At the Prelacy 40th Representatives Assembly – Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian Unanimously Re-Elected Prelate for a Fifth Term

On the afternoon of Friday, April 20, 2012 the 40th Prelacy Representatives Assembly convened at the “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall, presided over by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and hosted by Holy Cross Cathedral of Montebello.

Clergy, Central Executive members Mr. Khajag Dikijian and Mr. Vahe Yacoubian, Religious and Executive Councils, Delegates, Boards of Trustees Chairs, Board of Regents, Principals and Directors, and representatives of CASPS participated in the two-day assembly, during which the annual activities reports of the Prelate and Religious and Executive Councils were reviewed, and the endeavors of the coming term were drafted. Also on the agenda was the election of the Prelate and Councils. The sessions of the first day concluded with the unanimous re-election of Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian as Prelate for a fifth four-year term. The Assembly concluded on Saturday, April 21st with the election of the Religious and Executive Councils.

The Assembly officially convened with the opening prayer led by the Prelate and clergy members, after which Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian read the message of H.H. Catholicos Aram I.

His Holiness reminded the meeting participants that they were called to the Assembly to analyze and commendably recognize the achievements of the previous year, and together to plan activities and endeavors for the coming term. His Holiness also called attention to recent challenges, urging the delegates to examine such difficulties with a realistic approach while keeping in mind the duty of the church with regards to the concerns and needs of the people.

The provisional divan was then elected, with Mr. Sarkis Yegenian as Chairman and Mr. Shiraz Savoian as Secretary.

Central Executive Council Mr. Khajag Dikijian was then invited to deliver his remarks. Mr. Dikijian called on the delegates to proceed with a level of deep understanding and responsibility as they work together to overcome challenges and reach new heights, specifically in the field of preparing new clergy, strengthening schools, involving the youth, and revitalizing parishes.

In her remarks, Executive Council Chair Mrs. Rima Boghossian reflected on her experiences in the past two years, and especially during the last year with the success of the Pontifical Visit, and thanked the Prelate, Central Executive, Executive Council, Pontifical Visit and other committees, and staff, for their collaboration and input.

On behalf of the host parish, Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Shiraz Savoian welcomed the participants and wished for a successful assembly.

The Prelate was then invited to deliver his message, which he began by first offering gratitude and praise to Almighty God for having granted another year of service and for bringing them together to plan for the coming year. He then expressed thanks and gratitude to His Holiness Catholicos Aram I for his continued guidance and wisdom, and moreover for honoring us with his Pontifical Visit last October, and thanked all those who contributed to the success of the Pontifical Visit with their input and support, especially Central Executive members Mr. Khajag Dikijian and Mr. Vahe Yacoubian for their work as the Co-Chairmen of the Pontifical Visit Steering Committee.

The Prelate then reflected on the events of the past few months, which caused a commotion in our community and took up useful time, and wished that we soon return to normal working conditions.

The Prelate spoke commendably about a number of achievements in the past year, but also reflected on some challenges, such as the global economic crisis and its effect on our churches and schools, and the preparation of new clergy. Speaking on the election agenda of the Assembly, the Prelate commended and thanked the outgoing members of the Executive Council who are not eligible for re-election, and expressed confidence that we will enjoy their sincere friendship and enduring support in the years to come.

The Prelate also brought to the attention of the delegates that next year the Prelacy will be celebrating its 40th anniversary, and reflected on the considerable growth and expansion of the Prelacy in the last four decades thanks to collaborative efforts. Citing from the epistle of the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 3:8-12, he urged the delegates and all those present to work together as children of Christ with compassion, love, tenderheartedness, and courteousness, for the glory of God, the Armenian Apostolic Church, and our people.

The Prelate concluded his message by announcing that a new and an extraordinary allocation had been made to Prelacy Schools. (A press release with details to be issued shortly).

The election of the permanent divan followed, with Mr. Nazareth Sadorian and Dr. Garo Agopian elected Chairmen, and Mr. Herair Jermakian and Mr. Khatchig Titizian as Secretaries.

Subsequently each parish representative was called to the podium to report to the Assembly on the undertakings and achievements of their respective parishes over the past year.

The Prelate then reminded the delegates of the annual tradition of honoring a devoted servant of our Prelacy during the Assembly, and announced that this year’s honoree was Mr. Raffi Torossian, Sunday School Director of St. Garabed Church of Hollywood, who has been involved with our church for over forty years as a student and teacher, and as a director for the past thirty years. Along with the Religious and Executive Council Chairs, the Prelate presented Mr. Torossian, who was joined by his wife and mother, with a memento in commendation for his dedicated service.

Mr. Torossian thanked the Prelate for the unexpected honor. He described how as a youth he was drawn to Sunday School after reading a spiritual book, and also spoke of his service both in Beirut and Los Angeles. He stressed that long-term service requires a certain spirit, and expressed confidence that the Assembly participants serve with that same spirit. In conclusion, Mr. Torossian once again expressed thanks and gratitude to the Prelate and Councils, and vowed to continue his devoted service.

During the second session, the annual financial report and auditing committee report was presented, as well as briefings by the Religious and Executive Councils and the Board of Regents. After reviewing and examining the activities of the Prelate, Councils, and committees serving under their auspices, the Assembly found the endeavors to be “highly commendable”.

The last item of the day was the election of the Prelate.

The letter of His Holiness naming the three candidates was read. The candidates were H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, and Very Rev. Fr. Massis Zobouyan.

The two candidates who were present left the hall to allow the delegates to being the voting process.

A motion was made to re-elect Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian unanimously, a motion which was seconded. Thus, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian was unanimously re-elected Prelate for a fifth four-year term.

The two candidates returned to the hall where upon learning the results of the election, Archbishop Mardirossian thanked the delegates for their vote of confidence. By a procession of Clergy and Councils members, His Eminence was led to the “St. Dertad and St. Ashkhen” Chapel for a prayer service and to deliver his message.

The Prelate first and foremost offered praise and gratitude to God, then expressed his thanks to H.H. Catholicos Aram I for his assurance, and to the delegates for their vote of confidence in electing him to a fifth term. Reading a prayer that is offered during the ordination of a Bishop, the Prelate stated that the prayer said during his own ordination as Bishop fifteen years ago today serves as a renewal of his vow. He then invited Clergy and Councils members to join him in prayer and to manifest the spirit of the aforementioned prayer in their service to our church, schools, and community. The Prelate also expressed thanks for the collaboration and support of our community organizations, and stressed that we will endeavor in the coming years with an even stronger spirit of service. The service concluded with the Lord’s Prayer and the Cilician and Pontifical anthems.

The Assembly reconvened the following morning. During the two sessions, proposals were offered and drafted for the endeavors of the coming term and the budget was reviewed and approved. The last item on the agenda was the election of the Religious and Executive Councils.

The Religious Council was unanimously elected as follows:

Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian

Archpriest Fr. Khoren Habeshian

Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian

Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian

Rev. Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian

Rev. Fr. Ardak Demirjian

Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian

The Executive Council was unanimously elected as follows:

Mrs. Rima Boghossian (re-elected)

Mr. George Chorbajian (re-elected)

Mr. Toros Kejejian (re-elected)

Mr. Vahan Bezdikian (re-elected)

Mr. Sako Shirikian (re-elected)

Mr. Bill Sahatdjian (re-elected)

Ms. Ani Mgrdichian-Garikian

Mr. Mher Der Ohanessian

Dr. Navasart Kazazian

Dr. Misak Barsamian

Dr. Dikran Babikian

The election of the Auditing Committee followed, with the election of Mr. Kahren Beniasians, Mr. Alex Poulatian, and Mr. Nazareth Sadorian.

On behalf of the divan, Chairmen Mr. Nazareth Sadorian and Dr. Garo Agopian congratulated the Prelate and Councils on their elections, and thanked the delegates for their participation and input.

The Prelate conveyed commendation at the success of the Assembly, thanking God for guiding the proceedings. He also thanked the delegates for their productive comments and suggestions, and stated with confidence that as members of the Prelacy-Church-School family, we will collectively continue our endeavors and mission with harmony and collaboration. The Prelate also once again thanked the outgoing Executive Council members and welcomed the new members, and commended the divan and the staff, who with limited time capably carried out their responsibilities for the Assembly. In conclusion the Prelate thanked the host parish, Holy Cross Cathedral of Montebello, and invited Central Executive member Mr. Vahe Yacoubian for his remarks.

Mr. Yacoubian commended the smooth and productive proceedings of the Assembly, hoped that the work will continue just as successfully in the coming terms with the new Councils, and concluded by congratulating the Prelate and newly elected Councils.

The Assembly concluded in the afternoon with the benediction by the Prelate and the Cilician anthem.

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