Pontifical Banquet Kick-Off A Great Success As Pledges Exceed $1.2 Million

A scene from the kick off event last week

  • Mr. & Mrs. Harry & Cheryl Nadjarian Pledge $250,000
  • Prof. & Mrs. Harut & Tamara Barsamian Donate 500 Shares of Apple Inc. Stock
  • Deacon & Mrs. Mark & Margaret Shirin to Host The Pontifical Banquet

LA CRESCENTA—A capacity crowd of Western Prelacy sponsors and friends gathered at Carousel Restaurant on August 11 to pledge their support at the Kick-off to the Pontifical Banquet which will be held on October 16 in honor of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.

Held under the auspices of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, the Kick-off brought together sponsors and community members at a festive evening filled with good cheer and surprises. Among the guests in attendance were Clergy members, Central Executive members Khajag Dikijian and Vicken Kassabian, and representatives from the ARF Central Committee, ARS, Homenetmen, AEF, and parishes. 

Once all the guests had arrived, the program began with the invocation by the Prelate. Masters of Ceremonies Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian and Jasik Jarahian then welcomed the guests. Welcoming remarks were also delivered by Khajag Dikijian and Executive Council Chairwoman Rima Boghossian.

Dikijian stated that the Prelacy and its parishioners are enthusiastically preparing for the Pontifical Visit, and expressed confidence that this upcoming visit will be successful just as the last visit was. Boghossian stressed the importance of collaboration in the planning of the Pontifical Visit, and noted that the success of the evening and the work that has already been carried out is confirmation of the Prelacy’s strong support system of working hands, sponsors, and friends. She also thanked the guests and members of the various Pontifical Visit Committees for their support and efforts.

The guests were given a brief report on the schedule of His Holiness during the Pontifical Visit. They were reminded that the visit will take place from October 6 to the 23rd, and were informed of some of the major events planned such as a community-wide welcoming on October 6 at St. Garabed Church in Hollywood, the event dedicated to the Catholicosate Seminary on October 7 at the Pasadena Armenian Center, Pontifical Divine Liturgy at St. Mary’s Church and the Pontifical Banquet at the Universal Hilton on October 16, presentation of the Pontiff’s latest book “Taking the Church to the People,” visits to parishes, and meetings with dignitaries and public officials. 

The Prelate then delivered his remarks, first welcoming the guests and thanking all those who have lent their efforts and support to the planning of the Pontifical Visit. He reiterated the main foci of the Pontifical Visit, which are spiritual renewal, the further anchoring and continued progress of Armenian schools, and reassertion of our spirit of national aspirations. Sharing a history of exile with our people, the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia remains on the front lines as we reassert our spirit of national aspirations and is our beacon of hope and light, said the Prelate. He also stressed that Armenian Schools have long been a primary focus of His Holiness and of the Catholicosate’s mission, and that our schools will be the main focus during the Pontifical Visit.

On behalf of the ARF Central Committee, Avedik Izmirlian extended his best wishes to the Prelate, Executive Council, and all the committees and committee members who have delved into the crucial work of planning for the Pontifical Visit, and noted that alongside the spiritual renewal and the furthering of the Armenian Cause is the goal of offering full support to Armenian Schools.

The MCs then announced the sponsorship levels available, Table Sponsor ($2,500), “Pilgrim of Cilicia” Circle ($5,000), “Knight of Cilicia” Circle ($10,000), “Duke of Cilicia” Circle ($25,000), “Prince of Cilicia” Circle ($50,000), and “Guardian of Cilicia” Circle ($100,000), and invited representatives of parishes to announce their pledges, adding to the already festive mood of the evening.

The guests became more elated as the Prelate began announcing the main sponsors and hosts of the Pontifical Banquet and Visit and revealed some wonderful surprises. The first major announcement was that Deacon Mark Shirin and his wife Margaret from Fresno were to be the main hosts of the Pontifical Banquet for which they had pledged a very generous donation. The second surprise was that Professor Harut Barsamian and his wife Tamara, who have established a scholarship fund at the Prelacy and are also the benefactors of the Orange County Armenian Center, with their donation of 500 shares of Apple stocks were one of the main sponsors of the Pontifical Visit. The third announcement was a pledge in the amount of $100,000 by longtime Prelacy friend and supporter Silva Tchakmakian. The evening’s biggest revelation was the announcement of a $250,000 pledge by Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Cheryl Nadjarian, who have also over the years so generously lent their support to Homenetmen, the Armenian National Committee, the Armenian Cultural Foundation, and the AMAA.

These announcements were met with great applause and enthusiastic cheers from the guests, which only grew louder with the announcement that the number of guests for the Pontifical Banquet had reached almost one thousand.

After each of his announcements, the Prelate invited Deacon Mark Shirin, Prof. Barsamian, and Harry Nadjarian to express their sentiments. Deacon Mark, being a Seminary alumnus and long-time servant at Holy Trinity Church, humbly announced that he and his wife were presenting this modest sum towards the Catholicosate of Cilicia, the Prelacy and Armenian Schools as a token of gratitude, and also took the opportunity to congratulate the Prelate on the 35th anniversary of his ordination as a celibate priest. Prof. Barsamian stated that it was a great joy and spiritually fulfilling to be able to participate with his donation to the Pontifical Visit, and reaffirmed his support to the Catholicosate of Cilicia and the Western Prelacy. Nadjarian, on behalf of his wife and personally, expressed his thanks for the privilege and honor of participating in the welcoming and honoring of His Holiness. He noted that there is excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness and expressed his joy for being a part of the festivities.

The evening came to a close with the benediction by the Prelate and the singing of the Cilician anthem.

The Prelacy expressed gratitude and blessings to all the sponsors and friends for their support and efforts.


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  1. Krikor said:

    Now when we have an independent country our spiritual leaders should talk about unification of our church.
    Unity is power as one of our poets said

  2. Robert said:

    Interesting! More money into the coffers of Armenian terrorist groups!!! Armenians=Mass murderers!!!

    • Norin Radd said:

      Armenians = punishers of those Turks that commit then subsequently deny the Armenian Genocide. When our words were ignored, we let our bullets do the talking, remember when your political leaders were afraid to set foot outside of Ankara in the dark? Yes . . . .we punished the deniers really well and we are ready to punish again if the death of the 1.5 MILLION men, women, and children are attempted to be sweeped under the rug of propaganda and lies by the bastards sons and daughters of Ghengis Khan, namely, the Turks/Azeris. We will hunt you down in every part of the Earth.

      Come now Robert, deep down you know the truth about 1915, about Sumgait in 1980s. But we taught you a lesson in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, didn’t we? YES, YOU KNOW and you also know the day will come when you will have to write a BIG BIG BIG CHECK to the Armenian people for your crimes, a HUGE check. The Armenian people will be patient, the checks will either be signed in ink with an apology or they will be signed in the blood of more of your countrymen and political leaders.

      Don’t let our beautiful Armenian skin fool you, beneath it is steel and an iron will you insect!

  3. Krikor said:

    You do not have the courage of disclosing your real name whatever OGLU that is
    Why don’t you mention about the terrorist of Azerbaijan who are killing inocent Aremnian farmers on the border villages or Turkish terrorist government who have occupied Armenian hisrorical land or continue the occupation of Cyprus