The St. James Armenian Apostolic Church of Los Angeles celebrated its 72nd Annual Name Day on December 15. The congregation was honored by the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, as the celebrant of the Divine Liturgy. On this special occasion during church services, Archbishop Derderian presented Encyclicals and the St. Nerses Shnorhali Medals from His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, to Stephani Goshtigian, Dn. Greg Akarakian and Dn. Danny Akarakian.
“Today we are celebrating the lives of distinguished members of the church who have been diligently serving God and the parish of St. James,” stated the Primate, “and we congratulate them for their many years of rendered and dedicated service to the Armenian Apostolic Church.”
In keeping with tradition, a Special Requiem Service was conducted as a memorial tribute to departed friends and relatives. This service is in remembrance of the names appearing on the monument erected in their memory on church grounds. Archbishop Derderian presided over the special services offering prayers for the souls of the many deceased parishioners and clergy. Fr. Haroutioun Tachejian, Parish Priest, read the over one hundred names of those we remember with love and pride for their commitment to St. James.
Following church services a Gala Banquet was held in John Gogian Hall, which was festively decorated for the Christmas Season with a beautifully decorated large Christmas Tree on the stage and small live decorated Christmas Trees on each table as the centerpiece. Robert Barsam, Chair of the Banquet and the Master of Ceremonies, welcomed everyone and introduced our talented Choir Director, Manik Manukyan, to sing both the American and Armenian National Anthems. Her beautiful renditions were followed by the Church School students leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. His Eminence Archbishop Derderian delivered the Invocation.
Lily Balian, Chair of the Parish Council, welcomed everyone and in her remarks reflected on the more than seven decades of the progress, growth and development of St. James, stating “We have benefitted from the experience of the past and their legacy serves as an inspiration for our continued success in the future.”
The program opened with the Church School students performing “A Tribute to His Eminence,” beginning with their Armenian dancing and then delighting and surprising the audience by singing in Armenian the beautiful song “Yerepuni.” They were accompanied on the piano by Kathy Terzian. Archbishop Derderian presented the gift of a silver cross to each of the students.
During lunch guests were entertained by a video presentation prepared by Gladys Saroyan, showcasing the many events and activities held during the year and capturing the participation and involvement of all the church organizations and its members.
Guests thoroughly enjoyed the musical program performed by Manik Manukyan and Raffi Kerbabian singing both in Armenian and English. They were an amazing duet as they sang “Sunrise Sunset” and then dazzled the audience with the famous score from the opera “La Traviata.” They were accompanied by pianist Gayane Asatryan.
The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of the Hye Spirit Awards by His Eminence Archbishop Derderian to Aroussiak and Kevork Antabian, Anne Mills and Shahe Adourian in recognition of their years of unselfish service and devotion to St. James and its parishioners. His Eminence presented each recipient with a Certificate containing different passages from the Bible praising them for their faith and loyal support through the years. Each recipient expressed their thanks and appreciation for receiving this special award.
The Primate also presented specially designed crosses to Manik Manukyan, Choir Director of St. James and Jean Barsam, benefactor and donor, as an expression of his thanks and appreciation for their continued service to the church and the Western Diocese.
Robert Barsam then invited each of the church organizations to make their annual financial presentations to the Parish Council. Closing remarks were delivered by Fr. Haroutioun Tachejian, who congratulated the Gontag and Hye Spirit Award recipients for their awards and spoke eloquently of their contributions and commitment to the lord, our church, and our continued heritage. The closing Benediction and farewell remarks were delivered by Archbishop Derderian.
Attendees received a commemorative booklet containing full biographies of the awardees and their accomplishments, as well as messages of congratulations from families and friends – a keepsake of memorable afternoon.
Episcopal Celebration of the Divine Liturgy – St. Peter, Van Nuys – Dec. 22, 2013
St. Peter Armenian Church, 10:00am
Christmas Reception for University and College ASA Students