One Journey. One Voice From the Karabagh Trenches to the Syrian Golgotha.

United We Stand Tall

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Boys wounded in shelling during clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces, receive medical treatment in Stepanakert, Capital of Nagorno-Karabagh, April 4, 2016 (Karen Minasayan/AFP)


Five years ago an urgent appeal was transmitted from Syria and the AMAA responded.  A monumental and collective effort has been maintained since then, and the need continues to grow.  Even as news of a ceasefire caused many to breath a small sign of relief, our brothers and sisters in Syria need us now more than ever.

Our commitment remains to those who have lost loved ones and livelihoods, and who have been uprooted from their homes.  Our relief efforts, for the past six years, affects a generation of children and youth who have had opportunities taken from their grasps.  Our collective voice is a ray of light rising from among scattered ashes, which continue to smolder.

Our impact in Syria reaches back and reminds us of our common bond, back to that fateful day in 1915.  A 101 year old journey, which touches those far beyond Syria.  We stand tall on the journeys of our brothers and sisters, passed from generation to generation.   It is 2016 and our adversaries continue to place hurdles before us. From the “emergency expropriation” decision to confiscate the recently restored St. Giragos (Surp Giragos) Church in the Diyarbakir region of present-day Turkey, among a range of other religious sites to the current Azeri assault on the Nagorno-Karabagh border, we stand united to overcome and persevere.

Existing under a fragile cease-fire since 1994, violated regularly by sniper-fire, the “frozen conflict” between Nagorno-Karabagh and Azerbaijan erupted into a full-scale attack by the Azeris on April 2nd.  The AMAA commits resources for humanitarian aid to the families of casualties, the countless number of those injured, and relief supplies to volunteer servicemen and defenders of the border.

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President Serzh Sarkisian visits a military hospital in Yerevan where Armenian soldiers wounded in Nagorno-Karabagh receive treatment.

We stand firm on our position and ask those with the ability, to stop the suffering.  We will continue to take action to provide sustained access to immediate relief, resources and avenues of support to our people.  We ask that you continue to stand with us and help us continue our efforts.

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Nagorno-Karabagh: A house in the village of Talish seriously damaged by shelling from Azerbaijani army positions, April 6, 2016

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Inspirational March Update from Rev. Haroutune Selimian

President of the Armenian Evangelical Community of Syria
Christ is risen indeed…though the crucifixion hours turned into years in the case of Syria.
God has granted us many blessings and great mercies in the person of the risen Lord. We pray that God may save us from violence, discord, and confusion; and from every evil way.
Today…the next day of Easter. We are still experiencing the war that has been raging in our beloved Syria for the last five years. For over five years, we have not been able to take anything for granted. However, it does make us appreciate the small, small things of life, and rejoice that we are still alive.

Unfortunately, a week before the date, when all the news agencies were promoting the ceasefire there was a major security threat to Aleppo. A mortar bomb has hit the most Armenian populated are in Nor kugh and damaged buildings and burned cars and shops.

As a result of the missiles targeting the above-mentioned area, two Armenian citizens lost their lives (Nvart Fourounjian-Asadourian, b. 1955) and (Kevork Apraham Mgrditchian, b. 1994).

The latest development in Aleppo City is that electricity has returned for the first time since the war inflamed Syria, on the 4th of March for 3 hours a day.  Water is also a serious problem, which did not find its way to us so far.

In spite of all challenges our churches are still functioning just like before, mainly thanks to the support of AMAA and all our schools are up and running normally with over 1000 students and 135 teachers. The nine churches of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria, which are the Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church, the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church, the Armenian Evangelical Martyrs’ Church, the Armenian Evangelical Church of Christ, the Syriac Evangelical Church as well as the four Armenian Evangelical Churches in Kessab are actively responding to the needs of their communities with the limited resources and means at hand.
Despite these difficulties, we are continuing to help our families as well as individuals who are around us in the church and in our institutions. We are preparing food parcels for them, providing milk for their children, providing more scholarship aid for the Armenian students, while giving medical assistance for the sick. In addition, we try to secure housing rent for those who have lost their homes and keep on providing the families with clothes, mattresses and other household essentials.

One of our great services in this time of war is “Bethel Polyclinic” Ministry, which serves the Syrian people regardless of denominational affiliation by assisting those in need of medical care and helping patients with chronic diseases in need of long-time medical assistance.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to the AMAA. We feel extremely humbled and yet so happy to have brothers and sisters in the AMAA who have never ever let us down. At the time of our greatest need, you were right there beside us. You did everything to contact us and listen to our sorrows, our struggles, our ‘not-knowing-what-to-do’ and you stood up for us and you were there in person closer than a brother and sister.
Your support and compassion have gone far beyond words and as a representative of the suffering people of Aleppo I can tell you that you have lived up to your reputation as a life-giving organization! You’ve made the people of Aleppo know that Christian Charity is for real!
Peace to you, our brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all of those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

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“Every Armenian Has a Martyr in His Soul” -Dr. Herand M. Markarian

AMAA Presents Dr. Markarian’s Book The Martyred Armenian Writers At APC in Paramus, NJ

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By Taleen Kupelian

With the 101st Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide quickly approaching, now is a more poignant time than ever to celebrate the Armenian culture rather than mourn its loss.  Accomplished author, scientist, professor, playwright, poet, translator, actor, literary and theater critic, and director, Dr. Herand M. Markarian does just that with his latest publication, an anthology titled “The Martyred Armenian Writers (1915-1922).”

All those present at the Armenian Presbyterian Church in Paramus, NJ on March 18th, heard the words of the greats brought to life in a moving performance with help from a number of the community’s youth − Nick Aynilian Jr., Raffi Aynilian, Vatche Demirjian, Richard Hekemian, Anoush Kalachian, Niree Kaprielian, and Melani Salibian.

This special event, titled “The Literary Works of 13 Armenian Martyred Writers,” began with remarks by AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian and included a brief biography of the honored guest. Mr. Khanjian qualified the literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries “as superb, distinct …and deserving to be read, enjoyed and spread.” Dr. Markarian’s enlightening slide show that followed these remarks highlighted the accomplishments of the 13 writers featured in his book.

Dr. Markarian’s anthology is brilliantly segmented into three parts, each one a pertinent background about the time the subject matter was written.  The first part contains general introductions to Western Armenian literature of the 19th century. The second part contains a foundation for understanding the Armenian Genocide. In the final section, the readers are provided with short biographies of 13 of the most beloved Armenian writers of the era along with a bibliography of their writing and excerpts from each author (in English).

While there are certain nuances that may get lost in translation, Dr. Markarian’s anthology is as good as it gets.  Dr. Markarian (with skillful help) has translated the works of the 13 featured authors.  In his book, the author beautifully records the classic and powerful words of the martyred Armenians during the Armenian Genocide proving that whether it’s one or 101 years that have passed, these writings have truly stood the test of time!

The literary program was brought to a moving close by the dynamic aforementioned performance and was followed by a delectable reception graciously organized by Seta Nalbandian, Anita Buchakjian and Berjouhi Gulesserian.

To order Dr. Markarian’s book “The Martyred Armenian Writers,” please visit AMAA’s website at http://www.amaa.org, or contact the AMAA at 201-265-2607 or info@amaa.org.

AMAA Pledging Relief Aid to Artsakh Frontlines

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In order to protect the lives and well-being of the people of Karabagh and Armenia, it is imperative that we support those who are putting their lives on the line for freedom. The AMAA stands in full support of our Homeland and stands side-by-side with those who are defending our nation.

At this time we ask that you support all those who are fighting for a free and independent Karabagh.  Make your donation today to support direct material aid to the Artsakh Defense Forces.

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Message from Republic of Armenia’s Ministry of Diaspora

Սիրելի´հայրենակիցներ.

2016 թվականի ապրիլի 2-ին, հերթական անգամ խախտելով զինադադարը և արհամարհելով հակամարտությունը խաղաղ ճանապարհով լուծելու ԵԱՀԿ Մինսկի խմMinistry of Diasporaբի համանախագահների ջանքերն ու միջազգային հանրության հորդորները, Ադրբեջանը լայնածավալ հարձակման է անցել Լեռնային Ղարաբաղի Հանրապետության սահմանի ողջ երկայնքով: Հակառակորդը օգտագործում է զինուժի գրեթե բոլոր տեսակները, ռմբակոծում օդից և ցամաքից: Զոհերի ու վիրավորների թվում կան խաղաղ բնակիչներ, այդ թվում` կանայք և երեխաներ:

Ադրբեջանի այս հերթական սանձարձակ քայլը, խոսում է այն մասին, որ Բաքուն գնում է իրավիճակի հետևողական սրման ճանապարհով, ինչը հրամայական է դարձնում Ադրբեջանին կարգի հրավիրելու միջազգային հանրության գործնական քայլերի իրականացումը:

Այս պահին անհրաժեշտ է, որ սփյուռքյան կառույցները և կազմակերպությունները հնարավոր բոլոր միջոցներով իրենց բողոքի ձայնը բարձրացնեն բնակության երկրների իշխանությունների առջև, ունենան հանդիպումներ և հորդորեն ու պահանջեն դատապարտել Ադրբեջանի ագրեսիան և սանձել Բաքվի ռազմատենչ նկրտումները:

Զանգվածային լրատվության միջոցներով տեղեկատվություն տարածելիս չափազանց կարևոր է հիմնվել միմիայն ՀՀ ՊՆ և ԱԳՆ պաշտոնական հաղորդագրությունների վրա։

 ՀՀ սփյուռքի նախարարություն

Let’s Pray for Karabagh

As many of you are probably now aware, Azeri forces launched a massive military strike into Nagorno Karabagh early yesterday morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Karabagh, the families of our martyred soldiers and our brave men defending the Fatherland. We stand in solidarity with our people, pray for a swift and peaceful resolution to this conflict, and we ask you to remember Karabagh in your prayers.

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AMAA Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the Child and Orphan Care Program At Sold Out Luncheon on March 12 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

On March 12, the Crystal Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel was the beautiful setting of the 25th Anniversary of the Armenian Missionary Association of America’s (AMAA) Child and Orphan Care Program. Luncheon Co-Chairs Christina Jabarian, Melody Petrossian and Christine Zenjiryan worked tirelessly to make every aspect of the Luncheon enjoyable for more than 500 guests and supporters. They warmly welcomed the sold out crowd and introduced the dynamic Emcee for the day, LindaKay Abdulian, who was the commentator for the first children’s fashion show in 1997. This year, the AMAA’s Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian delivered a moving devotional and prayer and gave a brief history of the ladies who first started the Committee.

The flowers, generously donated by Zareh David Ghoukasian of David Z Design, were breathtaking! And this year’s Silent Auction was spectacular with more than 150 items to bid on! Nicole Nishanian, Silent Auction Chair, procured many amazing items, including several designer handbags, lots of beautiful jewelry, and much, much more. There were many opportunities to help the needy children by sponsoring a child, purchasing food or clothing for a year, or by purchasing a Bible for the children to read. This effort was coordinated by Maro Yacoubian and Tina Segel, who organized the child sponsorship table and encouraged everyone to make a difference in the life of a needy child in Armenia. Many children were sponsored at the Luncheon.

Joyce Stein, esteemed advisor and National Co-Chair of the Orphan and Child Care Committee, acknowledged the ladies who organized the first several children’s fashion shows.  The first show was at the Hotel Sofitel with Christina Jabarian as Chair. The next several luncheons were chaired by LindaKay Abdulian and Michelle Shrikian.  Joyce thanked them for all their years of hard work and effort!

Tina Segel created and introduced the video commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Child and Orphan Care Program. The video showed how many children and their families have been helped by the AMAA for many generations.

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After lunch, as a special surprise before the Fashion Show, several children from the Dynamic Duo Dance Studio performed for the audience! This accomplished and very talented group of dancers was enjoyed by everyone. The children’s Fashion Show and dance performance was coordinated and introduced by Betty Balian. This year, the Fashion Show was sponsored and produced by Bloomingdale’s Sherman Oaks. The Bloomingdale’s Sherman Oak’s team, along with the Committee, worked tirelessly to make the Fashion Show a complete success and to make sure the presentation by more than fifty breathtaking children and teenagers in this year’s show was perfect and seamless. Christina Jabarian thanked Bloomingdale’s for its partnership and participation in this year’s event which was very much appreciated. This year, Aleen Oruncakciel coordinated the models and the fittings for the Fashion Show.

Finance and Reservations Chair Sandra Kalemkiarian, works tirelessly every year to efficiently close out the Auction. “We are grateful for the generous donations we received in celebration of our 25th Anniversary,” said Sandra.

The guests left the event with a bag full of goodies, including amazing lotions and nail care products donated by Jessica Vartoughian of Jessica Cosmetics, dried fruits donated by LindaKay Abdulian, cookies donated by Leslie Kevorkian, and jams, Panettoni and other items donated by Christine Zenjiryan! The children also received wonderful goodie bags.

In closing, Lori Muncherian and Arsine Phillips, West Coast Co-Chairs of the Committee, thanked the chairs, the entire Committee and all the donors for their continued support of this event for the children in Armenia. Many children in Armenia lack the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter. “We are trying to help change a child’s life and give hope for a better future one child at a time,” concluded Lori and Arsine.

LARK and AMAA: Presentation of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion — INSPIRATIONAL

By Joyce Abdulian

If the music of heaven could be heard on earth, the LARK Musical Society and the Armenian Missionary Association of America’s (AMAA) presentation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, was a joyous representation of what awaits us.

At the First United Methodist Church of Glendale, CA, the LARK Musical Society and the AMAA once again joined forces, on Sunday, March 13, 2016, to present one of the world’s greatest masterpieces —St. Matthew Passion, under the direction of beloved Maestro Vatsche Barsoumian. Maestro Barsoumian explained: Through J.S. Bach’s work, written almost 300 years ago, we can still partake in and relive the tribulations and passion of our Lord, who undertook all torture and even death for the sake of our personal spiritual salvation.  

As the voices of the choir soared, the soloists sang, and the orchestra performed, the overflow audience abandoned themselves to the music of Bach and the depiction of Christ’s great sacrifice. Each scene matched with its response, either chorally or individually by a soloist, rendered in beautiful music, created a whole that at the end was an undeniably humbling Lenten experience. Super-titles in German, Armenian and English allowed for a close following of the Oratorio, to better understand each moment of Christ’s passion.

Distinguished vocal soloists were: David Plaster, tenor, as the Evangelist; Steve Pence, bass, as Jesus; Shoushik Barsoumian, soprano; Garineh Avakian and Victoria Avetisyan, altos; Yeghishe Manucharyan, tenor; and Scott Graff and Vincent Robles, basses. Also notable were the impressive instrumental soloists Armen DerKevorkian and Sarkis Gyurgchyan, violins; Salpi Kerkonian, flute; Michelle Forrest, oboe; and Yevgeni Tonkha, cello. Deserving special notice were Edward Murray, organ and Victoria Simonian, cembalo, who throughout the piece served as an underlying unifying force for the whole ensemble.

During the intermission, a Lenten meal was served to over 500 guests, who greatly enjoyed this time of fellowship.

Andranik Andy Torosyan, Chairman of LARK Musical Society, stated:  Let us praise God for bringing together the AMAA and the LARK Musical Society to break bread during this Lenten season and share in the message of Jesus through the work of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Projects like these will help strengthen our community, encouraging us to aspire to a higher understanding of life and walk the path intended for us.

Reflecting on the past 20 years of AMAA/LARK collaboration, Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO said: The AMAA rejoices in its annual partnership with the LARK Musical Society in the over two decades long presentation of spring sacred music concerts, elevating human souls from its earthly fetters to a heavenly emancipation, paid for by the blood shed by our Savior Jesus Christ. We are thankful for the gracious support of the community that makes every one of these events ever excitingly memorable and touching.