Pilibos Students Visit the Prelacy ahead of Pilgrimage to Armenia

On Thursday, April 28, 2016, the 11th grade class of Rose and Alex Pilibos School visited the Prelacy to receive the blessings of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, ahead of their upcoming pilgrimage to Armenia.
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The sixty students and accompanying teachers, Mr. Kevork Sarkissian, Mrs. Tamar Seraydarian, Mrs. Anoush Elarian, and Mr. Moushegh Bedevian, first gathered at the“St. Dertad and St. Ashkhen” Chapel for prayer led by the Prelate, who was joined by Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian and Archpriest Fr. Nareg Pehlivanian. The students heard the hymm dedicated to the holy martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, which the Prelate later expounded on.

The visit continued at the “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall where the students presented a culturally rich program of songs, recitations, instrumental performances, and dance. In the opening remarks, Armenian department director Mr. Kevork Sarkissian noted that the class is the sixteenth to make the Armenia pilgrimage since the year 2000 and stated that due to the current situation in Artsakh the students will not have the opportunity to visit, but that they will take provisions with them for the families of soldiers and those affected by the conflict.

Student Marineh Sanossian delivered remarks, affirming on behalf of her classmates their faithfulness and commitment to preserving the legacy of our forefathers, our faith, our cause, our homeland, and national identity. A number of students served as MC’s throughout the program, a poignant program paying homage to the works of our most revered composers and writers and expressing the students’ solidarity with Artsakh and their commitment to pursuing our cause until victory.

The Prelate greeted and addressed the students, stating, “We have experienced many trials and tribulations throughout our history, the greatest of which was the Genocide, the 101st anniversary of which we commemorated just recently. But thanks to our faith we have endured, for if God is with us, who can be against us?” His Eminence commended the students’ talents and performances, and especially their expressions toward our faith, language, and cultural heritage, as well as their teachers and parents.

The students thereafter had a dialogue with the Prelate, addressing questions and speaking about their daily lives. They spoke of a conference that was held at their school the day before which examined a number of issues such as the revitalization of our language, preservation of our identity, and Armenia-Diaspora relations. A discussion followed on the role of our schools and organizations in the proliferation of our language and the strengthening of our national identity within our new generations. In response to a question posed by the Prelate, the students stated that being Armenian means knowing our language, our heritage, having faith and national consciousness.

The Prelate also touched upon the ongoing attacks on Artsakh, affirming that we are all one with Artskah and that the Prelacy is doing its part in fundraising efforts initiated by His Holiness Aram I. “The Armenian people live, will continue to live, and will continue to grow. We will not concede our rights,” asserted the Prelate, and wished them a safe and momentous trip stating, “We are certain that you will return from your pilgrimage strengthened in your national identity and will have a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices and devotion of your parents and teachers in providing you with an Armenian education. And we will be proud of you.”

The program concluded with the singing of “Kedashen,” the benediction, Cilicia and the Armenian national anthem. Each student received mementos from the Prelate, illustrated cards featuring a prayer for the intercession of our holy martyrs and a poster bearing the famous quote by William Saroyan. Students then had the opportunity to pay their respects to our holy martyrs at the Armenian Genocide memorial monument.

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