MONTEBELLO–Arch. Sempat Lapadjian–the first Prelate of the Western Region–was honored last Friday during a unique banquet marking his 75th birthday anniversary attended by 700 community members and held at Baghramian Hall–where congratulatory messages from Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia were presented.
Some 200 community members were turned back for lack of space at the hall–signaling the important role the archbishop has played in the development and evolution of the Western Region Armenian-American community.
The event–held under the auspices of Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–was organized by the Board of Trustees–the clergy and the Ladies Auxiliary Guild of the Holy Cross Cathedral–the members of which have become members of Lapadjian’s family during the last 41 years. The Holy Cross Cathedral became a home for Lapadjian–since he grew up as an orphan.
Aside from the Pope and Aram I–congratulatory messages were presented from Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.)–the mayors of Montebello and Pico Rivera–as well as the administrations of Mashdots College and Haigazian College.
During his remarks–a humbled Arch. Lapadjian thanked the Prelate–the organizers and the community for their heartfelt expression of love and support.
The event began with a standing ovation as Arch. Lapadjian entered the hall–accompanied by Prelate Mardirossian and chairman of the Holy Cross Board of Trustees Nshan Sarafian.
Also present were Father Raphael Minassian of the Catholic congregation–Armenia’s Consul General to Los Angeles Valery Mkrtoumian–Ray Cordova district director for Congresswoman Napolitano–Pico Rivera Mayor Rick Ramirez–Montebello Mayor Edward Vasquez–Montebello chief of police Garry A. Couso-Vasquez–State Assembly candidate Chuck Fuentes–Mesrobian School principal Hilda Saliba–Rev. Yeghia Babikian and Robert Shamlian of Ararat home–as well as representatives from the local Armenian Revolutionary Federation chapter and affiliate organizations.
Master of Ceremonies Levon Kirakosian presented a brief biography of Arch. Lapadjian and introduced the evening’s keynote speaker Dr. Onnig Keshishian who eloquently praised and honored the archbishop.
In his remarks–Prelate Mardirossian praised his predecessor’s long–but unwavering service to the Armenian church and the Armenian community–and delineated his accomplishmen’s and contributions to the community.
Opening remarks were presented by Ladies’ Auxiliary Guild members Anoush Martayan (Armenian) and Knar Baghdassarian (English). The benediction was said by Rev. Hrant Yeretsian and Rev. Khoren Baboshian.
The cultural program included song performances by Sarkis Boyajian–Fred Darian and Heghine Harboyan–accompanied on the piano by Kohar Torayan. Sosi and Salpy Kerkonian also performed during the evening.