Weekly News – August 17, 2012


During the past weeks, the 17-month conflict in Syria has escalated to dangerous proportions. Caught in the crossfire of this growing conflict are the innocent citizens of Syria, among them the large Armenian community.

The presence of Armenians in Syria dates back many centuries, and throughout that time, the community has had an important role in the Armenian Diaspora reality.  Especially after the Armenian Genocide, the growing Armenian community, through its hard work and determination has created beneficial situation for nurturing families and establishing national institutions such as churches and schools, and preserving our heritage and traditions. Today, due to the current conflict, the Armenian community is facing a crisis. The Armenian community organizations in Syria, by adhering to the survivalist spirit of the Armenian people, have already mobilized to effectively and in an organized manner cater to the needs of the community.

In light of this mounting humanitarian crisis, Armenians will not remain indifferent, and will get to work to extend a helping hand and assist the Syrian-Armenian community.

The Armenian American community of Western United States is equally concerned with these developments, which impact the entire Armenian nation. Any harm inflicted upon any member of our dispersed Armenian family equally impacts the rest of the family be they in Armenia or the Diaspora. With increased resolve and conviction we must be ready to support the Syrian-Armenian population, just as we have come to aid of our brethren in Armenia, Artsakh, Lebanon and Iraq, in their time of need.

We call upon the Armenian American community of the Western United States to facilitate the needs of the Syrian-Armenian community and to contribute for the preservation of the Armenian community. The Syrian-Armenian community has fulfilled its centuries-old mission proudly, and today as it holds on to its home, the community is aware of its exceptional and unique role it has had in the Diaspora, which unequivocally needs to be preserved.

We hereby announce the formation of a Joint Committee in Support of the Syrian-Armenian Community.

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian                   Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian
Bishop Mikael Mouradian                            Rev. Joe Matossian
Social Democrat Hunchakian Party           Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Armenian Democratic Liberal Party          Armenian General Benevolent Union
Armenian Relief Society                               Armenian Missionary Association of America

August 15, 2012



On Sunday, August 19, 2012, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, will preside over Divine Liturgy and deliver the sermon at Holy Martyrs Church in Encino.



This past week, a number of Prelacy Schools welcomed back their students for the start of the 2012-2013 academic year, with the remaining schools to reopen in the coming days.

Each year, the new school year commences with prayers and the conveying of the Prelate’s message and blessings to the students and administration.

Thursday, August 16, 2012, was back to school for Vahan and Anoush Chamlian School first grade students.  The students met their teachers and fellow classmates and became familiarized with their daily routine for the new school year.  The Parents also became acquainted with their children’s teachers and the curriculum for the new year.

H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate joined the administration and staff of Vahan and Anoush Chamlian School to welcome the first grade class to the new school year.  Crescenta Valley Pastor Rev. Fr. Ghevont Kirazian and Executive Council member Mr. Vahan Bezdikian accompanied the Prelate.

Upon their arrival, the Prelate and accompaniers were greeted by Principal Mr. Vazken Madenlian and Vice-Principal Mrs. Rita Kaprielian.  After prayers and the delivering of welcoming remarks, the Prelate delivered his message, which was followed by breakfast with the administration and parents

The Prelate then visited the four first grade classrooms where he interacted with the students and conveyed his blessings to them for a successful school year.

The Prelate will continue his visits to Prelacy Schools in the coming days and weeks.   On Monday, August 20, the Prelate will visit Ferrahian School in Encino.



The “Harut Barsamian Scholarship Fund” Committee, established within the Prelacy and which operates under the auspices of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, has reviewed scholarship applications received for the upcoming academic term and has made a decision to award scholarships to two students.

The committee is comprised of the Prelate, Prof. Harut Barsamian, and Dr. Garo Agopian. The committee awarded scholarships to the following students:

– Alex Tashjian                        $1,500
– Rafael Tufenkjian                 $1,500



On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, the newly appointed Board of Regents of Prelacy Schools held their meeting, during which they elected their officers of the board.

Executive Council Chair Mrs. Rima Boghossian and Executive Council representative to the Board of Regents Mr. George Chorbajian also attended the meeting.  On behalf of the Executive Council, Mrs. Boghossian welcomed the new board members and wished them success in their upcoming endeavors.

The officers were elected as follows:

Mr. Sako Berberian                                         Co-Chair
Mrs. Maggie Sarkuni                                       Co-Chair
Mrs. Houri Arslanian-Keuroghlian              Secretary
Mr. Chris Keosian, Esq.                                  Treasurer
Mrs. Sossi Hovsepian                                      Advisor
Ms. Charlotte Sassounian                               Advisor
Dr. Jeannine Topalian-Alkeine                     Advisor
Mrs. Azita Avedissian-Yacoubian, Esq.       Advisor
Dr. Hasmig Baran                                            Advisor

In the coming weeks, the Board of Regents will appoint new School Boards.




Sunday, August 12, 2012, was the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, one of five great feasts in the Armenian Church.  This feast commemorates how St. Mary was carried up into heaven, body and soul, or “assumed” into heaven.  This was performed by our Lord Jesus Christ many years after His Ascension as a loving tribute to the mother who bore and raised him.  On this feast, the Blessing of Grapes takes place following Divine Liturgy.  The service is rich in symbolism and emphasizes the important role of the Virgin Mary in the revelation of God.  The blessing of the grapes became part of this celebration due to their association to Jesus Christ in numerous biblical references and in thanksgiving to God as the first fruit of the harvest.

The Feast of the Assumption was  ceremoniously celebrated in all Prelacy Churches with Divine Liturgy and the blessing of grapes.

The feast is also the name day of St. Mary’s Church in Glendale.  Thus, on this occasion, H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, celebrated Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at St. Mary’s Church.  Following Divine Liturgy, the Prelate conducted the blessing of grapes and madagh. 

In his sermon, the Prelate exalted the innocence, humility, purity, and blessedness of the Virgin Mary, and especially St. Mary’s abiding obedience to and unwavering faith and trust in God.  “The Virgin Mary is most blessed among women and became worthy of being the Holy Mother of God and the perfect model of motherhood.”  The virtues and saintly life of the Virgin Mary is an ideal example and daily reminder to hear and listen to God’s plan for our lives and submit ourselves to His holy will.  The Feast of the Assumption invites us all, and specifically our mothers and sisters, to live exemplary lives by heeding not our own wants and needs, but rather the will of God.  As we celebrate this special feast, let us today vow to transform our spiritual lives.  By the intercession of St. Mary, we pray for Almighty God to heal and revitalize our minds, bodies, and spirits, and to grant peace to the nations of the world, and especially to the Syrian people”, concluded the Prelate.

During Divine Liturgy, “Der Voghormya” prayers were offered for the safety and tranquility of the Syrian people and nation.

At the conclusion of the service, the Prelate conducted the ceremony of the blessing of grapes and madagh, after which His Eminence also blessed a pair of wedding crowns donated to each Prelacy Church by sponsors Mr. and Mrs. Kevork and Mirna Kacharian.

On Saturday, August 11, eve of the Feast services took place at St. Mary’s Church and the church remained open late into the night so faithful could light candles and offer their prayers.



St. Sarkis Church of Pasadena this year had organized a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for youth which consisted of Bible stories, Psalm readings, prayers, singing, games, and fun and educational activities.  The inaugural VBS, titled “Fishers of Men”, was held in four one-week sessions, beginning on July 16 and concluding on August 10, 2012.  This new initiative was sponsored by the Church Board of Trustees and organized by the Sunday School.

H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, visited the students of the Vacation Bible School on the last day, Friday, August 10, delivered his message to the youth, and witnessed what they had learned in the program.  Upon his arrival the Prelate was welcomed by Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Khoren Babochian, Board of Trustees Chair Mr. Hagop Avedikian, Sunday School Director Mrs. Taline Zomdjian-Naccashian, teachers, and students.

The students sang hymns and recited prayers for the Prelate, after which they had the opportunity to ask His Eminence questions.  The Prelate applauded the students for dedicating a portion of their summer for their spiritual nourishment, and presented them with mementos in commendation of their participation.  He also had the students promise that they would encourage their parents to take them to church and to serve our church.  His Eminence also commended the Sunday School Director and teachers for devoting their time and efforts to teaching our youth the Bible and about the Armenian Church.


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