BURBANK–The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church raised $2 million last Sunday at a special banquet at the Arshag and Eleanor Dickranian Diocesan Complex dedicated to shoring up financial support for the construction of the ‘Rise of the Mother Cathedral,’ set to be completed by the beginning of 2010.
The Nazareth and Sima Kalaydjian Banquet Hall of the Diocesan Complex where the major fundraiser was held was adorned by a large banner depicting an artistic rendition of the Mother Cathedral with the following inscription: "Together We Build," in reference to the banquet’s intended goal of united the community in support of the new Cathedral.
The program opened with a performance of the "Hrashapar" hymn by the Kachadourian Choir, as well as a ceremonial blessing of the tables, and performances of the U.S. and Armenian national anthems by as Alenoush Vartanian’s. Among the guests attending the banquet were community leaders, as well as local and state dignitaries, including, the Armenian Consul General in Los Angeles, Armen Liloyan, and California Assemblymember Paul Krekorian,
According to Western Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, the Mother Cathedral will be consecrated and dedicated immediately upon the completion of its construction by His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenia’s.
The Chair of the Banquet Organizing Committee, Dr. Harout Yaghsezianin, praised the contributions of the many involved community organizations and Diocesan auxiliary bodies to the event and thanked them for their participation in %u218The Rise of the Mother Cathedral’ banquet.
"Finally, the time has come, when we gather here as representatives of all the organizations in the community. This representation is a sign of commitment, where the presence of members signals unity in which we partake in the building of the Mother Cathedral. His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate, stated %u218the Mother Cathedral will become a standing symbol of the Armenian community in the Diaspora and a golden bridge between God and His faithful.’" After his remarks, Dr. Yaghsezian invited the guests to enjoy the program.
Armen Hampar, the chairman of the Cathedral Building Committee, and one of the keynote speakers for the evening, spoke of the goal of the banquet and the Church’s commitment to building a Cathedral for the community, thanking the many volunteers of the Western Diocese for their commitment to its mission.
"We’re here to celebrate the fruition of our long-term dream, conceived and nurtured by our former Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian.” Hampar said during his speech. “This monumental, enduring, religious structure, to which all Armenia’s will point with pride, will prominently take its equal place among the headquarters of other major religions located in the Los Angeles area.”
"Our thanks to the many volunteers who helped us get to this point,” he said. “Most of all we are grateful to our Primate, His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian who gave us spiritual support during the many very trying experiences."
A video by Onnig Guzelian chronicling the construction of the Mother Cathedral was shown during the event. Guzelian’s video also included highlights from the consecration of the construction ground by His Holiness Karekin II in October 2007 and the blessing of the cross-stones of the Benefactors and Godfathers of the Cathedral.
The banquet also featured Armenian folk song performances by the Armenian Society of Los Angeles Choir Group, conducted by Michael Avedisian. Armen Aharonian also performed during the program.
The Chair of the Diocesan Council, Joseph Kanimian, expressed his heartfelt appreciation to all who have extended their moral and financial support to the construction of the Mother Cathedral.
"We are on the right track in our quest to build the Mother Cathedral. You are the Witnesses of this God-pleasing journey. The building process is a journey, a journey of hope, faith and love. The love of our Armenian Apostolic Church and our homeland Armenia has brought us together to construct this Cathedral,” Kanimian said in his remarks. “My sincere appreciation to the Benefactors and Godfathers of the Mother Cathedral. Many thanks to all the committees who have and are working diligently toward the accomplishment of our goal, specially the Cathedral Building, Construction and Fundraising committees.”