Armenian Church marks Palm Sunday

Armenian Apostolic Church will celebrate Tsakhkazard (Palm Sunday) on
Sunday, which marks the day of the triumphant entrance of Jesus Christ
into Jerusalem.

On the occasion of the holiday all the churches give liturgies and
people bring with them olive and palm branches to churches and take
home after blessing them there. followed today the liturgy in Yerevan St. Sargis Church,
witnessed the dominating festive moods.

A group of people selling symbols of the holiday were this time
complaining of the reduction of volume of trade. `As compared with the
past year people have either become fewer or have less money,’ a
resident of Arshaluys village, ethnic Yezidi Gule Avloyan said. Every
year she brings palm branches to St Sargis church’s court.

Another woman was complaining of social condition of the country,
saying people have to sell branches to earn for bread. She said she
was the resident of Dalma gardens territory that’s why did not want to
name herself.
The people were visiting church, buying symbols of the holiday and
complaining for them being expensive.

Distributing blessed palm branches to the faithful on the feast of
Palm Sunday is one of the spiritual customs of the Armenian Church.

The olive branch is considered to be the symbol of wisdom, peace,
victory and glory. Giving olive and date branches to Christ who
resurrected the dead Ghazaros is the symbol of victory over death.

Throwing clothes in front of Jesus symbolized freeing oneself of sins,
while giving branches as gifts was a symbol of honors and ceremonies.

The people of Jerusalem accepted the entrance of Jesus with
enthusiasm. They held date and olive branches, laid their clothes on
the ground and screamed: “Almighty God, blessed be he who comes to us
in the name of God, blessed be the kingdom of David that comes. Peace
on Earth and Glory to the Heavens” (Marcus 10:9-10).

According to the Armenian Church’s website, the offering of branches
symbolizes several things. First, it shows God’s mercy towards man
through the olive branch (which the dove brought to Noah, showing that
the flood waters had receded) and the victory over sin, death and
Satan through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection through the palm

Second, in ancient times, humanity worshipped the tree and offered its
branches to the idols of demons. Using this same gesture, the Jewish
people inspired by the Holy Spirit, offered branches to Jesus, after
they discovered that He was the True God. This is just as the wise men
presented their mysterious gifts to Him in the cave in Bethlehem –
gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Third, as God cursed the earth for the original sin committed by Adam
and Eve: “thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; . . . .”
(Genesis 3:18) the faithful laid green branches in front of the Lord
in order to spare Him their curse of bringing thorns.
Fourth, during the Olympic Games in ancient times, the winners were
crowned with olive wreaths. The faithful understood that Jesus
defeated death by resurrecting Lazarus (John 11:30-46) and met Him
with palm branches as He was the winning King.

New Pope Urged Turkey to Recognize Genocide in 2006


Seven years ago, the newly-elected Pope Francis urged Turkey to unconditionally recognize the Armenian Genocide.

During events marking the 91st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Buenos Aires, then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio urged Turkey to recognize the Genocide as the “gravest crime of Ottoman Turkey against the Armenian people and the entire humanity.”

On Wednesday, after what is viewed as a short conclave, white smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel heralded that a gathering of Catholic cardinals picked a new pope, choosing the first pontiff from the Americas to lead the Roman Catholic Church.

The 76-year-old pope will be called Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church and the first member of the Jesuit order to lead the church and the first none-European pope in more than 1,200 years.

“I would like to thank you for your embrace,” the new pope, dressed in white, said from the white balcony on St. Peter’s Basilica as thousands cheered joyously below. “My brother cardinals have chosen one who is from far away, but here I am,” reported the New York Times.

“Pray for me, and we’ll see each other soon,” the pope told the crowd of more than 100,000 gathered at St. Peter’s Square.

Genocide Journalist Memoir to be Presented April 5


LOS ANGELES—On Friday, April 5, “The Crime of the Ages,” a book containing documentary evidence of the Genocide written by Sebuh Aguni, a journalist who miraculously survived the 1915 Turkish massacre of Armenians, will be presented at the Zorayan Hall at the Western Diocese in Burbank at 7 pm, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.

Sebuh Aguni was a journalist, newspaper editor and resident of Istanbul. In 1919 Aguni chronicled the large-scale plunder, deportations, and massacres that were systematically perpetrated by the Turkish government against Armenians. “The Crime of the Ages” — the first English translation of Aguni’s study — is an invaluable work of historiography as it encompasses not only first-hand victim accounts of the Turkish atrocities, but a wealth of evidential information culled from Turkish, European, and American official sources found in archives in Istanbul. Brimming with the eloquent, vivid narrative of a journalist and survivor, the book portrays, in prodigious documentary detail, the first genocide of the 20th century.

Hagop Hagopian, principal of the AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School, and Prof. Silva Karayan, professor emeritus at Cal Lutheran University, will present the book. There will be a recitation of Siamanto’s “Ap Mu Mokhir Hayreni Tun” and performance of Komitas Vartabed’s “Garun a dzun a arel”.

The book, published by Hagop and Knar Manjikian and translated by Ishkhan Jinbashian, will be available for sale before and after the event. It is the fourth book in the Genocide Library of Armenian-language memoirs translated to English by the Manjikians and Jinbashian.

The Zorayan Hall at the Western Diocese is located at 3325 N. Glenoaks, Burbank; call 818-558-7474 for information.

Mesrobian Students go to City Hall


The Armenian Mesrobian School 4th Grade class students got a firsthand experience at how City Government works on Tuesday, March 19.  The morning started with a tour of the Police Station where the students observed 911 emergency calls in the Dispatch center, sat in the holding cell for juveniles, learned about the red-light camera system, and had a Q&A session with Police Captains Luis Lopez & Brad Keller.

After the tour of the Police Station, Councilman Jack Hadjinian walked the 4th Graders thru City Hall’s different departments and explained what the responsibility of a Councilman is and how they can effectuate change in their community.

The students had the opportunity to conduct a mock City Council meeting where they heard concerns of the community and voted on an issue. Students congratulated Councilmember Hadjinian for being the first Armenian-American elected to City Council in Montebello and were happy to know he is a fellow Mesrobian Alumni.

“I am ecstatic about the level of interest these students had today in City Government. They might be young but they are very aware. I was truly impressed by their participation and the questions they asked.”

The class was accompanied by their teacher Miss Valerie Ananias and parents Garo & Liz Arshagouni, and Mayra Tabbakh.

Ferrahian Student’s Trip To KZV Middle School And Berkeley MUN


On the weekend of March 8, 9, and 10, eleven high school students participated in the 61st annual Berkeley Model United Nations conference at the University of California Berkeley. This is the third conference that our school has taken a part of this year. The previous conferences included Bruin MUN at the University of California Los Angeles and Gauchos MUN at University of California Santa Barbara. We, the students, have been participating in the Berkeley MUN conference for fifteen years now. The conference was three days long filled with rigorous debate in the gorgeous San Francisco/Berkeley area.

Before participating in the conference our students visited Krouzian-Zekarian-Vasbouragan Armenian School in San Francisco. The principal Grace Andonian opened her arms and made us feel like family, inviting us to spend time with the children and enjoy lunch with them. There we interacted with the younger children and had the privilege to introduce Model UN to the eighth grade students and discuss current world topics. We also had the privilege to meet Elizabeth Chouldjian, who is a member of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA). With Chouldjian we discussed current topics that were relevant to the topics that we would be discussing in conference. Chouldjian encouraged us to join the ANCA and help the Armenian community and the “HAY TAD.” She persuaded us to volunteer and to make sure that the works of the previous generations of ANCA members are continued. She stressed that we can spread the “HAY TAD” through participating in MUN conferences and educate others about the Armenian struggle and what we are trying to accomplish.

After the empowering thoughts and ideas by Chouldjian, who emphasized how important MUN is to help drive the works of the ANCA and the “HAY TAD”, the students went to the conference at the university. There they met 1,800 other delegates from around the world and after three days of rigorous debate were able to “solve problems” pertaining to the world. They were able to gain new insight from other cultures and races debating with students all around the world about topics ranging from the Syrian conflict to female infanticide.

Our eleventh grade students Shawnt Karakozian and Farah Kandah, who were a part of the World Bank committee as representatives of Belgium, discussed the topics of Open-Loan Proposals and Anti-Corruption Efforts in Developing Countries. The two delegates won the “Outstanding Delegate” (second place) award, for their hard work. Arteen Galstian, also a junior, participated in the European Union committee, representing Belgium, discussed the topics of the European Debt Crisis and A Divided Cyprus. Arteen won the “Accommodation” (third place) award.

One important mentor that we had the honor to work with during this conference was Garen Bostanian, a Ferrahian alumni who not only continued his MUN career outside of high school, but works hard every day for the Armenian community and the ANCA. He became an intern for the ANCA during the summer of 2012 and carried out the jobs that Chouldjian explained to us at the middle school. Garen started participating in the MUN conferences in ninth grade. He found a passion for debating and trying to find solutions for any problem given to him. He decided that his MUN career would not stop after high school; he participated in many conferences since graduating in 2011. The most prestigious conference he took part in was the conference at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 4,000 college students from around the world came together and participated in one of the most rigorous conferences offered to college students. There he debated two topics that are important not only in the world, but specifically to the Armenian community: Sovereignty, Intervention, and Syria, and more importantly the Conflict in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Garen was able to bring his knowledge from his own history, past, and experiences while debating these topics and stressing the importance of finding a solution for these problems that are so relevant in the Armenian community today.

Model UN provides students with a new approach at understanding problems not only in the Armenian community, but around the world, and we encourage our students to be involved and have the opportunity to solve the current world issues. It’s a fun, yet highly educational way to take world problems and make them interesting to any student in high school.