“Year of the Armenian Book” First Literary Luncheon Held at the Prelacy

The Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary is organizing a series of literary luncheons in celebration of the “Year of the Armenian Book” as proclaimed by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I.

The first in this series took place on Thursday, March 29, 2012, under the auspices of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, at the Prelacy “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall.

Over one hundred ladies, among them Executive Council Chair Mrs. Rima Boghossian, had gathered at the hall to hear distinguished educator Mrs. Khatoun Pakradouni speak on the value and importance of Armenian books.

The program began with Ladies Auxiliary Chair Mrs. Salpi Srourian inviting the Prelate to deliver the invocation. In her welcoming remarks, Mrs. Srourian first noted that this year is the 500th anniversary of the first printed book in Armenian, and on this occasion, UNESCO has designated Yerevan as the World Book Capital for 2012. Mrs. Srourian also noted the important role of Armenian books in an individual’s spiritual and intellectual development, and called on the guests to this year especially make more of an effort to frequent Armenian bookstores and gift Armenian books to friends, family, and especially children and youth. She then invited the keynote speaker to convey her thoughts and message.

First, Mrs. Pakradouni lauded the role of the Armenian book in Armenian education and instruction, and cited passages from various Pontifical messages of His Holiness relating to the importance of the Armenian school and language in the perpetuation and progress of our people. Mrs. Pakradouni then presented a retrospective on the different stages in the development of our culture, from before the invention of our alphabet until the role of the Mekhitarists in the preparation and propagation of Armenian textbooks.

In the second part of her presentation, Mrs. Pakradouni spoke from personal experience on the progress of Prelacy schools throughout the years. She informed the guests that in the mid-1960’s when Armenian day schools were first being established in the U.S., there was a shortage of quality textbooks, and it is thanks to the initiative of the Prelacy that students now have high quality Armenian textbooks to learn from.

Finally, Mrs. Pakradouni spoke of some challenges we still face, among them reaching out to Armenian students in non-Armenian schools, utilizing technological advancements in educational teachings, and preparing appropriate books for children and youth. In conclusion, she thanked the Prelate and the Ladies Auxiliary for the opportunity to convey her thoughts on this topic.

In his concluding message, the Prelate first commended the Ladies Auxiliary for organizing the event and the keynote speaker for her participation, and spoke with contentment on the fact that there had been 3 events dedicated to the Armenian Book in the last two days. The day before at Holy Martyrs Church, following the last Sunrise Service of Great Lent, a luncheon had taken place during which a lecture was presented on the Year of the Armenian Book. In the evening of the same day, the presentation of Mr. Garo Bedrosian’s latest book Journey to the Armenian Heritage was held at the Prelacy hall, and now this literary luncheon, all of which provides nourishment for our minds.

The Prelate then spoke of the challenges we face living in the Diaspora, and stressed the important responsibilities and obligations of parents and educators to the instruction of our youth with regards to the teaching of our language and the perpetuation of our language for generations to come. The Prelate then read one of Jacques Hagopian’s poems dedicated to the Armenian book. The Armenian book, says the author, forms and preserves identity, is nourishment in a mental drought, that which connects and binds an individual to our Armenian and Christian identity.

In conclusion, the Prelate appealed to all to become devotees and supporters of the Armenian book, to embrace the Armenian book so that we can better serve our homeland and our nation.

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