LOS ANGELES—Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hosted a dinner on Monday evening for His Holiness Catholicos Aram I at the Getty House, his official residence.
His Holiness was accompanied by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and staff bearer Very Rev. Fr. Mesrob Sarkissian. Among the invited guests were leaders of the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths, including Archbishop Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan (Syriac Orthodox Church), Pastor William Monroe Campbell (Mt. Gilead Missionary Baptist Church), Rabbi Mark Diamond (Board of Rabbis), Imam Jihad Turk (Religious Director, Islamic Center of Southern California), Pastor Jim Tolle (Church on the Way), Very Rev. Fr. John Bakas (Dean, St. Sophia Cathedral), Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool (Episcopal Diocese), and Fr. Antony Attallah (Coptic Orthodox Diocese). Guests from the Prelacy included Central Executive Council members Khajag Dikijian and Vahe Yacoubian, Executive Council member Vahrij Pilavjian, ARF CC Chair Avedik Izmirlian, Mourad Topalian, Varant Melkonian, and Harry Nadjarian.
Mayor Villaraigosa first had a private meeting with His Holiness and the Prelate, after which they joined the guests for dinner.
The Mayor welcomed the Catholicos, announcing that it was the first time he was hosting a spiritual leader at his residence.
With leaders from the various faiths gathered around one table, the evening included interesting dialogue on ecumenical and inter-faith relations. It was stressed that although there are differences among the faiths, there must always be mutual respect. Given his vast experience in the ecumenical arena, the Catholcos answered questions addressed to him by the guests.
In his remarks, the Mayor spoke highly of His Holiness and also on the contributions of the Armenian community in Los Angeles.
The evening concluded with an exchange of mementos.