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Primate Visits California State Assembly and Delivers Opening Prayer

Western Diocese e-Newsletter/ Dear Reade
His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church in North America offered the opening prayer at the start of the session in the California State Assembly in Sacramento. The Primate was accompanied by Rev. Fr. Asoghig Jamgochian, Parish Priest of St. James Armenian Church in Sacramento and several community members from Turlock and Los Angeles.

 The Primate was introduced by Assemblymember Mike Gatto (43rd District), who along with Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon (58th District) Assemblymembers Katcho Achadjian (33rd District), and Anthony Portantino (44th District) delivered passionate remarks about the intolerance of genocide. The ANC (Homenetmen) Scouts, led the procession bearing the flags of the United States of America and the Republic of Armenia.

Sacramento. The Primate was accompanied by Rev. Fr. Asoghig Jamgochian, Parish Priest of St. James Armenian Church in Sacramento and several community members from Turlock and Los Angeles.

The Primate also met with a few members of the State Assembly namely Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon (58th District), Assemlymember Mike Gatto, Katcho Achadjian and Anthony Portantino. Constituent meetings with various members of the Assembly were held following the commemoration prayer.
Haig Mardikian, Board Member of the Near East Foundation, addressed his remarks following the unveiling of the Near East Foundation Exhibit. The day concluded with a screening of the “The River Ran Red” a Genocide documentary film by the late Dr. J. Michael Hagopian.
We kindly present to you the Primate’s Prayer in its entirety.
Almighty God,
We lift up our prayers to You with reverence and trust to guide us and strengthen us all in our calling to serve and protect the people of God. We praise You for blessing us with the gift of life, bestowing upon us all bounties of the world and challenging us to become Your good hands in our communities.
Today, we pray especially for the peace of the world and for all those who suffer as victims of injustice, war and poverty. Almighty God, we know well that the Honorable members of this Assembly have responded to Your call to bring their wisdom for the well-being of the State of California.
Today we pray especially for the victims of the first Genocide of the 20th century premeditated and executed by the Ottoman Turks in 1915. The recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the State of California Assembly encourages the Armenian community as we continue to pay homage to the memory of the victims. Above all, the noble act gives us the spiritual strength to hold firm the essence of our Christian faith as devoted citizens of this blessed country of the United States of America.
April 24th is the sacred day in the life of the Armenian nation when we honor the memory of the martyrs, who through their sacrificial life, have envisioned the nation’s rebirth.
We have remembered the victims of the genocide in our prayers with reverence for the past 96 years. Our prayers will continue to honor their memory, thus not only showing our respect for their martyrdom but also sending out a clear message to all nations that the gift of life granted to us by God cannot be taken away forcibly or brutally.
We are here today, with dual responsibilities as Armenian Christians who ought to guard and cherish their God-given gifts and we are also here as citizens of the United States of America filled with the spirit of the founding fathers of this great nation to become exemplary leaders of our communities.
This country has inspired us to cherish the true value of democracy and freedom as well as the universal respect for humanity as the reflection of God’s love.
Almighty God, Bless this Assembly with their members and their mission. Grant them divine wisdom and love to carry on their duties diligently, to uphold firm justice for the past and be the path of justice for all generations to come. Amen.
Also on April 14, 2011, a bill (AB 173) was introduced by Assemblymember Mike Gatto. The California State Assembly passed AB 173, a bill which extends the deadline through 2016 for the families of victims of the Armenian Genocide to file claims on insurance policies today by a vote of 61-0. AB 173 is co-authored by Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian.
“I feel that this is an important bill that will help the Armenian American community find justice for their relatives.  They have only had the ability to sue in California courts since 2001,” said Assemblyman Gatto in describing the bill which would extend the time during which such lawsuits can be pursued.  “This is an issue of fair access to the courts.”
“On this solemn occasion, it is gratifying to see our public servants, like Assemblyman Gatto, recognizing the Armenian Genocide, and acknowledging it so that it never happens again,” said Mark Geragos, legal counsel for families pursuing many of these claims.
Continued Geragos, “I think this is important work for the legislature, and everyone in California to hold accountable all the companies that benefited from the Genocide.”
Gatto also presided over The California State Assembly’s yearly commemoration of the Armenian Genocide today, which held a series of activities to honor the victims and their descendants.
The Assembly also passed AJR 7 authored by Assemblyman Gatto which would designate the week of April 18 to 24, 2011, as “California Week of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923,” and would urge Congress and the President of the United States to observe the California Week of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide.
AB 173 now heads to the California State Senate for further consideration.
The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, providing spiritual guidance and leadership to the Armenian Apostolic community, is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt organization comprised of more than 50 churches in 16 western states. It was established in 1898 as the Diocese of the Armenian Church encompassing the entire United States and Canada. In 1927 the Western Diocese was formed to exclusivly serve the western United States.
3325 North Glenoaks Blvd. Burbank, CA 91504
Tel: (818) 558-7474 Fax: (818) 558-6333
E-mail: info@armenianchurchwd.com
Website: www.armenianchurchwd.com

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