What is the Vemkar Adult Christian Education Program?

Vemkar’s Adult Christian Education is an online live session program that shepherds the faithful of the Armenian Church into mature disciples of Christ. Every Tuesday from September 21 to December 14, a session will be held by an expert member of our Diocesan body concerning all aspects of adult Christian life. Bring your Bible, a prayerful attitude, and let us all build in our knowledge of Christ!

Project Objectives

  1. Develop a greater understanding of how God is working through the Armenian Church  and in the Church’s Christian experience.  
  2. Create opportunities to improve communal and individual prayer life.  
  3. Offer opportunities for guided discussion of practical life issues based on the tradition of  the Armenian Orthodox Church teachings. 

Areas of Study

  • Scripture  
  • Liturgical tradition  
  • Armenian Church history and teachings (History, Saints, Church Fathers, Music, Art etc.) 
  • Prayer 

Program Schedule 2021

EVERY TUESDAY @ 7:00 PM (EST)

Turning from Sorrow: Repentance and Confession in the Armenian Church

BISHOP DANIEL FINDIKYAN

Repentance is one of the main mandates we have as Christians according to the Bible. But so many questions surround it in the minds, hearts and practice of our people. What is repentance? What does Jesus expect of us when we repent? How does we go about repenting? Do we need a priest to hear our confession? Does the Armenian Church practice Private Confession? In what way is repentance a sacrament? Indeed, repentance is the path to life, hope and joy in Jesus Christ. Come learn what the Armenian Church has to say about it.

Foundations of Orthodox Christian Marriage

FR. MESROB HOVSEPIAN

This presentation (or lecture) will cover the Orthodox understanding of the marriage based on the Scriptures, prayers of the Sacrament of Matrimony, and the teachings of the Armenian Church. It will also guide the participants to have a conversation about the Orthodox perspective on marriage and its practical implications in our lives today as Christians.

In Relationship with God Through Prayer

YN. SIRARPI AIVAZIAN

A renowned religious educator once said that the purpose of religious education is to ultimately lead the person to pray. Prayer is the long and sure path to lead faithful individuals into the presence of God. Our first parents, Adam and Eve were invited to enjoy the goodness of all creation in the presence of God. That privilege was lost through original sin as they were expelled from the presence of God. Since that sad event humankind has been groping to regain the intimacy which they had with God in Paradise. That effort is prayer.

Church as Being: St. Gregory of Narek’s Vision of the Church

DN. YERVANT KUTCHUKIAN

Among the many subjects one finds in St. Gregory of Narek’s Book of Lamentations is that of the Church. St. Gregory speaks of her as a venerable queen, an amazing sign, and an ark of purity. In this session we will get to know the Church as a Being as portrayed by St. Gregory in Prayer 75 of the Book of Lamentations.

Hokehankeesd - More than a Memorial

FR. HAROUTIUN SABOUNJIAN

Fr. Haroutiun’s presentation will explore the Armenian Church’s tradition of praying for those who have fallen asleep. The presentation will look at the Hokehankeesd service as one among many prayers found in our Liturgy for the departed. He will also look at the reasons why we pray for the dead and the text of the service itself to more fully unpack the Armenian understanding of the journey from this life to the next.

OCTOBER
26

Bringing the Word of God to the people of God

FR. ARSHEN AIVAZIAN

The Lectionary is the earliest liturgical book in Christian worship. It contains select readings for every day of the liturgical year and is prominently featured in the daily liturgies of the Church. Sadly, the reading of selections from the Holy Scriptures to the hearing of the people has lost its prominent place in our liturgical celebrations in the relatively new dioceses of the West in general and in the United States in particular. One of the primary reasons for this is the absence of an English Lectionary. Now, for the first time, that vacancy has been filled with the publication of the Lectionary of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church for Sunday Synaxis and Feast Days a huge void has been filled. Now it is up to us to restore the prominence of proclaiming the Word of God to the people of God.

NOVEMBER
02

The Homeless Christ: The Social Teaching of St. John Chrysostom

FR. NIGOGHOS AZNAVOURIAN

Is not giving charity, theft? Although not ethnically Armenian, St. John Chrysostom has shaped Armenian Christian thought for more than 1500 years. His social teachings in particular have guided the way Armenians think about the Bible and their own faith in Jesus Christ. Come join Fr. Nigoghos as we rediscover the relevance of Chrysostom’s teachings for the Armenian Church in light of modern global poverty.

NOVEMBER
09

Translating Ashagerdetsek: Discipleship in the Armenian Church

FR. SAMUEL RITH-NAJARIAN

Our Lord Jesus Christ’s final commandment was that His Apostles go into the world to “make disciples” of all nations. We will explore Christian discipleship in the context of the Armenian Church. Looking to our own Holy Translators who made disciples of the Armenian Nation, we will look for answers on what is needed to “make disciples” among our faithful today.

NOVEMBER
16

A Kiss Is Just A Kiss...Or Is It?

RHONDA BOYAJIAN

The Kiss of Peace is part of our Divine Liturgy/Badarak. What is the meaning of it and why do we do it during our Divine Liturgy? During this class we will examine four scriptural accounts from the Old and New Testament which contain greetings with a kiss. We will learn what is The Kiss of Peace and why the faithful gathered greet one another with “Kreedos ee mech mer haydnetsav” (“Christ is revealed among us”)…”Orhnyal eh haydnoutiunun Kreesdosee (“Blessed is the revelation of Christ”).

NOVEMBER
30

Praying Through Theophany

DN. ERIC VOZZY

The Feast of Theophany as an “octave’ lasts not just one day on January 6, but for eight days, beginning January 6. Thus, the Armenian Church tradition possesses numerous prayers and hymns dedicated to the birth and baptism of Jesus Christ. How can these prayers be applied to our daily life as we recall our own baptismal vows and the promises made by us to God.

DECEMBER
07

Delicious Fruits from a Bitter Tree: St. James and St. Gregory

DR. ROBERTA ERVINE

DECEMBER
14

Knowing of whose spirit we are: James, John, and our own identity

DR. ROBERTA ERVINE

History of the Adult Christian Education Program

In 2014 after attending a Sunday School superintendents conference, Yn. Paulette Doudoukjian introduced Adult Christian Education programming to St. Peter Armenian Church in Watervliet, NY, as a Sunday School initiative.  Under the leadership of Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian, the Parish priest, Adult classes began meeting nearly every Sunday morning before Badarak.  Shortly after the program was initiated Dn. Yervant Kutchukian became coordinator providing a curriculum of classes on Liturgical tradition, Armenian Church history and scripture study. In 2018 Rhonda Boyajian became coordinator, expanding the curriculum and teaching staff with classes in person for 45 minutes prior to Badarak, as well as offering other classes on Saturday evenings. In 2020, “Zoom” virtual classes were further developed and expanded, casting a wider net of students from other parishes. It became evident that what was humbly established at St. Peter Armenian Church could benefit the entire diocese. Adult Christian Education classes is now adopted by Vemkar, so that all the faithful in the Eastern Diocese and various Armenian Church communities across the world could learn and grow in the faith of the Armenian Church.