Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category

Narek’s Festal Works, for the First Time in English

May 19th, 2016    |    No Comments »

The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek: Annotated Translation of the Odes, Litanies, and Encomia
By Dr. Abraham Terian
Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, 2016

St. Gregory of Narek (945-1003) is one the most revered saints of the Armenian Church. He has been widely influential due to his penitential flavor of prayerful expression, particularly through his renowned and deeply introspective Book of Prayers. He has also gained the popularity of those outside the Armenian tradition. Last year, on February 21, 2015 Pope Francis declared St. Gregory a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church, joining the company of 35 other important figures and saints such as St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Athanasius, St. Ephrem, and St. Teresa of Ávila.

Besides St. Gregory’s new status in the Catholic Church, his influence lives on in our own tradition. Thanks to Abraham Terian, Professor Emeritus of Armenian Theology and Patristics at St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, the Armenian faithful now have the chance to discover–for the first time in English—our beloved mystical poet, philosopher, and theologian through the newly published Festal Works of St. Gregory: Annotated Translation of the Odes, Litanies, and Encomia.

The poetical odes and litanies vary in length ranging from 10 to 165 lines, with headings such as Ode for the Blessing of Water, Ode for the Coming of the Holy Spirit, and Litany for St. Gregory the Illuminator. The assumption is they were composed for public and liturgical use, but how the festal works of St. Gregory were employed (if they were used at all) is unknown. Similarly, we do not know the setting of the encomia: lengthy prose texts dedicated to praising subjects such as the Holy Virgin, the Holy Cross, and the Holy Apostles.

Gregory’s poetry is replete with vivid imagery and descriptors, drawn from his panoramic view of Scripture. Additionally, each of the genres included in the volume embody a sense of the worshipping community’s joyful praise, serving as a perfect supplement to Gregory’s penitential Book of Prayers.

Read, for example, these lines from his Ode for the Raising of Lazarus (p. 43):

The Gift able to transform the speechless, dead body,
The dead body wrapped in burial clothes, to be clothed and sealed with breath again by the Caller to Life.
The seal of death was broken as were the torments of hell,
The torments by the (evil) one who cannot harm the blessed assembly.
The great Hebrew assembly, a galaxy of thousands, praises in song the glory,
The glory of the One who bestows light, now and eternally.

Although the subject of the ode is the raising of Lazarus, St. Gregory is able to link that event with Christ’s entry into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, and ground the entire theme in the divinity of Christ. This ode affirms that it is not the story of the person of Lazarus that draws the attention for Armenians, rather what it tells us about Jesus Christ, the Caller to Life, and the temporary chapter that is death.

As a mystic, St. Gregory developed an extraordinary intense sense of God’s presence. Consequently, his language and worldview were different from the experiences of most people today. His festal works bear witness to the profound message of the Gospel transmitted through the Armenian Church.

This book belongs in the library of every clergyman of the Armenian Church, and is of equal interest to specialists in the field of liturgics. But it is also accessible to anyone interested in personal edification, and in enhancing their experience and understanding of the feasts of the Armenian Church.

—Eric Vozzy works in the Eastern Diocese’s Christian Education department.

The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek

The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek

A New iBook on the Transfiguration

August 7th, 2013    |    No Comments »

The Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America is pleased to announce the release of its latest electronic book for the Apple iPad: “Transfiguration.” We invite you to download this free book, and to embark on a journey through the story of Christ’s miraculous transformation on Mt. Tabor.

The book relates the Gospel story of the Transfiguration and introduces the ways in which the feast is celebrated in the Armenian Church (this year, the observance will take place on Sunday, July 7). The digital book is packed with interactive features, including:

  • Video: watch the story come alive on your screen
  • Music: listen to the hymns of the Transfiguration in a virtual sanctuary
  • Audio: listen to the Transfiguration story in English and Armenian
  • Photo galleries: explore artists’ renderings of the events on Mt. Tabor
  • A “Lexicon” page: learn Armenian words and names associated with this feast day

“Transfiguration” is the first in a series of interactive books the Diocese plans to publish in the coming year as part of the Diocesan theme, “Living the Gospel of Christ.” The series will walk readers through the five major feasts of the Armenian Church.

As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. Please take the time to rate our new publication and to write a review on the iBookstore.

A page from the "Transfiguration" book. The book is available for free download on the iPad.

A page from the “Transfiguration” book. The book is available for free download on the iPad.

The book's features include a virtual sanctuary, where users can listen to Armenian hymns.

The book’s features include a virtual sanctuary, where users can listen to Armenian hymns.

Follow Me

April 5th, 2012    |    1 Comment »

Follow Me — says my Lord

Your Footsteps will lead me To a path yet unknown And wherever You are Lord, I will Follow

To the highest of mountains And to the deepest of seas By my side, You will hold me

In my greatest of joys And saddest of sorrows By my side, You will comfort me

In struggles taken step by step And pains felt tear by tear By my side, You will wipe them dry for me

My actions: good, right and just And deeds: dreadful and wicked By my side, You will forgive me

My faith in You strong, fervent and unshaken And doubts: subtle, confusing and fierce By my side, You will reassure me

My prayers from the heart exclaimed to You Forgetful, pre-occupied and lazy, thankfulness remised By my side, You will always hear me

My weakness, illness and limitations, crosses indeed to bear Day by Day, Your path I take, should I dare By my side, You will guide me

My disappointments and discouragements daily they present Alone, weary and frail, my body weighed down By my side, You will uplift me

My goals and plans though they fall short Your will and way I try to emmulate By my side, You will shape me

My family: wife and children you have gifted Filled with joys and trials By my side, You will bless me

My life full of breath, energy and zeal And death: dark, empty and cold By my side, You will resurrect me

Your Footsteps will lead me To a path yet unknown And wherever You are Lord, I will Follow

—by the Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian

Yergir 2 Yergir: A Journey to Historic Armenia

July 26th, 2011    |    No Comments »

Copies of “Yergir 2 Yergir” (Country to Country), a greatly anticipated new 240-page photo-book by Hrair “Hawk” Khatcherian, have just arrived at the St. Vartan Gift and Bookstore, and this publishing milestone deserves attention.  Through the lens of a seasoned photographer, the book illustrates the ruins of historic Armenia standing in present-day Turkish territory—a region which knew the heights of civilization as the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.

An introduction to these striking images is written by Claude Mutafian, the French-born Armenian historian and mathematician who has published several books on Armenian history.  Prof. Mutafian discusses the history of Armenian Cilicia and writes about the stories behind the images presented throughout the book.

Initially, the book presents panoramic views of fortress remains such as the Kala Fortress, Fortress of Sis, and the Fortress of Feke, that used to house Armenians.  As it progresses, other sites are presented with archival images juxtaposed against Khatcherian’s modern-day photographs.  The book generates interesting thoughts, as one notices the ancient photograph of the village in Zeytun, placed next to the ruins that exist there today, which traverse the mountainside.

Another interesting display in the book is of the St. Gregory Armenian Church of Kayseri, the interior of which has now been converted to a gymnasium.  There are views of other cities like Ani, Garmir Vank, Shabin Karahisar, and Bayburt in ruins, while there are also panoramic views of beautiful and vast nature scenes in cities like Yeshilova, Goghp, and the Dayk region.   A number of neglected monastery buildings and dilapidated church sites are also shown, along with a few pages are dedicated to “khatchkars” in various locations.

Overall, the book details Khatcherian’s collection of photos taken over several years of travel and exploration.  In a biographical statement he explains his efforts as the spiritual dedication of his talents and devotion to the Motherland—the ultimate Yergir.

“Yergir 2 Yergir” by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian is currently on sale in our bookstore.  The price for this exquisite, large-format coffee-table volume (14.75 x 11.25”) is $100—but if you order before August 15, you’ll receive a 20 percent discount off this price.  Note that additional shipping charges of $10.00 will apply.

To purchase, contact the bookstore: (212) 686-0710 ext. 152.

Melanie Panosian, a junior at Muhlenberg College, is interning this summer in the Diocesan Communications department.

Hrair Hawk Khatcherian's new photo-book "Yergir 2 Yergir" features color images of historic Armenia.

The Fortress at Sis is one in a series of photographs of Cilician citadels.

The Monastery of the Virgins at Ani.

2011 Calendar: Online Epilogue

December 1st, 2010    |    No Comments »

We are pleased to announce the publication of our 2011 calendar, which began arriving in homes last week.

Titled “Follow Me: In the Footsteps of Our Lord, Through the Holy Land,” the calendar guides readers on a journey through the milestones of Christ’s life and ministry—from the Holy Grotto in Bethlehem to the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, the Jerusalem countryside, the “Way of Sorrow,” Mount Tabor, and the Mount of Olives.

The calendar also provides a look at the centuries-old Armenian presence in Jerusalem. Photographs capturing the sacred rituals of the Armenian Church take readers to the heart of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and its Sts. James Cathedral.

Lastly, the 2011 publication continues to build on the Diocese’s theme of “Vocations: The Call to Serve.” Excerpts from the gospels emphasize Christ’s call to walk in his footsteps and to take up pastoral ministry.

We hope the 2011 calendar will be an inspiration to you, and an encouragement to hear Christ’s call.

Of course, with just 12 pages of images, we were limited in the number of photographs we could feature in the calendar. To further explore the Holy Land through the lenses of our photographers—Arman Minasyan,  Garo D. Nalbandian, and Kevork Nalbandian—we invite you to visit our online photo gallery.

If you are not on our mailing list, please click here to subscribe. A copy of the 2011 calendar will be sent to you free of charge.