New Religious and Executive Councils Unanimously Elected
LA CRESCENTA—On the afternoon of Friday, May 16, the 42nd Prelacy Representatives Assembly convened at the “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall with the invocation by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and with the participation of Clergy, Central Executive members, Religious and Executive Councils, Delegates, Boards of Trustees Chairs and representatives, principals, directors, and members of the Board of Regents and CASPS.
The first item on the agenda was the Pontifical message of His Holiness Aram I, which was read by Rev. Fr. Boghos Tinkjian. His Holiness wished success to the proceedings, commended the Assembly for giving special attention to Genocide centennial preparations and Catholicosate-Prelacy collaboration, commended the efforts of the Prelacy family as a whole to the religious, educational, cultural, social life of community, and affirmed the backing of Catholicosate to the Prelacy’s endeavors.
The election of the meeting chairs followed; Dr. Garo Agopian and Varoujan Der Simonian were elected Assembly Chairmen, and Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian and Hamo Kasbarian the Secretaries.
Central Executive member Khajag Dikijian began his address with a passage from “Taking the Church to the People” by His Holiness Aram I, in which the Pontiff speaks of the parish as the core and epicenter of the church, of the pivotal importance of our parishes in the total life of our church, and that in order to have a church on the global level, we must have active Prelacies, and in order to have active Prelacies, we must have organized and dynamic parishes. Dikijian stressed that it is the duty and mission of all to bring new life and new horizons in each individual parish by renewing our commitment to serve and engaging in community building, so that by strengthening the individually locally we can strengthen the collective.
Executive Council Chair Rima Boghossian reflected with gratitude on her four years of service within the Council, thanking the Prelate for his strong leadership and her colleagues for their collaboration. She expressed confidence that the mission to grow our churches and schools, to properly prepare for the Genocide centennial, pursue our rights, and support our communities in Syria will continue strongly in the coming term. In conclusion, on behalf of the Council, Boghossian wished success to the Assembly.
On behalf of the Delegates and Board of Trustees of the host parish, St. Mary’s Church, parish Chair Garo Eshgian welcomed the delegates and guests.
The Prelate was then invited to deliver his message, which he began by first offering gratitude and praise to Almighty God for granting another year and opportunity to collectively review the activities of the previous term and set in motion future plans, and conveying thanks to His Holiness Aram I for his constant paternal care and wisdom which guides our endeavors and mission. His Eminence spoke of the challenging times we live in, locally and globally, on the numerous external influences and pressures facing our youth in particular, and how our Prelacy has overcome challenges, been able to successfully carry out its mission, and has expanded significantly by evolving with the times to avoid stagnation yet staying true to our roots, through renewal and rejuvenation, hard work and team work. And so, the Prelate emphasized that the Assembly is a wonderful invitation and opportunity for renewal and revitalization, and for an earnest recommitment to our duties, to pledge to work together as a family, guided by what is right and not by what serves our personal interests. His Eminence commended the outgoing Religious and Executive Councils for the team spirit they demonstrated in their service, and wished that the new Councils will work together in the same spirit, with unconditional dedication, with renewed vigor and resolve, and with faith, unity, and harmony.
The next item on the agenda was the election of the Resolution and Vote-Counting Committees; Haigaz Terterian, Herair Jermakian, and Hagop Tchagaspanian were elected to the Resolution Committee, and Sarkis Dervishian, Levon Arabian, and Alek Poulatian were elected to the Vote-Counting Committee.
Subsequently, Board of Trustees Chairs or representatives of each parish were called to the podium to present the annual report of their respective parishes.
The first session came to a close with the presentation of the financial report by Executive Council treasurer Toros Kejejian, and Auditing Committee report by Hagop Krioghlian.
At the start of the second session, the Prelate announced the names of the individuals who were being honored this year. They were; Ladies Auxiliary senior member Marie Babikian and long-time member Hourig Abdulian, who officially retired from the guild. His Eminence praised the honorees as exemplary mothers, grandmothers, daughters, and sisters, and highly commended their nearly thirty years of dedicated and humble service.
The honorees expressed gratitude for the honor. They both emphasized that they were taught to be active members of their community and to give without expectation, and hoped that their example inspires our youth and teaches them the value of hard work and selfless service.
Briefings by the Religious and Executive Councils and the Board of Regents followed. The Board of Regents report was presented by Co-Chair Maggie Sarkuni. The addendum to the Executive Council report was presented by member Dr. Dikran Babikian. After a question and answer session and a lengthy discussion on the annual activities of the Prelate, Councils, Schools, and committees serving under their auspices, the Assembly found all endeavors to be “highly commendable”.
The Assembly reconvened on Saturday morning. During the day’s two sessions, proposals were discussed and offered for the coming term, including Genocide Centennial preparations and commemorations, among them the Blessing of Muron in Bikfaya on July 19, 2015, and plans regarding Christian Education and our Schools.
Executive Council member Meher Der Ohanessian presented the budget, which was approved.
A presentation on Genocide Centennial plans and preparations followed by John Kossakian, Ferrahian School Principal and Co-Chair of the United Armenian Council for the Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide (UACC).
The election of the Religious and Executive Councils was then held.
The Religious Council was unanimously elected as follows:
Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian
Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian
Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian
Rev. Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian
Rev. Fr. Ardak Demirjian
Rev. Fr. Boghos Baltayan
Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian
The Executive Council was unanimously elected as follows:
Meher Der Ohanessian (re-elected)
Dr. Navasart Kazazian (re-elected)
Dr. Dikran Babikian (re-elected)
Dr. Kaloust Agopian
Deacon Mark Shirin
Alisa Konanyan, Esq.
The election of the Auditing Committee followed; Hagop Krioghlian, Alek Poulatian, and Kahren Beniasians were elected.
In its closing remarks, the divan expressed appreciation to the Assembly for trusting them with the responsibility and thanked the participants for their valuable input.
In his closing message, the Prelate expressed gratitude to God for the productive proceedings and wished for the endeavors of the coming term to be carried out in the same spirit of collaboration, team work, and harmony. His Eminence saluted the unprecedented presence of three Central Executive members, Khajag Dikijian, Vahe Yacoubian, and Viken Kassabian, once again commended the outgoing and incoming Councils, divan, and staff, and prayed for a fruitful year ahead and for peace in Syria.
The 42nd Assembly concluded with the benediction by the Prelate and “Cilicia”.