LOS ANGELES–On the invitation of the Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian and Religious and Executive Council–a banquet was held on Thursday–March 18 at Kavar restaurant–honoring the outgoing Lebanese Consul General Gibran Soufan–who ended a 10-year tour of service in Los Angeles.
The event was sponsored and hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Raffi and Aline Kradjian. Also present were Armenian Consul General in Los Angeles Armen Melkonian and his wife–the Catholicosate Central Executive Council member Arsen Danielian and his wife–Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee member Hovig Saliba and his wife–Glendale City Council candidate Rafi Manoukian and his wife–and members and friends of ANC–Hamazkayin–Homenetmen.
Following welcoming remarks by Master of Ceremony–Rev. Vazken Atmadjian–Prelate Mardirossian said the invocation and a prayer blessing the table–extending greeting to Soufan.
Opening remarks were made by host Raffi Kradjian–who praised Soufan for his honest friendship with the Armenian community and the Armenian church and wished him success in his future endeavors.
On behalf of the ARF Central Committee–Avedis Ispendjian–expressed his gratitude to the Lebanese Consul General in a message in Arabic. He recounted the long history of Arab-Armenian relations and stressed that Soufan’s friendship with the community and the Prelacy will long be remembered.
Also greeting Soufan–was his Armenian counterpart Armen Melkonian–who praised Lebanon’s rebuilding efforts–stressing the large Armenian community which has co-existed peacefully with their Arab country mates. Melkonian presented Soufan with a plaque of appreciation.
In his message–Prelate Mardirossian thanked Soufan for his service and said "wherever you may–due to your new responsibilities–you can always remember that you have warm community here in Los Angeles–which an Armenian-Lebanese-American community."
The Prelate listed Soufan’s numerous efforts in supporting the Armenian church and the community–citing the Consul General’s presence and encouragement during the visit of His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia–upon whose arrival Soufan and the Lebanese Consulate hosted a welcoming reception for the pontiff.
The Prelate presented Soufan with a book entitled "Armenian Art" and a medallion marking the 1,700th anniversary of Armenia’s adoption of Christianity as a State Religion.
In his remarks–Soufan thanked the Armenian church and the community for their hospitality.
"Currently Lebanon is facing an period of reconstruction under the leadership of President Gen. Emil Lahoud–an individual who has come from an Armenian mother and whose wife is Armenian. You be the judge. He has the blood of builders in him. This is how we have known the Armenian people," said Soufan.
Following the dinner–guests and attendees were able to personally meet Soufan and express their personal greetings to the outgoing Consul.