GLENDALE–The 36th Western Prelacy National Representatives Assembly convened at St. Mary’s Church on May 9. Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, presided over the assembly which concluded on the afternoon of Saturday, May 10.
During the two-day assembly, the endeavors of the Prelate and the Religious and Executive Councils were evaluated and activities for the forthcoming year were proposed and drafted. The election of the Prelate and Councils also took place.
The assembly commenced with prayer on Friday afternoon with a majority of the delegates present, as well as Central Executive Council member Khajag Dikijian, Executive Council members, Boards of Trustees chairmen, Board of Regents members, principals, and directors.
The Prelate welcomed the delegates and invited Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian to read the Pontifical message of His Holiness. Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. The provisional executive was elected with Haigaz Terterian as Chairman and Hrair Tufenkjian as Secretary.
Welcoming remarks were made by Dikijian, Executive Council Chair Dr. Garo Agopian, and Chairman of the host church Board of Trustees Zareh Markarian.
The Prelate began his remarks by first and foremost giving thanks to God for granting the opportunity to serve the church and the Armenian people in the previous year and for His guidance, then thanked Catholicos Aram I for his constant care and attention, noting that His Holiness has declared 2008 to be the Year of Christian Education and that just as in previous years, we will once again heed the call of His Holiness and commemorate with special celebrations. The Prelate also noted that this is a historic year, for we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of a Prelacy in North America, and the 35th anniversary of our Prelacy. He pointed out that the work of the Prelacy is carried out “with the people and for the people”, stressing that all of us must keep this principle in mind as we work together to advance our collective mission. The Prelate then gave a brief report on the previous year’s activities.
The permanent meeting executive was elected with Nazareth Sadorian and Haigaz Terterian as Chairmen, and Hamo Kasbarian and Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian as Secretaries. The election of the Resolutions Committee and committee to oversee the elections took place, with Rouben Gourjian, Garo Eshgian, Marzbed Margossian, Hrair Tufenkjian, and Jora Manoucherian elected to the Resolutions Committee, and Dajad Yeretsian, Dr. Hagop Dikranian, and Krikor Piloian elected to the election committee. Brief reports on the activities of each parish by the chairmen of the Boards of Trustees followed.
Before moving on to the next items on the agenda, the Prelate announced that for the past few years it has become a tradition to honor a devoted servant of our Prelacy. This year, the Prelate and Executive Council found it appropriate to honor Building Committee member and faithful parishioner Hovsep Boyajian, who has continuously supported and encouraged the endeavors of the Prelacy and our parishes, specifically St. Sarkis Church in Pasadena and Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello, both financially and morally. Boyajian thanked the Prelate and Council for the honor and for the opportunity to serve the Prelacy.
The assembly resumed its evaluation of the activities of the Prelate, the Religious and Executive Councils, and the Board of Regents, which the Resolutions Committee found highly commendable. With regards to the plan of establishing a new high school in the Glendale area, the Prelate announced that London based benefactor Raffy Manoukian has committed $6 million for this project. The Prelate also thanked Khajag Dikijian who has been following this project diligently.
The last item on the agenda of the first day’s sessions was the election of the Prelate. The names of the candidates chosen by His Holiness were read, which were as follows: Archbishop Gomidas Ohanian, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, and Very Rev. Fr. Paren Vartanian. Once all the votes were cast and counted, the election committee announced the re-election of Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian for a fourth term with an absolute majority. The Prelate was led back into the hall in a procession by clergy members where the Chair of the divan congratulated him on his re-election. He thanked the assembly and invited the delegates for a prayer inside the church. After the prayer the Prelate gave his first address following his re-election in which he first thanked God and His Holiness Aram I. The Prelate then thanked the delegate once again for entrusting him with the responsibility of Prelate.
The assembly resumed on the morning of Saturday, May 10th. Among the items on the agenda were the presentation of the modified Prelacy and Schools’ By-Laws, which the assembly ratified, and proposals regarding future activities.
The election of the Religious and Executive Councils also took place. The new Religious Council was elected as follows: Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, Very Rev. Fr. Barthev Gulumian, Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian, Rev. Fr. Nareg Pehlivanian, Rev. Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian, Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian, and Rev. Fr. Vahan Gosdanian.
The new Executive Council was elected as follows: Dr. Garo Agopian, Garo Avakian, Nerses Melkonian, Varoujan Der Simonian, Mher Der Ohanessian, Dr. Navasart Kazazian, Vahe Havaguimian, Levon Kirakosian, Esq. Khatchig Yeretzian, Vahrij Pilavjian, and Garo Eshgian.
At the close of the assembly Chairman Nazareth Sadorian thanked the delegates for their participation and input on behalf of the divan, and invited the Prelate to offer his closing remarks and benediction.
The Prelate commended and thanked the divan and delegates for their work over the past two days. He thanked His Holiness and once again thanked the assembly for the opportunity to serve as Prelate for four more years.
The Prelate also commended and thanked the outgoing members of the Executive Council and congratulated the new members. He concluded by thanking the Board of the Trustees of St. Mary’s Church for hosting the assembly and announced that next year’s assembly will take place at the Prelacy hosted by St. Gregory Church of San Francisco.
The assembly came to a close with the Prelate’s benediction and the collective singing of “Giligia”.