Prelacy Expresses Support for the Telethon at Luncheon in Honor of Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan

Each year during Thanksgiving, the President and Primate of Artsakh visit Los Angeles to participate in the Armenia Fund Telethon.  On the occasion of their annual visit, the Western Prelacy hosts the honored guests to a luncheon with representatives of Prelacy churches, schools, committees, and representatives of community organizations.

In keeping with tradition, on Wednesday, November 27, 2013, His Excellency Bako Sahakyan, President of Artsakh, visited the Prelacy where he was welcomed by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, clergy, councils, leaders of community organizations, committee members, and sponsors.  The President’s delegation included Sergey Sarkisov, Consul General of the Republic of Armenian in Los Angeles, Georgi Petrosyan, Advisor to the President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Robert Avetisyan, NKR Permanent Representative in the United States, Antranig Baghdassarian, Armenia Fund Western Region Chairman, Artak Galstyan, Deputy Consul General of the Republic of Armenian in Los Angeles, and David Babayan, Chief of the Information Department of the Staff of the President of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic.

A welcoming meeting was first held at the “Sulahian” Reception Hall, after which the President and his entourage were hosted to lunch at the “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall organized by the Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary.

Guests included Central Executive members, Religious and Executive Councils, representatives of the ARF Central Committee, Prelacy churches, schools, and committees,  Homenetmen, ARS, Hamazkayin, Board of Regents, CASPS, Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary, and sponsors.

Archpriest Fr. Vicken Vassilian, who served as the Master of Ceremonies, welcomed the guests and invited the Prelate for the blessing of the tables.  The Prelate invited the gathering to collectively recite the Lord’s Prayer.  Central Executive Council member Mr. Khajag Dikijian invited the guests to raise a glass to the President and people of Artsakh.  Photographer Tsolag Hovsepian, who was among the guests in attendance, presented the President and members of his delegation with copies of his newly published photo book.

The MC then invited Executive Council Chair Mrs. Rima Boghossian to deliver his remarks.  Mrs. Boghossian greeted the President and honored guests and took the opportunity to speak proudly about the heroic people of Artsakh and their leadership, stating that as in previous years, Armenian people around the world will once again support the Telethon and contribute to the mission of nation-building.  Noting the importance of the Vardenis-Martakart highway, Mrs. Boghossian stated that its construction is a national obligation.  In conclusion, she thanked and commended the administration and staff of Armenia Fund and wished success to the President and to all in their service to our homeland.

After lunch, Armenia Fund Western Region Chair Mr. Antranig Baghdassarian addressed the gathering.  He lauded the leadership and soldiers of Artsakh for their sacrifices and commitment to the defense of the country, which he said is carried out with limited resources.  Thus, Mr. Baghdassarian stressed the importance of contributing to the Telethon because the Vardenis-Martakert highway is crucial from a strategic standpoint as well.

ARF Central Committee Chair Dr. Viken Hovsepian affirmed that the guests present and the Armenian community of the Western United States in general is devoted to the cause of nation-building.  He stated that whereas in the past we spoke of sustaining the Armenian people, today the focus is on building up our nation and our people, a mission shared by our schools and organizations who are inspiring our youth to take an active role in the future of our nation.  Dr. Hovsepian noted that few are aware of the challenges faced by the President and leadership of Artsakh regarding the defense and rebuilding of the country, and thus, on behalf of the guests in attendance, he expressed the solidarity of all to the process of rebuilding of our nation.

The Prelate welcomed the President and delegation with well wishes, specifically acclaiming the courage, dedication, and humility of the President.  He also conveyed his well wishes to H.E. Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, Primate of Artsakh, who could not attend.  His Eminence stated that for many years now, the Thanksgiving holiday has become not only an occasion to welcome representatives of Artsakh, but also an opportunity to contribute to the noble mission of nation-building.  In this regard, the Prelate affirmed the support of the guests in attendance, members of the Prelacy family, announcing that Prelacy churches, schools, and benefactors would be expressing their support and solidarity to Artskah by contributing around $100,000 to the Telethon.  In conclusion, he wished for a successful Telethon and for the successful construction of the Vardenis-Martakert highway, a vital pathway for the development of Artsakh.  Given that it was the new Consul General’s first visit to the Prelacy, the Prelate gifted Mr. Sergey Sarkisov the Rescued Armenian Treasures from Cilicia book.  He then invited President Bako Sahakyan to deliver his message.

His Excellency began by expressing gratitude for opportunities to gather with the people on joyous occasions, recently Armenian independence day, 20th anniversary of the liberation of Shushi, and the 25th anniversary of the start of the Artsakh liberation movement.  The President spoke of the fruitful collaboration between the homeland and diaspora, which he referred to as special and exemplary.  The President stated during a visit with Armenian children and youth in Los Angeles, he felt their love and bond with the Armenian homeland, which demonstrates that generations of youth away from the homeland are being raised and instructed to serve our nation.  President Sahakyan spoke of the significance of the Vardenis-Martakert highway, calling it not just a regular path, but a path to the endurance of the Armenian people.  Reflecting on the Artsakh liberation struggle, the President stressed that we will not be hindered by difficulties and that nation-building will continue.
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  Lastly, the President stated that ideals inherited from past generations provide the new generations with powerful defenses which are stronger and more effective than actual arms, and concluded with the conviction that no matter where we are geographically, we all belong to one and the same group, and we must continue our path of service with love for our homeland.

The Prelate presented President Sahakyan with a glass artwork of a cross by Canadian-Armenian artist Vatche Arakelian, which the President announced he would gift to a church to be built in southern Artsakh for Syrian Armenian refugees.

The Prelate thanked the Ladies Auxiliary for organizing the luncheon, and the event came to a close with the benediction.

At the Telethon the following day, President Sahakyan presented the Prelate with a memento as a token of appreciation for his continued support.

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