The Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in Fresno, CA celebrated its 107th anniversary at a distinguished gala on Jan 27 under the auspices of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian hosted by the Board of Trustees of the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church.
The Prelate celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered a sermon preceding the gala. Prior to the sermon, His Eminence presided over the ordination of six acolytes within the church. Menas Arisian, Nshan Bagdasarian, Brent Hamparzoomian, Brandon Hamparzoomian, Tyler Shegerian, and Garen Zanontian were the recipients of this prestigious mark of exaltation. His Eminence also elevated Mr. Armen Bedrosian to the rank of stole bearer. The Prelate began his sermon by first congratulating the parish on its 107th anniversary. He then offered acclaim to Rev. Vahan Gosdanian, on his 10th anniversary of faithful service to Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church as well as the 15th anniversary of his being ordained to the priesthood.
During the sermon, Arch. Mardirossian acknowledged the Sunday School Students who were in attendance not only to witness the ordination of their peers, but also to hear and acknowledge a message directed specifically to them. His Eminence offered words of encouragement and commendation to both the Sunday School Students and the Sunday School Teachers on their commitment to the prosperity of the church. His Eminence then provided an articulate explanation of the upcoming commemoration of St. Vartan to the parishioners and guests of the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church. The Prelate continued his message by presenting the Gospel for this particular Sunday, wherein our Lord Jesus Christ, expresses that He is “the life giving water” from chapter seven of the book of John, explaining that it is only through Christ that we find reason and truth in our lives. His Eminence concluded his message by congratulating the church on its 107th anniversary and by commemorating the William Saroyan Centennial with a tribute to K. Proff Kalfayan on his 135th birthday. On this occasion, the choir, honoring K. Proff Kalfayan’s memory, sang a number of sharagans arranged by K. Proff Kalfayan. Former student of K. Proff Kalfayan, Hasmig Aaronian, performed “Der Voghormya” arranged by Kalfayan. Award-winning soprano, Anahit Nersisyan, of Glendale, California, was invited to perform during church service. Junior members of the church choir were also featured during the Badarak. Kayane Ajamian, Nicole Der Simonian, Faten Myaznih, Lauren Sarabian, and Sarah Samourian-Kamciyan served as wonderful additions to a distinguished choir. This monumental occurrence within the church was a magnificent event for the parishioners and guests who were in attendance. It was a remarkable commemoration of Armenian tradition, culture, history and faith.
Following church service, the 107th annual banquet took place in the church banquet hall. An excess of 400 guests took part in the festivities. Jeff Tanielian, Chair of the Board of Trustees, served as the Master of Ceremonies for this event. Mr. Tanielian invited Fr. Vahan Gosdanian to present the opening prayer for the attendees of the event. After the opening prayer, Miss Lauren Sarabian sang a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner followed by Ms. Angele Ohannessian who exquisitely gave a vocal performance of Mer Hayrenik. A lavish lunch, prepared by the church Men’s Society, was then served. The meal included a myriad of delectable food. The meal began with a beautifully prepared mezza; a garden salad, fillet kabob, new potatoes, and brown sugar glazed carrots provided for a delicious entr?e; while a cream puffed pastry was the perfect final? to the wonderful meal.
Celebrating the William Saroyan Centennial
After lunch, Varoujan Der Simonian paid tribute to William Saroyan and K. Proff Kalfayan on their respective anniversaries and read from Saroyan’s book entitled “Don’t Go, But If You Must, Say Hello To Everybody.” The reading highlighted Saroyan’s words in relation to Kalfayan. The reading incorporated specific issues that directly affected the Armenian Community at the time, as well as Saroyan’s interaction with Kalfayan, Kalfayan’s contribution to Fresno and the Armenian Church, the ways in which the Fresno Community perceived Kalfayan, and Saroyan’s personal thoughts regarding Kalfayan.
Der Simonian then invited the brilliant soprano, Anahit Nersisyan, and accomplished organist, Naira Shahsouvarian to perform a musical tribute to K. Proff Kalfayan. The musical tribute incorporated five selections arranged by K. Proff Kalfayan: “Cry!” Mourning Song in memory of Simon Zavarian, “Araxe” a Patriotic Armenian Chant, “New Lullaby”, “Alecharchar” a Patriotic Armenian Chant, and “Groung”, an Immigrant song.
Preceding the musical performance, Tanielian invited Mary Alice Kaloostian to the podium to present Rev. Vahan Gosdanian with a myriad of letters of recognition written by our governmental officials proclaiming his 10 years of devoted service to the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church and 15 years of ordination into the priesthood. Kaloostian highlighted the presentation with a reading of a letter sent by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recognizing the achievemen’s of Rev. Vahan Gosdanian. Kaloostian then announced that we had also received congratulatory letters from Senators Feinstein and Boxer, Congressmen George Radanovich, Jim Costa, and Devin Nunes, Mayor of Fresno Alan Autry, and the County of Fresno Board Supervisor Henry Perea. Kaloostian also presented a framed Resolution issued by the California Legislature and signed by Senator Dave Cogdill. Continuing the presentation of awards to Rev. Vahan Gosdanian, Tanielian invited, Church Administrator, Nazik Arisian to the podium to read detailed biography of Rev. Vahan Gosdanian, the contents of which illustrated his family history, academic background, religious milestones, and service to the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church. After reading the biography, Arisian and Tanielian amiably presented an engraved clock on behalf of the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church as a token of appreciation to Vahan Gosdanian.
Following the presentation of awards to Rev. Vahan Gosdanian, three parishioners, Gladys Jamgotchian, Mary Hokokian, and Haig Barret Arakelian were given the prestigious Annual Service Award for their dedication and vast contributions to the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church. All three parishioners were presented with a beautiful plaque to commemorate this remarkable achievement. A biography of each of the award recipients was read to the attendees of the banquet. The Jamgotchian, Hokokian, and Arakelian families were in attendance to share in the celebration of their respective family members and their accomplishmen’s.
The program continued with Ladies Auxiliary member, Jane Gamoian, Trinity Guild member, Alma Margosian and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Levon Baladjanian offering their congratulatory remarks to Rev. Vahan Gosdanian and on behalf of their respective organizations of affiliation, graciously presented the proceeds of their extensive fund-raising projects during the past year to the church. Varoujan Der Simonian followed the presentation by Gamoian, Margosian, and Baladjanian, giving his personal message to the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church and Rev. Vahan Gosdanian as our liaison to the Executive Council.
The Super Drawing was the next item on the banquet agenda. This event was a new fund-raising venue for the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church and, unsurprisingly, prompted excitement and anticipation among the attendees of the banquet. The outcome of the drawing left five winners of monetary prizes extremely happy with the outcome of the drawing, and those who witnessed the event, happy for the winners’ good fortune.
The closing remarks and benediction was given by Western Prelate Arch. Mardirossian who again congratulated the parish for its 107th anniversary, Rev. Vahan Gosdanian for his 10-year anniversary of faithful service to the church, and the parish for celebrating the achievemen’s of William Saroyan and K. Proff Kalfayan. His Eminence also acknowledged the six acolytes on their ordination and Armen Bedrosian for being elevated to stole bearer. Armen’s parents, Rosie Bedrosian donated a beautiful hand-crafted cross to the church on this happy occasion.
The Prelate then honored Jack Gahvejian for serving the church for nearly 70 years and his diligent and devoted commitment to the church in his capacity as a representative to the Executive Council.
After the benediction, the banquet ended with everyone singing the Giligia. This event served not only as a celebration of accomplished individuals within the church and community, but also as a tribute to the diligence of the Armenian People in maintaining their religious traditions, historical reverence, and cultural beliefs. As we celebrate 107 years of the existence of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church and honor the individuals who sustain its prominence within the community, we ensure the prosperity of our church in the years ahead.