His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, flanked by the 2023 Datev Institute clergy and lay instructors and staff (not in picture: Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian).
Sponsored and organized by the Department of Christian Education of the Eastern Prelacy, the St. Gregory of Datev Institute completed yet another successful Christian educational program for youth ages 13-18, from July 2-9. Held at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, the Institute offered about 100 hours of instruction during the weeklong program, about twenty classes for each of the five levels of study. The curriculum of the Datev Institute consists of 4 programs, one week each summer, with Datev post-graduate classes optionally. All five levels of classes take place concurrently.
Every day after the morning service and breakfast, the students attended three 50-minute classes. After dinner, the students engaged in open discussions with the clergy and lay instructors followed by a Bible study for three different age groups. The 100-hour curriculum includes: Introduction to the Old and New Testaments, the seven sacraments of the Armenian Church with a greater emphasis on the Divine Liturgy (Soorp Badarak), Armenian Church feasts and saints, Armenian Church history and creeds, prayer and worship, discussions on moral and ethical issues, and Bible studies.
To temper the daily schedule, in the afternoons the Institute incorporated a healthy dose of recreational and sports activities, including volleyball, soccer, and basketball, as well as excursions to a bowling alley, and canoeing and swimming at French Creek State Park.
The daily schedule of the Institute is sandwiched between morning and evening prayer-worship services, 20-25 minutes each, providing our youth a unique exposure to the treasury of the Armenian Church worship (Kisherayin–Aravodian, Arevakal, and Husgoom Services—Night-Morning, Sunrise, and Peace-Compline Services).
In the evenings, the students enjoyed copious snacks, including mamounia, zaatar bread, homemade cheese, choreg, lots of fruits, and much more.
A program of this scope is made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Eastern Prelacy, instructors and counselors, parishes and parents, and friends and supporters of the Institute. It is truly “meet and right” to thank the instructors and counselors of the Datev Summer Program for the services they rendered to our youth as a labor of love. They taught. They mentored. They counseled. They supervised. They nurtured. And they donated—time, energy, money, and talent.
The instructors and counselors of the Institute this year were: Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian (Director), Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian, Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, Rev. Fr. Torkom Chorbajian, Rev. Fr. Dr. Vahan Kouyoumdjian, Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian (Director of Christian Education), Dn. Harout Takvorian (counselor), Yn. Maggie Kouyoumdjian (instructor and counselor), Nayiri Baljian, Anoosh Kouyoumdjian (instructor and counselor); Nishan Kouyoumdjian (counselor), Taleen Lakissian (counselor), Tamar Lakissian (counselor), and Anna Tekeyan (counselor).
The Institute extends its appreciation to those parishes that subsidized a portion of the expenses by providing scholarships to church-server participants, and to the following for their generous support and donations: National Association of Ladies’ Guilds (NALG), Ani Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society (Pennsylvania), Artemis Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society (Pennsylvania), Dn. and Mrs. Vartan Karakelian, Dn. Hovig Chapanian, Mr. and Mrs. Ohanes Chamavonian, Marianna Khutikyan, and Tamar Lakissian. Special thanks to Rev. Fr. Vahan and Yn. Maggie Kouyoumdjian for their generous donations and for sponsoring the Datev T-shirts.
In the wake of the passing of Kaloust Karakelian, the Eastern Prelacy learned that the Datev Institute was the designated beneficiary of the in lieu of flowers donations, per Kaloust’s request. A Datev Fund has been gratefully established to support the cause close to his heart.
We would also like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Victor Sarkissian for donating a substantial sum to the Datev Institute to honor the memory of their friend Asdghig Kazanjian. Mrs. Kazanjian was a benefactor and supporter of the Datev Institute for over 25 years. She was known as the godmother of Datev.
Those who wish to contribute to the Datev Fund can do so by sending their donations to the Eastern Prelacy, 138 E. 39th Street, New York, NY 10016. Checks should be made payable to Datev Institute.
And last but not least, a special thanks to Fr. Torkom Chorbajian, pastor, and the board of trustees of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church of Philadelphia for their hospitality on July 9.
Parishes, pastors and parents, encourage your youth to participate in this unique Armenian Christian educational program. Mark your calendars—38th Datev Summer Program: June 30-July 7, 2024.