The first Sunday sermon was held on March 29 at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Catholic Church in Glendale. With great efforts on behalf of Father Rafael Minassian–the Armenian Catholic community acquired this more conveniently located church and dedicated it to the 1700th anniversary of Armenia’s adoption of Christianity as a state religion.
The opening ceremonies began at 3 p.m.–when holy liturgy was performed by Prelate of the Armenian Catholic Church of the Eastern US and Canada–Bishop Hovhannes Tertzakian. Among those present were Primate Vatche Hovsepian representing the Western Primacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; Reverend Vazken Atamjian–representing Prelate Moushegh Mardirossian of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America–who is currently out of town; Fathers Dajad Yardemian–Nerses Sakayan and Anton Panossian representing the Mekhitarist Fathers of Venice–Vienna–and Zmarr. Father Rafael Minassian was conducting the church choir.
Reverend Rafael Minassian spoke of the legacy of St. Gregory the Illuminator and his significance in Armenian religious and national history. He explained the significance of honoring St. Gregory the Illuminator by bestowing his name upon this new church. Father Minassian also spoke about how Armenian churches are based on the warm hearts of the Armenian people–because Armenia’s have always maintained their Christianity. He urged all parishioners to launch a united effort toward the prosperity of this new church.
Bishop Tertzakian expressed gratitude to God–for granting the community a new house of worship. He hoped that this new church–acquired through the generous support–donations and encouragement of the parish community–would satisfy the religious needs of the community and bring it closer to God. The Archbishop particularly thanked father Rafael Minassian for his unsparing efforts dedicated to the church–and his assistants and parishioners who provided moral and financial support to the project.
A cocktail and dinner reception followed holy liturgy at 5 p.m.–at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. In addition to the more than 750 in attendance at the reception–among official guests were Armen Melkonian–Consul General of the Consulate of Armenia of Los Angeles; Consul General of Lebanon Jibran Soufan; ARF Western US Central Committee representative Dr. Viken Hovsepian; Armenian Apostolic Church Western Prelacy Executive Council representative Arsen Danielian; representative of the Hunchakian Party Kapriel Moloyan; Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich; Assemblyman Scott Wildman; and representatives of the media.
Anthony Boghosian opened the reception–and Boghos Toursarkissian served as the Master of Ceremonies–the blessing of tables was performed by Bishop Rafael Minassian. Among those delivering speeches were Reverend Rafael Minassian–Consul General Melkonian–Consul General Soufan–and Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian. Keynote speeches were delivered in English by William Simonian–and in Armenian by Dr. Mihran Agbabian. Bishop Hovhanness Tertzakian led the final prayer.
Parsegh Kartalian–Zareh Ananian–Ani Minassian and Greg Hosharian participated in the cultural program of the reception.