It is in keeping with the fuller role of a churchman to share his ideas and analyses of religious topics with a much wider audience than his parishioners. When he has undertaken studies and devoted much thought to religious matters it is entirely appropriate to publish the results of his scholarship.
Thus, in this work, THE ARMENIAN CHURCH, GUARDIAN OF THE FAITH, the Rev. Fr. Sipan Mekhsian, has justifiably published this valuable collection.
Not by any measure a small collection, the work contains forty articles in Armenian and English. Nine articles appear in both languages.
Fr. Sipan is the assistant of His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, and the Editor of "The Mother Church" Diocesan publication. Headquartered in Los Angeles the Diocese covers the twenty Armenian Church parishes in the western part of the United States.
In his work, Fr. Sipan offers his views on topics generally of Christendom, as well as on topics more specifically related to the Armenian Church and its position on Christological issues.
The articles are sometimes didactic, sometimes expository. And sometimes they defend a thesis, as in "Jesus' Brothers." In that article, Fr. Sipan disputes and refutes a commonly believed idea that the Apostles James, Simon, and Judas are one and the same as three of the four "brothers" of the Lord, namely, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. The author's evidence to support his thesis is strongly convincing. Fr. Sipan expounds on the Four Gospels, as well as on many of the Epistles. His commentary is to make the reader better aware of the conditions that prevailed at the time of the writing and the reasons for the letters.
Among the essay types are several homilies ("Christian Prayer," "Victory of Resurrestion," "Power of Faith," "Ideal Priesthood").
Other essays provide a deep understanding of the role of the Armenian Church in the cultural development of the Armenian nation.
Rev. Fr. Sipan has enriched our understanding of our church by providing this useful reference for our personal libraries.
Arra S. Avakian
June 1987, Fresno, California