On Sunday, October 26, the Armenian Apostolic Church will observe the Feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross (Kyood Khachi). According to ecclesiastical chronicles, an informed Jew from Jerusalem by the name of Judah was forced to disclose the place where the cross was buried. Three crosses were found, one of the being our Lord’s, the others belonging to the two criminals crucified with Him. In order to authenticate the true cross, the body of a youth who had recently died was placed on each. When he was placed on the third cross he was resurrected and thus the true and Holy Cross was discovered. At that time, Bishop Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem elevated the Holy Cross before the faithful who, having witnessed the miracle was awe-inspired and venerated it. The commemoration of this historical event is celebrated on the closest Sunday to October 26 and is called Discovery of the Holy Cross.
St. Apkar Armenian Church in Scottsdale Arizona marked its 5th anniversary of consecration on Sunday, October 19, 2014. On the auspicious occasion, the Primate travelled to the Arizona Parish where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon. Archbishop Derderian was assisted at the Holy Altar by the Rev. Fr. Zacharia Saribekyan and the deacons of the host parish.
In his sermon, the Primate reflected on the significance of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the lives of the faithful. “The focal point of my message is the preservation of the Christian identity as the most important ingredient in the lives of the faithful. The Gospel of Christ, our Lord allows us to keep intact within us the image of the Almighty God in our spirituality,” said His Eminence in part addressing the congregation.
During the service, the Primate, assisted by Father Zacharia, consecrated the stained glass windows and frescoes of the church.
At the conclusion of the service, in a procession led by the Primate, the parishioners participated in the blessing and dedication of the children’s playground whose main benefactor is Dr. Vardges Vandian. The Primate thanked Dr. Vandian for contributing to the livelihood of the youth of St. Apkar Armenian Church through his generous donation. Archbishop Derderian also officiated the groundbreaking ceremony of the Mesrop and Marian Megerdichian Senior Living Residence.
A festive luncheon, donated and catered by Gevorg and Erica Pchakjian, was held at the Melikian Hall of the parish. During the program, St. Apkar’s parishioners marked the 20th anniversary of Father Zacharia Saribekyan’s ordination into the Priesthood. The entertainment was provided by the Hyeland Ensemble Lisa Mahlebjian Buzzard, Paul Maranian and Robert Takoushian.
In his remarks, the Primate reflected on the significance of the historic day in the life of St. Apkar Armenian Church. “On this historic day in the life of St. Apkar Armenian Church, we are celebrating the 5th anniversary of the consecration of the parish, the 20th anniversary of Father Zacharia’s ordination and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ladies Society. We highly commend the dedicated pastoral service of Father Zacharia Saribekyan who has been the spiritual leader of the community since 2007. Inspired by the Living Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, you share a common vision of preserving the Christian values which you collectively hold in reverence. I pray that you continue to uphold the ancestral Christian Faith of our forefathers and continue to cherish the sacred traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church.”
The Primate recognized parishioners Hagop Naldjian, Bedros Touresian and Hoory Dikranian with “Hye Spirit” medals for their selfless service and valuable contributions to the parish life. He congratulated the honorees encouraging them to continue to serve the St. Apkar parish with a renewed sense of dedication and zeal.
GEVORKIAN DANCE ACADEMY DEBUTS IN SAN DIEGO TO A HUGE AUDIENCE Spectacular Dance Performance Mesmerizes Young and Old Alike
On October 19, 2014, more than 800 people attended a spectacular and unforgettable performance by the Gevorkian Dance Academy. One hundred dancers of all ages took the stage in San Diego’s first ever Dances Under the Stars at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista, California. The mesmerizing choreography, dazzling costumes, and spirited music brought the audience into the very heart of the Armenian culture.
Enchanting dances from other countries, including Russia, Georgia, Moldova, Israel, Greece, Romania, and the United States, were also performed. George Krikorian, Jr., owner of Krikorian Premiere Theatres, was the lead sponsor of this magical evening.
“Words cannot describe the beauty, grace, and energy displayed by the Gevorkian dancers. The performance made every one of us so proud to be Armenian. The Academy has shown the world that the Armenian nation is very much alive and thriving. We thank Vartan, Siranoush and Sona Gevorkian, and all the dancers and their parents, for bringing this great celebration to San Diego,” stated Harry Krikorian, chair of the organizing committee.
The Los Angeles-based Academy enjoyed two successful concert tours in 2001 and 2005, including three consecutive sold-out performances at the renowned National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Yerevan. In 2005, they proudly celebrated their 10th anniversary at the famous Kodak Theatre. In 2010, they celebrated their 15th anniversary at the world-famous Nokia Theatre with a live performance, where Vartan Gevorkian received a gold medal from the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Armenia. In 2013, the Gevorkian Dance Academy participated in the “My Armenia” festival in Yerevan, where they received a gold medal from the Minister of Diaspora.
The performance was generously supported by Aladdin Restaurant, John & Cynthia Andonian & Evans Tires, Richard & Ursula Avakian, Carpeteria Carpet One & Melcon Markarian, Robert & Viviane Hagopian, Homenetmen San Diego Sevan Chapter, Khoren & Kathy Kassardjian, George Krikorian, Jr., Richard & Sherry Manoogian, Vahe & Jeannette Manoushakian, John Shakarian Jewelers, Jerry Torossian, and Alan & Mireille Yaghdjian.
The event was planned with the participation and support of many Armenian organizations of San Diego, including the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Armenian Jeweler’s Association, Armenian National Committee, Armenian Relief Society, Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Armenian Catholic church community, Armenian Protestant church community, Homenetmen San Diego Sevan Chapter, Knights & Daughters of Vartan, St. John Garabed Armenian Church, Trust Fund Committee, and the Triple X Fraternity.
At the request of the sponsors and organizing committee, the net profits from Dances Under the Stars will support Phase One of the Bridge to the Future project, which will establish a new church campus in San Diego near Del Mar. For more information, email email@example.com.
The Zorayan Museum Committee of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church are pleased to present a special art exhibition, featuring the paintings of international artist and architectural designer KOKO. The art exhibition of his works on canvas titled “Between Two Worlds,” will open on Thursday November 6 and run through November 7 at the Zorayan Museum, located in the Western Diocesan Complex of the Armenian Church of North America, 3325 North Glenoaks Boulevard in Burbank, CA.
The Zorayan Museum Committee was established in January 2011 under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, to organize exhibitions, lectures and theatrical plays in order to promote and preserve Armenian art, history and culture. The mission of the Zorayan Museum is to promote understanding and appreciation of Armenian ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity by exposing the beauty of our heritage and preserving and sharing the experiences with the people of the world.
The Zorayan Museum Committee is proud to offer the Armenian and non-Armenian community the opportunity to view the famous paintings of KOKO. He is not only an international artist, but has received acclaim as an architectural designer. KOKO holds a Masters in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in New York. His art and design experience includes six years with world renowned architect Frank Gehry. It was during these years with Frank that KOKO also developed his artistic language as a painter, finding passion between his two worlds: art and architecture.
KOKO’s paintings have been exhibited at many high profile expos and showcases including San Francisco, Palm Springs and New York. Numerous high profile collectors have collected KOKO originals from these shows. His latest paintings were debuted with Stephanie’s Art Gallery and are touring the U.S. in all major national showcases. In 2012, he was a featured artist for the Soul Pancake Network in association with YouTube and the Oprah Whitney Network. On this occasion an interview captured KOKO painting in his studio, resulting in a substantial national response.
From an early age KOKO was drawn to abstract art. His fascination with form and composition lead to his education in architecture. There is an identifiable vernacular in his painting that is clearly his own signature style of painting. The paintings have vivid colors, strong brushstrokes and the soft touch of the human figures from his subjects. KOKO also contributes his efforts in artistic endeavors within the arts community. He most recently designed a unique, on-of-a-kind, surfboard for the Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles. In 2012, during a venture with the Walt Disney Concert Hall, KOKO participated in the production design of the opera “Don Giovanni” with culture fashion duo Rodarte, composer Dudamel and architect Frank Gehry.
The art exhibition will be held Thursday, November 6, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday, November 7, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. For further information contact the Zorayan Museum at (818) 558-7474.
On the morning of October 23rd, the Primate visited AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School where he met with the Principal Dr. Armine Movsisyan, Mr. Levon Keshishian, Director of Business Operations and the faculty. Archbishop Derderian was briefed by Dr. Movsisyan on the activities of the school. Following his meeting with the administrative staff, His Eminence met with 9-12 grade students. The topic of the Primate’s discussion was responsibility. His Eminence elaborated on the importance of responsibility towards peers, the family, the Armenian community, the Church and God. In turn, the students engaged in an active discussion with the spiritual leader of the Western Diocese.
Throughout his pastoral tenure, visiting Armenian Schools has been amongst the top priorities for Archbishop Hovnan Derderian. On October 21, 2014, the Primate visited T.C.A. Arshag Dickranian School. Accompanied by Father Manoug Markarian, Pastor of St. John Garabed Armenian Church, His Eminence met with the Principal Dr. Manoug Seraydarian. Archbishop Derderian commended the leadership of Dr. Seraydarian and his initiative to organize and promote cultural events in the month of October also known as “culture month,” the term coing coined in 1940 by His Holiness Karekin Hovsepians, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.
Archbishop Derderian also met with the students of Dickranian School and encouraged them to continue to preserve the Armenian identity by upholding the ancestral Christian Faith of our forefathers, safeguarding the rich traditions and values of the Armenian Christian family.
On October 21, 2014, the Primate participated in the monthly meeting of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders (LACRL). The fellowship was hosted by LACRL Chair The Right Reverend Jon Bruno, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
On Tuesday, October 21, the Rev. Fr. Nerses Hayrapetyan, Pastor of St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Santa Clarita, represented the Primate at the regular Board of Supervisors meeting and delivered the Invocation.
Below is Father Hayrapetyan’s prayer in its entirety.
“Honorable Chairman Don Knabe,
It is my honor and privilege to be amongst you today and to represent His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America.
We offer our prayers for civic leaders especially to the Board of Supervisors of the City of Los Angeles. Serving the people of God is a privilege. Moreover, prayer deepens in our hearts the sense of responsibility.
Let us bow our heads and offer our prayers for the peace of the world for the well-being of all nations, for the poor and for all those who are deprived of life’s basic necessities. Where there is war, let the love of God dominate. Where there is hatred, may the spirit of meekness prevail.
As we gather in prayer, we make the commitment to serve God and the people of God with unconditional love and respect. We make the promise to become the hands of God in the lives of humanity.
O God, we pray for our Board of Supervisors who have been entrusted to lead Los Angeles County and improve the lives of our fellow citizens. Grant them special gifts of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and strength so that they may uphold that what is right and follow that which is true. May Your divine graces be upon them now and forever. Amen.”
We hereby announce the schedule of commemorative events organized by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee – Western US in remembrance of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
April 14, 2015 – A special ecumenical service at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles with the participation of representatives and interfaith leaders from various churches and religious denominations as well as civic officials from the City of Los Angeles.
April 23, 2015 – Solemn celebration of the Divine Liturgy at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral with the participation of all Armenian churches.
24 April, 2015 – Pan-Armenian march of protest that will unite, without exception, the Armenian community in its quest for justice while demonstrating collective strength and spirit.
An official opening ceremony of a Los Angeles County landmark dedicated to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide.
Please note that these community events are organized by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee, and therefore, we expect your massive participation. Additional details will be forthcoming.
In the near future, we will issue a second announcement regarding other important and major activities and events organized at the regional level.
- Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee
By a decree of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Edward Nalbandian, Berj Apkarian has been appointed as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Armenia in Fresno. With hundreds of religious, civic and community leaders in attendance, the official ribbon-cutting ceremony of the office of the Honorary Consul was held on October 20, 2014. It was followed by an inaugural banquet at the ballroom of the Pacific Southwest Building in Fresno, California. The Primate attended the event accompanied by Archpriest Fr. Yeghia Hairabedian and Rev. Fr. Yessai Bedros. Archbishop Derderian delivered the Invocation at the ceremonial event.
The Honorable Charles Poochigian, Justice of the Fifth District Court of Appeals served as the Master of Ceremonies in the evening program. After the performance of the National anthems of the United States of America and the Republic of Armenia, His Excellency Ambassador Tigran Sargsyan delivered his remarks on the importance of the Honorary Consul in establishing a direct link to the homeland, thus facilitating the flow of communication, travel and commerce between the Central San Joaquin Valley and the Republic of Armenia.
In his remarks, Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles Sergey Sarkisov extended his welcoming message to Dr. Apkarian as the Honorary Consul and that he looked forward to solidifying the diplomatic relations between the City of Los Angeles, the City of Fresno and the Republic of Armenia.
The Primate delivered the Invocation and welcomed the newly-appointed Honorary Consul. “The Honorary Consulate celebrates the victory of the City of Fresno. The ceremony makes it even more meaningful with the presence of federal, state and city officials. Our ambassador and the consulates around the world bring to us the spirit of Armenia, the vision of our forefather as well as their inspiration and faith. We are forever grateful to the blessed country of the United States and our leaders. The honorary consulate sends a clear message to the youth to hold firm in their hearts their identity and to become loyal and honorable citizens of the United States of America.
It is our distinct pleasure to greet you amongst us, Honorary Consul Apkarian. Through your committed service, the city of Fresno, one of the original settlements of the Armenian people in the United States, will be reconnected to the Motherland. As you know, Fresno and Etchmiadzin are Sister Cities. We pray to the Almighty to grant you the strength and wisdom as you embark on a journey to further strengthen the ties between Fresno and the Republic of Armenia.”
Welcoming remarks were delivered by The Honorable Andreas Borgeas, Chair of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Among the dignitaries present at the event were Congressman Jim Costa, (CA 20th District) and CA State Senator Tom Berryhill. Proclamations and resolutions were presented to the Honorary Consul in recognition of his appointment.
In his remarks, the Honorary Consul Berj Apkarian thanked the Minister of Foreign Affairs His Excellency Edward Nalbandian for the honor and vowed to represent the Armenian-American community of the San Joaquin Valley with a renewed sense of dedication and zeal.
The event concluded with the closing remarks by the Honorable Justice Charles Poochigian.
BERJ K. APKARIAN - PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
06/13 – Present: COMMUNITY MEDICAL CENTERS
Executive Director Physician Relations
09/12-06/13: Senior Vice President Medical Affairs
09/06-08/12: Vice President Medical Affairs
08/97-08/06: Director of Medical Education and Physician Services
10/96-08/97: Director – Ambulatory Care Services and Dialysis
05/95 – 10/96: FRESNO COUNTY HEALTH SERVICES
Division Manager – Ambulatory Care Department
Aug 1998 – Present Faculty – Department of Public Health
California State University, Fresno
Lecturer of graduate and undergraduate courses as a part-time instructor related to public health administration, managed care, and finance.
California State University, Fresno
June 1987 - Master of Science in Health Services Administration
June 1984 – Bachelor of Science – Business Administration
• Emphasis – Health Care Management
2009 – Present Certified Professional Medical Services Management
2000 – Present American College of Health Care Executives
2008 – Present National Association Medical Staff Services (CPMSM)
1996 – 1997 Sequoia Community Health Foundation Inc., Blue Ribbon Committee
1996 – 1997 Central Valley Health Care Network