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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

Email: dertateos@ armeniandiocese.org

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a few words from der tateos . . . As a clergymen of the church, what I do is called vocation and ministry, and it is correct to do so. However, being so certain that the work I do is ministry can lead to the mystification that the work I do is good, and that can put me to sleep morally. Like the Pharisees of Jesus' time, I can confuse my daily work that is for God with something that is of God. The danger for me is becoming so engrossed in this "work" that I do not notice the Kingdom of God trying to break in around me. Our Lord Jesus Christ whom I am called to serve, who cares so much about me that he wants to shake me out of my complacency can say daily, "What you have done up until now has been fine, but I bring you Good News. I offer another road of intoxicating freedom." How do I respond? I know of Nicodemus who came to Jesus at night not willing to be seen by others least be accused of being one of Jesus' followers. Perhaps, like Nicodemus, I can be intrigued. But perhaps for now I also will follow at a safe distance and just listen. Do I have the courage to stand by my Lord and say what I believe to be true, even what I only half understand? Will I wager all my life – my position, my status, my livelihood, my reputation, my name, - on this? This is the time of trial when God asks me to pit everything I know and see and touch and taste every day against something I have never seen yet deeply seek – a oneness with God. In one awful moment it can be placed before me, and I can be asked to choose, or, I can be asked to be saved from it. And yet, the moment arrives.


The Feast of Palm Sunday Palm Sunday is the celebration of the triumphant entrance of Christ into the royal city of Jerusalem. He rode on a colt for which He Himself had sent, and He permitted the people to hail Him publicly as a king. A large crowd met Him in a manner befitting royalty, waving palm branches and placing their garments in His path. They greeted Him with these words: "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel! (John 12:13). This day together with the raising of Lazarus are signs pointing beyond themselves to the mighty deeds and events which consummate Christ's earthly ministry. The time of fulfillment was at hand. Christ's raising of Lazarus points to the destruction of death and the joy of resurrection which will be accessible to all through His own death and resurrection. His entrance into Jerusalem is a fulfillment of the messianic prophecies about the king who will enter his holy city to establish a final kingdom. "Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass" (Zech 9:9). Finally, the events of these triumphant two days are but the passage to Holy Week: the "hour" of suffering and death for which Christ came. Thus the triumph in a earthly sense is extremely short-lived. Jesus enters openly into the midst of His enemies, publicly saying and doing those things which must enrage them. The people themselves will soon reject' Him. They misread His brief earthly triumph as a sign of something else: His emergence as a political messiah who will lead them to the glories of an earthly kingdom.

Our Pledge The liturgy of the Church is more than meditation or praise concerning past events. It communicates to us the eternal presence and power of the events being celebrated and makes us participants in those events. Thus the services of Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday bring us to our own moment of life and death and entrance into the Kingdom of God: a Kingdom not of this world, a Kingdom accessible in the Church through repentance and baptism. On Palm Sunday palm and willow branches are blessed in the Church. We take them in order to raise them up and greet the King and Ruler of our life: Jesus Christ. We take them in order to reaffirm our baptismal pledges. As the One who raised Lazarus and entered Jerusalem to go to His voluntary Passion stands in our midst, we are faced with the same question addressed to us at baptism: "Do you accept Christ?" We give our answer by daring to take the branch and raise it up: "I accept Him as King and God!" Thus, on the eve of Christ's Passion, in the celebration of the joyful cycle of the triumphant days of Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday, we reunite ourselves to Christ, affirm His Lordship lover the totality of our life and express our: readiness to follow Him to His Kingdom:


... that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11). !"#$%#&'$(#)*$+,-.$/,01&2$3,4$5"#$644178,5#$9#,:$;1&$<5-=#:5$6;;,8&4$,:=$$ /#75-&#&$8:$+&,7587,.$!"#1.1>'$,5$<5*$%.,=8?8&@4$A&5"1=1B$<#?8:,&'*$$$ C#$3,4$5"#$5#,7"#&$1;$?,:'$1;$1-&$<5*$D#&4#44$,.-?:8$3"1$,55#:=#=$<5*$%.,=@4*$ $

Ethical Decision Making As circumstances arise, our faithful have asked questions concerning various socio-ethical as well as bioethical issues that are faced on a regular basis in today's society. While the Canons of the Church do speak to some issues, particularly the concern and respect for human life, in most circumstances no direct answers exist for issues that were not evident when the Canons were written. Fr. Stanley Harakas, a renowned teacher of ethics of the Greek Orthodox Church has written many books on the subject. A portion of one of his writings is presented below that can be used as a guideline by our faithful when facing difficult decisions.

Pastoral Guidelines: Church Positions Regarding the Sanctity of Human Life Rev. Dr. Stanley S. Harakas The Sanctity of Human Life A major and overarching concern of the Church arises with its commitment to the God-given sanctity of human life. Some of the developments of the biological manipulation of human life, though promising amazing therapeutic achievements, may also be understood and undermining respect for the integrity of human existence. Others may be seen as providing a new means of healing human illness. Discerning the difference is the challenge the Church faces in developing it's teaching on these newly appearing issues. Human Life The Church's teaching about human life is based on Holy Tradition, including the Scriptures as a primary resource and the ongoing teaching and interpretation of the Orthodox Faith. Life is a gift of God in the formation of the created world. All life is precious, but God uniquely creates human life in the "image and likeness of God." Human life as such is deserving of deep respect and individual human beings are to be treated in accordance to their inherent human dignity. Thus, racism, unjust prejudicial treatment of men and women, genocide, forms of sexual exploitation, domestic violence, child abuse, rape, theft or destruction of legitimately owned property, deceptions and deceit,


environmental plunder and other such manipulative behaviors violate the human dignity of others. Human life as a gift of God should be respected. Some specific issues are the following. Donation of Organs Although nothing in the Orthodox tradition requires the faithful to donate their organs to others, nevertheless, this practice may be considered an act of love, and as such is encouraged. The decision to donate a duplicate organ, such as a kidney, while the donor is living, requires much consideration and should be made in consultation with medical professionals and one's spiritual father. The donation of an organ from a deceased person is also an act of love that helps to make possible for the recipient a longer, fuller life. Such donations are acceptable if the deceased donor had willed such action, or if surviving relatives permit it providing that it was in harmony with the desires of the deceased. Such actions can be approved as an expression of love and if they express the self-determination of the donor. In all cases, respect for the body of the donor should be maintained. Organ transplants should never be commercialized nor coerced nor take placed without proper consent, nor place in jeopardy the identity of the donor or recipient, such as the use of animal organs. Nor should the death of the donor be hastened in order to harvest organs for transplantation to another person. Cremation Because the Orthodox Faith affirms the fundamental goodness of creation, it understands the body to be an integral part of the human person and the temple of the Holy Spirit, and expects the resurrection of the dead. The Church considers cremation to be the deliberate desecration and destruction of what God has made and ordained for us. The Church instead insists that the body be buried so that the natural physical process of decomposition may take place. The Church does not grant funerals, either in the sanctuary, or at the funeral home, or at any other place, to persons who have chosen to be cremated. Additionally, memorial services with kolyva (boiled wheat) are not allowed in such instances, inasmuch as the similarity between the "kernel of wheat" and the "body" has been intentionally destroyed. Medical Developments and the Church With high frequency, new developments in the area of the life sciences appear in our technologically advanced culture. The Church welcomes efforts and techniques that contribute to healing of human diseases. Yet, many of these advances raise moral questions. Some of the Church's responses to these developments are based on older issues for which the Church has clear and unambiguous guidelines. Other responses are not so evident. Thus, many of these developments form challenges to Orthodox Christian spiritual concerns and moral values. In numerous cases, the Church is still in the process of clarifying its response. The following serve to indicate the general positions and direction of thought in the Orthodox Church. Sexuality The Orthodox Church recognizes marriage as the only moral and spiritually appropriate context for sexual relations. Thus, all other forms of sexual activity such as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, pornography, all forms of prostitution, and similar forms of behavior are sins that are inappropriate for the Orthodox Christian. Marriage is only conducted and recognized in the Orthodox Church as taking place between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriages are a contradiction in terms. The Orthodox Church does not allow for same-sex marriages. Abortion


The Church from the very beginning of existence has sought to protect "the life in the womb" and has considered abortion as a form of murder in its theology and canons. Orthodox Christians are admonished not to encourage women to have abortions, nor to assist in the committing of abortion. Those who perform abortions and those who have sought it are doing an immoral deed, and are called to repentance. Suicide Suicide, the taking of one's own life, is self-murder and as such, a sin. More importantly, it may be evidence of a lack of faith in our loving, forgiving, sustaining God. If a person has committed suicide as a result of a belief that: such an action is rationally or ethically defensible, the Orthodox Church denies that person a Church funeral, because such beliefs and actions separate a person from the community of faith. The Church shows compassion, however, on those who have taken their own life as a result of mental illness or severe emotional stress, or, when a condition of impaired rationality can be verified by a physician. Autopsy When a person dies for reasons that are uncertain, a qualified medical examiner may, with the permission of the next of kin, perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death. In some states, this is required by law. In all cases, however, the Orthodox Church expects that the body of the deceased be treated with respect and dignity. Copyright: 2002 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

St. Nersess Seminary Summer Conferences St. Nersess Seminaryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s acclaimed youth conferences have attracted thousands of teenagers and college-age students to explore their faith and the heritage of the Armenian Church with friends in a safe, fun and unique environment. Clergy and lay church leaders instruct the participants in the fundamentals of the Armenian Churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s faith and traditions, and they encourage frank discussion about issues important to young people. St. Nersess makes daily worship, Bible Study, and Armenian language instruction appealing and fun. In addition, sports, day-trips, home-cooked meals, and indescribable St. Nersess traditions make for a wellrounded and innovative experience where young people make deep, lasting friendships and discover their place in the Armenian Church. This summer five conferences are scheduled. The High School Conferences are open to students entering 9-12th grades in September 2011. Older students are invited to attend the Post High-School Conference. Those beginning 7th or 8th grade in September 2011 are welcome to attend the Junior High School Conference. Questions? Contact the Seminary at info@stnersess.edu or by phone at (914) 636-2003.


2011 Summer Conference Dates Deacons Training Program: June 24 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; July 2 High School Conference A: July 6-14 High School Conference B: August 1-9 Junior High School Conference: July 26-30 Post High School Conference: August 11-18

The Department of Youth & Education is pleased to announce

MARDIGIAN INSTITUTE 2011

JULY 12-17

Vď?Żď?Łď?Ąď?´ď?Šď?Żď?Žď?ł: Cď?Ąď?Źď?Źď?Ľď?¤ ď?´ď?Ż Tď?Ľď?Ąď?Łď?¨ â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord... And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, thirdâ&#x20AC;Śâ&#x20AC;Ś. teachers.â&#x20AC;?

1 Cor. 12: 4-5, 28

As part of the 2011 Diocesan theme â&#x20AC;&#x153;Called to Serve: Ministry of the Faithful,â&#x20AC;? Mardigian Institute 2011 will focus on teaching Sunday School as a Spirit-driven ministry requiring response and nurture and leading ultimately to joy! Featured classes, appropriate for teachers of all grades, will explore such questions as: Â&#x2021;+RZLVWKHPLQLVWU\RIWHDFKLQJXQGHUVWRRG%LEOLFDOO\"7RGD\" Â&#x2021;:KDWLVWKHWHDFKHUÂŞVUROHLQWKHVSLULWXDOIRUPDWLRQRIKLVRUKHUVWXGHQWV" Â&#x2021;+RZFDQWHDFKHUVSDUWQHUZLWKSDVWRUSDUHQWVDQGWKHSDULVK FRPPXQLW\WRHQULFKWKHOHDUQLQJH[SHULHQFH" Â&#x2021;:KDWVWUDWHJLHVFDQDWHDFKHUHPSOR\WRJURZLQIDLWKDVZHOODVLQHIIHFWLYHQHVV" 6HVVLRQVZLOOLQFOXGH3ULQFLSOHVRIEHWWHUWHDFKLQJIDLWKIXQGDPHQWDOVZRUVKLSDQG6FULSWXUH IDLWKGHYHORSPHQWFXUULFXOXPHVVHQWLDOVPXVLFDUWDQGPXFKPRUH Classes are held at Diocesan headquarters in New York City and culminate in a retreat at the peaceful St. Nersess Seminary in New Rochelle, NY. Attendance for participants is free of charge and includes transportation, room, and board. See your Sunday School superintendent or pastor to register. Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), Department of Youth and Education 630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016, Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 157, Fax: (212) 779-3558, e-mail: elisea@armeniandiocese.org


The continuing Saga of Deputy Sheriff Abarantsee Bebo A tourist was visiting her friends who lived in Southern Georgia. She sees Deputy Sheriff Abarantsee Bedo standing on a street corner in his police uniform and asks him, "Are you a policeman?" "No lady, I am under-cuver dee-tec-tive." "So why are you in uniform?" "Today is my day off." 99eTsayn 4.17.11


eTsyan April 17, 2011