Chamlian School Eighth Grade Students Receive Prelate’s Blessing Prior to Armenia Pilgrimage

On Thursday, March 20, 2014, eighth grade students from Vahan and Anoush Chamlian School visited the Prelacy to receive the blessings of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, in advance of their pilgrimage to Armenia.

The Prelate was joined by Archpriest Fr. Nareg Pehlivanian and.  Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian.  The students were accompanied by Vice-Principal, Mrs. Rita Kaprielian, teachers, and parents.
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The visit took place at “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall.  Student, and Master of Ceremonies, Edgmin Rostamian, delivered opening remarks, in which he stated to the Prelate that it was an honor to visit and receive his blessings prior to their trip.  He then invited two of his classmates to talk about their upcoming pilgrimage to Armenia.

The first student, Aleeque Marselian, expressed joy at their visit to the Prelacy, stating that the students regard the Prelacy as their home and the Prelate as their spiritual father who always welcomes them warmly like family, and how much they value the bond between the Prelacy and their school.  Speaking of their class trip, she stated how moving it would be to spend Easter and April 24 in Armenia, at Etchmiadzin and Dzidzernagapert, where they will honor the memory of our martyrs, and to see all the special sites, like the gravesite of St. Mesrob Mashdots, Khor Virab, Sardarabad and others.  She concluded with a promise to love and respect our mother tongue, to preserve our traditions and heritage, so that they are worthy of being called the descendants of our forefathers.
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The second student, Arman Hairapetyan, spoke of his numerous visits to Armenia, stating that each time he returns it feels as though he is returning home, and that he hopes to one day return permanently to his homeland and his roots.

Two students, Nayree Panossian and Alina Lahian, recited poetry they had written about Armenia.

Another student, Tania Buickians, spoke on the Genocide centennial and how students are also preparing to commemorate the significant anniversary along with Armenian people around the world.  She stated that her and her classmates have had discussions on the topic and exchanged ideas for commemorative events, including participating in protests, rallies, church services, write letters to the Turkish government, educate and involve non-Armenian students, and bring together all upper grade Armenian students in the area for a joint effort.

Finally, student Leanna Chraghchian conveyed her thoughts and feelings on being a graduating student, expressing sadness that her dream of continuing her education at an Armenian school will not be realized due to the lack of an Armenian high school in the area.

The MC then invited the Prelate to convey his message and blessings.

His Eminence began by stating that the presence of the students, and the deep, touching, and memorable program they presented was a blessing.  Thus, he commended and congratulated them, telling them how proud their Vice-Principal, teachers, parents, and he personally was of them, and how it was evident that they all had bright futures ahead.  Speaking of their pilgrimage, the Prelate expressed confidence that they would return from Armenia inspired and more deeply rooted in their ethnic identity after visiting such sacred sites as the birthplace of our faith, St. Etchmiadzin, the Genocide memorial monument at Dzidzernagapert, the location of the heroic battle of Sardarabad, and others.

As the students had spoken on the Genocide centennial, the Prelate informed them that he had just returned from a meeting on that very subject.  His Eminence noted that the commemorations will not only remind the world of our rights, they will show the world just how proactive and involved our younger generations are in the pursuit of our cause, as proven by the students’ remarks and recitations earlier.  In conclusion, quoting the famous Bible verse “for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap”, the Prelate stated that love, reverence, and pride for our faith and heritage are being planted in our youth, seeds from which we expect to reap abundant harvest in the future when they become the leaders of our schools, churches, and community organizations.  The students promised to cultivate all that their teachers and parents sow in them and grow to become exemplary Christian Armenians. The Prelate thus thanked the educators for the instruction they provide, and the parents for trusting their children to the care of Prelacy Schools.  The MC then announced that the students had a gift for the Prelate as a token of gratitude, and invited some classmates to join him in presenting the memento of St. Mesrob Mashdots.

The Prelate announced that he had a gift for them as well, Hrair “Hawk” Khatcherian’s photo book “Yergir 2 Yergir: A Journey to Historic Armenia”.

The program came to a close with a prayer for safe travel and benediction by the Prelate, and the collective singing of “Cilicia”.

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