Thursday, March 2: The Joy of the Gospel in Times of Tragedy: A Lesson from St. Nersess Shnorhali.

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St. Nersess “the Gracious One” Shnorhali (1102-1173AD). A true pillar of the Armenian Church.

V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan will present a little-known work by the great 12th-century Armenian Catholicos St. Nersess Shnorhali at the Zohrab Center on Thursday, March 2 at 7PM. His presentation is entitled, The Joy of the Gospel in Times of Tragedy: A Lesson from St. Nersess Shnorhali.

Fr. Findikyan is Director of the Zohrab Information Center and Professor of Liturgical Studies at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary (Armonk, NY).

Jesus famously promises to lift even our heaviest burdens and to bring relief to all who are weary. But how are we to cope with the most harrowing pains and tragic assaults that can afflict human beings? What can we do for those who are suffering? Can anything good—even joyful—come from tragedy?

St. Nersess Shnorhali’s  little-known Letter of Consolation (Թուղթ մխիթարութեան) is an exquisite poem in which the Catholicos displays his tender compassion for someone who has experienced what is perhaps the most harrowing and inexplicable pain that one can suffer in this life, the death of a child. With great sensitivity, the Gracious One touches the wounds of the grieving father, as he weaves a tapestry of hopeful images and allusions from Sacred Scripture to bring the healing of Jesus Christ to bear.

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Fr. Daniel Findikyan lectures at the Gevorgyan Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenia last September.

Fr. Daniel will present his new English translation of the work, highlighting not only its poetic and lyric beauty, but also how “the Gracious One” teaches and personifies the power of Jesus Christ even in the midst of seemingly hopeless heartbreak. 

Fr. Findikyan is a priest and vartabed of the Armenian Church. He received his doctoral degree from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome and is the author of several books and dozens of scholarly articles on the worship traditions of the Christian East and especially the Armenian Church. He has lectured nationally and internationally, and is President of the Society of Oriental Liturgy. Hayr Daniel is a founding member of the Fellowship of St. Voski [Նոր Ոսկեանք], a non-profit organization dedicated to transmitting the spiritual and theological heritage of the Armenian Church tradition to Christians today. He is on the editorial board of the quarterly magazine The Treasury [Գանձարան].

The presentation will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese in New York. All are welcome to attend the presentation. Join us at 6PM for a cup of Lenten soup.

For further information contact the Zohrab Center at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710. CLICK HERE to download a flyer.

Holy Week in the Armenian Church. New Book to be Released on Thursday, March 19

A new book by V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zohrab Information Center, will be released at a book presentation and reception on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 7PM in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese in New York. #AvakShapat

2015-03_AvakShapatCoverThe book is entitled, Աւագ Շաբաթ Avak Shapat: A Guide to the Holy Week Services of the Armenian Church. The book is being published by the Zohrab Information Center. Conceived as a textbook for clergy, seminarians, deacons, choir members and others charged with conducting the Holy Week services, the guide will be of use to anyone interested in the worship of the Armenian Church, from faithful practitioners to students and scholars of other traditions.

The liturgical tradition of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church is one of the oldest and most magnificent in all of Christendom. The center of gravity of the Armenian Church’s liturgical year is undoubtedly Holy Week, the eight days preceding Easter. At no other time of the year is there such a concentration of poignant, ritually lavish, and theologically rich services in such a short period of time.

Yet with that exuberance comes complexity. The instructions for conducting these services are found in two books published centuries ago in Classical Armenian, which describe the services in a highly technical, abbreviated manner. As a result, conducting the Holy Week ceremonies properly, prayerfully and beautifully can be a challenge even for experienced clergy.

2015-03 FDFWith the meticulous eye of a teacher and scholar of Christian liturgy, Fr. Findikyan guides the reader through each Holy Week service, presenting the sequence of prayers, hymns, Scripture readings and rituals, and describing them in detail. The book also contains valuable glossaries of liturgical terms in Armenian and English, as well as separate indexes of liturgical and biblical references. As such, the book serves as a useful reference work on the worship tradition of the Armenian Church as a whole.

The March 19 presentation will take place in the Guild Hall of the Armenian Diocese, 630 2nd Avenue, New York. As he presents his book, Fr. Findikyan will lead a worshipper’s tour through the sequence and meaning of Holy Week in the Armenian Church, emphasizing the meaning of Jesus’ final days for us today. At the conclusion of his talk, copies of the new book will be available for sale.

The presentation is free and open to the public. A light Lenten meal will be served beginning at 6:30PM. For further information contact the Zohrab Center at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710.

2015-03 AvakShapatFlyer.001CLICK HERE to download a color flyer.

V. Rev. Fr. (Michael) Daniel Findikyan is a priest and vartabed of the Armenian Church. He has served as Director of the ZIC for two years. He is also Professor of Liturgical Studies at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, and Visiting Professor of Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana). He is an internationally renowned authority on the theology and history of the worship tradition of the Armenian Church and of other eastern churches, and has published widely in this area. Read more about Fr. Daniel’s education, teaching, ministry and publications.

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

#AvakShapat

Learn! Grow! Inspire! 2015 Spring Lecture Series

ZZohrab.001The Zohrab Center presents a rich and varied program of lectures, book presentations, and other stimulating opportunities for enrichment and edification this Winter and Spring. Armenians and anyone interested in Armenian civilization, arts, letters, and faith will find many options to learn, to grow and to inspire others.

A new study on Armenian music, a guide to the Armenian Church’s Holy Week ceremonies, a photographic album of the old Armenian community of Bourj-Hammoud, a Genocide-era novel, and a new travelogue of historic western Armenia will all be showcased by their authors. In addition, noted scholars will hold forth on various facets of Armenian Studies, including Vartan Matossian, Helen Evans and Roberta Ervine. A movie night and other events are also planned.

The Zohrab Center is collaborating with several sister organizations and parishes to co-sponsor some events.

All events are open to the public and most are free of charge. Unless otherwise noted, all presentations take place at the Zohrab Center (Armenian Diocese, New York). Check back frequently for updates and additions. For further information contact ZIC at info@zohrabcenter.org or (212) 686-0710.

ZIC Schedule of Events Spring 2015

Thursday, February 5 (7PM)
“Code Name Haiko: Discovering the Last Unknown Participant in Talaat Pasha’s Liquidation” Dr. Vartan Matiossian, Armenian National Education Committee

Thursday, February 12
Commemoration of St. Vartan and His Companions. Divine Liturgy and Dinner followed by Lecture. Co-sponsored with St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral
“An Anthropologist Considers St. Vartan: Faith, Nation and Memory” Lecture by Christopher Sheklian, University of Chicago

Thursday, February 19 (7PM)
St. Leon Armenian Church, Fair Lawn, NJ

The Life and Work of 19th-Century Armenian Composer Kristapor Gara-Murza. Book Presentation by Krikor Pidejian with Şahan Arzruni.

Thursday, March 5 (7PM)
Co-sponsored with Eastern Diocese Department of Armenian Studies
Portraits of Survival: The Armenians of Bourj Hammoud. Book Presentation by Ariane Ateshian Delacampagne.

Thursday, March 12 (7PM)
A.G.B.U. Center, New York

Historic Armenia after 100 Years. Book Presentation by Matthew Karamian

Thursday, March 19 (7PM)
“A Guided Tour of Holy Week in the Armenian Church” Lecture and Book Presentation by Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Zohrab Information Center/St. Nersess Armenian Seminary

Wednesday, April 8 (7PM)
“Picking Up the Pieces: Three Bishops and Their Vision for the Armenian Church circa 1920” Lecture by Dr. Roberta Ervine, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary

Thursday, April 16 (7PM)
Co-sponsored with the Eastern Diocese Department of Armenian Studies
The Martyred Armenian Writers 1915-1922. Book presentation by Herand Markarian

Thursday, April 30 (7PM)
“Armenian Art: Voice of a People” Dr. Helen Evans, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tuesday, June 2 (7PM)
The Survivor. Book Presentation: Rosemary Hartounian Cohen.

Fr. Findikyan Discusses an Ancient Armenian Prayer at German Symposium

Fr. Daniel Findikyan lectures at the University of Bonn, Germany
Fr. Daniel Findikyan lectures at the University of Bonn, Germany

Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zohrab Information Center, returned this week from Germany, where he participated in an academic conference at the University of Bonn, Germany. Fr. Findikyan gave a lecture on an Armenian funeral prayer attributed to the erudite 8th-century bishop Step‘anos of Siwnik‘. Findikyan edited and translated the prayer into English from a 14th-century manuscript held by the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The conference was organized by the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Bonn on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Roman Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council and the 75th anniversary of the publication of the book Liturgie comparée [Comparative Liturgy], the ground-breaking study of the interconnections that are to be found among the worship traditions of the ancient Christian churches. The book was written by the great German Orientalist, Anton Baumstark. Findikyan was one of ten speakers invited to present lectures. He was the only Armenian and the only speaker from the United States. Continue reading “Fr. Findikyan Discusses an Ancient Armenian Prayer at German Symposium”

Hidden Meanings of the Armenian Church’s Feasts and Fasts. Fr. Daniel Findikyan will Uncover Them on February 13.

The Armenian Church calendar is filled with mysteries and treasures.
The Armenian Church calendar is filled with mysteries and treasures.

RARE IS THE ARMENIAN who has never heard of Christmas or Easter.

But what about the Church’s less popular festivities? The Presentation of the Lord to the Temple (Տեառնընդառաջ / Dyaruntarach / Trndes), Ascension (Համբարձում / Hampartsoom), The Apparition of the Holy Cross (Երեւումն սրբոյ խաչին / Yerevoomn Srpo Khacheen), the Transfiguration of Christ (Պայծառակերպութիւն / Baydzaragerbootyoon / Vartavar), Lazarus Saturday (Ղազարու յարութիւնն / Ghazaroo Harootyoonun)?

Not to mention a whole series of other more obscure commemorations—The Ark of the Covenant (Տապանակն / Dabanagn), the Dedication of the Holy Cross (Նաւակատիք սրբոյ խաչին / Navagadeek Srpo Khacheen), the Commemoration of the Maccabees, New Sunday (Նոր կիրակի / Nor Geeragee)…

What Do They Mean?

What in the world are these festivities? What motivated the Armenians to set aside these annual holidays? What was their intended function, if any? And most important, do they serve any practical purpose for the betterment of our own lives and humanity today?

Living the Gospel of Christ—Year-by-Year

Fr. Daniel Findikyan is Director of the Zohrab Information Center and Professor of Liturgical Studies at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary.
Fr. Daniel Findikyan is Director of the Zohrab Information Center and Professor of Liturgical Studies at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary.

V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zohrab Center and Professor of Liturgical Studies at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary will give an illustrated presentation on Hidden Meanings of the Armenian Church’s Feasts and Fasts at the Zohrab Center in New York on Thursday, February 13 at 7:00PM. The presentation is part of the Eastern Diocese’s “Living the Gospel of Christ” initiative this year.

FDFCalendarFlyer.001“The Armenian Church’s calendar of feasts, fasts and commemorations is among the oldest in Christendom, and also one of the most elaborate,” said Fr. Findikyan. “Like the liturgical year in every Christian tradition, the Armenian Church’s distinctive annual cycle of holy days serves as a perpetual invitation to live and celebrate the Gospel of Christ—day by day and year by year.” He went on, “But to leverage this ancient Christian calendar for spiritual growth requires some guidance.”

Fr. Findikyan will guide his audience in that worthwhile endeavor. The presentation is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

CLICK HERE to read more about Fr. Findikyan’s education, work and publications.

CLICK HERE to download a flyer. Contact the Zohrab Center for further information: zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710.

New Book on the Armenian Divine Liturgy to be Released at May 28 New York Reception

2013-04 FAQBadarakA newly-published book by St. Vartan Press entitled, Frequently-Asked Questions on the Badarak: The Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church, will be officially released at a reception on Thursday, May 28 at 7:00PM in the Tahlij of the Armenian Diocese Center, 630 Second Avenue, New York.

The event is being hosted by His Eminence Abp. Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese.

Written by V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zohrab Center, the slim but meaty volume came about several years ago, when young people throughout the Diocese were asked to submit their questions about the Badarak. Fr. Findikyan, who also serves as Professor of Liturgical Studies at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, answered these questions and more, resulting in a book that will be of great interest not only to Sunday School and Armenian School students, but to their teachers and other adults as well.

Among the questions raised are straightforward queries such as: “Who wrote the Badarak?” and “Why do we stand most of the time during the Badarak?” to more weighty matters like: “Can the Badarak be shortened?” “Do women have to cover their heads during Badarak?” and “Do the bread and wine really turn into the Body and Blood of Christ?”

The reception is free and open to the public. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by phone at: (212) 686-0710 or by email at: zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org. Books will be available for sale and the author will be on hand to personalize copies.

Armenian Monasticism Focus of an International Symposium in Salzburg Last Week

Fr. Daniel Findikyan lectures at the University of Salzburg last week on Armenian Monasticism.
Fr. Daniel Findikyan lectures at the University of Salzburg last week on Armenian Monasticism.

Fr. Daniel Findikyan, Director of the Zorhab Center, was one of the featured speakers at a conference at the University of Salzburg, Austria, last week entitled, “Monastic Life in the Armenian Church: Glorious Past, Ecumenical Reconsidering, Challenge for the Future.”

Dr. Jasmine Dum-Tragut, Lecturer in Linguistics and Armenology and Dr. Dietmar Winkler, Professor for Patristics and Church History at the University of Salzburg co-organized the event, which brought together specialists in Armenian and Eastern Church Studies, monasticism, and ecumenism. Representing the Armenian Church, apart from Fr. Findikyan, were Abp. Nareg Alemezian, Ecumenical Coordinator and Dean of the Armenian Seminary of the Great House of Cilicia,  Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Director of Ecumenical Affairs for the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, Fr. Pakrad Berjekian of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and Fr. Ruben Zargaryan of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin. Also participating were monks of the Benedictine Monastery of St. Peter in Salzburg, which was founded in the mid-eighth century and has operated continuously since.

Speakers traced the history of Armenian monasticism from its origins in the fourth century in Armenia and the Holy Land to its decline during Ottoman times, and its decimation as a result of the Armenian Genocide. The massive theological, scientific, artistic and intellectual contributions of Armenian monks throughout Armenian Christian history were displayed. Also surveyed was monastic life as it has reemerged in the twentieth century in the Armenian Church’s hierarchical centers and signs of a renaissance in Armenia today, with young men retreating to ancient, outlying monasteries in pursuit of solitude, prayer, and study.

Also noted were small but growing numbers of young women in Armenia who are coming together to live out the monastic ideal. By arrangement of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, two young sisters will travel to Salzburg later this Spring to spend time in Salzburg’s eighth-century Benedictine Convent under the supervision of its dynamic and gracious Abbess, Mother Perpetua.

Fr. Findikyan’s paper, entitled, “Penitential Spirituality in Armenian Monasticism at the Turn of the Millennium,” studied a controversial theology of human sinfulness that emerged in some northern and eastern Armenian monasteries from the 11th to the 14th centuries, which resulted in the development of  liturgical practices such as the closing of the altar curtain and the withholding of Holy Communion during Great Lent, practices that present a number of theological, liturgical and practical problems in Armenian Church life today.

All of the papers will be edited in a book to be published in English in short order.