LAS VEGAS—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his wife, Landra, visited the newly-completed St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church on Tuesday afternoon.
Upon arrival the Senator was met by Archpriest Father Avedis Torossian, Parish Council Chairman Adroushan Armenian and Building Committee members Koko Darakjian and Levon Gulbenkian. Vreij Taslakian representing the Church Consecration Committee and Lindy Schumacher representative of Kirk Kerkorian’s Dream Fund at UCLA were also present.
The Senator and Mrs. Reid entered the church after lighting their candles. Father Avedis provided a brief background about the Church and its services. Darakjian and Gulbenkian described the Church construction process and the Senator was impressed that the project was completed within only seven months from laying the foundation to its completion.
Vreij Taslakian briefed the Senator about the growing Las Vegas Armenian Community and Schumacher explained Dream Fund’s support of the Saturday Armenian School and plans to equip the school with advanced modern language and history learning techniques.
Adroushan Armenian explained that St. Garabed is the Armenian translation for St. John the Baptist and shared with the Senator photos of St. Garabed Monastery of Moush, Historic Armenia, which legend has was built on the remains of St. John the Baptist in the fourth century He also told how the Church and monastery were destroyed by the Turkish army in 1915 during the Armenian Genocide, and they discussed House Resolution 306 which calls upon the Republic of Turkey “to safeguard its Christian heritage and to return confiscated Church properties”.
At the end of the visit, Father Avedis presented Senator Reid with a traditional Armenian cross-stone commemorating this special visit. The Senator congratulated the Parish Pastor and Church representatives, and promised to provide St. Garabed Church with a U.S. Flag that has flown on the Capitol in order to fly on the first Armenian Church in the city of Las Vegas.