Cathedral Scholars Program Honors Its First Graduates

Washington National Cathedral last week honored the first graduates of its Cathedral Scholars Program, a three-year course of study designed to supplement the education of promising students at public high schools in the District.

"The program has produced some astonishing results, both for the cathedral and for the students," the Rev. Nathan Baxter, dean of the cathedral, said in a statement after the July 30 ceremony. "We all have learned that great possibilities exist when young people are given the chance to excel."

For six weeks during the last three summers, the 15 members of the Class of 2000--all are scheduled to graduate next year from their respective schools--took classes in English, mathematics, computers and preparation for the Scholastic Assessment Test.

The classes were held weekday mornings at St. Albans School on the cathedral grounds.

During the 1997 session, students participated in paid, afternoon internships at cathedral offices.

The next two summers, they were assigned to paid internships in private offices, according to their career plans. Internship choices included a veterinarian's office, a hospital, a newspaper, a bank, a television station and a public utility.

Students have been selected for the Class of 2003 and will join about 30 other scholars in next summer's session, cathedral spokesman Chris Baumann said. Each class is selected after intensive interviews with applicants from five District senior high schools, using a different group of schools each year.

Requiem for Armenian Leader

Armenian Christians will conclude a 40-day period of mourning tomorrow for His Holiness Karekin I, the spiritual leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, who died June 29 of throat cancer.

Locally, a memorial-requiem service will be held at noon at St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church, 4125 Fessenden St. NW, preceded by the Divine Liturgy at 10:30 a.m. The Rev. Vertanes Kalayjian, St. Mary's pastor, will preside.

The eulogy will be delivered by H.E. Rouben Shugarian, ambassador of the Republic of Armenia.

As head of the 1 million-member Armenian Apostolic Church, an independent branch of the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Karekin ruled from the Vatican-like compound of Etchmiadzin, near Yerevan, Armenia's capital.

During a visit to Washington three years ago, Karekin, then 63, met with President Clinton and other officials to ask for assistance in responding to humanitarian needs and political conflicts in Armenia. He also offered some advice to Americans on coping with misfortune.

Americans, he said in an interview with The Washington Post, live in an affluent society and "should be dealing courageously with any kind of natural catastrophe" and "never be disheartened or fall into despair" over economic or social problems.

"I wish, indeed, that they could see the suffering of other people around the world, the privations of millions of people," he said.

About 400 bishops and delegates--including clergy and lay members--will meet in Etchmiadzin Oct. 26 to 31 to elect Karekin's successor, said Christopher Zakian, spokesman for the New York-based Diocese of the Armenian Church in America.

Labyrinth Society Conference

The recently formed Labyrinth Society, which promotes the use of the medieval labyrinth as a means of spiritual development, will hold its first conference Nov. 4-7 at Teikyo Loretto Heights University in Denver.

The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Lauren Artress, canon at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, who helped start the labyrinth craze eight years ago when she made a canvas replica of a design in the stone floor of the cathedral in Chartres.

Among the other speakers will be Sandra Wasko-Flood, of Alexandria, who will discuss plans for a major exhibit called "Labyrinths for Peace 2000."

For information, consult the group's Web site at www.labyrinthsociety.org. To find out about local labyrinth activities, call Wasko-Flood at 703-360-5233.