On Thursday, January 6, Armenian Christmas, more than 650 Prelacy supporters gathered at “Bagramian” Hall of Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello for the Prelate’s traditional New Year and Christmas Dinner. The dinner is held annually under the auspices of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, by the initiative of the Religious and Executive Councils, and organized by the Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary.
Among the guests in attendance were Consul General of Armenia Grigor Hovhannissian, Cilician Catholicosate Central Executive member Vahe Yacoubian, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member Dr. Viken Hovsepian, ARF Western US Central Committee Chairman Avedik Izmirlian and members, Executive Council, Homenetmen, ARS, and Hamazkayin members, Los Angeles City Councilman, Paul Krekorian, parish delegates and boards of trustees, Board of Regents and Prelacy School principals and directors, media representatives, sponsors, and friends.
The dinner was hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Osko and Yeran Karaghossian. The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was Very Rev. Father Barthev Gulumian.
The evening began with the entrance of the Prelate and clergy into the hall in a procession, candles in hand and collectively singing Christmas hymns. H.E. Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian read a passage from the Bible on the Birth of Christ, after which the Prelate blessed the evening’s mementos which were donate by Mr. and Mrs. Harout Jabarian.
Welcoming remarks were delivered by Ladies Auxiliary Vice-Chairperson. Dzovig Zeitlian, followed by remarks by Executive Council Chairwoman Rima Boghossian, both of whom reflected on the proclamation by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, designating 2011 the “Year of the Armenian Child” and stressing the need to give special attention to our youth who are the future of our church and nation.
Consul General Grigor Hovhannissian was also invited to deliver his remarks, in which he conveyed his wishes for a blessed new year.
Guests then watched the taped message from the Catholicos, who first commended the Prelate, councils, and the community for the successful realization of the previous year’s endeavors, and wished that the New Year may bring even greater achievements and successes. Speaking on the “Year of the Armenian Child,” His Holiness emphasized the obligation we have toward our children, in ensuring that they receive the proper care and education to take the helm as our future leaders.
The evening also included a cultural program. Throughout the night, guests enjoyed traditional Armenian music presented by the “Donagan” band, performances by singers Anahit Nercisyan and Razmig Mansourian, and by the Hamazkayin “Ani” Dance Group led by directors Yeghia Hasholian and Suzy Barseghian-Tarpinian.
The Prelate was then invited to deliver his message.
Archbishop Mardirossian gave thanks to God for granting a new year and the opportunity to gather again as members of one family to celebrate the Glorious Birth and the Feast of the Epiphany of Jesus Christ. He spoke of the Birth of Christ as the manifestation of God’s boundless love towards mankind, and how God became man bringing to us the messages of faith, hope, love, and peace. He greeted the guests and expressed his wish that these Christmas tidings remain the guiding light of our lives and lead us to new horizons.
The Prelate then expressed his gratitude and appreciation to Catholicos Aram I for his paternal wisdom and guidance. Speaking on the pontiff’s proclamation of the “Year of the Armenian Child,” the Prelate emphasized the importance of instilling our faith and virtues in our youth and guiding them on the right path.
He then thanked the evening’s hosts Mr. and Mrs. Osko and Yeran Karaghossian for their unwavering support, and to the Carolan Foundation and Lincy Foundation for their continued generosity. Noting that it is owing to the moral and financial of sponsors that the Prelacy’s endeavors are successfully realized, the Prelate announced that this year donations totaling $500,000 were made to the Christmas Fund.
The Prelate then brought to the attention of the guests a few of the accomplishment of the past year, including the paying off of the Prelacy mortgage. He spoke of the progress of the Las Vegas parish community, which is in the process of constructing St. Garabed Church, and announced that the church benefactor Larry Barnes has just recently made another donation, this time in the amount of $250,000 towards the construction project.
The Prelate also announced that at the start of the school year he conducted the official opening of the Holy Martyrs Mary Cabayan Elementary School, and once again thanked Dr. and Mrs. Vatche and Shoushig Cabayan for their donation in memory of their mother Mary Cabayan.
The Prelate concluded, “…and now, we look forward to a new year with the hope of new successes and new accomplishments. There is much to be done year, but be assured that all will be done when we work together with faith, hope, love, perseverance, and commitment. Inspired and motivated by the achievements of the past, let us endeavor on a new year with renewed drive and vigor, and in everything giving thanks to Almighty God for His divine wisdom and guidance. On this joyous occasion, let us join together once again and proclaim the news of the Glorious Birth of our Savior saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward man’. May 2011 be a blessed year for us all, for the Armenian Church, and the Armenian nation”.
The evening came to a close with the Prelate’s benediction, and the singing of the Cilician and Pontifical anthems.