Archive for February, 2013

A Houseful of Love

February 11th, 2013    |    No Comments »

Marjorie Housepian Dobkin, best known for her 1971 book “The Smyrna Affair,” made her literary debut 14 years earlier with a warm and entertaining novel based on her memories of growing up in the heart of New York’s Armenian community in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Set not far from the present location of the Diocesan Center, “A Houseful of Love” sketches the stories of Armenian immigrants—the boisterous Uncle Pousant, his colorful wife Hadji, and the mysterious Levon Dai—making a new home in the new world.

Click on the following links to read an excerpt from “A Houseful of Love” and an early New York Times review of the 1957 novel.

“A Houseful Of Love,” Margaret Housepian Dobkin’s first novel, was published in 1957.

The Armenian Church in the Palm of Your Hand

February 6th, 2013    |    No Comments »

Since the launch of Vemkar two years ago, more than 5,000 users worldwide have downloaded our free mobile phone and iPad application. Our app community has grown to include members living across the Armenian diaspora—from the U.S., France, and Russia to Brazil, China, and our homeland, Armenia.

We are excited to have reached this milestone, and we hope Vemkar will continue to bring the light of our Christian heritage to our people across the globe. In the coming months, the app will feature new content, such as additional spiritual and folk music selections, photos, and videos.

For now, here are some stats at a glance:
Music streaming: 90,000 hits
Most popular track: Khorhoort Khoreen
Video plays: 10,000 hits
Most popular video: Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church
Gallery views: 2,000 hits

Vemkar also offers daily scripture readings, a calendar of events, a directory of Diocesan parishes, a prayer request function, and more. It is available for free download on the iPhone, Andorid, and iPad platforms. Download it today, and carry the Armenian Church in the palm of your hand.

Ed Koch (1924-2013)

February 1st, 2013    |    No Comments »

“I decided early on,” he once said, “that you have to get the attention of the public. You’ve got to get them to follow you.”

“And you can only do that by being bigger than life.”

It was good advice for a man aspiring to be the mayor of America’s largest, most energetic city. And it was an attitude that made New York Mayor Edward I. Koch one of the most colorful political figures of his day.

During his tenure as mayor, from the late 1970s through the 1980s, he was also a great friend of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, and was a frequent visitor to the Diocesan Center—especially during the days of the “One World Festival,” which populated the area around the cathedral with the city’s most diverse annual street fair.

Mayor Koch had received his introduction to the community through the late, great Sam Azadian (who was as much a personification of the Armenian-American community as Koch himself was of New York as a whole). But it was his friendship with the Diocesan Primate of the time, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, which city natives will remember most fondly.

Like Koch, Archbishop Torkom also appreciated the need for effective public figures to be “bigger than life,” and without ever impinging on the dignity of his office, he led an effort to raise the profile of the Armenian Church on the American stage. The mayor and the archbishop seemed to recognize a kinship of spirit between them, and greeted each other as old friends whenever they met.

Koch, for his part, would refer to Archbishop Torkom as his “spiritual advisor”—a remark that would invariably draw smiles from his listeners, but which reflected the respect he had for the archbishop, and acknowledged his stature among the spiritual leaders of New York City.

Earlier today, February 1, 2013, Ed Koch passed away, at the age of 88. May he rest in peace.

Archbishop Torkom Manoogian welcomes New York Mayor Ed Koch to St. Vartan Cathedral. At the far right of the picture is Sam Azadian.