Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian welcomed the visit of poet, essayist, and short story writer, Vehanoush Tekian on November 8, and on behalf of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, presented to her the “St. Mesrob Mashdots” medal for her contributions to our literary heritage.
Tekian was in Los Angeles for an event honoring her 50 years of literary works which was held on Friday, November 9 at Glendale Library, organized by Hamazkayin Western Region, Tekeyan Cultural Association, Organization of Istanbul Armenians, Nor Serount Cultural Association, and Asbarez newspaper, and featuring keynote speaker Dr. Hagop Gulludjian.
Tekian was accompanied by Apo Boghigian from Asbarez newspaper, Hamazkayin Western Region Chair Seta Simonian and members, Tekeyan Cultural Association representative Mr. Parsegh Kartalian, Dr. Hagop Gulludjian, and family members. The Prelate was joined by Archpriest Fr. Nareg Pehlivanian, Rev. Fr. Ghevont Kirazian, Executive Council Secretary Elo Boyajian, Ladies Auxiliary members, and Prelacy staff.
The Prelate greeted Tekian and guests, and announced that he was privileged to honor the esteemed writer on behalf of His Holiness. During his latest trip to Lebanon, His Eminence had conveyed the request of Hamazkayin to honor Tekian with a Pontifical letter of blessing; however His Holiness saw it fitting to award the “St. Mesrob Mashdots” medal. Thus, he invited the guests to stand for the reading of the Pontifical encyclical by Fr. Ghevont, after which he awarded the medal, congratulated Tekian on the well-deserved honor, and presented a memento on behalf of the Prelacy.
The Prelate had honored Tekian with a letter of commendation for Friday’s event, which was published in the commemorative booklet, and in which His Eminence lauded her writing encompassing the life of the Armenian nation following the Genocide and everyday issues and challenges of the Armenian community of Lebanon and Diaspora including the decline of Armenian usage, preservation of our heritage, and the effect of external influences.
Deeply moved by the honor, Tekian expressed gratitude to His Holiness and thanked the Prelate, Hamazkayin, and all who deemed her worthy of this recognition. She fondly recalled her peers who are no longer with us, and then acknowledged the role of the Church and Prelacies in the preservation of our cultural treasures. She reminded that when St. Mesrob Mashdots returned to Armenia with our own alphabet, he was greeted with elation by heads of church and state for all recognized that our identity would thereafter be forever preserved. She stated that she regards Armenian as the most beautiful language, adding that had she not been Armenian she would have certainly studied it and written in Armenian. She concluded by affirming her belief that she has triumphed in the war waged with her pen, and wished for similar initiatives to continue and expand.
Given that the timing of her visit coincided with her birthday, the occasion was celebrated with a cake.
Congratulatory remarks and well wishes were conveyed by Apo Boghigian, Seta Simonian, Parsegh Kartalian, and Dr. Hagop Gulludjian. Tekian also had the opportunity to visit the “St. Dertad and St. Ashkhen” Chapel, the Prelacy bookstore, and Genocide centennial monument.