Karekin II Inaugurates Cultural Center at St. John’s Church

HOLLYWOOD–A reception celebrating the inauguration of the Taglyan Cultural Center of St. John Armenian Church of Hollywood took place on Tuesday at the Cultural Center, situated adjacent to St. John Armenian Church of Hollywood where a number of guest clergy and public officials were in attendance. The dignitaries were received and greeted by the clergy from the Diocese.
The Catholicos consecrated a cross-stone, then, accompanied by the Benefactors–Honorable Doctors Petros and Garine Taglyans–performed the inaugural ceremony by cutting the ribbon. Afterward, the invitees entered the Hall and took their seats.
Joseph Kanimian, Esq., Vice Chairman of the Diocesan Council, served as the Master of Ceremonies, while Garine Avakian began the event with a singing of the U.S. and Armenian national anthems. Afterward, the Catholicos blessed the table. Mr. Kanimian in his remarks thanked the Catholicos for his Third Pontifical Visit to the Western Diocese and the blessings he has bestowed upon the community. He stressed that the Western Diocese would always support the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the programs and spiritual mission initiated by the Catholicos.
The Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa offered his greetings to the Catholicos, fondly remembering the honor of meeting and personally speaking with him during his last trip to Los Angeles. He praised Archbishop Derderian and his leadership at the Western Diocese and among the Armenian Community, emphasizing the important and constructive role of the Armenian Community in Los Angeles, as the second largest Armenian community outside of Armenia.
The Third Pontifical Visit was extremely inspiring said Armen Liloyan, the Consul General of the Republic of Armenia. He reflected on the high level of cooperation that existed between the Armenian government and the Mother See, benefiting the Armenia people. In the absence of a national government in Armenia, the Armenian Church and the Mother See had played an extremely important role in preserving–for many centuries–Armenia’s and the Armenian identity from otherwise certain disappearance in history, said the Liloyan. He continued that in today’s free and independent Armenia, the Church plays a vital role in the lives of our people and that we are obliged to the Catholicos and his wise leadership.
A video presentation was shown during the event about the Gevorkian Theological Seminary and how the young students were educated and prepared for priesthood. The sheer number of students at the seminary evoked a great sense of pride in the audience, indicating that in the near future a significant number of priests to be ordained in the Holy Etchmiadzin.
Sheriff Lee Baca, Los Angeles Councilmember Eric Garcetti, Assemblyman Paul Krekorian presented the Catholicos with a Recognition-Resolution passed in the California State Assembly.
Manoog Markarian, pastor of St. John Armenian Church, which includes the Taglyan Hall spoke of the social, cultural importance of the Taglyan Hall for the Armenian Community. He also wished exceeding health to Archbishop Hovsepian and thanked Archbishop Derderian for his support and guidance in the Taglyan Hall project.
Archbishop Derderian assured the Catholicos that the Western Diocese–the clergy and the community–would always support the Holy See and the Catholicos’s initiatives, whether morally or financially. The Primate once again reflected on the joyful occasion of the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the Western Diocese which also coincided with the 110th anniversary of the establishment of the first Diocese in America.
Toward the end of the evening, the Catholicos kindly offered his last official message to the West-cost emphasizing the close relationships between the Holy See, Dioceses and churches; the spread of Gospel and matters related to the education of the youth. His Holiness thanked the former Primate of the Western Diocese for 32 years of selfless service and dedication and his remarkable efforts in organizing and leading the Western Diocese and wished Archbishop Hovsepian exceeding health and grandeur. The Catholicos wished that the Archbishop Derderian would revitalize and continue the mission with the outmost dedication.
On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the Western Diocese, each guest received a gift package that included the last book authored by Derderian titled “New Perspectives and Programs for the Forthcomming 80 years,” another book authored by the Vicar General of the Western Diocese, Dajad Dz. V. Yardemian, titled “A New Spokesman for the Armenian Apostolic Church,” as well as a special pamphlet titled “The Third Pontifical Visit of His Holiness Karekin II to the Western Diocese.”
The Primate and the Diocesan Council expressed their gratitude to Dr. Aramais Baronian for sponsoring the October 1st luncheon at the Diocesan Headquarters, as well as all clergy, benefactors, Godfathers, donors and committee members who contributed to the 80th anniversary commemorations and the Third Pontifical Visit of the Catholicos.
The benefactors of the center, Petros and Garine Taglyan, are also the benefactors of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Western Diocesan. The center is a gift on the occasion of the 80th anniversary to the Diocese. The Taglyans should be appreciated for their contribution and service, which will be enjoyed by the faithful community. In recognizing the building projects of the Western Diocese we should also honor the construction and consecration of the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Pasadena, as well as the inauguration of the Varnum Paul Hall in the St. John Church complex in San Francisco.

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