Not Once in a Lifetime, Once in a Community – By Carnie Armenian

I have always been taught to understand and appreciate the value of everything I have.  Fortunately I have grown up with a wonderful family that understands all of my quirks and supports me endlessly in my many hopes and dreams, which on a day like today seems so selfish.  This weekend I was able to be a part of a memorable event; one that not only happens once in a lifetime, but once in a community; the consecration of the Armenian Church of Las Vegas, Nevada, a monumental event in preserving our culture and moving forward as a people.

Raised overseas for the first 14 years of my life I realized that each nation has a culture to be proud of.  Armenia, the best in my biased opinion, has a culture rich in a unique language, history, struggles, and new roads.  However, as a Diaspora Armenian, our story today is also molded by finding and developing a family and community outside of our homeland.  Unfortunately I was not surrounded by the Armenian community many of my peers grew up with, I was not able to attend Armenian school to learn reading and writing in my native tongue, and I never had the opportunity to develop life-long friendships from my childhood that I am so envious of.  To be Armenian is a huge part of me, it is in my name and in my blood, to be Armenian is who I am; but something I could only share with my family in the comfort of our home.  At the consecration of the Saint Garabed Armenian Church and Community Center of Las Vegas I realized that the future generations of the fastest-growing Armenian community in the world will forever have a place to call their own.  I can say, without a doubt, the Las Vegas community is now gifted with Armenian surroundings, they are able to attend Armenian school, and I already see that the youth has begun to develop childhood friendships to cherish.

The support this weekend, both morally and financially, was truly overwhelming.  No matter our age, organizational affiliations, or interests we have, as Armenians we share a common ground in Christianity and the Church, a core element deep in the roots of our culture.

At the “Opening of the Portals, Terenpatsek” ceremony His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, stated, “Partsratsank menk iprev azk [We have elevated ourselves as a people],” and I certainly see through the glazed eyes that filled the hall that the Armenian community of Las Vegas is beyond grateful to have been a part of this journey years in the making, and will surely continue to prosper.   On behalf of my community I say that Saint Garabed Church is appreciated further than words on a page can express, it is a moment in time that will forever fill our hearts with pride in our community, in our culture, and most importantly in being Armenian.

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