Armenian Church Canadian Diocese Newsonline 29/10/2004

Armenian Holy Apostolic Church Canadian Diocese
Contact; Deacon Hagop Arslanian, Assistant to the Primate
615 Stuart Avenue, Outremont Quebec H2V 3H2
Tel; 514-276-9479, Fax; 514-276-9960
Email; [email protected], [email protected]
October 29, 2004
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Representatives of the Canadian Diocese of the Armenian Church gathered in
Kingston, Ontario on Saturday, 23 October 2004, ended the mid year conference
filled with hope, confidence and optimism about the growth and the future of
this 20-year old Diocese.

His Eminence Bishop Bagrat Galstanian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian
Church of Canada, opened the first session of the conference at 9:30 am with
a prayer and a reading from the Bible. The Primate then thanked the clergy of
the Diocese, the members of the Diocesan Council, chairmen of every parish and
other representatives of parishes for their diligence and said that this
conference will set an important precedence for each year both as an opportunity
to renew acquaintances of all those devoted to the service of our Church, and
as a forum to discuss concerns, projects and ideas for the progress and
prosperity of the Diocese.

Mr. Jack Stepanian, Chairman of the Diocesan Council, conducted the sessions
and summarized the developments of the past six months. Mr. Ara Boyadjian,
Treasurer of the Diocesan Council, presented a financial statement, which
indicated that despite tremendous growth and the demand for increasing financial
resources, this interim financial report was satisfactory, mainly in view of
almost up to date payments of parish dues and successful fund-raising activities,
such as in Vancouver and elsewhere. The initiative of the Primate’s Annual
Appeal launched recently has all the attributes of success, said the treasurer.

The chairman of each Parish Council submitted a brief report outlining the
accomplishments and the concerns of the parish. Rapidly growing communities of
Mississauga, Ont. and of Laval, Que. are in active pursuit of acquiring their
own church buildings, and the small community in the capital city Ottawa is in
search of ideas of having a small center to meet their religious and community
needs. Major renovations have been completed in St. Catharine’s St. Gregory
the Illuminator parish (the host of next year’s Diocesan Assembly on the
occasion of the 75th anniversary of building the first Armenian Church in Canada),
in Hamilton’s St. Mary’s parish and on- going in Montreal’s St. Gregory the
Illuminator parish. Holy Trinity of Toronto, the largest and strongest parish of
the Diocese, has just embarked upon a project of installing an elevator in the
church building. A recurrent concern from these reports was related to the
lack of space for children and youth in our church buildings.

The Primate’s report also emphasized the vital nature of allowing means and
facilities to attract children and youth of our parishioners, to encourage
attendance of the parents. The Primate’s vision was reflected in his statement,
“The main mission of our Diocese is the spiritual growth of our people”. He said
that we have 8 fully functioning parishes and 9 mission parishes. He
mentioned the necessity of at least 4 more clergy to serve the Diocese, and stressed
the importance of developing and expanding our Sunday Schools, the Bible
Studies, the newly established College Ministry, to modernize our communication
systems (the Diocese is currently e-mailing its attractive weekly bulletin to 5000
house holds), to expand our summer-camp activities, to strengthen regional
administrative structures, to care more attentively remote communities, such as
the growing Calgary community, to boost the Endowment Fund and to encourage
the new Primate’s Annual Appeal.

During the second session two representatives of the Primate’s Annual Appeal,
Ms. Sossi Boyadjian and Mrs. Ashkhen Shishmanian submitted a report on the
newly launched Primate’s Annual Appeal, an annual fund-raising drive for 6-8
weeks in the fall of each year. Committees consisting of experienced people are
formed in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The initial response has been very
encouraging, they said, and encouraged all to fully support this vital

Serpazan Galstanian announced that Rev Fr Hayrig Apegha Hovhannisyan will be
serving as Vicar to the Golden shore area in Ontario Province St Catharines,
Hamilton, Mississauga and Rev. Fr Gomidas Mirzakhanyan will be serving as
pastor of Holy Cross Armenian Church of Laval. In accordance with the last Diocesan
Annual Assembly directive and in consultation with the Diocesan Council
members the Primate, His Eminence Bishop Bagrat appointed two new members to the
Diocesan Council Mrs. Shoghik Keoshgerian and Mrs Lilian Shevadjian.

Present to the daylong meeting were Diocesan Council Members, Very Rev Fr
Ararat Kaltakjian, Rev Archpriest Fr Zareh Zargarian, Mr. Jack Stepanian, Mr. Ara
Boyajyan, Dr. Haroutioun Arzoumanian, Mr. Arto Basmadjian, Deacon Hrant
Citak. Pastors, Rev Fr Datev Melengutichian, Mary Fior (St Gregory the Illuminator
Church of St Catharines), Rev Fr Sarkis Gulian, Mr. Steve Shanlian and Mr.
Garnik Capadishli (St. Mary Armenian Church of Hamilton), Rev Fr Gomidas
Mirzakhanian, Loris Dumanian, Lilian Sevadjian, Cyril Tahtadjian, Serjik Stepanian,
Les Hamplin (St Vartan Armenian Church of Mississauga), Mr Hratch Shishmanian
(Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Toronto), Mr. Megerduitch Kanondjian (St
Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral of Montreal), Mr. Jack Seraydarian, Mrs Shoghik
Keoshgerian (Holy Cross Armenian Church of Laval), Mrs Sonia Balabanian and Mrs
Nina Ashekian (St. Mesrob Armenian Church of Ottawa), Mr. Shahin Soheily (St
Vartan Armenian Church of Vancouver).

The conference ended in a mood of enthusiasm, with Bishop Galstanian’s

* * *


On Thursday, October 21, 2004 His Eminence Bishop Bagrat Galstanian visited
the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto and met with the Primate, His
Eminence Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic.

The two leaders discussed the possibilities for further cooperation and
discussed the views of their respective churches on various social issues.
Archbishop Ambrozic then briefly presented his plans for the coming months. Bishop
Galstanian invited Cardinal Ambrozic to participate in an Ecumenical Pilgrimage
to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the Spiritual Centre of the Armenian
Christianity. Cardinal Ambrozic expressed his joy and promised to make the
necessary arrangements to his schedule to travel to Armenia.

On Thursday, October 28, Bishop Galstanian met with the Primate of the Roman
Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa, His Eminence Marcel Cardinal Gervais. Bishop
Galstanian thanked Cardinal Gervais for accepting to co-host the ecumenical
service and Martyr’s prayer in Ottawa. The two religious leaders discussed the
future cooperation of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Ottawa and the
Ottawa-Armenian community. Accompanying the Primate was Deacon Hagop Arslanian,

Later, His Eminence Bishop Bagrat Galstanian had a productive discussion with
the Armenian community in Ottawa. The community members had gathered to hear
the suggestions and plans of their Primate for the reorganizing of the
community in Ottawa, parishioners of a vibrant Church in the Capital City, St.
Mesrob Armenian Church. The church’s annual meeting will be held on November 7,

* * *


Last Thursday on October 21, 2004 it was the first of a series cocktail
reception hosted by the Ontario Region Executive Committee of the Primate’s Annual
Appeal of the Holy Apostolic Church of Canadian Diocese.

Alongside the Primate, His Grace Bishop Bagrat Galstanian, were present Very
Rev. Fr. Hayrig Hovhannessian, Arch. Rev. Father Zareh Zargarian, Pastor of
Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Toronto, Ont., Rev. Father Gomidas Mirzakhanian,
Pastor of St. Vartan Church, Mississauga, Ont., and Deacon Vrej Berberian.

In the intimate setting of Maral Ishkhanian hall of Holy Trinity Armenian
Church special floral arrangements adorned the tables filled with various
delicacies and appetizers. In brief remarks the Primate and Miss Sosy Boyadjian,
Chairperson of the Committee, outlined the purpose of this Annual Appeal. They
thanked all the donors who contributed and presented the members of the
Committee. Miss Boyadjian announced that two donors of $10,000.00 each Mr. & Mrs.
Mardiros Svadjian and Mr. & Mrs. Berdj Sevazlian were amongst us. The crowd
received the announcement with warm applause and welcomed the donors. There were
other donations made also.

Similar gatherings will be organized at various regions of Ontario in the
future. We remind you all to contribute for the Primate’s Annual Appeal to
achieve the goals of the Primate which will benefit the Canadian Diocese Coast to

* * *


During his presence in Ontario, His Eminence Bishop Bagrat Galstanian,
Primate, visited the St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Catholic church of Toronto
upon the invitation of Rev. Fr. Yeghia Kiredjian, Pastor. Accompanying His
Eminence were Rev. Fr. Hayrig Apegha Hovhannissian and Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh
Zargarian, pastor of Holy Trinity Church.

The following persons also from the various committees of the Armenian
Catholic Community were attending the visit of the Primate namely:

Mr. Manuel Kirijian Representing The Parish Council
Mr. Yessai Sarkissian Representing the Church Choir. Choir Conductor
Mrs. Knarig Tchitdjian Representing the Church Ladies Auxiliaries Group.
Chair Lady
Mrs. Elizabeth Der Hovagimian Representing the Saturday and Sunday School.
Mrs.Zarouhie Kirijian From Church Ladies Group
Mrs. Lousine Zoulamian From Church Ladies Group.

The Primate and his entourage after praying in the Church, they visited the
Hall, the Rectory, were escorted to The Armenian Genocide Monument located in
the centre of the Church premises, where a group photo was taken. .

Father Kiredjian informed Bishop Galstanian about the origins and the
development of the Armenian Catholic community as well as about future plans of
religious, national and cultural activities. Having had a closer acquaintance of
Toronto’s Armenian Catholic community life and of the members of different
auxiliary bodies of the church, the Primate blessed their commitments and wished
them success.

During the cordial meeting the participants discussed possibilities of
implementing joint projects and about deepening the relations between the two
churches, always guided by the spirit of love and mutual help as suggested in the
spirit of Christianity. Afterwards, Fr. Yeghia presented the Primate with a
personal gift, and asked His Grace to conclude this memorable visit with his
blessing prayer

* * *


On Friday, October 22nd a Camp Ararat fall reunion was held at the Holy
Trinity Armenian Church in Toronto. After two months, campers were happily
reunited with their friends and counselors. The camp director, Der Komitas
Mirzakhanyan, thanked the camp committee, the counselors and staff members for their
hard work in making Camp Ararat 2004 such a success. He also presented c
ounselors and staff members with gifts of appreciation.

Following these acknowledgements, the children were treated to a wonderful
slide show presentation prepared by Mari Marinosyan. The campers reacted with
‘oohs’, ‘ahhs’ and laughter as they watched the happy and often comical
photos! These slides made all those in attendance long for camp and to be there
again with their friends and counselors.

The last slide read “See you next year at Echo Lake!” Where? Echo Lake!
Echo Lake is the site of Camp Ararat 2005. Close to Kingston, Echo Lake is a
great location for our campers who come from Ontario and Quebec. Continue
logging on to the Diocesan web site for more information on Camp Ararat 2005.
Hope to see you there!

* * *


On Sunday, October 24, on the occasion of the Feast of the Discovery of the
Holy Cross and of the 28th anniversary of Hamilton’s St. Mary’s Church, His
Eminence Bishop Bagrat Galstanian, Primate, celebrated the Divine Liturgy.
Attending the services were the church’s visiting pastor Rev. Sarkis Archpriest
Gulian, members of the Diocesan Council Deacon Hrant Citak and Mrs. Lillian
Sevadjian, chairman of St. Mary’s Parish council Mr. Steve Shamlian, members of
Parish Councils and a large number of the faithful of Hamilton’s St. Mary’s and
Mississauga’s St. Vartan Churches. Serving the Primate on the Altar were Rev.
Fr. Hayrig Apegha Hovhannissian and Rev. Fr. Gomidas Mirzakhanian as well as
deacons of the area Armenian Apostolic churches. Choir members from Toronto’s
Holy Trinity Church had joined St. Mary’s choir.

In his sermon the Primate delivered the message of love, sacrifice and
endurance as symbolized by the Holy Cross, and congratulated the congregation on the
occasion of the church’s 28th anniversary. He praised the successful
activities of Bible studies and the Sunday school. (two sentences are cut out). The
Primate also informed the faithful about upcoming changes of the pastors. Rev.
Fr. Sarkis Gulian has applied for retirement after long years of dedicated
service to Hamilton’s St. Mary’s church. The Primate thanked Father Sarkis and
wished him well, but asked him to lend a helping hand and share his years o
experience with the new pastor. Rev. Fr. Gomidas Mirzakhanian will render his
pastoral services to the parish of Holy Cross Church in Laval, and the new
addition to the clergy of the Diocese Rev. Fr. Hayrig Hovhannissian will serve St.
Vartan’s Church in Mississauga.

Following the sermon requiem services were held for the souls of those who
had served the parish in the past years. After the Divine Liturgy, the Primate
presided over a banquet reception hosted in the church’s hall. Master of
ceremonies was Parish Council member Mrs. Lydia Alexanian. Brief words of
congratulations were presented by the attending clergy and Parish Council members.
Renowned singers from Toronto Mrs.Zarmine Yeretsian and Mrs. Anahid Goudsouzian
cheered the crowd with popular and national songs. The festivities ended by
Bishop Galstanian’s blessings.

* * *


A new youth centre has been officially opened in Armavir, Armenia. This
wonderful centre came into fruition, through the efforts of St. Gregory the
Illuminator Armenian Church of St. Catharines Sunday School.

Their three year project called “Bridge of Friendship” raised money to help
the youth in Armavir enjoy Sunday School and skill development in a warm and
safe environment. This has been realized.

It was with great pride and pleasure that Mrs. Georgina Sarkisian, Director
of Christian Education for the Canadian Diocese, participated in the ribbon
cutting along with His Grace Bishop Sion Adamian in Armavir.

The students delighted the dignitaries and all those present with recitations
and song. The day was memorable for everyone.

* * *


On Saturday and Sunday, October 24 and 25, St Gregory the Illuminator
Cathedral’s traditional bazaar organized by the Ladies Auxiliary Committee took place
under the auspices of the pastor, Rev. Fr Vazgen Boyajyan. The opening
ceremony took place in Marie Manougian Hall on Saturday morning at 10:00am. After
the opening prayer by the pastor, Rev. Fr. Vazgen Boyajyan, Mrs. Zevart
Takvorian, Chairperson of the organizing committee thanked the pastor of the church
for his continued interest and support throughout the period the committee
was preparing for this event.

Mrs. Meline Sirinyan, who was the guest of honor, in turn thanked the Pastor,
Rev Fr Boyajyan and wished him success in his efforts to reenergize the St
Gregory the Illuminator Church and reorganize the parish’s life.

Rev. Fr Vazgen Boyajyan was then invited to say a few words. The pastor
expressed his joy and gratitude to the Ladies Auxiliary and urged them to continue
working towards promoting further achievements for the community in the

* * *


On Saturday October 23, a cultural program was staged in Magaros Artinian
Hall of Toronto’s Holy Trinity Church. The program was organized by the
Ararat-Gamar Cultural Association of the Church and dedicated to the 1600th anniversary
of the discovery of the Armenian Alphabet. The event was under the auspices
of H.E. Bishop Bagrat Galstanian, Primate, and presided by Rev. Fr. Zareh
Zargarian, Pastor of the Church.

The program was coordinated and produced by Mrs. Marietta Kasparian, a well
known artist in the Toronto Armenian community. Mrs. Kasparian has always
strived to bring together Armenian youth and to present programs that reflect the
love of the Homeland and the cultural values of the Armenian people.

As in previous occasions, the auditorium was full of community members who
enjoyed two hours of recitations, music, dances and songs the theme of which was
Yerevan, Armenia’s Capital. Throughout the show, images of Yerevan and
Armenia were projected, creating a nostalgic longing for the Motherland, as famous
writers such as Yeghishe Tcharents, Parouyr Sevag and other poets of Armenia
paraded through the impersonations of the performing youth.

At the end of the presentation, the Primate blessed the participants in the
program and thanked them for bringing the spirit of Armenia to the Hall, and
suggested that the group should travel to other Canadian Armenian communities to
stage the show for them as well. Bishop Galstanian then invited Mrs. Marietta
Kasparian to come forward, and honored her with the medal of the Holy Cross,
the highest honor of the Holy Trinity Church. The evening ended with the
blessings of the Primate.

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