Prelate Participates in Inauguration of Honorary Consulate in Las Vegas and Genocide Centennial Commemorative Events

The weekend of April 18, 2015 will live on as a memorable one for the Armenian community of Las Vegas and beyond, featuring the inauguration of the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Armenia, the unveiling of a Genocide memorial plaque at the UNLV campus, and Episcopal Divine Liturgy celebrated by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate.

On Saturday afternoon the Prelate participated in the inauguration of the Honorary Consulate. The program featured welcoming remarks, introduction of official guests, and presentation of certificates to the newly appointed Honorary Consul Mr. Adroushan Armenian. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, clergy leaders conducted the blessing of the office and of salt and bread. Dignitaries and state and local officials attended the ceremony, including Nevada State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen, Congresswoman Dina Titus, Congressman Joe Heck, Assembly members Ellen Spiegel, Victoria Seaman, and Victoria Dooling, Consul General Sergey Sarkisov, Consul Levon Minasyan, Honorary Consul of Fresno Berj Apkarian, and representatives from the ARF Central Committee members and Armenian organizations.

The unveiling of the plaque at the UNLV campus dedicated to the survivors of the Armenian Genocide followed the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The plaque was sponsored by the Tarkanian family in memory of the late UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. A cultural program followed at the Student Union Hall, organized by the Armenian American Cultural Society of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Armenian Genocide Centennial Education Subcommittee. Both events were sponsored by the UNLV History Department.

In the evening, Honorary Consul Adroushan Armenian and his wife Nora hosted a dinner at the Trinidad Ballroom of the Tropicana Hotel in honor of visiting dignitaries and Las Vegas Consular Corp. The dinner was held under the auspices of His Excellency Ambassador Tigran Sargsyan and His Excellency Consul General Sergey Sarkisov, and under the patronage of H.
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E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and H.E. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate. Welcoming remarks were conveyed by Mr. Armenian’s daughters Hera and Carnie. The Prelate delivered the invocation and his message. His Eminence congratulated Mr. Armenian, with whom he has a friendship dating back twenty-five years, and commended his diligent and dedicated service over that time. His Eminence highlighted Mr. Armenian’s fundamental role in the re-establishment of the Las Vegas parish community and in the construction of St. Garabed Church and Cultural Center, for which he was awarded the Prelacy “St. Dertad” medal, and wished his continued successes in his varied endeavors.

Remarks were conveyed by Consul General Sergey Sarkisov, Honorary Consul Berj Apkarian, and Honorary Consul Adroushan Armenian. Proclamations were presented by public officials. The evening also featured a dance performance by the Armenian Dance Academy of Las Vegas.

On the morning of Sunday, April 19, the Prelate celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at St. Garabed Church. Parish Pastor Rev. Fr Arsen Kassabian and former parish pastor Rev. Fr. Avedis Torossian assisted at the altar. Prior to beginning his sermon, His Eminence gave thanks to God for the opportunity to share in the historic weekend and to join the parish community on the third Sunday of Easter, Green Sunday, which symbolizes rebirth, a fitting coincidence, he said, as we remember our martyrs and the rebirth of our nation as well as renew our pledge to continue our fight for justice. The Prelate recalled that the consecration of the church was also conducted on Green Sunday two years before, and joyfully stated that hereafter the consecration anniversary of St. Garabed Church will be celebrated on Green Sunday.

The Prelate’s message focused on the rebirth of Christ’s disciples following His Resurrection. Having seen the Risen Christ, the disciples were revitalized with new life, one of unyielding faith, unending hope, and unwavering courage. They established the Christian Church and fearlessly set out to spread His Word and His Light to the world, and in doing so, brought new life to the masses. Those who accepted the Gospel were transformed with the promise of everlasting life, and the world also was forever changed with the blossoming and flourishing of Christianity.

His Eminence emphasized that our forefathers became among the first members of the new Church, they adapted and gave it a unique Armenian identity and worked hard to develop and strengthen it, and it is the duty of all of us here today to follow in their footsteps and strive to keep our Church strong and flourishing for centuries more, stressed the Prelate. One hundred years ago, 1.5 million of our innocent ancestors walked their own path to the Golgotha of Der Zor for love and defense of the Armenian faith and identity. Turkey set out to obliterate the Armenian people from the map, but they ultimately failed, for armed with the indestructible faith and hope of the Resurrection, the Armenian nation was reborn from the ashes of the Genocide. We overcame, we rebuilt, we thrived, and we will triumph, for the truth always prevails, said the Prelate. His Eminence also noted that as of April 23, our tearful requiem prayers for our martyrs will be replaced by prayers of intercession as they become canonized into the sainthood and dwell in eternal blessedness in the presence of God. “Today, the spirit of our martyrs calls on us to remember and keep their memory alive eternally, to remind the world of what they endured and of our just cause, and to keep demanding that which is rightfully ours. A new day is coming for the Armenian people,” stressed the Prelate.

Yesterday was also the start of a new day for this community, said the Prelate, and once again congratulated Honorary Consul Adroushan Armenian on his new assignment and wished him utmost success. “This community underwent a tremendous rebirth just a few years ago, and today we rejoice at how far you’ve come and continue to flourish. At this historic juncture of the Armenian Genocide Centennial, let us take this opportunity today to pledge that we will continue to serve our Lord and the Armenian Apostolic Church with the same faith and spirit of our forefathers, and let us vow that we will continue our struggle undeterred until justice is served. May this be a day of new life, new faith, and rebirth for us individually, for our families, communities, and for the Armenian nation as a whole,” concluded the Prelate.

At the conclusion of his sermon, His Eminence conducted the washing and consecration of a cross-stone, which on April 24 will be used a cornerstone for the Armenian Genocide monument to be constructed at Sunset Park.

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