LA CRESCENTA, Calif.—On Thursday, November 15, the presentation of Sarkis Mahserejian’s latest novel titled “Land of Hidden Treasures” took place at the Western Prelacy “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall under the auspices of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
The event was organized by the Western Prelacy Cultural-Educational Committee in conjunction with Asbarez newspaper. The book is part of the “Hye Kir” young adult literature series and was published on the occasion of the centennial of the first Republic of Armenia. Members of the Religious Council, Executive Council, Ladies Auxiliary, writers, members of Armenian media, representatives of cultural associations, and educators were among the guests in attendance.
The program began with prayer. On behalf of the Cultural-Educational Committee, welcoming remarks were delivered by Chairman Herair Jermakian, who spoke on the significance of such events and noted that the evening was in a way an extension of the book fair which opened in Antelias on November 11 during which His Holiness Catholicos Aram I emphasized the importance of preserving and promoting Armenian books.
Moushegh Bedevian, a young member of the Committee and the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, touched on the purpose of the event and briefly spoke about the author before inviting Asbarez administrative director Apo Boghigian to express his thoughts.
Boghigian, a longtime friend and colleague of the author, highlighted Mr. Mahserejian’s distinguishing qualities and characteristics and his vast contributions to our literary heritage from his days working in the Armenian media in Lebanon to the present day authoring articles and books.
Arpi Dabbaghian, an educator, spoke on the work of the “Hye Kir” young adult literature series, which was established by the author and his brother Hovig two decades ago and to date has published seventeen books geared toward children and adolescents. She noted that the books, both original works and abridged versions of classic works, allow the youth to become familiarized with the works of our literary giants in a comprehensible manner and encourage them to express themselves in Armenian. She noted that the author has also written over twenty-five plays geared toward children and youth, which are utilized in Armenian Schools, and concluded by expressing her wish for more publications to come.
Arpi Jierian, also an educator, presented the book. She provided a comprehensive overview of the novel, which consists of eighty-three pages and follows the arduous travels of the young protagonist and his family. The story begins with the young boy stumbling upon an old map of Armenia left behind by his ancestors on which his fedayi great-great-grandfather had marked the site of a hidden treasure. The journey takes the family across modern Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk, to Van and the island of Aghtamar. At each location the treasure-seekers find different treasures than what they expected, objects such as guns, books, and jewelry, and in the end a complete map of Armenia, bequeathed as an attainable treasure for the hero and his peers. Mrs. Jierian described the book as an enjoyable and captivating read which offers vast information on our history and geography and can be used alongside textbooks or as an auxiliary textbook.
The program included folk and popular Armenian songs presented by two young musicians and members of “Element” Band, vocalist Aline Arustamyan and pianist Vahan Pznouni.
The author first thanked the Prelate, organizers, program participants, his brother Hovig Mahserejian, and guests for their support and encouragement. He stated that he considered the evening not as a regular book presentation but rather as an expression of love and devotion toward Armenian books and literary heritage. He expressed satisfaction for the book festivals and cultural events taking place in local Armenian schools as an extension of the Catholicosate’s 39th annual book fair, and gratitude to those who instilled in him love of literature. Mr. Mahserejian stressed the importance of rekindling love of reading in the lives of our youth and urged parents, teachers, and others to commit to instructing our youth with the treasures of our heritage.
The Prelate delivered the closing message, blessing and commending the author. The Prelate recited words from the hymn dedicated to St. Sarkis the Commander to describe Mahserejian’s number of attribute, underscored his valuable work within the Western Prelacy and contributions to our literary heritage and media, wishing him many more years of service.
The program closed with the benediction and “Cilicia,” after which guests enjoyed a reception while the author signed copies of his book.