Afrah restaurant and getting together with each other.
This was the first outing for The Seniors for 2016.
We look forward for a peaceful and happy year.
1805 Random Rd., Carrollton, TX 75006
Office: (972) 245-6995 | firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Sarkis Armenian
Our precious Seniors enjoyed the yummy lunch at the new
Afrah restaurant and getting together with each other.
This was the first outing for The Seniors for 2016.
We look forward for a peaceful and happy year.
Scouts Receive Highest Religious Award in Cub Scouting
The Boy Scouts of America place great emphasis on fellowship and duty to God. One of their achievements is to earn the religious emblem of your faith. The Diocese of the Armenian Church of America bestows the St. Gregory Award on the Cub Scouts and Webelos who achieve this honor.
Avedis Minassian, Zaven Minassian and Angelo Titoyan, are the first three scouts from St. Sarkis Armenian Orthodox Church, Dallas to earn the prestigious St. Gregory Illuminator Award. On January 10, 2016, Der Ghevond Ajamian, Pastor of St. Sarkis, presented these three proud boys with their medals.
Over the course of one year, Angelo, Zaven and Avedis met with Der Ghevond regularly to work on the requirements of earning this special recognition. Together with Der Hayr and their parents, they discovered more about themselves, God, and the Armenian Church. These scouts discovered the history of the Armenian Church, learned about the Badarack (Divine Liturgy), attended church services and Sunday School. They learned about the symbols used to express the beliefs of the Armenian Church like the Dove, the All-Seeing eye of God and the Triangle. They prayed, wrote prayers, read the Acts of the Apostles and the Book of Psalms, discussed them, compared activities of the Early Church with our Church today, and made presentations. They learned about our St. Sarkis Church community and parish by listing and describing the different groups and activities of our church. They gained an understanding of how each group helps in fellowship, education, support and charity. The boys also talked and wrote about how a Christian puts his faith into action as demonstrated in service projects they have performed.
This experience aided the scouts in "gaining a greater awareness of their place in our Church and t heir value as a Child of God within the community." It strengthened their faith in God, and "helped them practice their Duty to God by helping people around them. Maybe that's what Robert Baden Powell, who established scouting, meant when he said every scout should 'Do a Good Turn Daily'."
Zaven, Avedis and Angelo, your community is so proud of you. Your hard work and perseverance, with the support and guidance of Der Ghevond, made it possible for you to be awarded the St. Gregory Award. All three boys are looking forward to earning their next Religious Award, the Mt. Ararat Award.
God be with you Scouts and remember, always follow the Scout Oath and Scout Law!
Written by Patil Minassian
- a proud mom and community member
St. Sarkis celebrated Fathers’ Day in style on Sunday June 21, 2015 in the Kechejian Hall. Father Ghevond Ajamian congratulated all fathers on their special day, and thanked them for their importance to their families and for being pillars of the community. Then he invited all to stay after the Divine Liturgy and attend the sumptuous brunch prepared by the Women’s Guild. An enticing flyer had been prepared and circulated beforehand, promising a delicious brunch. The Women’s Guild outdid itself preparing dishes of eggs and sujuk, foul with tomatoes, scallions, parsley, cumin, lemon and olive oil, and a variety of other appetizers and vegetables. The Women’s Guild also prepared delectable treats, with a piece de resistance being a cake prepared especially to honor all the fathers of the community.
Although everyone at St. Sarkis is accustomed to the top notch meals prepared and served by the Women’s Guild, this brunch was unusual, because it was prepared especially to make fathers feel at home. Everyone loved the change of pace, and the Kechejian Hall was buzzing with approval.
In addition to the fabulous brunch, everyone took part in the games that had been planned to entertain and amuse the community members. Naturally, the most favorite of the games was the backgammon, which is popular at St. Sarkis because of the experts who play it among our parishioners.
The Women’s Guild worked very hard to plan and serve this welcome brunch. Chairman of the Women’s Guild Hermine Aghyarian thanked all for coming to the event, and acknowledged the hard work of the members of the Women’s Guild, saying: “We were happy to celebrate Fathers’ Day with our St. Sarkis family, and we are glad that everyone had a great time.” The Women’s Guild is the oldest organization at St. Sarkis, and it is the backbone of all the events that take place during the year.
By Mary Mukhtarian
The students of the St. Sarkis School thrilled the whole community on Sunday May 17th when they had their year-end Hantess program at the Kechejian Hall. A zillion children wearing the commemorative Genocide purple shirts were everywhere, much to the delight of their families.
After the opening prayer offered by Father Ghevond Ajamian, all the children of the Armenian school were on stage to sing the Armenian National Anthem and to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States. The Principal of the school, Maral Aznavourian, thanked all for coming to attend the pride of our community, and reminded all that we had honored our lost ones, but that now was our greatest moment in history, and that our future was one of great possibilities enhanced by the new generations that were carrying the mantle after us.
The opening remarks were followed by the graduation of the Ararat class. These students had studied at the St. Sarkis Armenian School since they were 6 or 7, and they were well versed in the language, history, religion and culture of the Armenians. They received the diplomas prepared by the Diocese and the Armenian Genocide Centennial “Forget Me Not” commemorative pins. Most of the St Sarkis graduates are planning to be 2015-2016 enrollees in the AGBU program of AVC, the Armenian Virtual College hybrid program, to continue their Armenian education.
After the graduation ceremony, the young students of the Yerevan class took the stage to sing the “Sourp Asdvadz” soulful hymn, with the audience joining in. The young students then, recited the colors, days of the week and counted in Armenian, then followed a hilarious episode of each one of them outdoing the others in writing their names on the board. The most touching segment was the reading by Paul Kantzabedian and Amassia Dayian of the famous William Saroyan quote:
“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.”
The Sevan class joined together for a group recitation of Mesrob Mashdotz, followed by the Ayp Pen Kim song in Armenian. What a delight it was, when upon completing it, they hooked little fingers and began dancing the Tamzara on stage. They were a multi-talented group, those students of the Sevan class.
The Karni class took to the stage next to tell personal family stories, most of which were narratives on the effect of the Genocide on their families. We all got to learn a lot more about these children and their families, and appreciated their effort to ask their parents for these highly painful stories.
The talent that the Ararat class demonstrated was not in singing or dancing, but was in interviewing past St. Sarkis Stewards and sharing their history of our community. The students had a PowerPoint presentation of history and photos that told the story of our community as attendees enjoyed a trip down memory lane. This was followed by recognizing the stewards of St. Sarkis who have kept this church going over time. Every single steward starting with Dr. Kechejian, the Godfather of our Church, was interviewed and the result was a 14 minute long video clip. We got to hear the encouragement of many Stewards to this church to move forward and build the new church complex and of their pride in our youth, and their advice for them to continue to be beacons of hope for our community. The group recitation of “We Are Few, But We Are Called Armenians” in both Armenian and English brought tears to everyone’s eyes, because we were a small community that was keeping the Armenian passion alive in our corner of the world.
The closing remarks were made by the Chairwoman of the St. Sarkis School, Armineh Kajoian, who recognized the unequalled service of all the teachers and board members, and singled the Principal Maral Aznavourian for praise as an inspiration to all.
Parents, grandparents and the rest of the community were both delighted and touched with the passion of the youth who had filled them with pride. Father Ghevond offered the closing prayer and invited all to enjoy the delicious luncheon prepared and served by the St. Sarkis School Board.
By Mary Mukhtarian
2014-2015 St. Sarkis School Year End Program started with the Graduation Ceremony. All students who have been part of the Ararat classroom for at least 3 years and have successfully completed the Final Exam received their diplomas.
Ararat classroom is very near and dear to my heart and I consider each and every one of them my own. I have been their Oryort Maral, Digin Aznaviourian and always their Auntie Maral… Most of the students receiving their diplomas have been in Ararat classroom since the age of six or seven. We have learned our language and history together, we have rejoiced in the accomplishment of our people and have shared our pride in our culture and heritage. We have mourned our hundred year pain and loss together but have stood triumphant in our resolve to keep what is ours holy and sacred.
As the students of Ararat classroom receive their diplomas and complete their paper and pencil chapter of learning our language, history and culture, they stand tall with the promise of resuming their studies in a different setting. For the 20214-2015 school year, most of the Ararat Classroom students will join AGBU’s hybrid program of Armenian Virtual College and continue learning our language and culture in the virtual world and hopefully becoming the liaisons of AVC and the Dallas community.
Congratulations to all Ararat Classroom Graduates! We could not be any prouder.
The Graduates of St. Sarkis School 2014-2015
Christine Akilian, Arman Aznavourian, Alene Basmadjian, Lena Basmadjian, Noah Dayian, Taniel Katanjian, Serien Keleshian, Meghetty Klachian, Silvia Markarian, Ruben Mikayelyan, Sylvia Nalbandian, Sabeen Toranian.
Staff writer Ashley Rose reports:
A candlelight vigil will be held Friday night at Dallas City Hall to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
Armenian Americans and others will gather from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on the lawn of City Hall Plaza for the peace vigil to raise awareness about the massacre of some 1.5 million people during World War I.
“As we gather together for this candlelight vigil, it is our hope and desire to raise awareness about genocide in general and hold hands with others in an effort to abolish genocide as a global evil,” said Hamlet Sarokhanian, chairman of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of DFW.
In what is known as the first genocide of the 20th century, the Turkish government arrested and executed over 200 Armenian community leaders in Constantinople on April 24, 1915, accusing them of being traitors.
In the following years, thousands of Christian Armenian men, women and children living in the Ottoman Empire were sent on death marches, placed in concentration camps and massacred by death squads.
To this day, the government in Turkey disputes Armenian accounts of the genocide. To this day, discussing the atrocities is taboo in the country.
The vigil will feature guest speakers including Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program. Representatives of Rwandan, Ukrainian, Jewish, Russian, Darfurian, Syrian, Assyrian and other ethnic communities touched by genocide will also attend. Some local businesses will also close to mark the occasion.
“Genocide has become a global phenomenon and by promoting understanding, we hope history will not repeat itself,” Sarokhanian said.
The newly established Armenian Heritage Club of UTD is commemorating our 1.5 million by hosting a series of events to raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide and other genocides among its student body and the local community. After the screening of the movie Hotel Rwanda on April 10, the Armenian Heritage Club hosted a lecture on April 13, titled America We Thank You, An Armenian Tribute to Near East Relief with guest speaker Ms. Teresa Yeremyan, government affairs director of ANCA. Both UTD students and St. Sarkis community members attended this very informative lecture. We thank all for encouraging the Armenian Heritage Club of UTD with their presence.
April 16 and 17 were dedicated to the remembrance of the Jewish Holocaust. Dr. David Patterson from the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies drew parallels between the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust in his lecture titled "Denying Genocide: From Armenia to Auschwitz" and a movie showing of Schindler's List I was scheduled in remembrance of the Holocaust victims.
The Armenian Genocide awareness events at UTD will continue with the movie screening of Ararat on April 23rd at 7:00 PM and will culminate with a Commemoration Service of Candle lighting and a Moment of Silence at the Genocide Memorial on April 24th 12:00 PM at UTD SU Mall (Plinth).
The Month of April has been a month of remembrance, spreading of awareness, mourning of loss and rejoicing in survival for the members of Armenian Heritage Club.
By Maggie Aznavour
The Armenian Heritage Club was proud to be a part of UT Dallas’ annual Passport to the World where attendees experienced the tastes, sights and sounds of the world at International Week’s signature event. This was the first time Armenian culture was represented at the event. Attendees were taught about the culture, history, and geography of Armenia all while tasting different foods. Upon being recognized as St. Sarkis Armenian Church ArmeniaFest dancers by some students, the Armenian students could not refuse their requests for a dance and performed Kochari to their delight.
By Shant Aghyarian
The Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee (AGCC) of DFW sponsored “An Evening with Peter Balakian” on Thursday March 19, 2015 in cooperation with the Embrey Human Rights Program at the Southern Methodist University (SMU). The topic of the presentation was “Raphael Lemkin, Cultural Destruction and the Armenian Genocide.”
Peter Balakian is the preeminent author of several widely translated books on the Armenian Genocide, notably Black Dog of Fate, and The Burning Tigris among others. He is also the author of several works of poetry, including June Tree and Ziggurat. He has been teaching at the Colgate University since 1980, and over time has garnered many awards for his literary accomplishments as well as his work towards promoting an understanding of the evils of genocide, specifically the need for the recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide around the world.
Approximately 200 attendees filled the McCord Auditorium at SMU that evening. The mood was somber, but everyone was eager to listen to the accomplished speaker.
Professor Rick Halperin, chairman of the Embrey Human Rights Program and a noted human rights and genocide scholar, welcomed everyone and introduced the topic of the Armenian Genocide as the example of a crime against humanity that was subsequently used to justify the Holocaust, and spoke about how the events that went unpunished during WWI caused greater tragedy in WWII. He reminded everyone that this was the 100th commemoration of the horrifying events that were perpetrated under cover of war, and called the 20th Century the “Century of Genocide” during which 70Million people perished violently. He stressed that everyone should struggle to remember these events so history does not fade away.
Then Peter Balakian was introduced, and he began by thanking the AGCC Chairman Hamlet Sarokhanian for sponsoring his evening, and explained how Raphael Lemkin coined the word “Genocide” to mean the destruction of a people and their culture by systematic steps that involved separating the people from their ancestral lands, forcing them to deny their religion, language and history, killing all their leaders and vilifying all attempts at self-governance. Lemkin was instrumental in introducing Genocide as a crime against humanity in the charter of the United Nations. His definition of Genocide fit the experiences of the Armenians under the Ottoman Empire, where all cultural institutions, including churches and schools were destroyed, and all prominent leaders of the community were killed to leave the people unprotected and defenseless. Some of the examples cited for the existence of a systematic plan to exterminate the Armenians included the fact that out of 2538 churches in a list from 1913-1914, only 7 exist now, and of 1996 schools during the same period, there are only a handful.
Balakian’s message was clear: He looked forward to a day in which the Turkish government will recognize the atrocities that had taken place earlier, and not to keep promoting a revised version of the history. He cited current enlightened intellectuals among the Turkish community who had had to face persecution from their government to get the message out to all that the history taught in Turkish schools was incorrect. As Balakian put it:” How could you go to the ruins of the ancient capital of Armenia, Ani, and not see any mention of Armenians on any of the signs?”
There were a couple of tense moments when Turkish individuals challenged Balakian saying that there was no proof that such atrocities had taken place, and if there was, why weren’t the Armenians taking it to a world court instead of spreading lies? Balakian replied that the Turkish government had taught its citizens the revised history, so he did not blame these men for not knowing the facts, and he encouraged them to read the words of those Turkish intellectuals who were serving time for telling the truth instead of listening to their government’s point of view.
After the presentation there was a rush to buy Balakian’s books, which he gladly signed, with the net income benefiting the centennial events sponsored by the AGCC.
By Mary Mukhtarian
On Sunday, March 22nd, Taline and Friends appeared at the St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Carrollton, Texas. The show was so popular that it was completely sold out, and everyone got a treat with Taline performing for an hour and a half in the church hall. The audience got to hear many of their favorite Taline songs, including “Im Kntag”, “Tzkneeg” and “Peesoee Bar”. Children of all ages danced with Taline and her friends, Tzagratzoo, Napik, and Peeso. Producer and CEO of TalineMusic Alex Bessos, also performed alongside the cast of everyone’s favorite Armenian characters.
Taline and Friends have played a major role in developing Armenian language skills for children worldwide since the early 90s. Taline and Alex have performed in several countries including France, Canada, Lebanon and of course countless cities in North America. There is no doubt that without Taline’s music, being an Armenian kid wouldn’t be near as much fun! The community is truly blessed to have this unique performance happen right in its backyard.
We would like to extend our thanks to the Akilian, Davoudian, Gostanian, Marzwanian and Sherenian families for enabling us to bring Taline and Friends to the Dallas Forth Worth metroplex. Their generous support allowed all to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event for a fraction of the ticket value.
All proceeds from the show will benefit parish families in need.
By Nina Smith
St. Sarkis Armenian Orthodox Church remembers 100th anniversary of Armenian Genocide, plans to build new church.
Though they share an ethnic background, they don’t always speak the same dialect.
Some mix Arabic with their Armenian words. Others blend in Farsi.
But on Sundays, members of St. Sarkis Armenian Orthodox Church gather to worship in a sanctuary — once an abandoned home — in a Carrollton neighborhood. There, the pews creak and incense and candles fill the room in a smoky haze.
The entrance to the church looks like that of any other home in the neighborhood, with a front door of wood and glass. Later, church members added a cultural hall with a large kitchen and classrooms. It’s where they gather to eat and mingle after the two-hour service.
More than two decades since converting the home on Random Road, the building remains the only Armenian church in North Texas, members said. Now, it’s a gathering post for the ethnic group, many of whom immigrated to the United States from Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Armenia, among others.
“We have a belief that whenever there are two Armenians anywhere, together they build a little Armenia,” said Hamlet Sarokhanian, member of the church’s Parish Council and an immigrant from Iran.
Remembering the past
The massacre of Armenians a century earlier scattered survivors to five continents in search of refuge. Now, their descendants have found new homes in countries such as the U.S., Syria, France and Lebanon.
In 1915, leaders of the Turkish government began a plan to expel and massacre Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire, many historians say. When it ended, about 1.5 million Armenians were dead, and others were forcibly removed.
This year, St. Sarkis and other Armenian churches around the world will remember the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. The church began planning the commemoration, which runs throughout the year, in 2013.
On Thursday, author Peter Balakian spoke about the genocide at Southern Methodist University.
“We believe it’s an incomplete mourning. It never got resolved. It got forgotten,” said Sarokhanian, who is also chairperson of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Dallas. “It’s been passed down from generations to generations. That is what keeps us unified.”
He remembers the stories his father told him about his two uncles who died after walking for days through the desert from Iran to Iraq. His father wasn’t born yet.
“We only know the history from our families,” he said. “It was chaos.”
Julieta Chatinyan and her daughters, Lusine Meeks of Plano and Anahit Ballard of Frisco, understand the chaos. They wear handmade purple forget-me-not flower pins on their shirts. They’re a reminder of their late mother and grandmother, a survivor of the Armenian genocide who escaped from Palestine on one of the last trains.
“This year’s campaign isn’t as much about Armenian genocide as it is about stop genocide,” said Meeks, who also serves on the church’s centennial committee. She and her sister were raised in the the former Soviet Union. Since schools were censored, the daughters learned about their grandmother’s story from Chatinyan.
The flowers are among 200 that Chatinyan crocheted for church and community members to mark the genocide’s centennial. The purple flower is the official emblem of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
“We’re wearing it as a forget-me-not of all the victims of the genocide, but you can wear it to remember anyone who was close to you,” Ballard said.
Shant Aghyarian’s great-grandparents died in the march through the Syrian desert to Lebanon. Aghyarian, 25, a member of the genocide centennial committee, said the details are mostly unknown.
Though Aghyarian was born in the U.S., his father immigrated here years earlier after fleeing to Cyprus when he was 13 years old to escape a civil war in Lebanon. His father owned a deli in Houston before opening a car body shop in Dallas.
Aghyarian grew up in the church. At the time, the Armenian community was a small, growing population. Most, like his father, had moved for economic opportunities. Many were recent immigrants.
When he was 9, his family returned to Lebanon. He moved back to Dallas in 2011 to pursue graduate studies in biomedical engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas.
He left an infant church and returned to find it established and growing.
“I was there when [the church] opened, but I was too young to realize what was going on,” Aghyarian said. “I came back to find it getting bigger and bigger.”
The church opened its doors in the renovated home in 1991. Now, the church counts about 350 active families in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. People commute from around North Texas to attend Sunday services, and some even trek from Oklahoma.
Now, the church plans to build a new facility about three times larger than its current space in West Plano near Prestonwood Baptist Church. It plans to expand programs and offer athletics.
“The place we had was perfect for what could be accomplished at the time with limited funds and limited people. At this point, we’ve grown and it’s time to expand,” said Vahe Dayian, chairman of the church’s Parish Council. “What we’re trying to do now is reach more people who have not been part of the [church].”
Land was donated to the church about three years ago by a member. Now, leaders are working to raise funds to construct the building.
Dayian said they lack about 25 percent of the $1 million goal needed to begin construction.
They hope to begin building as soon as possible.
“It would be poetically perfect to build the church 100 years after we were suppose to be annihilated,” Dayian said.
Reporter Nanette Light can be reached at 214-977-8039.
April 18: Texas Peace March to state capitol in Austin
April 23: Dedication to Armenian composers from noon to 1 p.m. on Classic Cafe show on WRR 101.1 Classical Radio.
April 24: Candlelight and peace walk to Dallas City Hall from 5 to 8 p.m.
April 30: Armenian genocide documentary will be shown 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Dallas Holocaust Museum, 211 N. Record St., suite 100 in Dallas.
For more information, email email@example.com.
By NANETTE LIGHT
To read a short summary of this article in Armenian, please click here.