TARZANA—A reception honoring Catholicos Aram I was held on Friday evening, October 14, during which His Holiness honored editor and scholar Nazareth Berberian for his over forty years of service to the media and community.
The reception was hosted by Koko Topalian at his residence, and with the participation of more than one hundred fifty guests. His Holiness was accompanied by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Clergy, and Central Executive and Executive Council members. Among those in attendance were ARF Central Committee Chair Avedik Izmirlian and members, Asbarez editor Apo Boghikian and colleagues, members of Berberian’s family, sponsors, and friends.
Upon his arrival, His Holiness conducted the traditional blessing of salt and bread, then blessed the tables. Boghikian welcomed the guests, inviting them to raise their glasses in honor of His Holiness. In his welcoming remarks, Master of Ceremonies Raffi Hamparian reflected on the leadership and guidance of His Holiness, and on the role of the Church in our history and lives today.
A cultural program took place during dinner, after which the official program began.
Boghikian expressed his appreciation to His Holiness for accepting the request of Asbarez to host this reception in his honor. He stated that the decision by His Holiness to honor Nazareth Berberian is a demonstration of the love, respect, and dedication of His Holiness towards those who serve the Armenian media, language, and culture. Boghikian also thanked the guests in attendance for coming to honor His Holiness and support our media.
Boghikian then announced that and Mrs. Osko and Yeran Karaghossian were donating $25,000 to the ARF Central Committee in memory of Yeran’s brother Daron Avedissian, who was a member of the Catholicosate Central Executive. He thanked the Karaghossian family for their generosity.
Boghikian them reflected on the career of Berberian, and invited Sarkis Mahserejian, a close friend of Berberian, to introduce him.
Through anecdotes and memories, Mahserejian spoke of the different stages of Berberian’s life that led him to where he is today. He spoke highly of his service to the ARF and also that of Berberian’s wife Eva, who has also served ARF media outlets. Mahserejian extended his best wishes to Berberian and invited Izmirlian to deliver his remarks.
Izmirlian praised the dedication and service of Berberian and presented him with a beautiful pen on this occasion.
The Prelate was then invited to deliver his message.
The Prelate reflected on the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness and the activities and meetings of the past nine days. He expressed thanks and commended Topalian for hosting the evening. The Prelate lauded the career and service of Berberian and shared his own memories. He expressed his appreciation to the Karaghossian family for their continued generosity, and reminded the guests that in addition to the their donation that evening, just over a week ago they donated $75,000 to the Catholicosate, Prelacy, and Prelacy Schools, and were the hosts of the banquet in honor of His Holiness which was held the following evening. The Prelate then invited His Holiness for the award ceremony.
His Holiness stated that he first became acquainted with Berberian in 1978, during the civil war in Lebanon, when the Pontiff was called to serve as the Prelate of Lebanon. He remembered Berberian at that time as a young devoted member of the ARF, and among the generation of ARF members who breathed life into the community and served towards their livelihood during those difficult days. He spoke of Berberian as first and foremost a devotee of the ARF who sacrifices self to serve his larger family, and second as a highly talented writer, editor, and journalist. In commendation of his life’s work, His Holiness awarded him the “St. Mesrob Mashdots” medal, which was met with a standing ovation and great applause and cheer from the guests. His Holiness stated that St. Mesrob must be proud that an individual like Berberian who has preserved and fostered his legacy is receiving a medal which carries his name. His Holiness also commended Mrs. Eva Dervishian-Berberian for her service to the Armenian media and to the Catholicosate. In conclusion, the Pontiff thanked Topalian for hosting the evening and presented him with a memento.
Berberian expressed his thanks to all those who have influenced and shaped him throughout his life. He echoed the words of the Master of Ceremonies describing His Holiness as a moral compass, and expressed his gratitude for the great honor. He concluded by thanking Boghikian and Topalian for organizing and hosting the evening.
The official program came to a close with the benediction by His Holiness.