His Holiness Karekin II accepted Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian’s invitation to visit the Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Cathedral of Montebello on Saturday–May 12. The pontiff was welcomed by numerous community members anxious to receive his blessing.
His Holiness was greeted at the entrance of the cathedral by Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Archbishop Smpad Lapadjian–Archbishop Zareh Aznavorian–and several other clergymen and community leaders.
Accompanying the Catholicos were Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian (Primate of the Western Diocese)–Armenian General Consul to Los Angeles Valery Mkrtoumian–as well as Primate of Romania and Bulgaria Archbishop Dirair Mardigian–and Primate of Canada Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.
Attending the service were ARF Western Central Committee members Arto Keoleian and Vahe Bozoyan–ARF "Tro" Gomideh members–ANCA-WR member Levon Giragossian–Mesrobian School Principal Garo Moumjian–ARS Regional Executive members with Chairwoman Maro Chalian–and Hamazkayin Regional Executive representative Hrayr Garabedian.
After the service–Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian welcomed His Holiness. He mentioned all who attended the service–in particular the ARF Western USA–with its affiliate organizations. Mardirossian stated how all were present to hear the pontiff’s message and receive his blessing.
Archbishop Mardirossian expressed his faith in Catholicos Karekin II–as the successor to Vazgen I and Karekin I–hoping His Holiness would continue to lead our people–as he did in Der Zor a few weeks ago with Catholicos Aram I.
His Holiness thanked Archbishop Mardirossian for the Western Prelacy’s invitation. Karekin II spoke of the flourishing Armenian communities he has visited throughout his pontifical tour of the United States. He said the people of Armenia take pride in and appreciate the love felt toward the homeland by American Armenia’s.
A reception and intimate meeting with His Holiness took place after the service in Toumandjian Hall.
His Holiness had held a meeting with students from the community’s Armenian schools on Friday at Aghajanian Hall in Pasadena. Close to 850 people attended the meeting. Students from Ferrahian–Alex Pilibos–Chamlian–Mesrobian–and Ari Giragos prelacy schools were present. Also present were students from the Armenian Sisters’ Academy–Merdinian–Mekhitarian–Hovsepian–Arshag Dikranian–Manougian-Demirdjian–and Sahag Mesrobian schools. Speaking on behalf of Ferrahian School was student–Natalie Meneshian. A cultural program was presented on behalf of all the schools.
Karekin II attended a concert dedicated to the 1700th anniversary of the Armenian Church was held at the Glendale Civic Auditorium on Friday night. His Holiness also attended a youth rally and requiem service at the Genocide Monument in Montebello on Saturday morning. Close to 150 attended the service.
On Sunday morning–a Divine Liturgy was held at the Hollywood Bowl in commemoration of the 1700th anniversary. The service was performed by Karekin II who was accompanied by Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian and Archbishop Khajag Barsamian. Present were Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian of the Western Prelacy–ARF Bureau Representative Dr. Vicken Hovsepian–and ARF Western Central Committee Representative Khajag Dikidjian.