NEW YORK, NY – In the wake of President Biden’s inauguration as America’s 46th chief executive, Armenian Church of America (Eastern) Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan sent a letter to the White House conveying pressing concerns of the Armenian-American community.
Among these concerns, he said, are ensuring security for Armenia and Armenian communities in the Middle East; the health of our homeland in the aftermath of war and in the midst of the ongoing pandemic crisis; official recognition for Artsakh; and protection of Armenian and Christian heritage sites.
His appeal concludes: “Mr. President, as a man of faith yourself, I know that these concerns of an ancient Apostolic Christian nation are deeply meaningful to you. Please know that in pursuing the above objectives, the Armenian Church of America and its people are eager to support and assist your administration in any way we can.”
Read Bishop Daniel’s letter to President Biden below:
January 27, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
Dear President Biden:
On behalf of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church of America, I wish to extend my warm congratulations to you, on your inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America.
Today, the Armenian-American citizens of the United States look forward to your national leadership with great anticipation. In your tenure as a senator, Vice President, and public servant, we have admired your strong advocacy for official U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and your unwavering support for the Republic of Armenia.
Security—of Armenia and of Armenian communities throughout the Middle East—remains a pressing concern among our people in America. We are heartened by your determination to promote a balanced international order, respectful of human rights, and strengthened by intercultural dialogue.
In this time of worldwide affliction, the good people of Armenia bore unique hardships. They were subjected not only to the pandemic, but also to a vicious, unprovoked war by their neighboring country of Azerbaijan. The outcome of the war has placed new burdens on the Armenian people. So it was heartening, in these early days of the Biden administration, to hear incoming Secretary of State Blinken strongly endorse the importance of the Nagorno-Karabagh (Artsakh) peace process, and confirm your pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Hand-in-hand with these matters is the issue of official recognition for Artsakh, and the protection of Armenian religious monuments in that region, as well as the preservation of Armenian and other Christian heritage sites in Turkey.
Mr. President, as a man of faith yourself, I know that these concerns of an ancient Apostolic Christian nation are deeply meaningful to you. Please know that in pursuing the above objectives, the Armenian Church of America and its people are eager to support and assist your administration in any way we can.
I should add that we would be honored to welcome you to the institutional center of America’s Armenian community: St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York City, located a few blocks away from the United Nations. Please be assured that the cathedral will always be a spiritual home for you and your loved ones.
It is my prayer that you will remain healthy and safe in these still-trying times, President Biden. I pray that under your leadership the American people—and the world that looks to us for guidance—will emerge from this painful period, and progress towards greater peace and prosperity. And I pray that God will always keep you and our country under his watchful gaze. May God be with you, and with all of our fellow citizens.
With my prayers,
St. Hagop Armenian Church (Tampa, FL)
Palm Sunday Live Stream 10:30AM-11:30AM
Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the Governor of the State of Florida has issued a statewide “Stay At Home” order and the Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), Very. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, has instructed all Armenian Churches to close until it is safe to congregate.
As such, parishioners are not permitted to come to worship on Sunday until further notice. Instead, the largest Armenian Church in Florida, St. Hagop Armenian Church (Tampa) will live stream the Palm Sunday Badarak and pastoral message of Fr. Hovnan Demerjian from 10:30AM to 11:30AM. To participate in the live stream, please visit St. Hagop’s Facebook Page.
Live Stream Schedule (Church Closed Indefinitely)
- Palm Sunday, April 5th: Badarak & Message, 10:30AM-11:30AM
- Holy Thursday, April 9th: Service of Darkness-Khavaroom 7:00PM-8:00PM
- Good Friday, April 10th: Burial Service & Message, 7:00PM-8:00PM
- Easter Sunday, April 12th: Episcopal Badarak from NYC, Time TBD
Soorp Haroutiun Armenian Church (Orlando, FL)
Palm Sunday Live Stream 11:00AM
Palm Sunday Live Streaming on Soorp Haroutiun Armenian Church Facebook Page.
St. David Armenian Church (Boca Raton, FL)
Palm Sunday Live Streaming on St. David Armenian Church Facebook Page.
St. Mary Armenian Church (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Palm Sunday Live Streaming on St. Mary Armenian Church Facebook Page at 11:00AM
Holy Week Schedule:
- Palm Sunday: April 5 at 11:00AM, Divine Liturgy/Badarak (Live streaming)
- Holy Thursday: April 9 at 7:00PM, Darkness Hour / Khavaroum Prayer Service (Live streaming)
- Holy Friday: April 10 at 12:00PM, Crucifixion Prayer Service
Burial Prayer Service, 6:00 pm (Live streaming)
- Holy Easter Sunday: April 12 at 10:30AM, Holy Resurrection Badarak (Live streaming)
ACYOA DAYS – April 5th & 6th
A Message from Bishop Daniel
On Guidelines for Holy Week and Easter Services During the Pandemic
My Dear People:
I greet you at this extraordinary time in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lifts our burdens, dispels our fears, and fills our hearts with hope and love for one another.
As you are all too aware, government and health authorities have warned that the pandemic crisis is entering a critical phase, and have called on all individuals and institutions to redouble their efforts to slow transmission through physical separation. The worldwide Armenian Church, among all religious institutions, must do its part, and hold as its first priority the health and safety of our people.
To uphold this responsibility, we are compelled to make unprecedented adjustments to our Holy Week and Easter services. Let me say at the outset that taking such measures, even at this time, brings genuine pain to us all. But in our uncertainty we place ourselves in the forgiving hands of our merciful Lord Jesus.
Most, but not all, of the territory of our Diocese is under the “stay at home” order from civil authorities. Under such circumstances, we have sought counsel from His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians; from all of our clergy; and from medical experts of the Armenian American Health Professionals Organization. Having done so, we hereby issue the following guidelines, which we expect our clergy and Diocesan leadership to observe.
- Clergy should conduct all Holy Week services, with the aid of one deacon (or at most two), and one singer (or at most two).
- Clergy, deacons, and singers must strictly abide by rules of social separation, maintaining a minimum of 6 feet separation at all times, and avoiding contact with liturgical or other objects. Clergy have the liberty to adjust services at their discretion in order to abide by social distancing rules and local, practical considerations.
- Where a priest is considered acutely vulnerable to infection, and is thereby unable to lead services, at his discretion an ordained deacon may preside over all services, except for the Divine Liturgy itself.
- Where it is not possible to assemble priest, deacon, and singer due to pandemic concerns, services may be omitted at the pastor’s discretion. (In such cases, faithful should be directed to broadcast options; see below.)
- Broadcasting services over the Internet is encouraged wherever possible.
- The faithful are not permitted to be present in the sanctuary during any services. They must restrict themselves to participating in services via the Internet broadcasts, which have been readily available throughout this pandemic crisis.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR SPECIFIC SERVICES
On Palm Sunday (April 5), Great Thursday (April 9) and Great Saturday (April 11), the Divine Liturgy should be conducted wherever possible, according to the guidelines above.
On these occasions, only the celebrant priest will receive Holy Communion.
For this Palm Sunday, the “Opening of the Doors” (Turenpatsek) ceremony will not be conducted in our Diocese. However, later in the year, a special “Opening of the Doors” ceremony is planned for all Diocesan parishes, to celebrate the re-opening of the churches to our faithful.
On Palm Sunday, palms may be blessed where possible, and reserved for distribution to the faithful when the churches are re-opened later in the year.
On Holy Thursday, the “Washing of the Feet Ceremony” will be omitted this year.
On Easter Sunday, plans call for the Bishop to celebrate Badarak at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York, in strict accordance with the guidelines above, on behalf of all the clergy and faithful of the Diocese. The Badarak will be broadcast over the Internet, with the Bishop’s sermon addressed to the united faithful and clergy of our Diocese. Parishes that are able to conduct the Easter Divine Liturgy according to the guidelines above may do so, of course. But all are invited and encouraged to follow the broadcast Badarak from St. Vartan Cathedral.
Having issued these guidelines, it remains to affirm that we live in eager expectation of that blessed day when we will reassemble in our churches, to praise and glorify God, standing physically side-by-side with each other—and standing spiritually with our risen Lord. In our present circumstance, the assurance of St. Paul speaks directly to us, giving consolation and confidence for today:
“I am certain that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all Creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
With my prayers,
Armenian Church Diocesan Primate Bishop Daniel Findikyan led a weekend of sacred observances and fellowship at the St. Hagop Armenian Church of St. Petersburg, FL, on January 24-26.
The visit began on Friday evening, when the Primate ordained a pair of young parishioners, Edmond Keshishian and Shagen Babayan, as tbirs, during a solemn vespers service. Afterwards, parishioners adjourned to the church hall for dinner and an informal discussion period with Bishop Daniel.
The Friday service was a prelude to the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, when Edmond and Shagen joined Robert Maslar and Michael Sarafian in receiving the sacrament of ordination as sub-deacons, by the bishop’s hand.
“There were tears in people’s eyes, including mine, during this ordination—maybe for the same reason people cry at weddings,” said pastor Fr. Hovnan Derderian. “When anyone new is married, in a sense we are all re-married and rededicate ourselves to our own sacred bond. When anyone is newly ordained, we are all in a sense re-ordained and re-baptized, in that we’re rededicating ourselves to follow Christ and serve each other in faith, hope, and love.”
Following Holy Badarak, Bishop Daniel blessed a new khatchkar (stone cross) donated to the church by parishioners Ara and Rita Keshishian. At a reception, the parish screened an original video about the artisan who carved the khatchkar.