Armenian Church of Ventura County ACYO Distribute Food for the Homeless at Westlake Village-Westminster Presbyterian Church
On December 4, 2013, ACYO members of the Armenian Church of Ventura County led by Deacon-in-Charge Sarkis Alanjian paid a visit to the homeless at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Westlake Village and distributed food to the less fortunate people of God. The Primate commended the leadership of Dn. Alanjian for instilling in the hearts of the youth the essence of the Christian spirit.
Ladies Society Central Council Celebrates the Christmas Season with Ladies Society of St. Peter Armenian Church of Van Nuys
Ladies Society Central Council Chairlady, Gladys Saroyan, and board members Araxie Boyamian, Aida Askejian, Ramela Seropian and Arpi Hovsepian eagerly welcomed the Christmas Season by attending a festive and joyful Christmas Boutique Luncheon prepared by the Ladies Society of St. Peter Church of Van Nuys on November 22, 2013.
Under the leadership of the host parish’s Ladies Society chairlady Ban Julius, the church hall was transformed into a forest of twinkling Christmas trees reflected by the large hall mirrors, and an oasis of shimmering bright lights. From mixed nuts to Armenian inscribed fabric, and delicately designed jewelry, a vast array of wares for sale filled the display tables where vendors provided the guests with early Christmas gift ideas to give to their loved ones.
Traditionally prepared Kofte, pilaf, eggplant, salad and baklava were generously served to the guests and enjoyed by the large number of attendees.
The Ladies Society of St. Peter Church continued this annual Christmas Boutique event into the evening by also providing dinner to their guests.
"The Western Diocese is very fortunate to have such a dedicated group of ladies who sacrifice their time and energy to maintain the innovative traditions of their mothers and grandmothers," said LSCC Chairlady Gladys Saroyan.
The annual tradition of hosting students from Armenian Schools at the Western Diocese carried on to this year as 450 students from TCA Arshag Dickranian School, AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School, AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School, Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian School, Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School and Little Angels Academy took part in the Primate’s 10th Annual Children’s Christmas Pageant on Thursday, December 5, 2013.
The program commenced with welcoming remarks by Rev. Fr. Nerses Hayrapetyan who encouraged the students to pursue their education and to keep our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in their hearts. Led by the clergyman, the students recited the Lord’s Prayer in unison.
This year’s exciting performance came from the students of TCA Arshag Dickranian School who wonderfully performed popular Armenian folk songs, traditional Christmas songs. The students also displayed their artistic and theatrical talents by performing an inspirational Christmas play as well as dance numbers which were received by loud cheers and applause.
As a token of his gratitude, the Primate presented an icon to Dickranian School Principal Dr. Manoug Seraydarian. In his message to the students, the Primate called upon them to preserve their Armenian Christian identity and to live a life of prayer. “Dear students, remember that you have a best friend in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Pray to Him always,” said the Primate. His Eminence also announced that next year’s performers would be the students of Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School.
The students were excited to greet Santa Clause who performed songs and dances. Following the event, all students received a pizza lunch sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Vahe and Veronica Karapetian. Each student also received an informational booklet on the faith of the Armenian Church donated by Attorney Mark Geragos.
The spirit of Christmas filled the air at the 3rd Annual Christmas Boutique of the St. Leon Cathedral Ladies Guild of the Western Diocese held on December 4, 2013. Starting at 10:00 a.m., the Paul Brothers Galleria was crowded with hundreds of Christmas shoppers purchasing gifts from the large variety of venders. The Christmas Boutique offered something for everyone, from baked goods, to jewelry, to Christmas decorations, to anything that you would like Santa to bring.
Over 400 guests then entered Kalaydjian Hall, beautifully decorated with glowing Christmas trees, for a gourmet lunch with a wide variety of tasty mezzas and a delicious chicken dinner. The Invocation was delivered by Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan, Parish Priest of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral. Guests were warmly welcomed by Araxie Boyamian, Chair of the St. Leon Armenian Cathedral Ladies Guild, who expressed her thanks and deep appreciation for their attendance and continued support.
A highlight of the afternoon was the Award Presentation by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian to honoree Mrs. Sybille Aprahamian, in recognition of her dedication and benevolence to the Armenian Apostolic Church. As one of the Benefactors of the Mother Cathedral, Mrs. Aprahamian exemplifies her true Christmas spirit through supporting many Diocesan projects.
Guests were entertained throughout the afternoon by violinist Meroujan and enjoyed a delightful presentation of traditional Christmas carols by the young Dickens Carolers from La Crescenta Valley High School.
A special and surprise treat came from the Primate, who directed and lead the audience in singing a Christmas Carol in Armenian. His Eminence expressed his sincere thanks and gratitude to Araxie Boyamian for her exemplary and effective leadership as Chair of the luncheon, along with the members of her vibrant and energetic committee. The Committee conducted a drawing for the special Chistmas centerpieces at each table, as well as a lottery drawing for a huge variety of special prizes.
The climax of the afternoon was the presentation of a cake commemorating the 10th Anniversary of His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian’s ten years of service as Primate. In his closing Benediction the Primate extended his heartfelt gratitude to everyone for their continued support of this event which has truly become a tradition in the Western Diocese; that it is not only a venue to raise funds to benefit the Cathedral and the stewardship mission, but it is also an opportunity for fellowship and renewal of our Christian vocation as we prepare to celebrate Christmas. “May the blessings of God be bestowed upon you and your families now and forever.”
An unprecedented event was held at the Western Diocese as on December 2, 2013, the Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles paid his first official visit to the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America. Archbishop Gomez was the guest of honor at the 3rd Annual Ecumenical Prayer Service. His Eminence also delivered the day’s homily at the spiritual center of the Western Diocese.
The historic event commenced at 6:30 p.m. with a fellowship gathering of clergy and representatives from the Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical Churches at the Hampar Family Reception Room. At 7:00 p.m., the clergy led a procession through the Oruncakciel Family Entrance into the Cathedral for the commencement of the Ecumenical Prayer Service.
The Right Reverend Alexei Smith, Ecumenical Officer of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese delivered the welcoming remarks and acknowledged the presence of the guests. Prayers were offered by The Very Rev. Fr. John Bakas, Dean of St. Sophia Greek Cathedral, Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Rev. Sally Welch of the Disciples of Christ, and Rev. Joseph Matossian of the Armenian Evangelical Church.
The Ecumenical Prayer Service also included choral performances by the Khachadourian Joint Choir, the Armenian Catholic Church Choir, Jubilate Deo Vocal Ensemble and the Dickranian School Choir.
“Dear Brother in Christ, we are joyful for your gracious visit to St. Leon Armenian Cathedral to be the Guest of Honor at our annual Ecumenical Prayer Service,” said Archbishop Derderian in his remarks addressed to Archbishop Gomez. “Year after year, we dedicate this service to the memory of Levon Paronyan, the late father of the Grand Benefactor of this Cathedral Dr. Aramais Paronyan. We also remember in our prayers the victims of the devastating earthquake which claimed the lives of more than 20,000 souls in Armenia in the winter of 1988,” he added.
As a token of his appreciation, the Primate presented an icon depicting the Nativity of Jesus Christ to Archbishop Jose Gomez and conveyed to the leader of the Catholic community his genuine wishes.
Members of the Paronyan family including Levon Paronyan’s widow Roza Paronyan, son Dr. Aramais Paronyan and his spouse Mrs. Natella Lalabekyan-Paronyan were also present at the event.
Among the dignitaries in attendance were His Excellency Sergey Sarkisov, Consul General of the Republic of Armenia, Diocesan Council Chair Judge Adrienne Krikorian, Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse, Woodbury University President Dr. Luis Calingo, and Burbank City Councilman Jess Talamantes.
Archbishop Derderian also expressed his gratitude to the Right Reverend Alexei Smith of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and called him “the catalyst of the ecumenical spirit.”
The guest of honor thanked the Primate for the warm welcome and the opportunity to address God’s people. In his homily, Archbishop Gomez reflected on the role of a Christian in promoting world peace and sharing the love of God with His creation. The leader of the Catholic Archdiocese noted that in a secular world, it is crucial for a Christian to serve Christ, our Lord as well as our communities with humility and grace.
The service concluded with a joint closing prayer by the Primate and Archbishop Gomez.
Following the service, the guest clergy, civic officials and faithful were treated to a reception at Nazareth and Sima Kalaydjian Hall organized by the Good Samaritans of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral.
“Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors”
Sunday, November 24, 2013, marked a new milestone in the history of St. Andrew Armenian Apostolic Church in Cupertino, California. A project which was twenty-five years in the making, was now complete.
In 1988, St. Andrew parish had made arrangements to install new church doors. Plans were halted, however, in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Armenia. The funds were redirected to assist the families of the victims of the natural disaster.
Early in 2013 plans were set in motion to install new doors, with the guidance of Rev. Fr. Datev Harutyunian and under the leadership of the Parish Council. The parishioners tirelessly worked to secure the funds for this much needed project. Many generous donations ensured the success of this venture. St. Andrew parishioners were further thrilled and delighted when renowned and beloved artist Mr. Vladimir Atanyan, together with his sons Gor and Artak Atanyan, agreed to take on the task. Their artistry guaranteed a work which would portray Armenian heritage and faith and which would amaze forthcoming generations beholding its splendor as they entered the House of the Lord.
The much anticipated day finally arrived. With the congregation gathered outside St. Andrew after Holy Badarak, Rev. Father Datev thanked Mr. Vladimir and Mr. Artak Atanyan for their artistry and the parishioners for their generosity and dedication. Accompanied by songs of blessings, the Atanyans and Parish Council Chairman Raffi Charekian unveiled the new doors. Glory to the Lord, sung by the St. Andrew Choir, filled the crisp, sunny November air. Surrounded by deacons and acolytes ranging over five generations, Der Hayr proceeded to bless the doors. Following the blessing ceremony, Fr. Datev pronounced, “And, now, the oldest amongst us will open the doors,” and then handed the key to the youngest altar boy, eight-year-old Nicholas Otte. Cheers of joy and applause quickly erupted as the new St. Andrew doors were opened for the first time.
Following the Door Blessing Ceremony, a luncheon was held at the St. Andrew’s Amerian Hall, thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Sossy Makdessian, Mrs. Zevart Michaelian, and the Ladies Society of St. Andrew Armenian Church.
During our daily lives we pass through numerous doors. Whether they be at school or at work, at restaurants or stores, at businesses or even at home, we open these doors quickly, unseeingly, disregarding their appearance, using them as mere architectural necessities, objects which are simply there. If, however, we take a second to pause, to pay attention to the door we just opened, we will realize each door is much more than a wooden or glass part of a structure; it is an admission into a new dimension. The new St. Andrew doors will serve as an entrance into the House of the Lord for many generations to come, its handles freely touched by all who wish to enter.
By: Dn. Dikran Harutyunian
At the Western Diocese, the month of December is dedicated to the children and the youth. To celebrate, Junior Godfathers of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral were invited to serve at the Holy Altar at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral on Sunday, December 1, 2013. The day’s celebrant was Cathedral’s Pastor Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan, who was assisted by visiting clergyman from Diocese of Russia Rev. Fr. Ashot Ghazaryan and the deacons of the Cathedral Parish.
Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan and Archpriest Fr. Sipan Mekhsian also participated in the service.
The Primate of the Artsakh Diocese delivered the homily wherein the clergyman conveyed to the faithful the importance of faith. His Eminence noted the important role of faith in the lives of the people of Artsakh whose vision to protect their ancestral land rested in God’s Hands.
Following the service, the clergy led a procession to the Turpanjian Plaza where a celebration of the Primate’s birthday was planned by Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazyan, the Parish Council and the Junior Godfathers Committee.
“Anoush” Dance Group delighted the guests with exceptional performances of traditional Armenian dances.
His Eminence thanked Father Khajag and the members of the Parish Council for their kind gesture and conveyed to them his genuine pastoral wishes.
As a token of his appreciation, the Primate distributed small crosses to the youth for their participation in the Divine Liturgy and the subsequent ceremonial event.
The 65th annual ACYO Convention, presided by Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, was held at the Armenian Church of Crescenta Valley over Thanksgiving Weekend 2013. The Assembly convened on November 29 with nearly 70 delegates in attendance.
The ACYO reviewed the activities of the previous year, raised concerns, and elected new members for the organization’s governing body (the Central Council).
The topics that were discussed during the meetings ranged from reorganizing the geographical structure of the ACYO to more effectively incorporate the chapters from Seattle, Arizona and Oregon to increasing ACYO membership by actively integrating Saturday-Sunday school children into the organization to finding ways of encouraging more ACYO-priest-parish council interactions.
The Primate encouraged the ACYO to serve with a renewed vision and vigor and to be more integrated in the life of their communities whether it is schools or in universities. Reports were also presented by the ACYO Treasurer and Diocesan Youth Director Dn. Mkrtich Ksachikyan. Deacon Mkrtich stressed to the youth that the ACYO should be a vital force in the life of the Armenian Apostolic Church and should always be focused should motivate the youth to spread the Good News to their peers.
The event concluded with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, December 1.
The 66th Annual ACYO Convention will be held at St. James Armenian Church in Los Angeles.
The Armenian National Committee of America - Western Region (ANCA-WR) hosted its Annual Banquet on November 30, 2013 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles. Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian attended the event and delivered the Invocation.
“The Armenian National Committee is a leading advocacy mission in our nation’s life whose presence is conditioned by noble aspirations and achievements to present our history and culture to the nations of the world but above all, to be a strong presence in the pursuance of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” said His Eminence in part.
Among this year’s honorees was His Eminence Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, Primate of the Diocese of Artsakh who received the 2013 Khrimian Hayrig Award.
“Tonight’s celebration is significant when many are acknowledged for their genuine leadership amongst whom are His Eminence Archbishop Barkev Mardirossian, the courageous spiritual leader of the Diocese of Artsakh,” said Archbishop Derderian congratulating his fellow high-ranking clergyman.
“We congratulate all the honorees and extend our very best wishes to the Armenian National Committee of America. ANCA’s strength will empower the Armenian community of North America with new vision and vigor to be strong leaders of this country as well as the land of our ancestors – Armenia and Artsakh,” he concluded.
Other honorees also included Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti (Man of the Year Award); California State Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian (Legislator of the Year Award); philanthropist Manas Boujikian (Legacy Award); legendary basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian (People’s Champion Award) and activist Ara Soudjian (Vahan Cardashian Award).
A formal banquet in honor of NKR President H.E. Bako Sahakyan and Consul General H.E. Sergey Sarkisov was held at the Nazareth and Sima Kalaydjian Hall on November 27, 2013. More than 300 people including government officials and civic leaders attended the banquet hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Aramais Paronyan. Community leader Maria Mehranian served as the event’s Mistress of Ceremonies.
Renowned spokesman and journalist Larry King, accompanied by his spouse Shawn King, was also in attendance. The two-time Peabody and ten-time Cable ACE Award winner was escorted by Dr. Aramais Paronyan, Grand Benefactor of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral. Larry King met with NKR President Bako Sahakyan, made a generous pledge to Armenia Fund to support the construction of the Vardenis-Martakert highway and promised President Sahakyan to visit the beautiful land of Artsakh. Also in attendance were government officials and civic leaders.
“Tonight we celebrate many special milestones in our community. We wholeheartedly extend a warm welcome to our new Consul General His Excellency Mr. Sergey Sarkisov and the presence of the most Honorable Mr. Bako Sahakian, the President of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
Dear Mr. Sergei Sarkisov,
We assure you all that the Armenians on the West Coast will embrace you with love and immense respect as the Honorable Consul General of the Republic of Armenia and extend to you the due support in thousand ways possible.
As the new Consul General of Armenia, you bring with you a new level of vigor and vision to inspire us all with the love of the Motherland. Armenia is a mission. Armenia calls on us all to revere the land of our forefathers and hold firm in our hearts the faith and commitment to serve the Holy Land of all ancestors as the stronghold of yet many generations to come,” said His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian in his address.
In his remarks, Consul General Sarkisov expressed his gratitude to the Primate and Dr. and Mrs. Paronyan for the cordial welcoming reception. He stressed his commitment to work alongside the Western Diocese and to serve the needs of the Armenian community in the Diaspora.
Sergey Sarkisov was appointed as the Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles in September 2013.
“Dear President Sahakyan, we are delighted to greet you amongst us tonight. With your humble presence, you have once again called upon the Armenian people to unite for a noble mission. The construction of the Vardenis-Martakert highway will allow all Armenians to share the vision of a more prosperous Armenia and Artsakh. You are most welcomed at the Diocese, President Sahakyan,” said His Eminence addressing the NKR President.
In his remarks, NKR President Bako Sahakyan thanked the Primate and Dr. Paronyan for the cordial reception. He called upon the Armenian people to take part in the construction of the Vardenis-Martakert highway, a noble cause which would mutually benefit the land of Armenia and Artsakh.
Guests enjoyed the beautiful vocal performances of Mannik Manukyan and the traditional Armenian dances performed by Nairi Dance Studio directed by Luiza Khachatryan.Published: Fri, 29 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0800