e-Tsayn e-Voice is a publication of
The Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern) Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate Department of Mission Parishes Rev. Fr. Tateos R. Abdalian, Director www.armenianchurch.net Diocesan Office: 212.686.0710
a few words from der tateos . . . to the youth of the church (and anyone else who wishes to listen). As 2010 gets rolling on, it's time to offer an evaluation of at least the past ten years and to take a look ahead. Most everything in the western world is aimed at getting our attention. Every advertisement, every piece of entertainment, and every gotta-have-it item have taken aim at the core of who we are - one giant hunger. In one form or another, each one says, “We know who you are, and we have what you want.” And that "what" is - a fascination. On one hand, we have hunger. We are driven, we desire and we want. Beyond the basic needs of sustenance and shelter, this hunger is the undeniably real part of us that makes us human. For some reason, we don’t just settle - we want the finer things in life. Soybean burgers and water will fill our stomachs, but steak and lobster would be better. Any job will pay the bills, but wouldn’t that other position be much better? It has little to do with snobbery, greed or gluttony, but with the eternal hunger God has put within us. Every once in a while we get a bit off track with how we allow this hunger to materialize in our lives, but that doesn’t mean it is either evil or non-existent. It is just misguided and in need of an adjustment. On the other hand, we have fascination. We are filled with a deep hunger, and the bulk of our time, energy and resources are spent trying to satisfy that hunger with a lasting fascination. If desire is what drives us, fascination is what keeps us. And all sorts of futile pleasures besides God are stealing the hearts of our people, especially you, our younger generation. After talking with so many inside and outside of various Churches, clergy and laity, both of our Armenian parishes and communities and of other denominations, I believe that people are crying out for truth, for reality, for the ability to know and feel what is truly eternal. They want something of eternity to become understandable to them, to fascinate them. Whether or not they will say it this way, they want God. Through the centuries, the saints of old have found satisfaction, fulfilled by God. But more than that, they have been completely won over to the point of leaving everything else in order to have Him as
their reward, as their one thing. Jesus used stories to speak of what one should seek – the Kingdom of God. He told of giving up many little things for the one great thing. What was so different about such past generations of people – some who were no more than teenagers – yet able to forfeit everything for God? I am told that unlike any other period in history, today's young adult generation is universally hungry for spiritual enlightenment, and that spiritual hunger is at an all-time high. But spiritual hunger isn’t the only thing measuring off the charts. Right now, discontentment and disillusionment within the Armenian Church – all churches - are astronomical. According to one research group, the percentage of people who are believers but are not attending church is the highest it has ever been, especially in the 25 and younger crowd. Young adults are losing hope in the Church and in what they are hearing from that structure, even though their options are endless as far as what other church to join. So as we begin the new decade of 2010, I am calling this generation of our young adolescents and adults within and without the Church to experience Jesus Christ within the life of our Armenian Church, starting today. Wherever you are in life, don’t cheat yourself - your calling as mankind is to be fascinated by God Himself. Not just facts and trivia about Him, not a 10-step program, not the coolest way to do worship or do church . . . but God Himself. Anything less is misguided foraging and second-rate soybean burgers. I firmly believe that one's Church is vital to one's spiritual health. But in the midst of all our doing and going, throughout all the busyness of life, there is still only one thing necessary: experiencing the joys of finding and experiencing God. And it is only you who can effectually make that happen. I as a Priest can call you to that service, preach endless sermons, give endless examples of what should be or has been before, but it is up to you to make it all happen within your lives. It has been proven through the ages: When energy is put into pursuing God, the heart touches Him and is satisfied. There is one thing necessary. There is one thing fascinating. Your hunger is real; now let your fascination be eternal. While the Church of years past had been in a position of influence (and in our better moments, we have been), it could leverage influence to better the lives of her faithful. But of late, we have been unable to translate the gospel for a changing world into a cultural shrewdness. Scripture provides no systematic teaching for how we should relate to all the ills of society, but it does tell us what's of first importance: "That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Scripture gives only one antidote for the temptation that cultural influence presents - worship of the living God. The rest is up to you.
The Saints That We Commemorate St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria - one of the most illustrious defenders of the Christian faith, was born at Alexandria about the year 297. At the Council of Nicaea, (325) he appears prominently in connection with the Arian dispute, attending the council, not as one of its members (who were properly only bishops or delegates of bishops), but merely as the attendant of Patriarch Alexander. In this capacity, he was apparently allowed to take
part in its discussions arguing earnestly for the apostolic doctrines. Within five months after his return, Alexander died and his friend and archdeacon Athanasius, at 30 years of age, was chosen to succeed him as Bishop of Alexandria. The first few years of the episcopate of Athanasius were tranquil, but the storms in which the remainder of his life was passed soon began to gather around him. The Council of Nicaea had settled the creed of Christendom, but had by no means settled the divisions in the church that the Arian controversy had provoked. Arius himself still lived, and rapidly regained influence over the Emperor Constantine. The result of this was a demand made by the emperor that Arius should be re-admitted to communion. Athanasius stood firm, and refused to have any communion with the advocates of a "heresy that was fighting against Christ." Emperors and Bishops alike exiled him because of his truth in Orthodoxy, and heretics like Arius and his followers. If imperious in temper and inflexible in dogmatic determination, Athanasius had yet a great heart and intellect, enthusiastic in devotion to Christ, and in work for the good of the church and of mankind. His chief distinction as a theologian was his zealous advocacy of the essential divinity of Christ as co-equal in substance with the Father. This was the doctrine of the Homoousion, proclaimed by the Nicene Creed, and elaborately defended by his life and writings. Whether or not Athanasius first suggested the use of this expression, he was its greatest defender; and the universal doctrine of the Trinity has ever since been more identified with his "immortal" name than with any other in the history of the church and of Christian theology. St. Cyril of Alexandria - (ca. 378 - 444), Patriarch of Alexandria Cyril was born at Alexandria, Egypt. He received a classical and theological education at Alexandria and was ordained by his uncle Theophilus and accompanied him to Constantinople in 403. He was present at the Synod of the Oak that deposed John Chrysostom, whom he believed guilty of the charges against him. He succeeded his uncle as patriarch of Alexandria on his death in 412, but only after a riot between Cyril's supporters and the followers of his rival Timotheus. Cyril at once began a series of attacks against the Novatians, whose churches he closed; the Jews, whom he drove from the city; and governor Orestes, with whom he disagreed about some of his actions. In 430 Cyril became embroiled with Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, who was preaching that Mary was not the Mother of God since Christ was Divine and not human, and consequently she should not have the word Theotokos (God-bearer) applied to her. He persuaded Pope Celestine I to convoke a synod at Rome, which condemned Nestorius, and then did the same at his own synod in Alexandria. In 431, Cyril presided over the third General Council at Ephesus, attended by some two hundred bishops, which condemned all the tenets of Nestorius and his followers. When his opponents found what had been done, they held a council of their own and deposed Cyril. Emperor Theodosius II arrested both Cyril and Nestorius but released Cyril on the arrival of Papal Legates who confirmed the council's actions against Nestorius and declared Cyril innocent of all charges. Two years later, Archbishop John, representing the moderate Antiochene bishops, and Cyril reached an agreement and joined in the condemnation, and Nestorius was forced into exile. During the rest of his life, Cyril wrote treatises that clarified the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation. He was the most brilliant theologian of the Alexandrian tradition. His writings are characterized by accurate thinking, precise exposition, and great reasoning skills. Among his writings are commentaries on John, Luke, and the Pentateuch, treatises on dogmatic theology, and Apologia against Julian the Apostate, and letters and sermons. He died on the 9th or the 27th of June, 444, after an episcopate of nearly thirty-two years.
The Above information is From "Orthodox Saints" Vol 1 by Fr George Poulos, Holy Cross Orthodox Press; and The Lives of the Three Great Hierarchs:Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, Holy Apostles Convent.
THE YEAR OF VOCATIONS At the 2009 Diocesan Assembly, the Primate declared this to be the “Year of Vocations”, addressing the serious problem of a lack of clergy to minister to our parishes and faithful. During the assembly, an entire day was devoted to this problem and together, clergy and delegates began the process of discussing how they and their parishes can and must help in solving this problem which, left by itself, is seen only to worsen in the future. During the course of this year – and hopefully beyond – issues will be presented here that addresses these concerns. Each community within our Diocese receivde a hand book entitled “Year of Vocations,” and is to use the materials contained therein as outlined in the letter from the Primate here printed below.
Our Indispensable Pastors Our Lord assures us: “In my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2)—many ways to serve Him, and to become close to Him. Through the centuries, the Armenian Church has been a stage for people of many different gifts to respond to God. But surely, the Armenian priest is the single indispensable figure in the life of our church. He represents Christ before the people—our Lord’s living presence in every parish. He represents the people before God: speaking on our behalf, conveying our wants and needs, interceding for His mercy and blessing. Pastorship—a priest’s ministry of care and comfort to his flock—is a unique, powerful, and indeed mysterious role, which only the ordained clergy can play. Yet if current trends continue, our Diocese may be facing a serious shortage of clergy in the future. In light of this, our Diocese has taken up as its 2010 theme “Vocations: The Call to Serve.” The theme was announced at our Diocesan Assembly, and its goal is to highlight the responsibility of every parishioner to encourage and inspire young men to listen to God’s call, and consider pursuing the priestly vocation. This package of resources is intended to support your ongoing work of promoting vocations in your local parish. As Primate, I will introduce the Diocesan Vocations theme to the public during the Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord—January 6, 2010. I strongly encourage all our pastors to make a similar announcement during their own Armenian Christmas celebrations, introducing the people to the theme of Vocations: The Call to Serve, and announcing a specific
upcoming date for the inauguration of the “Year of Vocations,” as outlined in the attached Parish Guidelines (see page I-4). Above all, while we are confident that the enclosed resources (and others to come during the year) will help advance the theme of vocations, our effort will only succeed if each of us, in our individual parishes, makes it a top priority—a personal responsibility—to encourage, inspire, and support the pastoral vocation. May our Lord continue to bless our church, and guide us all in this vital undertaking. With prayers,
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian Primate
SUMMER CAMP PROGRAMS It’s hard to believe, but we are just 5 months away from the beginning of the 2010 camp season! ST. VARTAN CAMP for campers ages 8 to 15 Housed at the Ararat Center Greenville, NY Staff Training: June 23 - 26 Session A: June 27 - July 10 Session B: July 11 - 24 Session C: July 25 - August 7 Registration begins February 15 at www.armenianchurch.net/stvartancamp
HYE CAMP for campers ages 9 to 15 Housed at Camp Hickory Ingleside, IL Staff Training: August 4 - 7 Camp Session: August 7 - 14 Download applications starting March 15 at www.armenianchurch.net/hyecamp
DAILY CLASSES IN ✔ Armenian Language ✔ Arts & Crafts ✔ Heritage & Culture
✔ Sports & Swimming Special activities include dances, talent shows, camp Olympics, campfires, and more! Counselor-in-Training program for ages 16 & 17 Staff positions for those 18 and older as counselors, lifeguards & instructors For more information contact: Jennifer E. Morris Youth Outreach Coordinator email@example.com 212-686-0710 ext. 118
Please find a PDF of the flyer with the dates for the 2010 Diocesan Summer Camp Programs at St. Vartan Camp and Hye Camp. The St. Vartan Camp brochure mailing will be sent out the first week of February with on-line registration beginning February 15th.
Just as a matter of information . . . You can get the latest videos on the Armenian Church from Armenia and as well as our Diocese. Simply go to: www.youtube.com/easterndiocese
Especially for our faithful who are far removed from Armenian parishes or communities, this site can provide a sense of connection to what is happening in the Armenian Church around the world. Spread the word, get, and stay connected.
Also . . . Parishioners of our Mission Parishes are asked to send in their e-mail addresses so that we will be able to send out our Sunday Bulletin and eTsayn newsletter electronically as well as other notices and announcements. Simply send your name and email address or an address of someone whom you feel would appreciate receiving our publications to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of the Parish Council members of your community to give them the information. We encourage you to visit your parish website for a listing of your parish activities, other Armenian Churches, various Orthodox Sites, other news agencies or a way to make a donation. Also, sign-up to receive the e-Newsletter from the Diocese which contains weekly news and information from our Diocese, Mission Parishes and well as our Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Simply go to email@example.com and ask to receive the newsletter.