LA CRESCENTA—On Thursday, October 24, the Western Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary hosted a lecture luncheon at the “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall in celebration of the “Year of the Armenian Mother.”
The event, held under the auspices of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, was one in a series held throughout the year in honor of this proclamation by His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.
By the invitation of the Prelate, Lieutenant General Artur Aghabekyan, Deputy Prime Minister of Artsakh, Antranik Baghdassarian, Chair of Armenia Fund, and Sarkis Kotanjian, Executive Director of Armenia Fund, participated in the luncheon. Executive Council Chair Rima Boghossian and member Dr. Dikran Babikian were also in attendance.
The event began with opening remarks by Master of Ceremonies and Ladies Auxiliary member Alisa Konanyan who welcomed the guests and the day’s keynote speaker Nora Hovsepian, Esq., who would be speaking on “The Role of Armenian Mothers in Society.” She then invited the Prelate to bless the tables. Following the Lord’s Prayer and the invocation, His Eminence invited Deputy Prime Minister Aghabekyan to address the gathering.
The Deputy Prime Minister greeted the guests, noting that it was his first time participating in such an event. In his address, Aghabekyan praised the extreme sacrifices of mothers by recounting a conversation he had with his mother when she visited him in the days of the Karabakh conflict. His mother was in distress at all the young lives being lost in the war, leaving entire villages in mourning, to which he answered that each one of those soldiers was fighting for the sake of his fatherland and the defense of his home and lands, and that at any given day he could be among the fallen, too. So when an Armenian mother bears a child, said Aghabekyan, she does so with the awareness that one day her child may go off to defend their land and not return. That, he said, is one of a mother’s many virtues. The Deputy Prime Minister then stressed the importance of this year’s Armenia Fund Telethon project, the construction of the Vardenis-Martakert Highway, and spoke of ongoing challenges faced by Artsakh, noting that its 140,000 citizens are not alone in their struggle against the 10 millions Azeris; they have the support of Armenians worldwide who, in the face of danger, will come to the aid and defense of Artsakh.
A cultural program of songs presented by opera singer Taline Nalbandian followed, after which Nora Hovsepian was invited for her lecture.
The keynote speaker presented the unique role of mothers, specifically Armenian mothers, as daughters, mothers, and activists for the nation and community, stressing that they are entrusted with a great responsibility and mission. Hovsepian reflected on the role of Armenian women throughout our history, from ancient times to the Armenian national movement, Genocide, Artsakh liberation movement, to today. Recalling her own experiences growing up, she spoke of the crucial role and influence of her mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law in her spiritual and nationalistic development, women she regards as her role models and by whose example she raises her own daughter. Armenian mothers have a vital role in the growth of their children, and with the complexities of modern times, alongside being homemaker and nurturers, mothers also have to work outside the home to contribute to the family finances, said Hovsepian. Armenian mothers are furthermore distinguished by their unique mission of providing Armenian education and rousing in their children the spirit of nationalism, of the Armenian Cause and the defense of our rights, recalling that during the Genocide and in following years, Armenian mothers were staunch defenders in this regard and had an unparalleled role in preserving and perpetuating our Armenian identity. Thus, said the speaker, today’s mothers owe a debt to the Genocide and post-Genocide generation of mothers, and must continue in their example, must participate in Armenian organizations and prevent assimilation by firmly planting the Armenian identity in their children.
The luncheon concluded with the Prelate’s message. His Eminence commended the Ladies Auxiliary for organizing such events, which offer spiritual and intellectual nourishment, and commended the program participants for their part in highlighting the important obligations and valuable mission of Armenian mothers. The Prelate stated that the virtues and mission of mothers has been written about extensively by our poets. However, long before, it was the Holy Bible which taught us to revere mothers and the Holy Mother of God who exemplified what it means to be a mother. He conveyed his blessings to all the mothers and sisters, and blessed the memory of all departed mothers, and expressed his wish that today’s mothers faithfully carry out the mission entrusted to them with pure hearts, good conscience, and faith. Continuing, the Prelate said that one of the most important responsibilities of a mother is the religious instruction of her children; to take her children to church and cultivate our faith and Armenian identity and belongingness in their hearts and souls. “The future of our nation lies in your hands,” stressed the Prelate, and concluded by reminding the guests that the “Year of the Armenian Mother” celebrations will culminate with the main event on Tuesday, October 29, with a lecture organized by the Prelacy Cultural-Educational Committee to be held in the same hall. The event features Principal of Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School, Dr. Alina Dorian, as the keynote speaker. Pilibos students will contribute to the cultural program.