Tag Archive for: Genocide

Holy Spirit Then and Now

Armodoxy for Today: Holy Spirit then and now

Something happened this year on the feast of Pentecost that connected us the event 2000 years ago when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles. Sticking to our charter of bringing apostolic evangelism to an electronic universe, Epostle.net facilitated a conversation with a gentleman named Malkon who lives in Jerusalem. Malkon is an Armenian Palestinian who lives by the Christian credo of not resisting evil and praying for the enemy. His family has been exiled several times from their homes and land throughout the decades. He finds himself in a country filled with animosity toward him and his people.

We connected with him because of our background as Armenians who attest to the Christian faith as expressed and demonstrated by Jesus Christ. Having experienced Genocide in 1915, and then having lived through the totalitarian communist regime for 70 years, while it spewed its atheistic propaganda, we found independence in a world that ignored us. In 2020 and 2023, we were forced out of our historic homelands, in a broader scheme that targeted the existential destruction of a nation. The world looked on in the pose of the three monkeys blocking their eyes, ears, and mouth: “See no evil,” “Hear no evil,” and “Speak no evil.” We had to meet with Malkon, because even more than exonerating ourselves from the evil of apathy and being accused of monkey-see/monkey-do, we had to connect with a person for whom the tenants of Christianity were part of his daily ritual of overcoming evil with love!

At Epostle.net, every day we preach a message of Christianity from our ancient roots as the first Christian nation. What we call Armodoxy is the application of that ancient Christianity in the world today. Often it gets assigned to a category of idealism and its application is assumed to be impossible, and therefore, not even tried. Malkon presents a model we need to identify with. He moves from theoretical Christianity to the practical side of faith, and it works! Here we witnessed the expressions of a man who lives in and with war, facing every day an enemy that is consumed with killing him and erasing the existence of his people off the pages of history.

We were encouraged by the number of people who attended this event virtually as well as on our new Metaverse platform. In the weeks to come we will be releasing excerpts from the discussions that manifested at the event. For today, we announce it with the excitement that must have surrounded the Apostles who were touched by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The Risen Lord is speaking in what the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, has brought to us this day.

We end with the words of our Lord, who spoke then, and speaks now:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

Opportunity Lost

Armodoxy for Today: Opportunity Lost

Every Sunday, during the Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church, the celebrant priest, descends from the altar area and processes around the inner circumference of the church.  As he walks by the congregants, he holds a cross in one hand and censes fragrant incense with the other.

There are a variety of reactions to his presence in the congregation. Some lower their head to ask for a blessing, while others kiss the cross in the priest’s hand out of reverence. Others smile and acknowledge his presence. Still, others watch as he goes by, not interested in engaging in any manner. And of course, for those who are not there at that moment, the opportunity to interact is lost because the priest processes through the church and ascends back to the altar area to continue the Liturgy.

This part of the Divine Liturgy, symbolizes Christ’s descent from the comfort of heaven to live, walk and be among us, after which he ascended back to heaven. During Jesus’ life, there were people who sought him for miracles and healings, while others engaged with him for a blessing and merely to touch his garment. And, of course, for many, the opportunity to be made whole was there and they let him pass by.

In life, there are moments that are singular and they demand our interplay at that moment, otherwise, they go by. Sometimes, events demand that we interact.

Today a genocide takes place. Ethnic cleansing is the plot. To stay quiet and/or to ignore the horror, is an opportunity lost.

We pray, Heavenly Father, I see pain and suffering in this world. I have walked that path in the past. I said, Never Again. Today, grant me the courage to speak out against evil everywhere, so that I may have the moral authority to voice myself whenever evil confronts me. Amen.

Want More? Try this week’s Next Step “War Protest: Opportunity Eclipsed” 

Cover Photo: Lunabelle Beylerian, 2023

Deck Chairs

Armodoxy for Today: The Deck Chairs

On Sunday, the Eastern Orthodox Church, e.g. the Greek, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Georgian churches, celebrated Easter. These are the churches that adhere to the canons of what is traditionally referred to as the seven ecumenical councils. The Armenian Church has celebrated Easter with the Western world since 1923.

The date of Easter is calculated as being on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox. March 21 is the date of the equinox, giving you an idea of the range in which Easter can fall. The calculation formula for the Eastern Orthodox Easter date includes the Jewish Passover feast date. The Armenian Church chose to see the Resurrection – the Easter feast – as something separate from the Old covenant and opted for the Western date.

Every four or five years, the dates coincide, and the world celebrates Easter on the same date. On the other years, Easter is either one, three or five weeks apart.

There are those who contend that there should be a unity in celebrating Easter in the Christian world. There are others who argue the validity of one date over the other.

Armodoxy looks at the message of Easter – the power to Resurrection over Crucifixion – as the defining force of Easter. For Christians, every day must be celebrated as Easter as a Resurrection. Christos Anesti, Christos haryav, Christ has risen, is the greeting that is valid every day of our life as a Christian.

There is an expression that is worth remembering: “Arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” When the Titanic was sinking, it was futile to arrange the deck chairs. With wars, genocide, intolerance, hatred hitting us from all sides, it’s important to keep the message of the day in focus and prioritized.

We pray, Lord, you conquered death through Your Resurrection. Evil lost its hold and was destroyed in the presence of Good. Keep your Resurrection ever before my eyes as the power that overcomes hopelessness and is the generation of Life. Keep me focused on the Empty Tomb that is found every day that I choose to live, hope, and love. Amen.

Cover Photo: Envato Elements

Want More? Try this week’s Next Step “War Protest: Opportunity Eclipsed” 

War Protest: Opportunity Eclipsed

War Protest: Opportunity Eclipsed

Next Step #791 – May 5, 2024 – The War in Gaza, a nightmare echoing the words, Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing. Famine is fueled by hatred. The world stands still and even worse, so do those who have seen the same nightmare. Fr. Vazken takes about opportunities lost and the importance of articulating a statement of protest, for the sake of record and moral authority. Firsthand observation of the Eclipse from Uvalde and the Sign of the Cross. Overwhelmed reaction in the birthing room and at the eclipse – God’s perfection. Discussed: the eye for an eye maximum, college protests, a Maturity of Faith. Orthodox Easter, Cinco de Mayo and the Weakest Link.
Uvalde – Eclipse 2024
College Protests of the War
Eclipsed Relevance – April 6 Next Step
Tooth as the Maximum Next Step
Niebuhr’s Prayer (Serenity) 
49 Bye-Byes/America’s Song
CSNY – Four Way Street
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://Epostle.net
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2024 Exposed

Next Step #786 – January 21, 2024 – Starting the year off with renewal for mission. Israel and Palestinians. The first Christians and the first voice. The South African call Israel out for Genocide. Jesus beyond ethnicity. Indian Orthodox Church and Mission. The missing message. Changing the conversation: Courage
Links to Discussed topics
50 Days of Advent
Matrilineality in Judaism
Encounter with Indian Orthodox Church
Encounter in Rwanda
The Image of Jesus
Who Would Jesus Bomb?
Martin Luther King on Loving Enemies
Reclaim Conference 2024
Focused Vision
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://Epostle.net
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Cover: Envato Elements

An Invite Christians Can’t Ignore

Next Step #783 – November 10, 2023 – Why Christians cannot ignore this moment in history. No need to read Revelation, it’s selfevident. Jesus’ message was peace, and it does not fit as an ‘addendum’ to the Old Testament. It is a New message, and a new testament. The challenge from Burmingham: A call and challenge to the Church and Christians everywhere. The appalling stories that demand answers. Genocide in the works: What happens when WWJD evolves to WWJS, WWJK and WWJB? Epostle takes first steps into the metaverse and returns with new programming.
Must Reading Today: Letter from Burmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr.
Epostle.net Daily Messages
Armodoxy for Today: Saints and the Power Within
Icons on Pushkin
World Vision at the Armenian Church, sermon by Fr. Vazken 11/5/23
“Now and Then” by the Beatles
Cover: Envato Elements
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for http://Epostle.net
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We’re on PandoraSpotify and Apple Podcasts

Mt Davidson Time Capsule Unearthed

Time Capsule Unearthed at San Francisco’s 
Mt. Davidson Cross Commemorating First
 Easter Sunrise Service in 1923 Reveal of 90 year-old time capsule items and burial of new time capsule; 
Religious and political leaders joined for historic event

On Saturday, April 1st, 2023, a time capsule was unearthed from the foot of Mt. Davidson Cross in San Francisco in front of a large crowd of onlookers.  Ninety years ago to the day, San Francisco officials and community members gathered at the top of Mt. Davidson Cross to witness Boy Scouts of America Troop 88 bury a sealed copper box at the foot of the Cross to commemorate the first Easter Sunrise Service held there on April 1st, 1923.

“Historic moments like these held at Mt. Davidson Cross illustrates how our Armenian-American communities can enrich and inspire society by bringing people together under the ancient canopy of our resilience and hope,” commented Fr. Mesrop Ash, Pastor of St. John’s Armenian Apostolic Church in San Francisco and Board Member of the Mt. Davidson Cross Armenian Council.

During the time capsule unearthing, representatives from the San Francisco Historical Society were present to delicately receive the items which will be prepared for archiving and placed on display for the public to view at their San Francisco museum in June.

Among the items found in the capsule– which were much more plentiful than the organizers were expecting– were a leather-bound Bible, a San Francisco telephone book, pamphlets, a Boy Scout pin, a municipal record of 1933 and several newspapers including the March 27, 2932, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, featuring a full front-page photo collage of an Easter celebration, and several other newspapers from the time, many with headlines referencing a murder case.

Following the unearthing of the old time capsule, a new, larger copper time capsule was buried at the same spot. Memorable items were presented by various local clergy leaders including Archbishop Salvadore Cordieone, Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco and Metropolitan Gerasimos, Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco.

In front of the crowd, Archbishop Cordieone read a poignant quote from Pope Francis in 2015 during his visit to Tsitsernakaberd, the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Armenia and placed a copy of that inside the new capsule.

On behalf of the Armenian American community, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, placed a New Testament Bible from Constantinople (Istanbul) from 1884 belonging to a Genocide survivor and an Armenian Cross Stone (Khachkar) made especially for this event into the new time capsule.

Aside from the clergy, it was an honor to have many state and city politicians in attendance for this historic event. CA Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, as well as San Francisco Supervisors Myrna Melgar and Ahsha Safai all provided brief remarks and ceremonially added their own small San Francisco-related momento into the new time capsule.

The historic event was organized by the the Council of Armenian-American Organizations of Northern California (CAAONC), a coalition of more than 30 Armenian-American organizations that purchased the Mt. Davidson Cross through a City of San Francisco public auction in 1997. The CAAONC has renovated the Cross and maintains it and the hilltop as an offer of thanks to San Francisco for becoming a safe haven for survivors of the Armenian Genocide.

“The San Francisco Armenian American community was gratified to save the Cross from demotion in 1997 and serve as its caretaker for the past 25 years in memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide committed by the Turkish government, remarked Roxanne Makasdjian, Founding Board Member of CAAONC and event Mistress of Ceremonies.

“We do this as a way of thanking San Francisco for taking in the Armenian refugees a century ago, and as a way to honor our history, both as the first nation to adopt Christianity in 301 AD, and as descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors. For us, this Cross and this time capsule embody the importance and purpose of remembrance,” commented Makasdjian.

Watch the Video

Listen to The Next Step Podcast #390 by Fr Vazken Movsesian, produced on November 16, 2015, starting minute 33, when Fr Vazken recaps a Pilgrimage by a group of  St Peter Armenian Church members, Glendale, led by him. The Pilgrimage was to 7 Churches in 3 days, including a hike to Mt Davidson Cross.

Listen to the Podcast

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian’s Remarks at the Mount Davidson Cross

Watch the live stream here:

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.



Next Step #733: Beginning the 15th season of the Next Step, Fr. Vazken shares some of the most precious blessings of the ministry, spanning the last five decades. From Genocide experiences, to the primer offered by St. Nersess Shnorhali, unlock the beauty of the “blessings” in this up-close and personal edition of the Next Step, presenting the new Epostle.net ministry.
Sirach 43
Einstein on Religiousness
The End is just the challenge (NS69)
Highlights of Fr. Vazken’s Ministry
Paul McCartney’s “Junk”
Cover: Epostle.net, 2022, Anush Movsesian Avejic
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org and Epostle.net
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!
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Paradigm Shift

Next Step with Fr. Vazken #725: The change is happening. Did you feel the latest paradigm shift? Begin with a shift of focus: Commemorating the Armenian Genocide, from remembrance to a day of life. Defining moments in history – all too many and all too often – the build up of anxiety. Editorial boards, content and the Gospel narrative. Globalization and the Church. Baptism: An expression of life and new life in the middle of death. The paradigm shift is in Armodoxy – Apostolic, not ethnic, and the advantage of being nestled.
Baptism on April 24: Life (News broadcast)
April 24, 2022 Divine Liturgy and Baptism
A Secret for Dreaming” – the Montebello Monument experience, first hand
Fr. Vazken’s “99” speech at the Monument, Montebello
Globalization and the Armenian Church (with HH Karekin II)
Gregory Beylerian’s Highland Revolution
Cover: Word Art: Paradigm Shift 2022
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!
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