ZIC Launches Fall Season with a Talk on Orthodox Christian Unity

ChaillotOrthCrossThe words Eastern and Oriental are synonyms. Yet in the 20th century these two words came to be be used to distinguish the two major families of Orthodox churches that were estranged in the fifth century over the dilemma of how properly to understand Jesus’ divinity and his humanity.

ChaillotEthCrossThe Zohrab Center will inaugurate its Fall 2017 season of evening enrichment events on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 with a book presentation by the internationally acclaimed Orthodox ecumenist and author, Christine Chaillot. Madame Chaillot will present a major new book, edited by her, which brings together essays by over 50 renowned ecumenists, theologians, and clergy representing all of the Orthodox Churches. The book represents the most important new 2017-10 Chaillot.001step in the reconciliation of these ancient eastern churches.

CLICK HERE to download a full-color flyer of the event.

The Eastern Orthodox Churches are most prominently represented by the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, as well as the Romanian, Bulgarian, Georgian, and other churches, including, especially here in North America, the Orthodox Church of America and the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

The so-called Oriental Orthodox Churches comprise the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Syrian, and Syrian Malankara Orthodox Churches.

ChaillotBookThe massive new book, entitled, The Dialogue Between the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, includes important essays by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zohrab Information Center, and V. Rev. Fr. Shahé Aramian, of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin.

The talk and book presentation will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 2nd Avenue, New York, NY beginning at 7PM. All are welcome to the free event, which will conclude with a reception.

Christine Chaillot is Swiss (Geneva) and Eastern Orthodox (Patriarchate of Constantinople). She is internationally known and respected for her ardent advocacy of the full reconciliation of the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Mme. Chaillot is the author of numerous books and articles on the life and spirituality of the churches of the two families and the history and progress of their ecumenical dialogue. A frequent visitor to Armenia, Ethiopia, and all of the lands of historic Orthodoxy, she is not only a friend to hierarchs and theologians of every Orthodox church, but a personal catalyst for deeper relationships and dialogue among them.

The Good News of the Resurrection

The angel at Jesus' tomb proclaims to the holy women "He is not here. He has risen." Armenian miniature from Isfahan, Iran, dated 1610.
The angel at Jesus’ tomb proclaims to the holy women “He is not here. He has risen.” Armenian miniature from Isfahan, Iran, dated 1610.

The following Easter sermon was delivered and published in New York in 1938 by then Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America and later Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, Garegin Hovespiants. A scholar, soldier, and man of intense Christian commitment, he escaped the rubble of the Genocide to become one of the great Armenian Church leaders of recent centuries. In this sermon, the Archbishop reveals the relevance of Christ’s Resurrection for the modern, scientific age.

Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here. He has risen! (Luke 23:5)

Who will roll away the huge stone, the boulder that was placed in front of the tomb? This was the discussion among the women. Taking with them sweet incense and oil, they had come to pay their last respects to the earthly remains of the great Teacher. Just yesterday he was alive, today he was but a breathless corpse, and tomorrow he would forever disappear from their view as a bit of decay and destruction. This final noble deed should have been done with heart and soul. Yet the women were frail and weak. So who was going to help them to roll away the huge stone that sealed off the tomb so that they could have access to the cave?

Do Not Weep for Me

But look—the door is open! The stone has been rolled away and they hear a voice: “Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is not here. He has risen.” Amazing. Wasn’t it just three days ago that they had seen him carrying his cross on his shoulders on the road to Golgotha, exhausted, falling to his knees under the weight of his cross? With pain in their hearts, tears in their eyes, sobbing, groaning, they watched the disdainful procession. The last time they had seen the peerless Teacher’s kind eyes looking at them they had heard his heart-rending words, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me. Weep rather for your children” [Luke 23:38]. They had seen from afar his death on the cross, his burial in the cave; his antagonists’ derisive laughter and taunting as they returned from Golgotha now liberated of the rabble-rouser from Nazareth. Even his disciples had scattered. The shepherd had been struck like his sheep. If only he were still alive…

Poor, naïve but holy women. They did not yet know that that very day in history a miracle was taking place by God’s will. New paths to salvation were opening before them to destroy death by means of death, yes, to cripple it. Their eyes would open, their earthly eyes, to see and to understand that it is not possible to destroy the truth by means of falsehood and deception. Jesus’ message about the redemptive and great power of faith would become clear. In the face of that faith mountains moved, boulders were rolled away, rough roads were made smooth, dead bodies were coming to life. It was necessary die, to “die daily” [1Corinthians 15:31] in the name of God, for one’s brother, for one’s homeland in order to receive and to protect eternal values. And there was the key to open the otherwise locked gates to life.

The Power to Subdue the World

The primitive force of Christianity lay there. The early Christians believed that Christ rose, he was alive in the midst of those gathered in his name. He was in their lives and in their hearts. Great moral strength was to be found in the idea of resurrection and in their faith in it. The power to subdue the world consisted in external weakness, poverty, distress. “Henceforth it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me” [Galatians 2:20].

But the good news announced by the angels is also for us, who thrive in the theoretical and practical science and in the aesthetics of the twentieth century.

Continue reading “The Good News of the Resurrection”

Nowhere: A Story of Exile. ZIC Book Presentation November 13, 2014

TurcotteNowhereAnna Astvatsaturian Turcotte lost her childhood to the ethnic cleansing in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1988.

Her life was swept away at the tender age of 10 when Muslim Azeris drove the Armenian community out of the country using terror and violence. Fleeing to Armenia, which was still reeling from the earthquake of 1988, she found herself an outsider; a nationless girl surviving in an unheated basement and facing discrimination again, this time by her own people.

Nowhere: A Story of Exile is a riveting story of organized terror, refugee life, and the desperate search for one’s home told through the diary entries of a young girl. Anna gives voice to a horrific tragedy little reported in the West, to the Armenian community of Azerbaijan and to the child victims of ethnic cleansing everywhere.

TurcottePhotoAnna Astvatsaturian Turcotte will speak of her experiences at the Zohrab Information Center on Thursday, November 13 at 7:00PM. Her presentation will be held in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 2nd Avenue, New York. It is being co-sponsored by the Zohrab Center and the Armenian Network of America Greater NY Chapter.

Ms. Astvatsaturian Turcotte came to the United States as an Armenian refugee in 1992 and became a US citizen in 1997. She holds a law degree and was one of the first Americans to clerk for the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands after observing its creation at the United Nations. Anna is currently living in the United States and working in the financial industry. She is married and has two children.

“Anna’s diary, written from the wide-eyed perspective of an 11-year old girl, is nevertheless remarkably incisive and haunting in its portrayal of the cruelties inflicted on the Armenian people of Baku,” said V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zohrab Center. He added, “Anna is the Armenian Anne Frank of our times.”

AnnaTurcotteFlyer.001The book presentation is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A FLYER.

For further information contact the Zohrab Center at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710.

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