոյապէս օգնել բոլոր անոնց՝ որոնք ապաստան գտած են Սուրիոյ սահմաններէն դուրս այլ
- երկիրներու մէջ՝ ինչպէս Լիբանան եւ Գանատա
- Օժանդակել բոլոր անոնց, որոնք անապահով պայմաններու բերումով կը ձգենՍուրիան եւ կը
- փափաքին հաստատուիլ Հայրենիքի մէջ
- Օժանդակել բոլոր անոնց, որոնք ապաստան գտած են Հայրենիքի մէջ
ԱՀԱԸ-ի Բարեսիրական Ծրագիրը Սուրիոյ մէջ կ՚ապահովէ
- Սնունդ, ջուր, ջեռուցում եւ այլ հիմնական կարիքներ
- Բժշկական ծառայութիւն
- Վերաբնակեցում Հայաստանի մէջ
ԱՀԱԸ-ի Բարեսիրական Ծրագիրը Հայաստանի մէջ կ՚ապահովէ
- Ժամանակաւոր բնակարաններ եւ տան վարձք
- Բժշկական եւ ատամնաբուժական ծառայութիւն
- Մանուկներու յատուկ սնունդ
- Այլեւայլ կարիքներ
- ձեռնարկատիրութեան դասընթացքներ եւ աշխատանքի տեղաւորման աջակցութիւն
Համակարգելու համար Սուրիահայութեան ուղղուած իր բարեսիրական ծրագիրները Հայաստանի մէջ, ԱՀԱԸ-ը կը համագործակցի Սփիւռքի Նախարարութեան, թաղապետարաններու, Սիրիահայերի Հիմնախնդիրները Համակարգող Կեդրոնի եւ ՀԱԼԷՊ Հայրենակցական Բարեսիրական Միութեան հետ։
Ցայսօր՝ ԱՀԱԸ-ը տրամադրած է աւելի քան երկու միլիոն տոլար Սուրիահայերու Օգնութեան իր ծրագիրներուն։ Հակառակ Հալէպի ազատագրման եւ տեղացող մահաբեր ռումբերու անմիջական վտանգի խաբանման, Սուրիահայ գաղութը մեր սիրոյ եւ հոգածութեան կարիքը ունի դիմանալու երկրի մէջ տիրող տնտեսական սուր տագնապին եւ պատրաստուելու վերանորոգման աշխատանքներու մեկնարկին։ Օժանդակութեան կարիքը ունին նաեւ բոլոր անոնք, որոնք տեղափոխուած են Հայաստան, ուր կը պայքարին վերահաստատելու իրենց կեանքը Հայրենիքի մէջ։ Մեր բոլորին նիւթական աջակցութիւնը, հոգ չէ թէ մեծ կամ փոքր, մեծապէս պիտի նպաստէ բոլոր անոնց, որոնք տակաւին կարիքը ունին մեր աջակցութեան՝ ընտանիքներ եւ անհատներ՝ որոնք խիզախօրէն դիմագրաւած են տագնապը եւ տակաւին կը շարունակեն տառապիլ՝ քաղաքական անկայունութիւններու պատճառով։ Վերջապէս, մեր եղբայրները եւ քոյրերը կարիքը ունին նաեւ մեր ամէնօրեայ աղօթքներուն։ Առատաձեռնօրէն շարունակենք նպաստել Սուրիահայ Մայր Գաղութի զաւակներուն՝ կանգուն պահելու համար Եղեռնէն յարութիւն առնող մեր ժողովուրդի առաջին ապաստանարանը։
This Christmas celebrate your connections to the AMAA. Make a gift to remember a loved one, commemorate a special occasion or honor a special person in your life.
As you plan your charitable Christmas giving there are many ways you can support the AMAA. We encourage you to visit our Giving section for the various options.
In the history of the world it is known that the greatest gift ever given is one which is still celebrated today, well over 2,000 years later. Celebrating the birth of Jesus, the light who came into the world, homes are prepared to be filled with love and laughter among family and friends. But for countless individuals, young and old, all over the world, their homes remain unlit and cold.
For many, joy stems from a belief that through faith trouble does not last. Through some of our own experiences, and those of our ancestors, faith encourages us to persevere and experience His blessings of renewal, finding the oasis after many days of having walked through the desert. Faith is the anchor to the cycle of life, knowing that once the long hours of the night’s darkness pass there is hope knowing sunrise will break on the horizon.
It is to situations like this that we are called. The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) remains a beacon of light, carrying forth the promise of joy and hope to those who need to be uplifted. Your support to our annual Christmas appeal is instrumental. Every dollar received is one more student to whom the AMAA can offer a quality education, one more family the AMAA helps leave behind the destruction of Syria and onward to a new life, one more villager provided a livelihood, and one more individual who receives the Good News.
Help us distribute the gifts of love, joy and hope to the individuals served through our programs and services. May we be reminded of our one true hope, as God’s love was revealed among us ”
He sent His one and only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9) We all have much to celebrate this Season because of God’s extravagant love. May we continue to be His messengers to all those in need.
May God bless you and your family during this Christmas season.
Քրիստոս ծնաւ եւ յայտնեցաւ. ձեզի, մեզի Մեծ Աւետիս!
Krisdos dzenav yev haydnetzav, tsezee, mezee Medz Avedis!
(Christ is born and is revealed, good tidings to you and to us!)
AMAA Executive Director/CEO
The most positive outcome is that drinking water is in the taps since 2012!
In spite of the mentioned developments, shells continue to fall in western Aleppo and especially in the predominantly Christian and non-Christian neighborhoods of Ferkan, Jabriye, Seif Aldawle, Azizieh, Telephone Hawai, Maysalun and Halab Jdide districts.
We are praying for an end to this war and that we will continue to be able to live together as Syrians and not as people belonging to a certain community with little contact with other communities. As Christian believers we need to work on this and continue to be open to all others. We were all created in the image of God.
Rev. Haroutune Selimian, President
Armenian Protestant Community in Syria
Saturday, December 17th at Bloomingdale’s Glendale & South Coast Plaza, CA
In remembrance, we pay tribute to the thousands who perished on that fateful day, 28 years ago, when the northern regions of Armenia shook at 11:41 am from a devastating earthquake.
We thank God for the ability to rebuild and redevelop the affected regions and continue working toward a full recovery. On the occasion of this anniversary, we present AMAA Gyumri Office Manager Mr. Karen Manukyan’s thoughts and reflections, as one who survived this natural disaster.
Today, we’re back on our feet; the devastated towns and villages are lively and vivacious, we hang on to life, continue to create and move ahead. The Lord is our rock and fortress, we trust in Him.
1988 թ… Հայաստանի Հանրապետությունը թևակոխում էր մի ծանր ժամանակաշրջան, պայքարում էր իր փոքր եղբոր՝ Լեռնային Ղարաբաղի անկախության ու ժողովրդի ազատագրման համար: Փորձում էր ինքնուրույնություն ձեռք բերել անծայրածիր թվացող հզոր պետությունների կողքին: Եվ ահա 1988թ., դեկտեմբերի 7, ժամը 11:41, թվում է սովորական ձմեռային կիսացուրտ օր, մարդիկ տարված իրենց առօրյա հոգսերով ապրում են. մեկն իր փոքրիկին տարել է նախակրթարան ու շտապում է աշխատանքի, մյուսներն արդեն պատրաստվում են ընդմիջման գնալ, շատ դպրոցականներ սպասում են, թե երբ է զրնգալու այդքան սպասված դասամիջոցի զանգը, որն այդպես էլ չհնչեց, շատ երիտասարդներ քննություններ են հանձնում բարձրագույն ուսումնական հաստատություններում, շատերը սպասում են, թե երբ են տուն վերադառնալու և ընտանիքի անդամների հետ իրենց տաքուկ հյուրասենյակներում ճաշելու և համեղ զրույց ծավալելու օրվա ընթացքի շուրջ: Բայց ավաղ, 1988թ. դեկտեմբերի 7-ին Շիրակի և Լոռու մարզի բնակիչները զրկվեցին համեղ զրույցից, զրկվեցին իրենց բնակարաններից, զրկվեցին իրենց ընտանիքներից, զրկվեցին իրենց ամենաթանկ և հարազատ մարդկանցից, զրկվեցին երազանքներից:
Armenian Children’s Milk Fund Continues to Make a Lifelong Impact
When it comes to choosing the best source of nutrition for an infant, it is always an individual journey. The Armenian Children’s Milk Fund has assisted thousands of families with their individual circumstances. Purchasing formula can quickly become a financial hardship and the ACMF is committed to helping to ease this burden by providing monthly allotments or on an as-needed basis.
With the support of caring members, such as you, the AMAA can sustain this special program and continue giving a gift of love which lasts a lifetime.
Make Your Gift of Love Today
And Help Give Infants a Healthy Start to Life
Support the Armenian Children’s Milk Fund program at the AMAA. A gift of $25 will feed one infant for one month; $300 will feed a child for one year.
Checks can be made payable to the Armenian Missionary Association of America and sent to: AMAA 31 W. Century Road, Paramus, NJ 07652. memo: ACMF
AMAA's Boston area Orphan and Child Care Committee members
On September 29, the exquisite Wellesley Country Club was the setting for the AMAA Boston Area Orphan and Child Care Committee’s 25th Anniversary In The Spirit of Giving Gala.
Committee Chair Michele Simourian proudly welcomed the largest crowd ever for this event. The elegant dining room was decorated with tables all in gold and white, lit by softly gleaming chandeliers, and bedecked with flowers. Esteemed national Co-Chair of the Orphan and Child Care Committee Joyce Stein then inspired guests with her very personal memories of the children and families who have been helped over the years by the AMAA.
Following a delicious dinner, Committee member Joyce Janjigian introduced talented celebrity guest auctioneer and WBZ and WCCO radio talk show host Jordan Rich, who kept the laughter flowing. Among the items auctioned were tickets to the Boston Pops Christmas, the Boston Ballet Nutcracker, a tour of the State House with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, lunch with County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, Bruins and Red Sox tickets, and exciting hotel stays. The wine pull delighted the vast majority, and quite a few lucky ladies left the event eager to wear their Armenian silk scarves designed by Anet.
The event closed with a heartfelt thanks to all the Committee members who were presented with gifts of beautiful Armenian artwork and elegant beaded scarves. These items were donated by the family of an Armenian survivor and orphan, who like so many, truly value and appreciate the continuing efforts of the AMAA Orphan and Child Care Committee.
Below is the most recent update the AMAA has received from Rev. Haroutune Selimian, President of the Armenian Protestant Community in Syria. We ask that you continue to keep our brothers and sisters in your prayers.
Since the month of April 2016, Aleppo has been going through a hellish war, which just seems to be getting worse and worse.
I’m writing this, as we see shells continue falling on civilian areas where there is not a single gun pointing at anybody. This has been the case for long and we have been through far too many funerals and seen too many people leave for safer areas. Five days ago the shelling didn’t stop for a minute and we actually sent all our students back to their homes as the schools were being targeted.
With the continuous aid from the West the ‘anti-government forces’ are getting more and more sophisticated weapons, although that area is supposed to be under siege. We wonder!
Latest developments: Syrian Army and rebels were locked in fierce clashes Sunday on the western edges of Aleppo, where 38 civilians have been killed in two days of opposition rocket fire. Among those killed over the two-day period were 14 children.
Another 250 civilians have been wounded in heavy bombardment by anti-government factions since Friday morning. The barrage is part of a major assault by rebels and allied jihadists to break a three-month government siege of Aleppo’s Eastern half, where more than 250,000 people still live. Rebel fighters have launched hundreds of rockets and shells onto the Western districts from positions inside the city and on its Western edges.
The rebels were trying to push East from the Dhaiyet al-Assad district –most of which they seized in the first day of the onslaught –towards Hamdaniyeh. (Hamdaniyeh is a regime-held district directly adjacent to opposition controlled Eastern neighborhoods.)
Fighting lasted all night and into Sunday morning, with air strikes and artillery fire along the western battlefronts heard even in the eastern districts.
Plumes of smoke could be seen snaking up from the city’s skyline. The offensive has seen an estimated 1,500 opposition fighters mass on the Western edges of Aleppo since Friday. They include local Aleppo rebels and reinforcements from Idlib province to the West, among them the jihadist Fateh al-Sham Front, which changed its name from Al-Nusra Front after breaking ties with Al-Qaeda.
We stick to our faith and work for peace in our country and a future for our people. We continue to pray that the violence will cease and the reconciliation process will start.
We want to continue to live in this wonderful country and we want to see the country re-established as soon as possible. We love Syria! We do not want to see the country destroyed. We believe that we can build a new Aleppo and a new Syria on a strong foundation. We continue to hope and pray.
We look forward to seeing the world cry out for peace in the Middle East. We certainly need one!
Rev. Haroutune Selimian, President
Armenian Protestant Community in Syria
Syrian ‘Lifeline’ Families Arriving in Yerevan
The AMAA’s focal point rests in our ‘Syria Lifeline’ to help families resettle in Armenia.
We have resettled dozens of Syrian Armenian families to the safety of the Homeland and continue to do so.
AMAA Sponsorship Program at the Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School
Milena’s favorite subject at school is math. She is a first grader attending the Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School. Coming to school every day is a joy for her.
Her father, a deliveryman, suffers from severe joint pain and is unable to fully provide for the family of seven who all live in a partially built one floor home, which is in need of extensive renovations. Her mother is unemployed and is the primary caretaker of the children and grandparents.
Constructed in the impoverished sector of Yerevan (Malatya-Sepastya), the School provides free education to 368 students in grades 1-11 and 50 kindergarteners. In June 2017 the School will be graduating its first class of eleventh graders bound for University or other higher education.Over the years, the school has won multiple academic awards, a testament to its excellence in education. Noteworthy recent accomplishments include: four students placing second in the 10th Chess Olympiad for Armenian schoolchildren, essay of Zaven Antonyan (9th grade) was selected and sent to the Universal Postal Union in a competition of essays titled Write a letter to you at the age of 45 and the Avedisian School hosting a European Youth Parliament session.
Clockwise from middle left to right: Joseph and Joyce Stein, Sona Khanjian and AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, ROA Ambassador Grigor Hovhannissian, AMAA President, Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, Haigazian University Trustee Chair, Dr. Ani Darakjian, founding President of Haigazian University Honoree Rev. Dr. John and Mrs. Inge Markarian
AMAA 97th ANNUAL MEETING BANQUET: FAITHFUL TO OUR LEGACY
After a few days of 97th Annual Meeting related activities, hosted by the Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church in Havertown, PA, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) held its 97th Annual Meeting Banquet on Saturday, October 22nd, honoring three distinguished individuals: Albert Momjian, Esq., former President of the AMAA (posthumously), Honorable Set Momjian, former US Representative to the United Nations and Rev. Dr. John Markarian, founding President of Haigazian University.
Leading the program, Master of Ceremonies, Mark A. Momjian, Esq. brought a unique sense of humor and warmth to the event, welcoming the nearly 200 guests and acknowledging the legacy each honoree and the AMAA has left over the past 97 years throughout the world. Special video presentations were made, providing a glimpse of the very full lives of each honoree. Another video, produced by Tina Stein Segel, highlighted one of the AMAA’s newer ministries, the ‘Shogh Day Center’ program the AMAA runs in Armenia which illustrated its work in action.
The Honorable ROA Ambassador Grigor Hovhannissian made a special presentation, encouraging the efforts of the AMAA to continue and he warmly recognized another pillar of the community, Ms. Wilma Cholakian, Administrative Dean at Haigazian University from 1985-1995.
Throughout the evening, musical entertainment was provided by the very lovely and gifted soprano Anush Avetisyan who performed Armenian and classical opera pieces.
AMAA President Dr. Nazareth Darakjian and Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO thank Rev. Nishan Bakalian, Committee Co-chairs Thomas Momjian, Esq. and Eileen Chopourian Stephey, Ed.D, Committee Members and all delegates of the Armenian Evangelical Churches, Unions, Armenian Evangelical World Council, AMAA Committees and affiliated organizations for their hard work and support in making this another successful and memorable affair!
Benefiting from Rev. Haroutune Selimian’ s visit to Paramus, NJ, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) organized an event on October 26, 2016 at the Armenian Presbyterian Church in Paramus, NJ to hear updates on Aleppo.
Rev. Selimian is the President of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria and Pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church in Aleppo.
During the five-year war, which continues to be in escalation mode, Rev. Selimian has been with his flock suffering together the hardship and supporting them morally and spiritually every day.
Rev. Berj Gulleyan, Pastor of the Armenian Presbyterian Church, opened the evening with a prayer.
In his opening remarks, Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA, noted that the Western mainstream media recently hyped the reporting of the agony of the 250,000 Syrians living in Aleppo’s East side under the control of extremists. The media however ignored the five-year plight of the 1,250,000 people under government control who suffer from the daily barrages of rockets and mortars with no running water and no power.
Mr. Khanjian noted “now that we know ‘Where is Aleppo’ and ‘What is Aleppo’ it may be time to ask the question ‘How is Aleppo, all of Aleppo?’” He mentioned the continuous financial help that the AMAA has been extending to the Armenian community in Aleppo since the economic machine stopped because of the conflict.
He added that for those Syrian Armenians who are willing and unable, the AMAA has introduced the ‘Syria Lifeline’ program which manages their move and covers all transportation costs to the Homeland. Mr. Khanjian commended Rev. Selimian’s courage and sacrifice daily risking his life shepherding the flock in the divided war torn city.
A video followed the presentation. The first part depicted ‘before and after’ pictures of institutions, structures, buildings, Armenian churches and schools in Aleppo, Kessab and Der Zor which show the horrible destruction. This part of the video also showed pictures of many Armenian victims of the war.
The second part was an illustration of the fervent life of the faithful at Sunday Church services, Sunday schools, children’s choir, youth groups and ladies’ guild activities as well as Kindergarten, Elementary and Secondary students in classrooms and at leisure. The video concluded with pictures of social services; food and water distribution, household essentials, cooking gas, clothing and shoes, monetary subsidies to families in need, Christmas and Easter packages, pajamas and toys to children and the Bethel Polytechnic, family visitations by the pastor, visitation to the Armenian old aged home, the orphanage, etc.
Rev. Selimian then spoke and reminded the guests that this is not the first time that the Armenian nation has endured a catastrophe like this. He said these experiences make people stronger in their faith and get closer to each other
He stated that without the help of the AMAA, none of the good shown in the video would happen. Because of the AMAA aid, institutional structural damage is immediately repaired, teachers are paid their full salary and bonuses to cover currency devaluation and the children’s’ tuition is paid.
Rev. Selimian elaborated on all the programs that were shown in the video. He stated that Christians believe that all people are created with the image of God. With this conviction some help is also distributed to local neighbors who suffer under the circumstances. He said ministers extend a shoulder for people to cry on, visit families of victims and perform funeral after funeral. Rev. Selimian expressed confidence that someday we shall see the Armenian churches rebuilt with the return of peace as there is always the hope of sunrise after darkness.
Mr. Khanjian ended the evening stressing that the vibrant and peaceful oasis amidst the desert of death and destruction in Aleppo is only achieved through the grace of God. He appealed to the audience to continue their steadfast support of the Armenian community in Aleppo. He said, “It is our spiritual, national and humanitarian duty to do so.”
Following Rev. Gulleyan’s closing prayer a reception followed.
The AMAA is thankful to all those who responded to Mr. Khanjian’s call for support; $12,000 was raised for needy Syrian Armenian families. A special thank you to George Khorozian, who donated $10,000 which was raised in honor of his 70th birthday.
Come and Learn How Aleppo is Coping
Wednesday, October 26th
Rev. Haroutune Selimian is the President of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria and has lived through the Syrian crisis for the past five years.
Rev. Selimian is the courageous leader shepherding the flock, injecting hope and overlooking the safety and well-being of the community.
His seat is in Aleppo, the crucified war torn city, center of worldwide attention and cradle of the vibrant Syrian Armenian community, descendants of the survivors of the Genocide in 1915.
All members and friends welcome – please share and extend invitation to any and all who are interested!
Rev. Haroutune Selimian
President of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria
CHILD AND ORPHAN CARE COMMITTEE HONORED
By Joyce Abdulian & Phyllis Hamo
On Saturday, October 8 at the Jonathan Club of Los Angeles, more than 300 guests gathered to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Child and Orphan Care Committee of the Armenian Missionary Association of America.
Co-Chairs Gary Phillips and Jack Muncherian welcomed the audience and introduced Master of Ceremonies Paul Kalemkiarian, Jr. who led the evening in celebration. Generous sponsors contributed $3.4M.
Dr. Lisa Karamardian’s heartfelt devotional and prayer were followed by a summary of AMAA outreach programs by President Dr. Nazareth Darakjian who outlined this kick-off event of the AMAA Centennial Celebration and its $20M Campaign. He mentioned that, through the efforts of the AMAA’s Child & Orphan Care Committee, the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of the orphans were being met and that schools and educational programs were a top priority.
Musical entertainment was provided by the Greg Hosharian Quartet which performed original and electrifying renditions of Armenian classic and folk music. A video, produced by Tina Stein Segel, highlighted and recognized the founding members of the AMAA Orphan and Child Care Committee, established in 1991. The founders honored were Joyce Abdulian, Elizabeth Agbabian, Hermine Janoyan, Grace Kurkjian, Mary Najarian, Joyce Stein, and Savey Tufenkian of Los Angeles, Juliette Abdulian of Chicago, Rosette Tootikian of Detroit, Michele Simourian of Boston and Mary Jane (MJ) Hekemian of New Jersey.
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian reported significant donations to the AMAA of three million dollars toward the Centennial Kick Off Campaign–—one million dollars each by Drs. Nazareth and Ani Darakjian, The Stephen Philibosian and Conte Foundations, and a donor establishing “The Papken and Helen Mugrditchian Endowment Fund.”
Mr. Khanjian noted that the future of the Homeland is in the hands of the orphans we have supported. He expressed his appreciation to the founding ladies: “…whose determined action 25 years ago made history, embarking on a major change in the direction of the AMAA and our Homeland, Armenia.” He added, “It was the reputable, credible, and righteous foundation on which, through the 25 years of Armenia’s independence, the AMAA has built an empire of benevolence all over the country.”
National Co-Chair of the Child and Orphan Care Committee, Joyce Stein, shared her personal testimony and family history with the AMAA, stating that the first AMAA Endowment was established by her father, Stephen Philibosian, in 1950. She expressed her appreciation for the multi-talented young women on the committee, and commended their extraordinary efforts for the highly successful annual Child and Orphan Care Children’s Fashion Show/Silent Auction fund-raiser. More than five million dollars has been raised over the past 25 years. Members of the event committee, Lori Muncherian and Arsine Phillips, honored the Child and Orphan Care volunteers with framed, original paintings created by children of Armenia.
The program concluded with the benediction song, “God Bless America,” and the evening emerged a rousing success. It was a solid kick-off for the AMAA Centennial campaign.
L to R: Drs. Nurhan and Celeste Helvacian, Zaven Khanjian, Victoria and Ambassador Grigor Hovhannissian, Sona Khanjian, Gary and Arine Phillips
On September 28, representatives of AMAA participated in the Celebration of Armenia’s 25th Independence Day at the Hall of the Americas in Washington, DC, organized by the Embassy of Armenia to the United States under the auspices of the Armenia Fund. Over 400 guests attended the event representing various Armenian and non-Armenian organization and churches.
Armenian Ambassador to the U.S. Grigor Hovhannissian welcomed the guests and spoke about the key role of those who paved the way for U.S.-Armenia relations. Armenia Fund President Maria Mehranian served as the Master of Ceremonies, with special remarks from Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Jackie Speier (D-CA), as well as Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA).
By Rev. Dr. Paul Hadostian
On the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the Armenian Evangelical Church an all-Armenian Evangelical Pastors’ Retreat took place on September 22-24, 2016 at the AMAA’s Sheen-Shoghig Conference Center in Hankavan, Armenia, attended by 80 pastors from North America, Europe, the Middle East Armenia, Karabagh and Russia. The task of coordination and leadership of the conference was ably executed by Rev. Mgrdich Melkonian and assisting pastors in Armenia.
The title of the conference “Our Relationships” focused on the challenges of I Thessalonians 5:24. The program included worship and fellowship hours, prayer times, lectures and cultural programs. One such example was the special performance of the Armenian dance group of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Vanatzor, with poetry by Pastor Senig Saripekyan, vocal performance by Maretta Antonyan and the praise team of the church.
The preacher at the opening worship was Rev. George Dabbo, and a special greeting was given by the CEO/Executive Director of the AMAA, Mr. Zaven Khanjian, and the concluding communion service was led by Rev. Mgrdich Melkonian and Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian.
The five sub-themes of the conference were as follows: Rev. Mgrdich Karagoezian spoke on the “Pastor’s Relationship with the Church”; Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian spoke on the “Pastor’s Relationship with other Pastors”; Rev. Berdj Jambazian spoke on the “Pastor’s Relationship with his Mission”; Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian spoke on the “Pastor’s Relationship with his Surroundings”; Rev. Joel Mikaélian spoke on the “Pastor’s Relationship with his Family”; and finally Rev. Mgrdich Melkonian, who spoke on the “Pastor’s Relationship with God”.
The participants valued the new friendships developed, the prayerful learning that took place, the common identity formation that was fostered, and the brotherly atmosphere that was created.
At its Annual Banquet, to be held Saturday, October 22 at 6:00 p.m. at the Philadelphia Marriott West, 111 Crawford Avenue, West Conshohocken, PA, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) will honor three distinguished individuals, Albert Momjian, Esq. (posthumously), Set Momjian and Rev. Dr. John Markarian, for their many years of faithful and dedicated service to the Armenian Community. The theme of the AMAA Banquet will be Faithful to the Legacy.
Albert Momjian, Esq., who passed away July 11, 2016, served the AMAA as a member of the Board, on various committees and as Board President. His astute and wise leadership, dedicated and sacrificial service, focused and undivided attention, uncountable gratuitous professional services and boundless Christian love all contributed to the recent history of the AMAA. The AMAA is what it is and where it is today because of his towering presence at the helm of the organization for so long.
For many years, Set Momjian audaciously served the Armenian Community at large in the United States. His love of Christ and his people was instrumental in raising Armenian national interest to the highest levels of attention in the White House and to the political leadership of the country. His service as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations General Assembly, as the White House Representative to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, as a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and his fervent struggle as a human rights activist have earned him the reverence and respect of his people all across the globe.
In 1955, the AMAA, with the collaboration of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, established Haigazian University in Beirut, Lebanon. Rev. Dr. John Markarian’s pioneer leadership as the founding President of this jewel educational institution, the one and only Armenian University in the Diaspora, had a tremendous role in the overwhelming success of this beacon of light, educating young men and women, preparing a leadership in the Middle East, exporting well rounded professionals across the oceans and dispersing ignorance and darkness wherever its rays rested upon.
The Banquet’s Master of Ceremonies will be Mark Momjian, Esq. Mr. Momjian is a graduate of Columbia Law School. He is an active leader in the Armenian-American community, having served on boards with the Armenian Assembly of America, the Armenian Missionary Association of America, and the Armenian Sisters Academy. For the past four years, Mr. Momjian has served as a member of the United States Advisory Committee of the Jinishian Memorial Program.
The Banquet will also feature Soprano Anush Avetisyan, a third-year Resident Artist at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia studying with Voice Instructor Bill Schuman. Ms. Avetisyan has performed internationally throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East.
The 97th Annual Meeting of the AMAA will be held on Saturday, October 22 at 9:30 a.m. at the Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church of Havertown, PA. All AMAA members are encouraged to participate and to review both the activities and the financial reports of the Association.
The Annual Meeting Worship of Praise will be held on Sunday, October 23, at the Armenia Martyrs’ Congregational Church of Havertown, PA at 11:00 a.m. The service will include a moment of remembrance dedicated to those AMAA members who concluded their earthly pilgrimage during the past year and joined the heavenly audience. The service will conclude with the installation of the newly elected Board Members.
The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) serves the spiritual, educational and social needs of Armenian communities around the world. The AMAA was founded in 1918 in Worcester, MA and was incorporated in New York in 1920. The AMAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Those who are interested in attending the AMAA Banquet or participating in the Annual Meeting activities may contact AMAA Headquarters at 201-265-2607.
On September 22, RA Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan received the delegation of the Armenian Evangelical World Council and the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), who were in Armenia to attend the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Independence of Armenia and to celebrate the 170th Anniversary of the Armenian Evangelical Church in the Motherland.
Minister Hakobyan welcomed the guests and extended congratulations on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s independence and the 170th anniversary of the Armenian Evangelical Church. She said: “I am glad that you are in Armenia these days when we proudly celebrate the 25th anniversary of our independence. In the achievements during the 25 years of our independence, I would like to stress three of them. The first is the existence of the two Armenian Republics, the second is our powerful military establishment, and the third, the creation of institutional structures that have been successfully cooperating with international organizations.”
Minister Hakobyan highly appreciated the invaluable role of the Diaspora during the difficult days of the establishment of an independent statehood and expressed her gratitude for the contribution of the Armenian Evangelical Church. The Minister also stressed the huge role of Haigazian University, the only Armenian institution of higher education in the Diaspora.
Rev. Megrditch Karagoezian, the President of the Armenian Evangelical World Council thanked the Minister for her warm words of appreciation and said: “More than obligation, it’s a joy for the members of the Armenian Evangelical Church to help the Homeland. We are seeing the tangible achievements during the past 25 years, and the dedication and the efforts of the young generation in keeping the Homeland with their blood and sweat.”
Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of AMAA said: “The Armenian Missionary Association of America has an undivided and enduring commitment towards Armenia and is ready to do everything possible in order to achieve as quick as possible to a strong Homeland that we all dream of.”
Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian, the Executive Director of the Armenian Evangelical World Council, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, President of Haigazian University, Rev. Haroutune Selimian, the President of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria and others also expressed their appreciation.
In closing, Minister Hakobyan wished success to the jubilee Celebration of the 170th Anniversary of the Armenian Evangelical Church, which will take place in the Aram Khachadourian Music Hall on Sunday, September 25.
The newly constructed Bezjian Family Building at the C & E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School in Sherman Oaks, California opened its doors to students for the first time on August 18, 2016. This beautiful 6,840 sq. ft. modern building offers state-of-the-art facilities to the School’s students. It encompasses five classrooms, a library, science lab, art room and an office for the athletic coach. Children and teachers alike were very excited to see their new, tastefully decorated classrooms. Each classroom is in the process of being equipped with the latest in technology to enhance the students’ learning experience.
On July 19, 2016, benefactors Mr. Albert and Mrs. Terry Bezjian who were visiting from Michigan, toured the newly completed building and were impressed with its quality of construction, functionality and elegance.
The School is pleased to offer its supporters with the opportunity to name classrooms in honor of loved ones. For information, please contact Board Members Dr. Ivan Shnorhokian at (412) 759-2020, or Dr. Vahe Nalbandian at (818) 507-9848.
Founded in 1982 and located in Sherman Oaks, CA, C & E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School is the first Armenian Evangelical educational institution in the United States. Over the past thirty-four years, the dream of a few visionary Armenian Evangelicals has grown into a preschool through eighth grade middle school.
The Merdinian School believes that the integration of the educational efforts of the home, the church, and the school is basic to the development of each child’s fullest potential. To learn more about the School visit their website at www.merdinianschool.com
It is with deep sorrow that we share the sad news of the passing of Rev. Emmanuel Darakjian, father of Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, AMAA President, on Monday evening, August 22, 2016 at his home in Chicago, IL.
Rev. Emmanuel Darakjian has served the Lord for many decades as an educator and minister in Syria and Lebanon. He moved to the United States with his family in 1975 and settled in Chicago. Rev. Darakjian was featured in the “Meet our Veteran Pastors” segment of the Jan-Feb-March 2016 AMAA News. (Click here to View Article – page 5)
Those who wish to convey their condolences to the Darakjian family in person are welcome to do so at one of the following services:
Visitation, 9:00 am on Friday, August 26, 2016 followed by the
Funeral service, 10:00 am on Friday, August 26, 2016
Chicago Armenian Evangelical Church
Mount Prospect, IL 60056
Mr. Curtis and Mrs. Arpy Sahakian, Skokie, IL
Drs. Nazareth and Ani Darakjian, La Canada, IL
-Drs. Hrair and Nadia Darakjian, Tarzana, CA
-Ms. Suzy Darakjian, Chicago, IL
and by his brother and his wife: Rev. & Mrs. Barkev and Agnes Darakjian of Glendale, CA
As we mourn the passing of Rev. Emmanuel Darakjian, we rejoice in his life and find consolation in the Hope of the Resurrection.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7
It is with deep sorrow that we share the sad news of the passing of Past Board Member Charles (Chuck) Bilezikian, of Osterville and Boston, MA and Palm Beach, FL, on July 26, 2016.
Mr. Bilezikian faithfully served the Armenian Missionary Association of America as a Board Member and benefactor.
The funeral service will be held 11:00 am on Friday, July 29th at:
Belmont, MA 02478
The burial will follow the worship service at Newton Cemetery, Newton, MA.
A memorial luncheon will take place in the First Armenian Church Hall right after the burial service.
A celebration of Chuck’s life will be held 11:00 am on Thursday, August 18th, at the First Congregational Church, 329 Route 6A, Yarmouthport, MA.
He was the loving and devoted husband of Doreen (Portnoy) Bilezikian to whom he was married for 52 years. Chuck attended the public schools in Newton, MA and graduated from Suffolk University. Following graduation he began a lifelong career in retail. In 1970 he bought a small seasonal business on Cape Cod called The Christmas Tree Shops as a means of supporting his young family. He and his family worked long hours to make the company grow from a small seasonal company to a thriving year-round business which grew to become one of the premiere shopping destinations in the Northeast.
Chuck lived life joyfully and to the fullest. He was inquisitive about everything and everyone around him. He was devoted to his family. He and Doreen traveled the world together. He loved to celebrate his birthday and he especially loved Christmas. He was engaging, enthusiastic, thoughtful, loyal and generous. He was loved by all who knew him and admired for his honesty, integrity and humor. His handshake was his word. His family was his life. His love and special legacy will live on in the countless memories his family and his many friends will carry in their hearts.
Chuck is survived by his wife Doreen, a son Gregory of Hyannisport, MA and his children Lindsay, Kate, Chad and Mia; and a son Jeffrey, and his wife Nancy, of Watertown, MA and Osterville, MA and their children Beatrice and Frieda, along with nieces Krista, Kelly and Kim and nephew Jay.
The Bilezikian Family have been long-standing supporters of AMAA’s mission and projects, in Armenia & Karabagh, including: the Krikor and Beatrice Bilezikian Kindergarten in Shoushi, the Krikor and Beatrice Bilezikian Elementary Building at the Khoren & Shooshanig Avedisian School and Community Center in Yerevan, Camp Sheen-Shoghig in Hankavan, AMAA Dental Clinic and the renovation of the Margaryan Hospital.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made by check to: The Charles Bilezikian Memorial Fund, c/o The Cape Cod Foundation, 259 Willow Street, Yarmouthport, MA 02675 or online at CapeCodFoundation.org and mention The Charles Bilezikian Memorial Fund.
In The Spirit of Giving Gala to Benefit Children in Crisis
The Boston Area Orphan and Child Care Committee of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) will Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of its In the Spirit of Giving Gala, a Wine and Dine Fundraising Event. The event will take place on Thursday, September 29, 2016, 7 pm at the Wellesley Country Club, Wellesley, MA. The Dinner will feature a Live Auction, Wine Pull and Bling Raffle, with special performance by renowned pianist Levon Hovsepian. All proceeds from the event will benefit Armenian children in crisis. Individuals or businesses wishing to donate goods or services, or those wishing to purchase tickets for the event may do so by contacting Dianne Chilingerian at email@example.com
Founded in 1918, the AMAA is a nonprofit, charitable organization that provides services to underprivileged youth through education, relief and mission ministries. AMAA is a nonsectarian Christian organization that renders its services to those in need without discrimination. AMAA operates in twenty four countries and often partners with other relief agencies to aid disaster stricken areas throughout the world. For additional information, you may visit www.amaa.org
What a blessing to be of service to the people of Armenia for the last eight years and we thank the Lord for all who have ventured along with us.
This year we had an enormous Medical Mission Team with 45 individuals from the US and Canada and nine Armenian translators. This was the largest team to date and although we were a bit apprehensive about the size and the ability to handle such a large group, we knew God had a plan. Little did we know that the fledging Evangelical Church congregation of Sisian had been praying that the medical team would come to their city. At the same time, three new physicians contacted us and said they were interested in joining the team after we had closed the application process. We couldn’t say no as these additional physicians allowed us to go to another region in southern Armenia. We had wanted to do this in prior years, but found that we didn’t have the manpower to split into two teams. Through God’s divine intervention the Sisian church prayers helped our dream become a reality. This year’s team included nine physicians, two dentists, a chiropractor, a pharmacist, three nurses and a very willing group of ancillary workers eager to serve the Armenian people.
We began the week setting up a complete ambulatory clinic within the Evangelical Church in Vanadzor. The clinic provided a laboratory and diagnostic testing with an ultrasound and EKG. Other services included a reading glasses station and medical education by our nurses. Our dentists educated the youth on dental hygiene and treated them with fluoride. After a two-day stay in Vanadzor, we divided the team into two groups with half going to Stepanavan and the other half to Sisian.
The overall success of our mission can be measured in many ways. First, we saw and treated over 1,400 patients in four days at the clinic. Second, over 400 children received fluoride dental treatments from our dentists. Third, we were able to bless patients with free medications, some that would last them for a year of treatment. Fourth, each physician team prayed with every patient who walked through the clinic offering more healing than just medication. Fifth, patients who had never been to church were able to attend church services that were held between the morning and afternoon clinic. And finally, we received word that because of our mission, more families are now coming to church and are growing in their faith.
We are thankful to those who were praying for us and the Medical Mission Team. This year was especially difficult with many personal trials that Sue and I endured just prior to leaving. Yet God is faithful and gave us the strength that only can come from Him. We are thankful for the monetary support that the Armenian Missionary Association of America provided, allowing us to distribute free medication and supplies to hundreds of Armenians. We are humbled to see how God has grown the medical mission over the years. We can assure you that your generous donations to the AMAA earmarked for the medical mission go directly to the Armenian people and are only used for medications and supplies. Please consider joining us next year if you have the desire to serve God in Armenia. See our website link on amaa.org for more information.
Dr. Al and Sue Phillips
Khoren & Shooshanig Avedisian School Graduation
This year, graduation at the Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian High School was extra special. The students decided to present for the first time “Avedisian” Awards and recognize the benefactors and all the teachers of the School.
The ‘Most Patriotic Director’ award was given to Principal Melanya Geghamyan and “Avedisian” prizes were awarded to the Armenian Missionary Association of Armenia Representative -Mr. Harout Nercessian, Armenia Tree Project Executive Director -Ms. Jeanmarie Papelian, School Benefactor -Mr. Charles P. Bilezikian, President of the American University of Armenia -Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian and others. The motto of the awards stem from the phrase:
Երազի՛ր, Աշխատի՛ր, Վայելի՛ր, Գնահատի՛ր – “Yerazi’r, ashkhati’r, vayeli’r and gnahati’r”
The students of the School have been taught to live by this principle. They have learned to dream about a good education, pride in their country and to dream for the future. In order to achieve these dreams, hard work and contribution to the changing world around them is required.
The School’s benefactor, Edward Avedisian, praised the children’s knowledge and instruction and efforts by the teachers, all aimed at preserving the national spirit. He thanked and encouraged them to continue to maintain a high level of education for the advancement of the nation. Mr. Avedisian said that our students will have a bright and brilliant future.
In his speech, Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian -President of the American University of Armenia, recalled how two years ago he attended the opening ceremony of the School, and was especially impressed by the dedication and desire to succeed by everyone; from administrators and teachers to the student body. Mr. Der Kiureghian happily added that he was left with the same impression today. He offered some advice on learning by offering graduates to higher education if they wish to continue the American University of Armenia.
We wish all our teachers and students a good summer break as preparations are being made for the upcoming 2016-17 school year.
Avedisian School Elementary Graduation
The Graduation Ceremony of the Elementary Section (4th graders) of the Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School (housed in the Krikor and Beatrice Bilezikian Building) was held on Thursday, June 16. The Elementary students transformed to golden winged bees, delicate flowers, precursor birds and shining stars presented a beautiful program of songs and recitations. They expressed their gratitude to their teachers, who taught them to love and appreciate books and the Armenian language, promising them to study well and be good citizens of their Motherland.
We thank God for the opportunities created at the Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School for the children of Armenia. The passionate spirit to create an appealing and attractive atmosphere in an educational institution where students would love to excel and propel themselves forward has always been in the minds of the benefactors and the Armenian Missionary Association of America, who brought forth this unique educational institution.
It is with deep sorrow that we share the sad news of the passing of Past AMAA President and Board Member Albert Momjian on July 11, 2016 after a brief illness.
For many decades, Albert Momjian faithfully served the Armenian Missionary Association of America, sitting on its Board of Directors, acting as its Solicitor, and serving as its President from 1993-1997. A long-time Trustee of the Stephen Philibosian Foundation, Albert was also a lifetime Trustee of Haigazian University, having served as its Solicitor.
He was also very active in the Armenian Evangelical World Council, serving as its Treasurer for many years. In addition, for more than a generation, Albert was active in the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian Sisters Academy, serving as Solicitor and on the Boards of both organizations.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m.
(visiting hours 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.) on Saturday, July 16th at
Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church
100 N. Edmonds Avenue, Havertown, PA 19083
to be followed by a private interment service.
Albert is survived by his beloved wife, Esther, of Huntington Valley, PA, his children, AMAA Board Member & Co-Recording Secretary Tom Momjian (click on link to send Tom an email), Mark and Melineh Momjian and Carol and Michael Hanamirian, and five grandsons.
As we mourn the passing of Mr. Albert Momjian, we rejoice in his life and find consolation in the Hope of the Resurrection.
Donations may be made in Mr. Momjian’s memory to the AMAA or Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church in Havertown, PA.
It is with deep sorrow that we share the sad news of the passing of Past AMAA Board Member Harry Balukjian on June 29, 2016 at home in Gaithersburg, MD.
Harry was proud of his Armenian heritage and helped people and institutions in need in Armenia, the Middle East and beyond, through generous donations to the Armenian Missionary Association of America, while serving on the AMAA board for two decades. Mr. Balukjian was instrumental in introducing Dr. John Markarian as a candidate for Founding President of Haigazian University.
A private funeral will be held on July 14th with a private graveyard service at Arlington Cemetery in Upper Darby, PA. The date of a public memorial service is yet to be determined.
Harry is survived by his brother, Robert, of Havertown, PA, the children of his sister Marion Sarian (deceased): nephews David Sarian (Linda) of Parkesburg, PA and Dan Sarian (Rebecca) of Littleton, CO, and niece Susan Hein (Gary), also of Littleton, along with six grandnephews/nieces.
As we mourn the passing of Mr. Harry Balukjian, we rejoice in his life and find consolation in the Hope of the Resurrection.
Donations be made in Mr. Balukjian’s memory to the AMAA or Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church, Havertown, PA.
Last week, Rev. Kirkor Ağabaloğlu, Pastor of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Gedik Pasa, Istanbul was in Armenia, along with a delegation comprised of members of the committee for the construction and rehabilitation of Istanbul’s CAMP ARMEN (Kamp Armen), including engineer Nazareth Binatli, architects Aleen Pontioglu, Zhan Gavrilov, representative of the Hrant Dink Foundation, Delal Dink (Hrant Dink’s daughter) and benefactors Harout and Dalar Khorozoglus.
Rev. Kirkor Ağabaloğlu spoke about all the difficulties that they went through last year for the return of CAMP ARMEN to its right owner, the Armenian Evangelical Church of Gedik Pasa.
The 98th Annual Meeting of the AMAA will be held on Saturday, 10/21/17 at 9:00am at the AMAA Headquarters. All members are invited to attend. Official programs will begin 10/19/17 at 6:00pm with dinner followed by the Armenian Evangelical World Council Meeting at 7:00pm. Refer to the schedule below for complete details for the 98th Annual Meeting and Related Activities.
Download Registration Form
If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate. -Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in 2002
Let us reflect on this 16th Anniversary of a day none of us will ever forget.
Let us come together to remember the innocent lives lost, to express our gratitude to those who demonstrated what it is to be a hero, and to pledge ourselves to live in honor of their bravery.
Help Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey has caused extreme flooding and widespread damage through parts of Texas and along the Gulf Coast.
The AMAA appeals to its members and friends with the request that we remember our fellow Americans in our prayers, and also with financial support.
By the Numbers:
- Category 4 Hurricane at landfall. (first since 2004)
- 130mph winds
- 8 Million people within area of impact
- Nearly 300,000 without power
- 50 inches of rain expected in some regions
- 500,000 homes already affected