Tribute to Elders and Holy Translators at Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary Luncheon

In celebration of the Year of the Elder proclamation of His Holiness Aram I, the Western Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary hosted a special luncheon on Thursday, October 9, 2014 at the “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall, presided over by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and with the participation of over one hundred guests. Among the guests were Archpriest Fr. Nareg Pehlivanian, ARF Central Committee and Hamazkayin Central Executive member Dr. Viken Yacoubian, Vahan and Anoush Chamlian School Principal Dr. Talin Kargodorian and Vice-Principal Mrs. Rita Kaprielian.

The luncheon began with remarks by Ladies Auxiliary Vice-Chair Mrs. Vartoug Avedikian who welcomed the guests and then introduced the day’s keynote speaker, prominent educator and Chamlian School teacher Ms. Ani Berberian.

After expressing her appreciation for the opportunity to address the gathering, Ms. Berberian focused her speech on a segment from the Pontiff’s proclamation on respecting, honoring, and caring for our elderly. Looking back in history, said Ms. Berberian, elders have been entrusted with leadership roles because of their wisdom and experience. She noted the coinciding of the event with the eve of the Feast of the Holy Translators, stating that our translator forefathers, with their vast wisdom and knowledge, had a fundamental role in the formation of our national life. In today’s families and society, elders are a blessing and guides for our youth, she said, giving as an example many young parents who rely heavily on grandparents for the care and instruction of their children, from whom they learn culture, traditions, and goodness. Thus, she stressed, our older generations are worthy of our utmost care, love, and respect, from all and especially from younger generations. From the time of Catholicos Nerses the Great, our Patriarchs and leaders have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate great love and care for our elders by establishing old age homes and providing for their needs. Ms. Berberian regretfully noted that in today’s society, that reverence for elders is in decline, and so, it is more important than ever to heed the message of His Holiness. She concluded by stating that Chamlian School has a beautiful tradition in this regards, telling of the annual visit of students to Ararat Home at the start of the year to perform recitations and songs for the elderly residents.

In appreciation for her interesting and informative talk, Mrs. Vartoug Avedikian presented Ms. Berberian with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the Ladies Auxiliary, and the Prelate gifted the keynote speaker with a pearl cross.

During the ensuing lunch, Chamlian School 7th and 8th grade students presented a cultural program of recitations and musical selections on the piano. Remarks were delivered by the Armenian club representative and Student Council president. The latter thanked the Prelate for his regular visits to their school and for his constant care and attention, and invited his classmates to join him in presenting His Eminence with a memento. The Prelate in turn presented the students with a book dedicated to Armenian mothers.

The official program concluded with the Prelate’s message. His Eminence began his remarks by individually commending the Ladies Auxiliary, keynote speaker, students, and guests for the physically and spiritually nourishing event. He stated that the event was purposefully held on the eve of the Feast of the Holy Translators to highlight the correlation between our elders and Holy Translators with regards to their valuable contributions to our lives. The Prelate invited the guests to participate in evening service at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino the following evening and in Divine Liturgy at Forty Martyrs Church in Orange County on Sunday, both in celebration of the Feast of the Holy Translators and with the participation of H.E. Archbishop Shahan Sarkissian, Prelate of Aleppo, who will address the community on the situation in Syria. He also urged the guests to lend their support to our brothers and sisters in Syria during events planned on the visit of the Prelate.

The Prelate highlighted the crucial role of the Translators in developing and preserving our Christian faith. He noted that the first sentence translated into Armenian, “to know wisdom and instruction…” is itself an invitation to learn and increase our knowledge, which we do from our elders. Elders teach us rules and regulations, they teach us about our history, to pray, and to remain allegiant to our traditions and cultural heritage, values that we are obliged to uphold today in our individual and collective lives. It is the responsibility of parents to instill in their children these values, as well as respect and care for our elders, for as it says in Proverbs, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”. Elders are a gift to society with much to teach with their vast knowledge and life experiences, said the Prelate, and cited a fitting African proverb that says “When an elder dies, it is as if an entire library has burned to the ground”. His Eminence concluded by expressing hope that our centuries-old values are transmitted to our youth and that our new generations will protect and preserve those values. The event came to a close with the Prelate’s benediction.

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