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Boston –June 20, 2019.  A brand-new Armenian Church in Massachusetts’ Merrimack Valley now has a brand-new Armenian cross to adorn its steeple. The cross was consecrated on Thursday, June 20, the gift of the Boston, Massachusetts based Knights of Vartan Ararat Tahlij No. 1 and its Arpie Otyag No. 9. Many of the lodge and Otyag members were on hand with their families as Bishop Daniel Findikyan consecrated the large gold cross which now stands proudly atop the Haverhill, Massachusetts area church. This was Bishop Findikyan’s first visit to the church since recently being elected Primate of the Armenian Church of America’s Eastern Diocese. Also participating in the consecration service were Armenian Church Pastors from across Massachusetts as well as the Dean of the Saint Nersess Armenian Seminary in New York.

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Hurricane Sandy Response

The East Coast suffered such terrible devastation during Hurricane Sandy that I could not help but think of our Brother’s and Sister’s after seeing all the news media and the damage done to our coast line.

Yes our home was in the mist of the storm as well. However, our home still stands and is without damage.  As for our Brothers and Sisters of the Knights and the Daughters of Vartan, some did not do well at all.  As soon as power was restored I approached the Sbarabed of Bakradouny Lodge and told him of my idea.  You see it is the Otyag and Lodges tradition to collect for the needy every Thanksgiving.  This year however I sought to change that into collecting for a Sister and Brother who suffered serious damage to their homes.  The Sbarabed was in agreement and I also put it in my newsletter for our Otyag. I also sent several e-mails asking our Brothers and Sisters in New York if they knew of anyone. Due to this super storm, there were at least 111 homes burned to the ground.  Brooklyn and Staten Island were inundated with ocean water from the storm surge, as high as 6 to 10 feet.  I was so adamant in helping one of our own that  I also took this to the chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Inter-lodge.  I also notified our Avak Dirouhie and our GDR. In turn the whole of the Daughters and the Knights of Vartan came together to assist our Brothers and Sisters.  During this time I was notified that there was a Sister in need. I notified the Avak Dirouhie on what we planned to do. I must tell you that within a week I received a large donation from a woman in California to be sent to the Sister who had suffered damage to her home. At the same time the Mid-Atlantic at their meeting sent out a cry for help as well.  At Mamigonian and Anahid Otyag’s Thanksgiving dinner a collection was taken up, for there was a brother in dire need as well.  These two families have been so affected by the storm they can no longer live in their home and do not know when they will be able to do. We all know how insurance and FEMA work, it will take months before they can return to their homes, given the amount of devastation suffered. They are now living with relatives.  Their lives have been turned upside down. Cars ruined, homes ruined everyday life not as it was. In order to start them on the path to recovery early a campaign was started.  I would like to thank the Sister from California for her generous donation. I thank the Avak Sbarabed his Tivan, Avak Dirouhie and the Avak Khorurt, the GDR’s and all the Otyag’s and the lodges for donating and keeping this organization for what it is; a Sisterhood and a Brotherhood.  This is what we do for our Brothers and Sisters in need. May God bless all who have helped.

Dirouhie Sona Manuelian

Sahaganoush Otyag #24