Western Prelacy 46th Representative Assembly Elects New Religious and Executive Councils – Solidarity to the People of Armenia

On Friday, May 4, 2018, the 46th Western Prelacy Representative Assembly convened at “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall presided by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and with the participation of delegates, Catholicosate Central Executive members Mr. Vahe Yacoubian and Mr. Gaidzag Zetlian, clergy, members of the Religious and Executive Councils, Board of Trustees Chairpersons or representatives, members of the Board of Regents and CASPS, Prelacy Schools’ Principals and Directors. This year’s Assembly was hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of San Francisco.

The Assembly began with prayer offered by the clergy. H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Vicar General, read the Pontifical message of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I who invited the participants to assess the endeavors of the previous term with a constructive approach, outlined the expectations of the people from the church, stressed the importance of church servants being ready and able to take on challenges and of the church becoming a lively presence in the life of our people, and commended the Prelate, Councils, and all volunteers for their service. The election of the tivan followed, with Dr. Garo Agopian and Mr. George Chorbajian serving as Chairmen and Mr. Hamo Kasbarian and Mr. Hovig Filhanessian as Secretaries.

Mr. Vahe Yacobian conveyed greetings on behalf of the Central Executive and reflected on recent developments in Armenia, expressing hope that the outcome will lead to a more just and prosperous Armenia. On behalf of the Executive Council, Chairman Mr. Vahe Hovaguimian thanked the Assembly for entrusting them with their important duties over the past four years and wished for continued successes as we embark toward the 50th anniversary of the Western Prelacy. On behalf of the host parish, Chairman Mr. Rostom Aintablian delivered welcoming remark.

The Prelate began his message by thanking God for granting the opportunity to once again collectively review the endeavors of the previous term and look to the future with renewed dedication, zeal, and will. On behalf of the Assembly he expressed gratitude to His Holiness Catholicos Aram I for his message and guidance, congratulated the Vicar General on his recent Episcopal ordination, and expressed appreciation to all for their valuable service to our churches and schools. Reflecting on the 45-year history of the Prelacy, the Prelate stated that great strides have been made over the years through the hard work and diligent efforts of successive Prelates and Councils and with the collaboration of committees, sponsors, and supporters, and urged for the work to continue with the same resolve and commitment. His Eminence stressed that as one entity and members of one family we are to serve together with love and harmony, with open and honest communication, cooperation, and collaboration, for the glory of God, for the vitality of our church and nation, and the progress of our Prelacy. He wished for the proceedings of the Assembly to be fruitful and beneficial and for discussions to be positive and constructive.

The election of the Resolution and Vote-Counting Committees followed, after which the Chairpersons or representatives from each parish reported on their activities in the previous year.

Next, in keeping with tradition, this year too, the Religious and Executive Councils had decided to honor an individual who has contributed valuably to our community. This year’s honoree was long-time educator Mr. Saro Nazarian, who was awarded a plaque in absentia.

Given the situation in Armenia, the Assembly opted to release a statement of solidarity to the people of Armenia, which read: “In light of the state of affairs in Armenia over the past few weeks, the 46th Western Prelacy Representative Assembly held on May 4-5, 2018, hereby expresses its solidarity to the people of Armenia and to the youth leading a peaceful movement for change, wishing for the path to justice and democracy to continue freely and lead to a brighter future for our nation and compatriots as well as a strengthening of ties between Armenia and the Diaspora.

The second session encompassed the presentation of the Financial and Auditing Committee reports, briefings by the Board of Regents of Prelacy Schools and by the Religious and Executive Councils, questions about the annual reports, and a review of the endeavors of the Prelate and Councils over the past year, which the Resolution Committee found “commendable.” Afterward, the Assembly began the drafting of activities for the new term, with delegates offering suggestions and proposals. Given the lengthy nature of this agenda item, deliberations continued the following day.

Day two began with a requiem prayer in memory of Holy See of Cilicia Brotherhood member Bishop Norayr Ashekian and long-time pastor Archpriest Fr. Nareg Shrikian. Alongside the drafting of activities, the session included the presentation and ratification of the budget, election of the Auditing Committee, and unforeseen matters. The final item on the agenda was the election of the new Religious and Executive Councils, which yielded the following results:

The members of the new Religious Council are: Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Ashekian, Archpriest Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian, Rev. Fr. Ardak Demirjian, Rev. Fr. Boghos Baltayan, Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian, and Rev. Fr. Ghevont Kirazian.

Given the expanding scope of endeavors, it was decided to increase the membership of the Executive Council from nine to eleven. The members of the new Executive Council are: Mr. Garo Eshgian, Mr. Alec Baghdasaryan, Mr. Avo Kechichian, Mrs. Elo Boyajian, Mr. George Chorbajian, Mr. Meher Der Ohanessian, Dr. Navasart Kazazian, Mr. Garbis Bezdjian, Deacon Berj Apkarian, Mr. Ara Shabanian, and Mr. Rafi Kuyumjian.

On behalf of the tivan, Dr. Garo Agopian congratulated the new Councils and thanked the delegates for entrusting the tivan with their duties.

The Prelate delivered the closing message thanking the outgoing Executive Council, congratulating and welcoming the new Executive Council, commending the staff, and thanking all for their input over the two days.

The Assembly closed with the benediction, Cilicia, and the Armenian national anthem.

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