One of the main themes of the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, is the further strengthening of Armenian Schools, and His Holiness has repeatedly through his messages emphasized the unique importance of the Armenian School.
In this regards, during his Pontifical Visit to the Western United Schools, His Holiness will be visiting a number of Prelacy Schools. The first of these visits took place on the morning of Wednesday, October 12, 2011, when His Holiness visited Vahan and Anoush Chamlian School in Glendale. His Holiness was accompanied by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian, staff bearer Very Rev. Fr. Mesrob Sarkissian, and clergy members. In attendance were Glendale City Council members Rafi Manoukian and Frank Quintero, Central Executive member Vahe Yacoubian and Executive Council members, Board of Regents and ARF Zavarian Gomideh members, school administration, faculty, and parents.
At the entrance of the school, students were lined up to welcome His Holiness. After conducting the traditional salt and bread ceremony, His Holiness conveyed his blessings to Principal Vazken Madenlian, administrators, and students. The Directors of Tavlian and Tufenkian Pre-Schools were also in attendance, and students arrived later for the cultural program in the school auditorium.
In his welcoming remarks, Principal Vazken Madenlian touted the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness to Chamlian as a historic day, especially given that His Holiness would be consecrating the foundation stones of the school’s new gymnasium, a dream that was years in the making. He then invited the Prelate to introduce His Holiness.
The Prelate stated that the visit of His Holiness to Chamlian was an occasion of great joy and pride, reminding that one of the main focuses of the visit is to further strengthen our schools. He lauded the teachers and parents for their invaluable role in the development of our youth, which also serves to strengthen our schools. He then invited His Holiness to deliver his message.
The sun illuminates and warms the earth and mankind. Without the sun, there is darkness. The sun of Armenian life is the Armenian School, and without our schools our national life would be left in darkness, said His Holiness. Addressing the students, His Holiness said that they are called to be the sunshine of our lives. In an Armenian School, you receive the warmth of our cultural and national spirit, you are enriched with our religious and national treasures, and when you grow up you will illuminate our collective lives with that spirit and ideals. His Holiness commended all the parents who have entrusted their children to the Armenian School to enrich their minds and souls, and urged all parents to send their children to Armenian Schools. In conclusion, His Holiness commended the Principal, Directors, and all educators and faculty who serve for the splendor of the Armenian Church.
His Holiness and entourage then headed to the site of the school’s new gym for the consecrating of the foundation stones. After His Holiness consecrated the stones, the Prelate, Principal, Executive Council Chair Mrs. Rima Boghossian, and Glendale City Council members participated in the placing of the stones.
A visit to two classrooms followed. Teacher Saro Nazarian described a new teaching took utilized at the school called Smart Board. His Holiness and entourage next visited the classroom of Armenian teacher Ms. Ani Berberian, who at that moment was teaching religion class. His Holiness asked the students questions, answered their questions, and conveyed his blessings.
After a reception in honor of the Pontiff, His Holiness and entourage headed to the auditorium where the students presented a number of songs, including the Cilician and Pontifical anthems. At the conclusion of the program Vice-Principal Mrs. Rita Kaprielian delivered brief remarks and announced that the students had a gift for His Holiness. His Holiness also presented the students with gifts, and the event came to a close with this benediction.