ABMDR President Honored With St. Nerses The Graceful Medal

Dr. Frieda Jordan being presented with the St. Nerses the Graceful Medal by Archbishop Hovnan Derderian

Award is followed by certificates of recognition from US Congress, California Assembly, and City of Glendale

LOS ANGELES—Dr. Frieda Jordan, president of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR), received the St. Nerses the Graceful (St. Nerses Shnorhali) Medal for her years of charitable service to the Armenian people.

The medal, as well as a Pontifical Encyclical, were conferred on Dr. Jordan by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and presented to her on July 8 by Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, following the Divine Liturgy at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral, in Burbank, California. The award presentation was complemented by a celebratory luncheon which took place later at the Western Diocese.

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Father Khajag Shahbazyan, pastor of St. Leon Cathedral, read the Pontifical Encyclical, in which the Catholicos had praised Dr. Jordan for her selfless dedication to the mission of ABMDR, and stated his joy in accepting Archbishop Derderian’s recommendation of bestowing on her the St. Nerses the Graceful Medal.

After presenting Dr. Jordan with the medal, Archbishop Derderian spoke of the spirit of service which he said Dr. Jordan has personified since co-founding ABMDR with Dr. Sevak Avagyan in 1999. Subsequently the Primate addressed Dr. Jordan directly and said, “For over a decade, we’ve seen how, as a volunteer physician, you launched the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, and consistently expanded it to reach out to communities throughout the diaspora and the homeland. You have also been an inspiration to all of your colleagues and supporters.”

“There are two kinds of life,” the Archbishop continued. “The kind that’s lived in a pedestrian, inconsequential manner, and one that’s lived in the service of humanity. To be envied are those who bring hope and strength into the lives of others, and I salute you for doing that. I believe that the mission of ABMDR should be embraced by all our parishes, our entire church. If our church is to fulfill its purpose, it is precisely this type of altruistic work that it should engage in.”

“I have no doubt that this medal will function as one more impetus for the fulfillment of your cause, not only in the service of Armenians, but all those who need the registry,” Archbishop Derderian went on. “I congratulate you, knowing that your work will make an invaluable difference in the lives of generations to come.”

As he concluded his remarks, the Primate invited the congregation to join him in acknowledging the honoree with a standing ovation.

Afterwards Archbishop Derderian delivered his Sunday sermon, in which he spoke of the altruistic nature of medicine as exemplified by the many volunteers of ABMDR. “These volunteers go from city to city, raise public awareness of health issues, and recruit donors, just so that one more life can be saved,” he said. “They have been working diligently, relentlessly, to advance a mission for the benefit of the whole of humanity.”

The Archbishop also acknowledged the presence in the church of ABMDR Executive Director Dr. Sevak Avagyan, and praised him for playing a key role in the many landmark achievements of the organization.

Luncheon at Zorayan Museum
Dr. Jordan’s award was also celebrated at a luncheon which took place at the Zorayan Museum, located at the St. Leon Cathedral complex. The event was attended by volunteers and staff of ABMDR; Archbishop Derderian; Armenian Consul General Grigor Hovhannisyan; and representatives of various US and California elected officials.

Following the welcome remarks of ABMDR outreach officer Dr. Vergine Madelian, Archbishop Derderian stated, “We have always admired and continue to be inspired by Dr. Jordan’s service, which has been rendered meekly, compassionately, and without any expectation except that of helping save lives. As a people, we are nothing if we don’t serve meekly. We must not become the slaves of titles.”

Next to address the guests was Dr. Sevak Avagyan. “It’s a great honor for me to be among you today at the Western Diocese,” he said. “When Dr. Jordan and I founded ABMDR, we had no idea that someday it would become what it is today. I am so very proud of the registry’s achievements, and congratulate Dr. Jordan for her unflinching dedication.”

Dr. Avagyan went on to cast a glance at the history of ABMDR and added, “Armenians might be spread all across the world, but our genes bind us together. This is why the work of the registry is so critically important, given the unique genetic makeup of ethnic Armenians.”

Dr. Avagyan concluded his remarks by expressing hope that ABMDR’s long-held dream of establishing a transplantation center in Yerevan might become reality in the near future.

Dr. Avagyan’s address was followed by the remarks of the honoree. “I wish to share this medal with all of you: my family, colleagues, and, especially, our more than 22,000 donors,” Dr. Jordan said. “We could not possibly have done it without you.”

“I would like to convey my profound gratitude to Archbishop Derderian, who has been instrumental in helping advance our cause,” Dr. Jordan continued. “The Primate was the first spiritual leader to appeal to Armenian congregations during Sunday Mass to support the work of the registry. I stand here today in awe of Archbishop Derderian’s proactive stance, and the grassroots support which has resulted from his efforts as well as those of other community leaders.”

As she concluded her remarks, Dr. Jordan presented Dr. Avagyan with a medal of achievement which was conferred by Archbishop Derderian.

On the occasion of the bestowment of the St. Nerses the Graceful Medal on Dr. Jordan, several US government bodies had issued certificates of recognition, all of which were presented to her during the luncheon. They included a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition on behalf of US Congressman and longtime ABMDR supporter Adam Schiff; a Certificate of Recognition from the California Assembly on behalf of Assemblyman Mike Gatto; and a Certificate of Recognition from the City of Glendale, California, on behalf of Mayor Frank Quintero. Additionally, Dr. Jordan received a congratulatory letter from Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy and a devoted supporter of ABMDR.

Also delivering remarks during the luncheon were Consul General Grigor Hovhannisyan, a staunch supporter of the registry; as well as longtime volunteer, ABMDR Advisory Board member, and cancer survivor Teresa Hacopian, who personally thanked Dr. Jordan for inspiring thousands across the globe to volunteer in the life-saving mission of the registry.

About the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry: Established in 1999, ABMDR, a nonprofit organization, helps Armenians worldwide survive life-threatening blood-related illnesses by recruiting and matching donors to those requiring bone marrow stem cell transplants. To date, the registry has recruited over 22,000 donors in 16 countries across four continents, identified 2,135 patients, and facilitated 13 bone marrow transplants.

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