ENCINO—At the close of the Armenian Genocide Centennial year, on the evening of Tuesday, December 8, members of clergy, Central Executive and Executive Council members, and representatives of Prelacy parishes, Delegates, Boards of Trustees, Ladies Guilds, choirs, and Sunday Schools, gathered at “Avedissian” Hall of Holy Martyrs Church in Encino for a discussion led by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian reviewing the commemorations that were held throughout the year. The gathering was held following the blessing of martyrs’ relics and consecration of reliquaries.
The Prelate welcomed the guests and stated that brief reports would be given on the activities of the year relating to the commemoration of the Genocide Centennial, the preceding ceremony being the culmination of those undertakings. The Prelate stated that the commemorations of the past year must not be relegated to history; instead they must serve to inspire us to continue on our path with renewed drive. He also stated that the final project of the Centennial year will be the construction of a Genocide memorial on the Prelacy grounds, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Osko and Yeran Karaghossian.
Executive Council Vice-Chair Dr. Dikran Babikian presented the commemorative events held under the auspices of the Prelacy, among them the inter-school poetry competition, the publication of poet Jacques Hagopian’s books, presentation of Dr. Garbis Harboyan’s books, and the viewing of a William Saroyan documentary at the Prelacy and in Prelacy Schools.
Executive Council Chair Vahe Hovaguimian presented on community events in which Prelacy participated, along with its Churches and Schools, among them ecumenical services, joint Divine Liturgy on April 23, March for Justice on April 24, flag ceremony at the Armenian Consulate, state and city government events, and the construction of a number of memorial monuments. He also spoke of plans for the construction of a museum in Glendale, for which the Prelacy and its Churches have a financial obligation. The Prelate elaborated on the project and noted that it will require a huge budget.
The Prelate also further elaborated on the canonization ceremony, the blessing of Holy Muron in Etchmiadzin and Bikfaya, and on the commemorations in Washington D.C. presided over by our two Pontiffs. His Eminence noted that the events in Washington were a success thanks to the collaborative efforts between the Eastern and Western Prelacies and the financial support of both communities, and once again thanked all the sponsors who contributed, among them the Karaghossian family. In closing, the Prelate emphasized once again that the Centennial commemorations must give new impetus to our commitment to preserving and continuing the legacy of our martyrs, which we will continue in the new year with the intercession of our martyrs.
Central Executive member Khajag Dikijian spoke of the lawsuit filed by the Catholicosate of Cilicia for the return of the historic Sis Catholicosate and lauded the bold step by His Holiness in taking our claims to the legal arena and taking the first step for the restitution of our rightful properties. Dikijian expressed hope that the community will lend its financial and moral support to this significant cause. His Eminence added that our Prelacy has a financial obligation to fulfill for this cause, and that a sizeable amount has already been transferred to the Catholicosate thanks to our sponsors and parishes.
Additionally, Dr. Babikian gave an overview of the work that is being carried out for the revitalization of the Armenian language. The committee in charge of this endeavor has composed a plan which will be put to use with the collaboration of our schools and institutions. The project will require a substantial budget and will be employed in phases.
The meeting concluded with the Prelate’s closing remarks and benediction.