Friday, May 24 - Monday, May 27

Tending the Garden of Creation: What Does the Armenian Church Say About the Environment?
                Several times a year, the Armenian Apostolic Church conducts the Antasdan Service. Often called the “Blessing of the Fields,” our Primate V. Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan has said that it is more appropriately a “blessing over the entire world.” As we turn to the four corners of the earth, one of the blessings is explicitly for the growing things of God’s creation. In its liturgical services, as well as in its written theology, Armenian Christianity offers a vision of the healing of all creation through Jesus Christ.
                In this interactive session, we will sing sharagans and pray some of the prayers of the Armenian Apostolic Church that point us to the healing of the world, the environment, and all of God’s creation. Dr. Sheklian will then lead a discussion of these liturgical elements as together we explore the question, “What does the Armenian Church say about the environment?”
Dr. Christopher Sheklian is the Director of the Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center at the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and was a Manoogian Postdoctoral Fellow in Armenian Studies at the University of Michigan. He studies and writes about Armenians in Turkey, liturgy, and Armenian theology in relation to philosophy and social theory. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Sheklian is a deacon of the Church.
Christopher Sheklian, PhD
Director, Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center

Armenian Spirituality and Meditation
In today’s culture, people of many backgrounds are practicing various forms of spirituality and meditation. But for centuries, Armenians have been applying a tried and true method of Christian spirituality and prayerful meditation. How can Scripture, as well as the voice of a mystical poet from a thousand years past, St. Gregory of Narek, guide us in deepening our spiritual life? Join us as Dn. Eric Vozzy delivers a short presentation including a guided practical application of prayer and meditation from one of the most ancient Christian traditions, the Armenian Church.

Dn. Eric Vozzy Bio
Although baptized in the Armenian Church, Dn. Eric was raised in various Protestant Churches, but eventually returned to the Armenian Church in 2010, soon after he earned a Master’s Degree in philosophy from Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte NC. He graduated St. Nersess Seminary in 2017 with a Master’s Degree in Diaconal Ministry and works in the Department of Creative Ministries as a Resource Developer, specializing in research and writing for educational resources such as articles, podcasts, and videos. He faithfully serves at St. Vartan Cathedral.

Living as an Ex-Pat in Armenia
Sarah Derderian, originally from Philadelphia, repatriated to Armenia 3 years ago. She moved to Gyumri and began working at the Debi Arach Children's Center. In November 2017, she founded the Dogs of Gyumri organization. Although conditions in Gyumri can be challenging, the meaningful work with both children, families, and dogs have inspired Sarah to stay and work in Armenia's second largest city.

Sarah will discuss her work in Gyumri, life as a repat, and the condition of the earthquake devastated areas today.
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