LA CRESCENTA—More than 600 Prelacy sponsors, supporters and friends gathered at “Bagramian” Hall of Holy Cross Cathedral in Montebello on Friday, January 6 for the Prelate’s traditional New Year and Christmas Dinner. The dinner is held annually under the auspices of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, by the initiative of the Religious and Executive Councils, and organized by the Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary.
Among the guests in attendance were Consul General of Armenia the Grigor Hovhannissian and his wife, Armenian National Assembly member and Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian, Central Executive members Khajag Dikijian and Vahe Yacoubian with their wives, Executive Council, Members of the ARF Central Committee, ARS, Homenetmen, and Hamazkayin, Parishes’ delegates and Boards of Trustees, Board of Regents and Prelacy Schools’ principals and directors, media representatives, sponsors, and friends.
This year’s dinner was hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Cheryl Nadjarian. The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian.
The evening began with the entrance of the Prelate and clergy into the hall in a procession, candles in hand and singing Christmas hymns. H.E. Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian read the passage from the Bible on the Birth of Christ, after which the Prelate blessed the tables.
Master of Ceremonies Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian welcomed the guests and reflected on the spirit of Christmas, the good tidings of the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the message of peace, love, and harmony. Fr. Vazken also commended the service of the Ladies Auxiliary members, noting that they greatly contributed to the Pontifical Visit and also once again organized the evening’s dinner. He then invited Ladies Auxiliary Chair Salpi Srourian and Executive Council Chair Rima Boghossian to deliver their remarks. Srourian welcomed the guests and wished them an enjoyable evening together. Boghossian thanked the guests for the support and encouragement they demonstrated with their attendance. She spoke in high regard of the efforts and leadership of the Prelate, reflected on the role of our Churches and Schools in our community life and our work towards the Armenian Cause, and concluded by conveying her well wishes on the New Year and Christmas.
Guests then watched the taped message of His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, which began with His Holiness conveying his New Year and Christmas well wishes to the Prelate, Councils, and guests. His Holiness reflected on the three main themes of his recent Pontifical Visit, which were spiritual renewal, continued progress of our Schools, and furthering of our Cause, stating that these are ongoing missions which must form the basis of all our endeavors and collective lives.
The evening also included a cultural program. Throughout the night, guests enjoyed traditional Armenian music presented by pianist Professor Levon Aprahamian and singers Anahit Nercisyan and Kevork Chakmanian.
Fr. Vazken then thanked all those who contributed to the success of the dinner, among them the Jabarian, Kurkjian, and Alexanian Families for donating the evening’s souvenirs, centerpieces, and drinks, as well as the participants of the cultural program, organizers, and sponsors.
The Prelate was then invited to deliver his message.
The Prelate commended Fr. Vazken for successfully carrying out his duties as Master of Ceremonies, the Ladies Auxiliary for organizing the evening, and all the sponsors and volunteers who made the evening as well as the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness a great success. The message reflected on the spirit and messages of Christmas, the Prelacy’s endeavors and achievements in the past year, and the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness Aram I. In his message, the Prelate also thanked the Prelacy’s sponsors and donors, and especially Mr. and Mrs. Harry & Cheryl Nadjarian who were the main sponsors of the Pontifical Visit and also the hosts of the Prelate’s New Year and Christmas Dinner.
The evening came to a close with the Prelate’s benediction, and the singing of the Cilician and Pontifical anthems.
Prelate’s Christmas Dinner Message
Distinguished guests, dear sponsors and friends,
With Christian love and with the warmest spirit of Christmas, I congratulate you all on the New Year and the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A few days ago we welcomed the year 2012, and tonight, with great joy we are gathered here to collectively celebrate the Glorious Nativity and Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ. We offer our gratitude to Almighty God for His boundless blessings, for this new year, and especially for granting us the greatest of gifts, the gift of His Son Jesus Christ and eternal life. Indeed each day of our lives is a gift from God and we must therefore give thanks and praise God each and every day for His undying love and care.
First and foremost, we express our thanks and appreciation to our beloved Pontiff, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, who was with us tonight in spirit through his video message. Recently, last October, we were honored with the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness to our Prelacy. We were grateful to personally receive his blessings, and were inspired by his powerful messages on spiritual renewal, the continued progress of our schools, and the furthering of the Armenian Cause. His messages are timeless and will remain our guiding force for years to come. In the three weeks His Holiness was with us, he was a daily and motivating presence in the lives of our parishes and parishioners, students, and youth. It was truly an inspirational and unforgettable visit.
The year 2011 was proclaimed to be the Year of the Armenian Child by His Holiness. This proclamation is not limited to the previous year; it did not end with the ending of the year. Children form the foundation of our future, and our mission for their spiritual care and upbringing is an ongoing and unending one. The survival of our people depends on rooting our faith, language, traditions, and heritage in subsequent generations.
The perpetuation of the Armenian people depends also on the preservation of our cultural treasures. Though Armenian culture arose in pre-Christian times, our written heritage was formed in the 5th century with the invention of the Armenian alphabet and the translation of the Bible and other sacred books into our own language. Armenian books are priceless as they have been and remain a fountainhead of our history and literary legacy. The year 2012 has been proclaimed the Year of the Armenian Book by His Holiness, and for this reason, we dedicated this year’s Prelacy calendar to the Armenian Book. Books are not just decoration in our homes and offices; they must be read and the knowledge they contain shared to enlighten the minds and spirits of our people and especially our youth.
Dear faithful supporters and friends,
On this joyous occasion, I would like to once again thank all of our sponsors and donors for their unwavering support throughout the years and especially during the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness. It is you, our sponsors and volunteers, who made the Pontifical Visit a successful one, and for that we commend you. You selflessly donated your time, efforts, resources, and input, and embodied the Scripture passage. “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.
Our collective life, our national life cannot progress without our united efforts. Through collaboration and cooperation, we have reached new heights in our service and will continue forward to even greater achievements. With the support of our community, we can achieve great things, and one example of that is the Pontifical Visit of His Holiness. With the contributions of our sponsors and donors on the occasion of the Pontifical Visit, we recently made a record allocation of $800,000 to our Prelacy Schools to alleviate the financial difficulties they face. I would like to once again express our gratitude to our old and new sponsors who made this possible. Special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Harry and Cheryl Nadjarian, who were the main sponsors of the Pontifical Visit and have so generously hosted this evening’s dinner; to Prof. and Mrs. Harut and Tamara Barsamian, Mr. and Mrs. Mark and Margaret Shirin, Mrs. Silva Tchakmakjian, Mrs. Tina Carolan and the Carolan Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Osko and Yeran Karaghossian, Mr. and Mrs. Harout and Christina Jabarian, Mr. and Mrs. Vahe and Nora Yacoubian, Mr. Hank Khachaturian and his Torian Holdings company, Mrs. Ashkhen Pilavjian, Mr. and Mrs. Vahan and Nora Bezdikian, Forest Lawn, Glendale Memorial Hospital, as well as our parishes and sister organizations. A thank you also to all of you here today. Even in these difficult economic times, you once again pledged your support and encouragement of our Prelacy with your presence here tonight. The names of all our sponsors and donors can be found in the evening’s program book.
Throughout the past years we also had various other achievements, among them a number of events to celebrate the Year of the Armenian Child, and the ordination of a new priest. In late July, the former choir leader of the Crescenta Valley Parish was ordained into the priesthood and renamed Rev. Fr. Ghevont Kirazian. Tonight, he is with us for the first time as a clergy member. In the coming year, we will ordain new priests, among them Deacon Khatchig Shannakian who recently relocated from Canada and is with us tonight. He recently completed his studies, earning a Master’s Degree in Theology. We look forward to having him join our clergy order in the near future.
Dear loved ones,
The inspiring messages of the Glorious Nativity and Theophany of our Lord Jesus Christ are timeless treasures and the eternal lighthouse that lights up our hearts and lives just like the bright star above Bethlehem that lit the night sky and guided the wise men to the manger to worship the Baby Jesus. The spirit of peace, love, and harmony of our Lord’s Nativity reverberates just as powerfully today, 2012 years after His birth, and continues to guide us in fulfillment of our God-pleasing endeavors and mission. With harmonious collaboration and unity, we can fulfill our greatest goals and dreams. We have already seen progress in our Cause through our united efforts here, in Europe, and elsewhere, and must therefore continue on this same path until we reach our ultimate goals.
Let us begin this new year inspired by the renewing and invigorating messages of the Nativity and Theophany of our Lord, and may our hearts remain a manger where our Lord Jesus Christ dwells each and every day of this new year and every year.
A blessed new year to you all. Christ is Born and Revealed.