GLENDALE—Haigoush Kohler, Knar Manjikian, Anahid Meymarian, and Dr. Rita Vorperian were bestowed with the prestigious Mesrob Mashdots medal and encyclical by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian on behalf of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, during a reception held at Armenian Relief Society of Western U.S.A. regional headquarters on March 25.
Dozens of ARS members had gathered to witness the event, particularly from the “Anahid,” “Sepan” and “Zovinar” chapters, where the honorees had been members for decades. The audience included a former recipient of the same honors, Dr. Roubina Peroomian.
Back on October 3, during the Asbarez-Horizon annual banquet, while a large contingent of ARS members had left for ARS Centennial commemorations in Der Zor, Armenia and Artsakh, the honorees were bestowed upon with the honor of being Mesrob Mashdots medal recipients, as authors-writers for Manjikian, Meymarian and Vorperian, and as a supporter of publications for Kohler. At the time, Hasmig Tashjian, posthumously received the same honors, but the original encyclicals and medals had not arrived from Antelias, Lebanon from His Holiness Aram I.
This reception became an opportunity to allow those ARS members, who were taking part in the ARS Centennial pilgrimage at the time, to witness the four ARS members receive the honors.
Arousyak Melkonian, ARS-WUSA Regional Executive Chair, welcomed and thanked everyone and noted the importance of the occasion, introducing recipient as jewels, who are shining examples with their literary accomplishments and dedication to community service.
On behalf of the Asbarez-Horizon family, Editor Apo Boghigian, who was instrumental in securing the medals with his colleagues Asbarez English Editor Ara Khachatourian and Horizon TV General Manager Harry Vorperian, spoke about the joyous occasion. He used a quote by George Orwell about all are equal, but some are more equal than others, to illustrate how each of the gathered ARS members may be worthy of praise, but the four ARSers “were more equal than others”.
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian quoted an Armenian saying “Oosh lini, anoush lini” (let it be late, but let it be sweet) and hoped that all those who are worthy of such honors are eventually bestowed with whatever honors they deserve, adding that sometimes the worthy are not ignored, but are failed to be noticed in our hectic life-styles. The Prelate congratulated all the honorees, and explained that the medal packet includes a smaller pin, which can be worn to signify that the wearer is a “Mesrob Mashdots” medal recipient.
The Prelate was joined with Vicky Marashlian, Chair of the ARS Central Executive; Rima Vorperian, Chair of the Western Prelacy Executive Council; as well as Melkonian, the Asbarez-Horizon team consisting of Boghigian, Khachatourian and Vorperian (Harry followed his mother, Dr. Rita, into service). Manjikian took home a second “Mesrob Mashdotz” medal, since her husband, Hagop, is an earlier recipient. Kohler was surrounded with her “Zovinar” Chapter and ARS Javakhk Fund committee members. ARS “Anahid” Chapter members surrounded Meymarian, who was flanked by her sculptor husband Puzant. Jasik Jarahian, General Manager of ARS-WUSA regional headquarters, who was Dr. Vorperian’s co-worker at the ARS headquarters for 16 year, sponsored the reception in her honor, as a gesture of appreciation for her life-long dedication to the ARS.
A very joyous and friendly atmosphere existed. Each of the recipients were very appreciative of the honors, and shared their thoughts and joy with the audience.
Manjikian thanked His Holiness Aram I for declaring the year 2010 “the Year of the Woman” and bestowing the honors, and the Asbarez for coming up with the idea of honoring women. Vorperian, who is still recovering from surgery, told the ARS members that she fondly missed them, recognized them for their hard work, and noted that even though honors are not expected, recipients feel happy when they receive them. Meymarian likened life as a journey, as you walk on the path, and do your human duty, awards are like flowers that bloom on the way. She noted that duty, honor and spiritual values are not old slogans, but values that should be embraced by the new generations. Kohler said that she was very much surprised, but will cherish the honors that make her so proud and determined to display her medal, so that others can appreciate it as well.
Archbishop Mardirossian blessed the tables, and the audience mingled with the honorees, snapping photographs. For many of the ARS members, the memorable reception and the chance to meet old friends was a well deserved respite from their hectic lives. Kohler, Manjikian, Meymarian and Verperian are truly role models, who have demonstrated with their life-long service the true meaning of dedication to literary endeavors to keep our culture and history alive for generations to come.