LA CRESCENTA, Calif.—On Thursday, January 25, the presentation of Prof. Richard Hovannisian’s “Armenian Communities of the Northeastern Mediterranean: Musa Dagh – Dört Yol – Kessab” book was held at the Western Prelacy “Dikran & Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall under the auspices of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian The event was organized by the Prelacy Cultural-Educational Committee. The Prelate was joined by clergy, Catholicosate Central Executive member Mr. Gaidzag Zetlian, and Executive Council members.
On behalf of the organizing committee, Chairman Herair Jermakian welcomed the guests and stressed the importance of such educational and cultural events. Opening remarks were delivered by Master of Ceremonies Moushegh Bedevian, who then invited a group of students from Armenian Mesrobian School to present traditional Musa Dagh songs and dances.
Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian presented Prof. Hovannisian’s biography and vast works, which include the publication of over three dozen books that have been translated into various languages and professorships in various universities, noting that his valuable works have earned him various honors and recognitions, including the Holy See of Cilicia’s “Knight of Cilicia” and “St. Mesrob Mashdots” medals.
The book was presented by the author himself. Prof. Hovannisian first spoke about the books he has authored, which mostly focus on regions in Western Armenia, comparing their past status to their condition today. Through slides, Prof. Hovannisian then presented an overview of the Armenian communities of Musa Dagh, Dört Yol, and Kessab in the historical, cultural, economic, and political spheres. He also touched on the history of the Armenian communities of Beylan and Antioch focusing on the village of Vakef which remains the only Armenian village in the region following the Armenian Genocide. Finally, he presented his daughter Ani Hovannisian-Kevorkian’s documentary on the historic villages of Musa Dagh.
Next, young pianist Allen Dishigrikyan performed Armenian and foreign musical pieces, while Mesrobian School student Alik Artinian recited a poem by Yeghishe Charents.
The Prelate delivered the closing message, first commending the organizing committee, cultural program participants, the guests, and especially the keynote speaker. His Eminence lauded Prof. Hovannisian’s lifetime of valuable works as an eminent scholar and historian and expressed appreciation for his highly educational lecture which encompassed history, culture, and Genocide awareness. The Prelate spoke of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia as an enduring symbol of nationalism and celebration of the spirit of liberty and devotion to homeland, hoping to one day have a free, independent, and united Armenia. He noted that as the commemoration of the Genocide centennial brought us the message of remembering and reminding, the centennial of the first Republic of Armenia is not only a time to remember and mark the anniversary, but a reminder for all to honor the legacy of our forefathers by following in their example of service and supporting our independence homeland, stated the Prelate. At the conclusion of his message, the Prelate presented a Prelacy memento to Prof. Hovannisian.
The program came to a close with “Cilicia” sung by Mesrobian School students and the benediction by the Prelate. Guests enjoyed a reception hosted by the Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary.