Surgeon from Yerevan. Dr. Ani Babayan, IHS guest

Dr. Ani Babayan
Educating the next generation is a common thread running through all the programs and projects organized by the In His Shoes ministry. As part of our “Empowerment & Progress for Women” project, Dr. Ani Babayan, as an up-and-coming surgeon in Armenia, was the recipient of our 2021 scholarship for continuing education courses in Moscow. This year, we are pleased to support Dr. Babayan with her continuing education pursuits by attending the American Hernia Society’s (AHS) Annual Meeting and Surgical Skills Lab in Charlotte North Carolina. Dr. Babayan received an official invite to the AHS Conference by the chairperson, Dr. Yuri Novitsky, M.D. There she will meet and engage with surgical colleagues.

Yerevan State Medical University of Armenia has 16 general surgery faculty members, of which only one is female. Dr. Ani Babayan, as the only woman surgeon, has a pivotal role to play in both the education of young medical students and as an example of gender equality within and beyond the University walls. Dr. Babayan completed medical school in 2018 and has since spent her professional career honing and expanding her surgical skills while lecturing to medical students on topics such as hernias, gallbladder disease, general surgical techniques, and surgical colon diseases.

Following the conference, she will be in Los Angeles for surgical observations/education by leading hernia surgery experts. Watch for her interviews in the coming weeks.

Watch Dr. Babayan’s lecture at the AHS

Caption
On Sunday, September 11, she attended the Holy Divine Liturgy at the St. Leon Ghevondyants Armenian Cathedral and participated in the 95th anniversary celebration of the Western Diocese following services. Pictured with Fr. Vazken and Yn. Susan Movsesian on behalf of In His Shoes.

 

Archbishop Hovnan Call to Vigilance – Armenia Under Attack

Armenia is under attack. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, calls for unity in answer to the attacks against innocent civilians in Armenia – September 14, 2022

Epostle Launch on Fr. Vazken’s 40th Anniversary

This year marks the 40th anniversary of ordination of Fr. Vazken Movsesian into the priesthood of the Armenian Church. Since the 1980’s Fr. Vazken has pioneered the use of various electronic technologies and media within the Armenian Church. From the early days of electronic bulletin board systems, to the first Armenian language fonts, to viral videos and podcasts about the Armenian Church on the Internet, he has pushed the limits of burgeoning technologies to facilitate the spiritual growth and education of people throughout the world.

On September 25 His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate, is marking Fr. Vazken’s 40th anniversary with a very special celebration including the launch of a new and dynamic ministry of the Western Diocese called “Epostle.net” pronounced ēˈpäsəl (apostle with a long “e”) dot net. For nearly two decades Epostle.net has functioned as the voice of the In His Shoes Ministry, reaching out to the disenfranchised members of the Church community, to those seeking a more mature understanding of their faith, and to the neophyte – those who are searching for truths in the most ancient of all Christian traditions, Armenian Orthodoxy. Today the mission continues in new and exciting directions.

Epostle.net is apostolic evangelism for an electronic world.

On Sunday, September 25, you are invited to be a part of our launch event for the new Epostle.net. It will take place following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the St. Leon Ghevondyants Armenian Cathedral, that morning.

With the initiative and encouragement of Dr. Eric Esrailian, Epostle.net is now broadening its scope to bring the Armenian Christian experience through the Armenian Church to people around the globe. With the use of the latest in technology, the Armenian Church experience can be enhanced by offering daily prayers, meditations, and readings, which are already popular on many websites. However, with Epostle.net the limits will be pushed to bring engagement and interaction to and with the faithful.

Under the auspices of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Epostle.net becomes the newest ministry of the Western Diocese, focusing on electronic transmission of the Gospel message for today’s world. The ministry will work in concert with the current Diocesan Media Department, which boasts an extensive library of multimedia productions from the last two decades. Epostle.dot will become a hub for new outreach, exploiting the potential of technology. Epostle is part of the expanding vision and mission of the Western Diocese.

According to Dr. Esrailian, “The Armenian Apostolic Church has been the heart and soul of the global Armenian nation for centuries. I pray that everyone around the world will have access to the incredible tradition, history, and teachings of the Armenian Church thanks to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.”

We invite you to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with us September 25 then join in the celebration and launch of Epostle.net. To attend the launch of Epostle.net, please RSVP at Eventbrite. Or you may join remotely by following the stream at the Western Diocese YouTube channel.

Count down to the launch with us at Epostle.net and look for more updates in the coming days. We look forward to seeing you on September 25.

California Divests from Sudan

Governor visits, signs bills

BOB HOPE AIRPORT — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the Hilton Burbank Airport and Convention Center on Monday to sign two pieces of legislation intended to put pressure on leaders in Sudan to halt government-sponsored genocide in the Darfur region.

The first law, Assembly Bill 2941, will prohibit the state’s pension programs — the California Public Employees Retirement System and the State Teachers Retirement System — from making investments in corporations with business ties to Sudan.

“This is an action that says we do not cooperate with them in the horrors of Darfur,” he said. “We will not pay for it; we will not support it and we will not enable it.”

The second piece of legislation, Assembly Bill 2179, provides legal safeguards for the University of California against potential liability issues that could stem from state divestiture of funds from companies with interests in Sudan, he said.

Joining Schwarzenegger for the bill-signing ceremony on Monday were former

U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, celebrity activists Don Cheadle and George Clooney and Assemblyme

ich lobbied heavily for the legislation, raising money and collecting petition signatures.

n Tim Leslie and Paul Koretz, who wrote the bills. Also in attendance was Father Vazken Movsesian, a parish priest at St. Peter Armenian Church in Glendale and director of In His Shoes Ministries, wh

“It’s our way of saying that we’re walking in the shoes of the people of Darfur, just as we’ve gone through our own genocide,” Movsesian said. “It’s sending a loud, clear signal that genocide will not be tolerated in the modern world. The one weapon that we have is money. It costs money to run a genocide and by California — the world’s fifth-largest economy — divesting from Sudan, it’s sending a signal that if you continue it, you’re out of money. Without picking up any guns, without killing anybody, we’re making a difference.”

The Sudanese genocide, which began in 2003, has resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children and left millions homeless, Schwarzenegger said.

“No one is being spared, and even if the violence would stop today, the country would still have deep scars for many generations to come,” he said.

The governor also signed a bill on Monday that permits California residents affected by the Armenian Genocide to pursue legal challenges against financial institutions that withhold deposited or looted assets, extending the statute of limitations to Dec. 31, 2016.

Schwarzenegger has signed Armenian Genocide Commemoration bills every year since he took office in 2003.

 

Landmine Free Maratuk: $30,000 closer to happening

A beautiful summer evening in Southern California, a roof top party in Beverly Hills and cool jazz playing in the background are hardly the elements in which a discussion about landmines would ordinarily take place. But this was no ordinary gathering. Concerned and compassionate individuals joined together at the home of Seza Ouzounian and Ohannes Beudjekian in Beverly Hills on Sunday, August 4 to learn about landmine clearance in Artsakh and about the Halo Trust. As a result, $30,000 was raised toward the goal of a landmine-free Artsakh.

At the initiative and invitation of Seza Ouzounian the invaluable work of the Halo Trust was showcased to this group. Landmines have haunted the people of Artsakh for over two decades. One of the largest per capital incidents of landmine and unexploded ordnance accidents in the world – a quarter for victims are children – is in Artsakh (Nagorno Kharabagh). Since 2000, The HALO Trust has cleared approximately 500 minefields removing nearly 12,000 mines for the benefit of over 130,000 people.

The evening began with welcoming words by the hostess, who then invited Fr. Vazken Movsesian of the Western Diocese to share some insights about the urgency of landmine clearance. Next Amasia Zargarian of the Halo Trust presented a short video and explained the workings of the Trust.

The area of land that Ms. Ouzounian has targeted is in the Maratuk region. $100,000 is needed for this area. A matching fund (dollar-for-dollar) has been established.

According to Ms. Ouzounian, “What was gained from this fundraising event is awareness of how serious the situation is in Karabagh. Landmines have made the inhabitants suffer with loss of limbs and deaths and crippled the farming economy. A third of landmine victims are children.”

Many of the guests had not heard of the Halo Trust. “What touched me most,” she continued “is that some of my non-Armenian friends were so moved that they went to their employers and doctors who are Armenian and discussed Halo’s actions to demine Artsakh.

“We need to not rely so much on outside support, we rather need to hold hands and raise funds so that Halo can finish their work and the land can be safe to live on. We raised almost $30,000.00 and we need to raise $20,000.00 more to clear the region of Maratuk. There is an anonymous donor who is matching each dollar. It takes $100,000.00 to clear this particular area and this minefield is being worked on as we speak.”

If you would like to help this effort, you may visit the Halo websites www.halotrust.org/MineFreeNK, Or you may write checks out to The Halo Trust and write “For Nagorno Karabakh” in the memo field and please mail to

Seza Ouzounian,
℅ In His Shoes
PO Box 70773
Pasadena, CA 91117.

They will be forever grateful.

Sasnashen Youth Center

Walking In His Shoes in… Sasnashen Village in the Town of Talin, Armenia

A place for kids to feel welcome, share and explore options to maximize their potential

Introduction:

Last Summer, at the request of the Prop Wash Gang I was invited to the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska to offer the keynote address at their gathering commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the shoot-down of US Air Force C-130 #60528. Before going any further…  let’s get the obvious questions out of the way: Why a priest of the Armenian Church? at a US Air Force base? to a group of hundreds of servicemen and their families? So let’s back up 60 years…

In 1958 – during the height of the Cold War – a United States Air Force C-130 flying a reconnaissance mission on the Turkish/Armenian border was shot down by the Soviets. The plane crashed in the village of Sasnashen, Armenia and lost its entire crew of 17 servicemen. The Soviets did not admit to the severity of the tragedy until after the fall of the USSR and by 1992 – some 34 years after the incident – the remains of all 17 men were returned to the United States for proper recognition and committal. Since that time commemorations have been taken place, including the placing of a khatchkar (cross stone) and a monument at the crash site with visits by U.S. military and government officials.

Now… on the evening of September 2, 2018, exactly 60 years to the date of the crash I stood before the servicemen and their families. I explained that in 1958 Armenia was completely occupied, that is, the place where the C-130 took-off (Van) was in Armenia occupied by the Turks and that where the plane crashed was occupied by the Soviets. After speaking about Armenian history and our faith as Christian, there in Nebraska, I offered the requiem hymn and prayer of the Armenian Church for the souls of the 17 victims of the shoot-down.

The group honored me by giving me a framed piece of the tail of the fallen plane. Then, spontaneously they took up a collection and asked that I use it to benefit the children of Sasnashen. Here, I had to confess that I did not know where Sasnashen was but I also promised that from this point on I would not travel to Armenia without visiting the village which had brought us and tied us together 60 years after the tragedy.

On October 25, 2018, I made it to the village of Sasnanshen – about 65km out of Yerevan toward the Northwest border of Armenia. The closest town is Talin (about 10 kms away) with a population of about 4,000. Through our Armenian Church I connected with Fr. Tade Tamazyan, the priest of the Talin and a number of villages that surround the Town, one of those villages being Sasnashen (population 750). My deacon Hrayr Nalbandian, drove us up to there and together with the priest we climbed a rocky road to the crash-site where a monument stands in this remote and obscure corner of the world. It is a tall standing memorial with a plaque written in both Armenian and English:

September 2, 1958

We must never forget that freedom is never really free.
It is the most costly thing in the world.
Freedom is never paid in a lump sum.
Installments come due in every generation.
All any of us can do is offer the generations
that follow a chance for freedom.

There, under the open skies and the silence of the village we offered a prayer for the 17 fallen servicemen as well as a prayer for peace.

 

In His Shoes’ Involvement

Since 2003 the In His Shoes ministry has actively initiated programs that effect and benefit some of the most impoverished and violence infected areas of the world, including in areas such as Darfur, Syria and Rwanda. After a recent project with the Starkey Foundation to provide hearing aids for over 2,000 inhabitants in Yerevan, we made a conscious decision to move beyond the limits of Yerevan with our assistance so to stay closer to our charter and so that our contributions can be directed in these often forgotten and overlooked regions.

In Sasnashen, beyond the economic challenges of village life, there are few, if any, opportunities for young people to advance in education, or even to explore and exploit their potential. There are government schools but after school-hours and on weekends the children end up on the rural roads without supervision and/or guidance. Father Tade has access to the schools and offers weekly classes to children in the village schools and is known and recognized youth. We decided to use the Prop Wash

Gang funds to further opportunities for youth in the Sasnashen village by creating a Center for after school-hours, where young people can feel welcome, share and explore options to maximize their potential in life.

With the encouragement and blessing of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, the Primate of the Western Diocese we quickly began work on organizing this program called “Sasnashen Youth Center.”  The Catholicos of All Armenians, HH Kareken II gave a small house directly across the street from the Talin church with the understanding that it would be used as a gathering place for youth. The collected funds were used to bring the house up to standards for a meeting place. We repaired the plumbing, installed a kitchenette, lavatory and new windows.  We have been monitoring the renovation process via pictures and videos sent to us by Fr. Tade.

On July 18, 2019 I personally made a trip to the area to monitor progress and meet with Fr. Tade and others to discuss the program. I also met with the head of the Aragatsotn Diocesan, Bishop Mkrtich Proshyan to assure a proper working relationship between all of our parties. He officially pronounced the name of this project as Sasnashen Youth Center and we are scheduled to open on September 29, 2019. It will be dedicated in the name of the servicemen who perished in the village in 1958. A framed piece of the plane will be presented to the Center at that time.

This is a place where young people can first and foremost feel welcome, safe and loved. It is a gathering place to study, to learn, or merely congregate after school.  We furnished the room and provided computers with internet connections so that we can visit remotely. Fr. Tade plans to bring speakers and mentors with specialties to direct and share time with the kids.

If successful, this can be a pilot project which can be replicated in villages for a low cost and can take advantage of local resources – personnel and physical spaces – which are often overlooked. In this case, those resources were found in the apartment/house which was vacant and unused because of its condition and a priest who has unique access and connection to the young people.

-Fr. Vazken Movsesian

Some links:

Talin in Armenia

Shoot Down of US Air Force C-130 Flight 60528

Fr. Vazken’s Blog on Visiting Sasnashen

 

The 100 Year Journey – IS NOW ONLINE –

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The 100 Year Journey

 – IS NOW ONLINE –

A commemorative art installation for the centennial of the Armenian Genocide.

Artworks by Gregory Beylerian & Produced by Father Vazken Movsesian

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“IF YOU ARE AGAINST GENOCIDE, YOU ARE FOR PEACE”

“The 100 Year Journey is not only an exploration and celebration of a peoples’ proud ancient and spiritual history, it is a dialogue of peace. I imagine that this is what my ancestors wanted most during their darkest hour. Therefore I think it is our responsibility today to honor the past by contributing to a peaceful tomorrow. If you are against genocide then you are for peace.” – Gregory Beylerian

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The 100 Year Journey is constructed from 50 photographs, 39 works on paper and 4 paintings by Gregory Beylerian and written texts by Father Vazken Movsesian . All of the artworks are available for purchase and 50% of the proceeds supports In His Shoes.org to continue their great work. Below are three works from the installation. the complete installation is viewable at: www.100yearjourney.org

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Spirit Guiding Flesh

13″ x 19″ – Photograph

“The turning point when we submit to the flow. Light, sound, feel and movement are all in sync.” Pictured at the Yerevan St. Sarkis Church”- Father Vazken Movsesian

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50% of proceeds support InHisShoes.org

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Model for Wool Cross

20″ x 30″ – Works on paper

Every journey begins with the first step. The artist, designed the pattern for the wool cross from his research of the most ancient icons of spirituality with the use of vibrant colors in a symbolic gesture of life, victory and vitality. – Father Vazken Movsesia

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50% of proceeds support InHisShoes.org

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Armenian Princess

24″ x 36″ – Painting

Princesses are adorned with jewels and decorations indicating their royal lineage. In this interpretation of the Armenian Princess, the artist decorates her with the jewels and decorations that are of the highest value to the Armenian people. She stands as a marking of beauty and excellence in thought, word and deed. – Fr. Vazken Movsesian

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50% of proceeds support InHisShoes.org

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GOR MKHITARIAN / IN HIS SHOES NEW ALBUM IS PASSPORT FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

8 December 2015

For Immediate Release

Los Angeles, California – Social issues and change are the focus of a new album by singer/songwriter Gor Mkhitarian, to be produced in collaboration with the In His Shoes global outreach. The 10-track album, featuring the newest collection of musical expressions is called “Passport” and tackles some of the pressing issues of the day, in particular in reference to Armenia and a despondent diaspora. With rich melody lines, innovative riffs and sensitive lyrics, this collection draws the listener into a world of hope and possibilities.

Speaking for In His Shoes, Fr. Vazken Movsesian comments, “We’re excited to be working with Gor Mkhitarian on this project. Music has power to speak to the soul. When we look at a world filled with pain and suffering, it’s important to understand that each of us is part of the problem and at the same time, part of the solution. ‘Passport’ opens a world, giving us a chance to travel to solutions that are no farther than within our reach.”

Gor Mkhitarian comes out of the Armenian rock underground and has successfully blended raw blends of Rock & Roll to some of the most moving and touching themes of Armenian Folk. “Passport” will be the eighth album in a career which spans over two decades.

This is the second collaborative effort between In His Shoes and Gor Mkhitarian. In 2008, the critically acclaimed “Spirit” album was released which has brought attention to the synthesis of spirit and soul in addressing the challenges of life.

Says Fr. Vazken, “Gor’s music is electrifying in touching the deepest parts of the soul, at the same time it is soothing, bringing inner tranquility and focus which is so necessary for finding the strength to deal with life’s challenges.”

Fr. Vazken heads the In His Shoes outreach which has been addressing issues of inhumanity, especially Genocide, with the power of love and forgiveness. The first collaboration between Fr. Vazken and Gor Mkhitarian took place in 2007 at an International forum on Forgiveness was organized by In His Shoes. Since that time, they have worked together in bringing a new approach to some of the most pressing issues and problems plaguing humanity.

Passport addresses some difficult and controversial issues including environment, poverty, domestic violence, immigration and national exodus. Planned for release in the summer of 2016, along with a world tour, a new music video will be debuted on December 18, 2015 on Gor’s Music channel: www.Youtube.com/GorMusic

For more information visit www.InHisShoes.org and Gor Mkhitarian on Facebook.
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Photo: Gor Mkhitarian & Fr. Vazken Movsesian collaborate on the “Passport” project.

100 YEAR JOURNEY at Western Diocese

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The 100 Year Journey
Zorayan Museum
3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd
Burbank CA 91504
Media Contacts:
Ronda Berkeley 818 437 4484 ronda.berkeley@gmail.com
Fr. Vazken Movsesian 626 676 5797 vazken@inhisshoes.org

ARMENIAN ARTIST’S INTERACTIVE MESSAGE OF PEACE
The 100 YEAR JOURNEY at Zorayan Museum April 15-24, 2015

Burbank, CA: In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, beginning April 15th, thousands of Los Angeles students will experience The 100 Year Journey, an interactive exhibition of photographs, artworks, music and words celebrating peace through artist Gregory Beylerian’s personal journey to his ancestral heart land, rediscovery of his heritage and exploration of how the Armenian people continue to move forward from their near extinction in 1915.

The 100 Year Journey installation makes use of the entire space at the Zorayan Museum. The centerpiece and inspiration for Beylerian’s work are the remnants of a hand crafted wool blanket once carried through the desert by the family of a genocide survivor transformed into the image of a khatchkar; a modern version of a medieval Armenian monument stone. “100 Year Journey is the story of a nation that survived countless perils, atrocities, sufferings and even genocide, because of its rich spiritual assets,” explains exhibition producer Father Vazken Movsesian, “It is a portal that will leave you with a lasting impression of the wonders and possibilities in life.”

During the Summer of 2014, Movsesian led a group of pilgrims to both sides of Mt. Ararat. From Armenia to Artsakh to Western Armenia, the message of lasting peace was discovered and Beylerian has documented that with a wide variety of artistic expressions, including visual, audio and sensation.

Born in New York, artist Gregory Beylerian’s work crosses over many markets and genres. He often explores the use of new technologies, material and processes to merge mediums in non-traditional ways utilizing a technique inspired from his training with a Shaolin Buddhist master he describes as “flow dynamics.” Beylerian says, “I began this project over two years ago. The 100 Year Journey is not only a celebration of a peoples’ proud ancient and spiritual history, it is a dialogue of peace. I can only imagine that this is what my ancestors wanted most for us during their darkest hour. Therefore I think it is our responsibility today to honor the past by contribution to a peaceful tomorrow. If you are against genocide then you are for peace.” Beylerian has been featured on CNN, Los Angeles Times, Current TV and many fine art and photography blogs and publications.

Students from schools and churches from throughout the State will be visiting The 100 Year Journey at the Zorayan Museum located at the Lower Galleria of St Leon Armenian Cathedral 3325 North Glenoaks Blvd in Burbank and the installation will be available to the general public April 15th – 24th from 9am to 9pm. The Zorayan Museum, by presenting The 100 Journey, seeks to build bridges of appreciation and understanding and inspire dialogue with those of other religious, culture and ethnic backgrounds.

The 100 Year Journey is presented under the auspices His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese and is part of the Centennial Commemorative programs of the diocese.

For more information on The 100 Year Journey and a video sneak peak visit www.100YearJourney.org

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