HOLLYWOOD – Some 600 people attended the banquet in honor of His Holiness Karekin II and the 90th anniversary of the Western Diocese at the Taglyan Cultural Center in Hollywood on October 29. His Excellency, Mr. Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, was present and extended heartwarming remarks about Armenians and the Armenian community of Los Angeles. Also present was Senator Anthony Portantino, as well as Mary Hovagimian, representative of Congressman Adam Schiff.
There were several philanthropists and community leaders, who were mentioned by His Holiness in his speech: They were: His Excellency Grigor Hovhannisyan, Armenia’s Ambassador to the United States, Abp. Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, Abp. Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese. Also, Mr. and Mrs. Vatche and Tamar Manoukian, Mr. and Mrs. Sinan and Angel Sinanian, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and Karine Kanimian, Mr. and Mrs. Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian, Drs. Petros and Karine Taglyan, Mr. and Mrs. Bedros and Anna Oruncakciel, Mr. and Mrs. Antranig and Virginia Zorayan, Mr. and Mrs. Armen and Nora Hampar, Mr. and Mrs. Zaven and Sonia Akian, Mr. and Mrs. Ray and Ani Hartoonian and Mr. John Tajirian.
His Eminence Abp. Hovnan Derderian introduced His Holiness who delivered his speech. “At this milestone in the life of the Diocese, we have come from the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin to offer you and to all our people in America our pontifical and blessings. Today we value the path that was passed by our people who found refuge in the welcoming land of America. It is a path of faith, hope, optimism, and progress. Your fathers settled in America as immigrants deprived of their ancestral homeland. Despite all the pain, suffering and uncertainty, they overcame hardship and misfortune and secured well being for themselves and for their children, they laid the foundations of an ecclesiastical and national life, always bearing the love of the homeland and Holy Etchmiadzin in their hearts.” He added: “The sons and daughters of our nation made a substantive impact and succeeded in the fields of science, culture, arts, industry, and others, in this great and powerful country. The names of many of them are still well known here in America as well as beyond its borders. William Saroyan, Arshile Gorky, Alex Manoogian, Rouben Mamoulian, Levon-Zaven Surmelian, Varaztad Kazanjian, Asatour Sarafian, Kirk Kerkorian, and others; added their own noble and glorious mark to the history of this mighty land, increasing the honor and high esteem that our nation had been enjoying.”
Speaking about America, he asserted: “Both in Armenia and in liberated Artsakh, our people are building a new life. The empowerment of the homeland is also an empowerment for the Diaspora and is an assurance of the realization of our people’s aspiration and bright future. Our sacred homeland, through the vision of which Armenian life was vitalized for centuries in all corners of the world, needs the support of its sons and daughters. You know that Armenia and Artsakh continue to remain under blockade as well as face the challenge of protecting the borders and bordering towns. there are economic problems, social challenges, and emigration.
Overcoming these issues is imperative for securing the progress and prosperity of our homeland. The shortcomings cannot be a reason to turn our back on our Homeland.”
His Holiness conveyed his paternal love and appreciation to the Primate of the Diocese, His Eminence Abp. Hovnan Derderian, to all the clergy of the Diocese, to the Diocesan Council and its chairman Mr. Joseph Kanimian, and to all our faithful.
At the end of the program, His Holiness bestowed the High Pontifical order of “Knight of Holy Etchmiadzin”, upon Mr. Gerald Turpanjian. Through the kind financial support Mr. and Mrs. Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian, a seminary-high school is operating on the grounds of the historic monastery of Harich the students of which offered beautiful songs during this evening.
The Turpanjian Foundation supports the development of various rural villages, and it specifically funds educational and cultural projects. Through these and many other philanthropic initiatives the name of Turpanjian family is being immortalized and preserved amongst the other noble benefactors of the Holy Church.
The Banquet was sponsored by Drs. Petros and Karine Taglyan. The program booklet contained information about Holy Etchmiadzin and the Western Diocese. Many philanthropists had made large sums of donations on this occasion and close to $1 million was collected.