On the evening of Tuesday, October 2, several notable events were held at the Taglyan Cultural Center, located adjacent to the St. John Armenian Church of Hollywood, California. Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese; His Eminence Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese; His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian; His Grace Bishop Yezras Nersisyan, Primate of Russia and New Nakhijevan; His Grace Bishop Arshak Khachatryan, Chancellor of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin; Very Reverend Father Hovnan Hakobyan, Staff-bearer of the Catholicos; and Father Ktrij Devejian, of the Catholicosate of All Armenians were in attendance for the events. Honored guests present were, the Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles, and Honorable Armen Liloyan, Consul General of the Republic of Armenia. The clergy and guest, led by a procession of clergy from throughout the Western Diocese, entered the newly constructed Taglyan Cultural Center. The Canopy-carriers were Dr. Jerry Taglyan, Chairman of the Western Diocesan Council; Jack Kalaydjian Benefactor of the Western Diocese; Dr. Hagop Sarkissian, member of St. John Parish Council; and Vartkes Guruian, Superintendent of the Arshag Dickranian School.
The center is a gift on the occasion of the 80th anniversary to the Diocese from benefactors, Doctors Mr. and Mrs. Bedros and Garine Taglyan, who are also benefactors of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the Western Diocese. In an opening ceremony, His Holiness consecrated a cross-stone (khatchkar), then accompanied by the Benefactors-Doctors Bedros and Garine Taglyans- performed the inaugural ribbon cutting ceremony.
Joseph Kanimian,Esq., Vice Chairman of the Diocesan Council, conducted the evening’s event which was opened with the singing of the U.S. and Armenian national anthems, performed by Garine Avagian. The chairmen of the organizing committee, Mrs. Flora Dunaians and Mrs. Hermine Janoian welcomed the guests in English and Armenian. Mr. Kanimian in his remarks thanked His Holiness for his Third Pontifical Visit to the Western Diocese and the blessings he’s bestowed upon the community. He stressed the point that the Western Diocese would always support the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and His Holiness’s initiated programs and spiritual mission.
Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles, offered his greetings to His Holiness, fondly remembering the honor of meeting and personally speaking with His Holiness during his last trip to Los Angeles. He praised His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian and his leadership at the Western Diocese and among the Armenian Community, emphasizing the important and constructive role of the Armenian Community in Los Angeles, as the second largest Armenian community outside of Armenia.
According to the Consul General of the Republic of Armenia, the Honorable Armen Liloyan, the Third Pontifical Visit was extremely inspiring. He reflected on the high level of cooperation that existed between the Armenian government and the Mother See, benefiting the Armenia people. The Armenian Church and the Mother See had played an extremely important role in preserving Armenians and the Armenian identity in the absence of national government in Armenia for many centuries, from otherwise certain disappearance in history, said the Consul general. He continued that in today’s free and independent Armenia, the Church played a vital role in the lives of our people and that we were obliged to His Holiness and his wise leadership.
A video presentation was shown during the event on the works and programs of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, highlighted by a piece on the Gevorkian Theological Seminary. The video illustrated how young students were being educated and prepared for priesthood. The sheer number of students at the seminary evoked a great sense of pride in the audience, indicating the continuation of a significant number of priests to be ordained in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
His Holiness addressed the audience speaking about the conditions and challenges to the church both past and present, and the immense amount of activities, programs and projects underway at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin to continue the work of his predecessors, serving the Armenian faithful around the world, and fulfilling the mission of the Armenian Church, bringing people closer to God. He congratulated the Western Diocese on her 80th anniversary and expressed appreciation to the Taglyan family on their most generous gift of a cultural center. In closing, His Holiness exhorted the faithful to remain strong and dedicated to their Christian faith, Armenian Nation, and the Armenian Church.