Children Focal Point Of Aram I’s Pontifical Visit


Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Catholicos Aram I blesses the salt and bread upon entering St. Garabed
Church His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia,
arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Oct. 5 and was was accompanied
by staff bearer Very Rev. Fr. Mesrob Sarkissian.

The Catholicos was greeted on the tarmac of Los Angeles International
Airport by Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian and the
acting Lebanese Consul General the Honorable Madonna Aoun Ghazal, and
was escorted to the Special Events Lounge of the Bradley International
Terminal for a welcoming reception.

Gathered at the lounge to welcome His Holiness were Prelate of the
Eastern United States Eastern Prelate Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan,
Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian, Very Rev. Fathers Muron Aznikian and
Barthev Gulumian, Consul General of Armenia Grigor Hovhannisyan, L.A.

City Council President Eric Garcetti, Central Executive members Khajag
Dikijian and Vahe Yacoubian, Executive Council Chair Rima Boghossian
and members, representatives of the ARF Central Committee and sister
organizations, Pontifical Visit Committee members, and sponsors.

On behalf of the guests, Archbishop Mardirossian welcomed His Holiness,
stating “It is indeed a great honor to receive Your Holiness, and
our community joyfully looks forward to the coming twenty days during
which You will grace us with Your paternal blessings and guidance. We
are confident that Your fourth Pontifical Visit to the Western United
States will be among the most memorable and historic.”

The Catholicos conveyed his appreciation for the welcome and on the
occasion of his fourth Pontifical Visit to the Western Unites States,
and conveyed his paternal blessings to the guests.

Welcoming remarks were also delivered by L.A. City Council President
Eric Garcetti, Lebanese acting Consul General Mrs. Madonna Aoun Ghazal,
and Armenian Consul General Mr. Grigor Hovhannissian.

Alex Pilibos students line the street to greet the Catholicos

On the evening of Thursday, October 6, the community gathered at St.

Garabed Church in Hollywood for the official welcoming of Catholicos
Aram I, “Hrashapar” service and “Achahampouyr”.

The streets were lined with a large crowd of parishioners and scouts
as the arrival ceremony began with the Homenetmen scouts marching
band playing national songs.

Accompanied by the singing of the “Hrashapar” hymn, His Holiness was
escorted into the Church by Archbishops Mardirossian and Choloyan. A
capacity crowd was waiting inside to receive His Holiness.

Children at the “Achahampyour”

Among the attendees were Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian, Archbishop Hovnan
Derderian, Western Primate, Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Archbishop
Mor Clemis Eugene Kaplan, Prelate of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Rt.

Rev. Alexei Smith representing H.E. Cardinal Jose Gomez, Prelacy
Clergy, Very Rev. Fr. Krikor Chahinian, Rector of the Armenian Catholic
Church, Armenian Consul General the Honorable Grigor Hovhannissian,
Lebanese Acting Consul General the Honorable Madonna Aoun Ghazal,
Central Executive and Executive Council members, representatives of
sister organizations, and sponsors.

After a canonical prayer service, the Prelate welcomed His Holiness to
the Western United States on his fourth Pontifical visit, stating that
this is indeed a great honor and His Holiness will renew and breathe
new life into our community. The Prelate also stated that by the
meritorious and diligent leadership of His Holiness, the Great House
of Cilicia is a strong presence not only in the lives of Armenians,
but also in ecumenical and inter-religious arenas.

On behalf of Armenian children, Rose and Alex Pilibos School student
Mary Manossian welcomed His Holiness and received his blessings.

The Prelate then invited His Holiness to deliver his first public
message of this Pontifical visit.

His Holiness commended the Prelate, Councils, and all those who serve
for the splendor of our Church and the Western Prelacy, and greeted
the large crowd that had come to receive his paternal blessings and
message saying, “As we have always said, the Church is the people.

Therefore, being a servant of the Church means being a shepherd to
the people, taking the Church to the people, being a preacher of the
Bible and its teachings, and preserving and fostering our heritage”.

His Holiness subsequently stressed the three main themes of his
Pontifical visit, all of which must be the priority of the Church.

Spiritual Renewal: “Spiritual life is not only reading the Bible and
knowing Church history and traditions. It is active participation in
the life of our Church and our faith mission. It is a life centered
around the Truth of Christ, a struggle against sin, service to the
needy. Spiritual life is a Christ centered life. Without morals and
values, our lives would be filled with sin, our lives would lose
purpose, therefore spiritual renewal is vital to our lives”, stated
His Holiness

Further anchoring and continued progress of Armenian Schools: Speaking
on Armenian School, His Holiness said, “The Armenian School is not
just an institute of learning; it is the place where the souls, minds,
and spirits of our youth are developed, where character is built,
where students are taught the righteous path and national identity.

The presence of Armenian Schools alongside our Churches is not a
coincidence. The Armenian Church considers the Armenian Schools as an
extension of its mission, and our people have the same respect and
love for both the Church and School. The Armenian School is a high
priority for the Catholicosate of Cilicia. Through its Dioceses, the
Catholicosate built schools, prepared educators, devised curricula,
and offered financial support so that the Armenian Schools could
fulfill their invaluable mission. I call on all our people to offer
their full support and backing of our schools, I call on our parents
to send their children to Armenian schools, and on our sponsors to
contribute their part. Without Armenian schools, we will lose our
national values and identity”.

Reasserting our spirit of national aspirations: “The Armenian Cause is
a daily struggle. As one nation, we must not only continue our struggle
rather reassert and reinvigorate our spirit of national aspirations
especially now as we near the 100th anniversary of the Genocide. As
the times change, so must our approach, and with united efforts our
Cause must be known in the international arena”, stated His Holiness.

At the conclusion of his Pontifical message, His Holiness saluted
the 20th anniversary of the independence of Armenia and stressed
that we must all stand behind our beloved homeland and contribute to
our nation’s progress for a strong Armenia and Artsakh is a strong
Diaspora. “We are one people, one nation, one fatherland, one cause,
one faith, with one past and one history.”

The service concluded with the singing of the Pontifical and Cilician
anthems, after which the faithful approached the Pontiff to receive
his blessings.

The fourth Pontifical Visit of Catholicos Aram I to the Western Prelacy
officially began on Thursday, October 6 with a visit to the Western
Prelacy headquarters where he was greeted by over a hundred guests
including Clergy, Executive Council, Ladies Auxiliary, Principals,
Directors and Board of Regents members, representatives of sister
organizations, and members of the various Pontifical Visit committees.

Upon his arrival, the Catholicos was escorted to the “St. Dertad and
St. Ashkhen” Chapel by Archbishops Mardirossian and Choloyan.

Following a canonical prayer service at the Chapel, His Holiness was
familiarized with the various departments of the Prelacy and was led
to the “Sulahian” Reception Hall for meetings with the Religious and
Executive Councils. Central Executive members Khajag Dikijian, Vahe
Yacoubian, and Dr. Dertad Mangikian (Eastern Prelacy) participated
in the meetings.

During a discussion on challenges and concerns faced by the Church
and Prelacies, His Holiness stressed that the primary focuses of his
Pontifical visit are spiritual renewal, strengthening of Armenian
Schools, and reinvigoration of the Armenian Cause, and emphasized
the unique role of Clergy and Councils in these regards.

At the conclusion of the meetings, His Holiness was led by a procession
of clergy to the “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall where the
guests had gathered for a luncheon organized by the Prelacy Ladies

Following the invocation by the Catholicos, welcoming remarks were
delivered by the Prelate, Khajag Dikijian, and Executive Council
Chair Rima Boghossian.

Prior to inviting His Holiness to deliver his message and blessings,
the Prelate addressed the guests stating that the Prelacy is the
People’s Home and as the “landlord of our home,” His Holiness is
beginning his Pontifical Visit with the Prelacy family. The Prelate
then presented His Holiness with a hand-made glass painting by
Canadian-Armenian artist Vatche Arakelian.

His Holiness greeted the guests, after which he invited the Prelate
to present him with a gift, a beautiful reproduction of one of the
pages of the ancient “Partser Pert” Gospel, which embodies the spirit
of the Antelias. His Holiness continued, “Antelias is not just a
city in Lebanon, it is a mission of faith and service which extends
far beyond its physical walls. You are all children of the Antelias
family, and with your service, you demonstrate your allegiance to
the Holy See and its mission”.

His Holiness stated that the Church has been and always will be the
people’s Church, and as such, we must not only bring people to the
Church, we must bring the Church to the people. “Our Church is our
people. Without the people there is no purpose, and that is why the
active involvement of all our faithful, from the elderly to the young,
women and children, is so vital.” His Holiness also stated that it
is crucial to hear the people, to listen attentively to the people
and their needs and expectation and serve accordingly as Antelias
does with its Brotherhood and Prelacies. Speaking of the Brotherhood
members, His Holiness iterated that each member spreads the light of
the Catholicosate within his community and surroundings.

His Holiness once again reminded the guests of the primary focus of
the Pontifical Visit which is spiritual renewal, strengthening of
Schools, and reinvigoration of the Armenian Cause, and concluded by
commending the Prelate, Councils, and affiliated bodies for their
service, urging them to continue with renewed faith and vigor.

The luncheon came to a close with the benediction by His Holiness
and the collective singing of the Cilician anthem

Aram I at the children’s ward of Glendale Memorial Hospital

Catholicos Visits Glendale Memorial Hospital On Friday, October 7
the Catholicos Aram I visited Glendale Memorial Hospital where he
met with the administration and blessed the patients.

His Holiness was greeted at the entrance of the hospital by Mark
Meyers, President of Glendale Memorial and Board members. Among those
participating in the visit were Clergy members, Executive Council
members, hospital board and staff members, Glendale Police Chief,
Pontifical Visit committee members, and community members.

His Holiness and entourage first visited a number of rooms in the
children’s wing and blessed the young patients. A welcoming reception

The reception began with President Meyers welcoming His Holiness. He
stated that the Armenian residents of Glendale have always supported
Memorial Hospital, and this visit by His Holiness attests to that

Pontifical Visit Public Relations Committee Co-Chair Steve Artinian,
who noted that His Holiness has proclaimed 2011 as the “Year of
the Armenian Child,” and the Pontiff visiting and blessing the young
patients today is an indication of how much of a priority our children
are. He then invited the Prelate to introduce His Holiness.

The Prelate noted that he closely follows the endeavors of Glendale
Memorial Hospital and highly commends the administration and staff for
their service. He also stated that visiting the hospital and blessing
the patients was a priory for His Holiness during this Pontifical
Visit, and invited the Pontiff to deliver his message.

His Holiness began his message by stating that the purpose of the day’s
visit was to commend the service of the hospital, saying that “medicine
is a mission and a calling” just as it is for clergy members. “You meet
people’s needs, you meet their expectations, care for them physically
and mentally; that is a calling, something that comes from within. In
conclusion, His Holiness expressed appreciation for the warm welcome,
wished them success in their mission, and prayed for God to bless
the hospital, its administration and staff.

After an exchange of gifts between His Holiness and Meyers, the
Pontiff and entourage were hosted to lunch by the administration.

Catholicos enters the Pasadene premises

Holy Translators Feast Service At St. Sarkis Church In Pasadena On
the evening of Friday, October 7, the Catholicos presided over eve
of the Feast of the Holy Translators services at St. Sarkis Church
in Pasadena.

His Holiness was welcomed by H.E. Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian, H.E.

Archbishop Gorun Babian, Central Executive and Executive Council
members, members of sister organizations, California State Assembly
member Anthony Portantino, Pasadena Police Chief Philip Sanchez and
his wife, Pasadena City Council member Gene Masuda and hundreds of
enthusiastic faithful.

With the singing of the “Hrashapar” hymn by the choir, His Holiness
entered the Church, the aisles of which were lined by Homenetmen
scouts. St. Sarkis Church Sunday School students were also part of
the procession.

Eve of the Feast of the Holy Translators services then began, presided
over by His Holiness and with the participation of Clergy members. At
the conclusion of the service, His Holiness delivered his message to
the faithful.

The service came to a close with the benediction by His Holiness and
the singing of the Pontifical and Cilician anthems, after which the
faithful approached His Holiness to receive his blessings.

Catholicosate Seminary Banquet After the services, a banquet in honor
of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I and dedicated to the Catholicosate
Seminary was held at the Pasadena Armenian Center. The banquet was
organized by the Seminary Alumni Committee and hosted by Mr. and
Mrs. Sarkis and Noune Sepetjian.

With the singing of the American and Armenian national anthems,
His Holiness entered the hall where more than 600 community members
awaited his arrival.

Guests remained standing for the singing of the “Vork Zartaretsin” hymn
and the Seminary anthem, after which His Holiness blessed the tables.

The evening’s Master of Ceremonies, Rev. Fr. Vazken Atmajian,
welcomed His Holiness on behalf of the organizing committee and
guests, and stated that “today we renew our allegiance and service
to the Armenian Church and our Seminary and we promise to continue
our path of service to our Church, nation, and people”.

The cultural program was comprised of performances by “St. Mesrob
Mashdots” medal recipient singer Levon Katerjian, and singers Adiss
Harmandian and Harout Pamboukjian.

The Catholicos surprised popular singer Harout Pamboukjian by awarding
him a “St. Mesrob Mashdots” medal in honor of his forty year long
career which began in Lebanon.

A slideshow chronicling Seminary life and the message of Seminary
Dean H.E. Archbishop Nareg Alemezian was then shown to the guests. A
performance by the Prelacy “Lousavorich” youth choir led by Very Rev.

Fr. Barthev Gulumian followed.

More surprises followed as Martha Titizian, widow of Giragos Titizian,
who was a long time devotee of the Seminary, was invited to the stage
where His Holiness awarded her the “St. Mesrob Mashdots” medal.

Amid great applause from the guests, Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Noune
Sepetjian were invited up to receive the “Knight of Cilicia” medal
from His Holiness for their years-long support and generosity.

Alongside sponsoring the banquet, the Sepetjians donated $81,000
on the occasion of the 81st anniversary of the Seminary. With this
donation, a total of $350,000 was collected throughout the evening
to be allocated to the Seminary.

His Holiness was then invited to deliver his message. His Holiness
stated that the Seminary, with its mission, vision, and service, is
an omnipresent spirit, and is ready to serve the manifold spiritual,
religious, and cultural needs of our people. The Seminary is the
foremost institution in building character and national identity,
the place where young minds are enriched and hearts and souls are
nourished, where young adults are transformed by the teachings and
principles of the Bible and the spirit of our Church forefathers. What
we learned and received at the Seminary we then took to the people,
said His Holiness. When we look at our Brotherhood, we see in
them the calling and mission of the Seminary, faith, love, and
service. The needs of our people are great, and require more servants
and supporters. We pay our respects to the mission of the Seminary and
to all past and present devotees, praying for Almighty God to bless
us with new servants to quench the spiritual thirst of our people,
said His Holiness, and concluded by stressing that “the Catholicosate
and the Seminary is faith, it is a vision, it is devotion, it is a
mission of faith. Let us stand behind that faith mission.”

After laying a wreath at the Montebello Martyrs Monument

Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument In Montebello On the morning of
Saturday, October 8, the Catholicos visited the Armenian Genocide
Martyrs Monument in Montebello where he led a requiem service in
memory of the 1.5 million martyrs of the Genocide.

Joining Aram I’s entourage in Montebello were Montebello Mayor
Art Barajas and Council members William Molinari and Alberto Perez
also participated in the service. A delegation comprised of Clergy,
Central Executive and Executive Council members, ARF Central Committee
Chair Avedik Izmirlian, former Bureau member Dr. Viken Hovsepian,
ANC and Prelacy Committees’ members, Holy Cross Cathedral Board and
Delegates, representatives of sister organizations, and media were
also in attendance.

His Holiness led a requiem service at the foot of the Monument and
lay a wreath in memory of the martyrs.

On behalf of the Holy Cross community, remarks were delivered by
Nazareth Sadorian who stated that it was a great honor to receive
His Holiness at the Monument, and that the visit serves to renew and
reinvigorate in all those present their pursuit of the Armenian Cause.

Mayor Brajas also welcomed His Holiness to the community, stating
that his presence among them was a great honor.

In his message, His Holiness announced that their presence at the
Monument is an affirmation that we will never forget our martyrs
and we will never forget our cause and our rights. Remembering means
remaining faithful to the legacy of our martyrs, demanding justice
for the loss of life and land, said His Holiness, and continuing
said that it is our expectation that all the free nations of the
world, among them the United States of America, stay true to their
principles of human rights and justice for all by standing behind
the Armenian Cause for truth, justice, and rights. His Holiness also
stated that remembering and raising awareness of the Genocide and
injustices committed 97 years ago forms a large part of the mission
of the Catholicosate, as does standing up for our rights to Turkey
and the world. His Holiness highly commended the work of the ANCA
in raising awareness and bringing recognition to our cause, and in
conclusion stressed that the day’s pilgrimage to the Monument should
serve as an opportunity to renew our pledge to remain allegiant to
the legacy of our martyrs and our cause. His Holiness then blessed
the attendees and the United States of America.

The day came to a close with the singing of the Cilician and Armenian
national anthems.

The Prelate and Catholicos with acting Consul General of Lebanon and
her husband

Lebanese Consul General Hosts Luncheon

On the afternoon of Saturday, October 8, 2011 Lebanese acting Consul
General Madonna Aoun Ghazal and her husband Dr. Joseph Ghazal hosted
a luncheon at their residence in honor of the Catholicos

In her welcoming remarks, Mrs. Ghazal asked for the blessings of His
Holiness and stated that she shares the enthusiasm of the community
on the occasion of the Pontifical Visit. The Prelate conveyed his
thanks for the luncheon, and also expressed his wish for peace and
stability in Lebanon. In his remarks, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge
the Honorable Judge James Kaddo affirmed that the Pontifical Visit of
His Holiness is a great source of inspiration for the Lebanese-Armenian
community of Los Angeles.

The Pontiff emphasized the importance of safeguarding Lebanon’s
sovereignty and the commitment of the Armenian community in this
regard. His Holiness also stated that the local Lebanese-Armenian
community feels a strong bond with Lebanon and is committed to the
nation’s safety, stability, and splendor.

At the conclusion of the luncheon His Holiness presented Mrs. Ghazal
with a memento.