BUENOS AIRES — On December 2, an Armenian khachkar (cross-stone) was unveiled on a prominent square in La Plata, the capital of the province of Buenos Aires. Made possible by a donation from the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Buenos Aires Chapter, and through the initiative of Sergio Nahabedian, advisor to the province of Buenos Aires and Honorary Member of AGBU, the unveiling and blessing of the khachkar was conducted on the square next to the Cathedral of La Plata.
The work of Armenian sculptor Ruben Nalpantyan, the khachkar was carved out of the traditional Armenian stone known as tufa, and it measures 2.30 meters [8 feet] high, 80 centimeters [32 inches] wide, 30 centimeters [12 inches] deep, and weighs 800 kg [over 362 lbs.].
The major public event was organized by the Municipality of La Plata and AGBU. The day’s program began with an Armenian religious ceremony in the cathedral involving the participation of Kissag Mouradian, Primate of the Diocese of Argentina and Chile of the Armenian Apostolic Church; Archbishop Hector Aguer of the Archdiocese of La Plata and Archbishop Mor Nicholovos Matti Abd Alahad, Patriarchal Vicar of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch.
After the religious ceremony, a series of speeches were made in the cathedral by Ruben Kechichian, chairman of AGBU Buenos Aires Chapter and member of AGBU Central Board of Directors; Sergio Nahabedian; Vladimir Karmirshalian, Armenian Ambassador to Argentina and Oscar Pablo Bruera, mayor of La Plata.
After the speeches, the procession, which was comprised of the clergymen and the laymen in attendance, headed for the square, where the unveiling and blessing of the khachkar was conducted by Archbishops Mouradian and Aguer.
After the consecration of the khachkar, Archbishop Auger addressed the attendees as follows: “It is with great joy that today I am receiving the members of the Armenian community, as well as my brother, Archbishop Mouradian, and his retinue. I also express my satisfaction and gratitude for this symbolic cross installed near the cathedral and the diocesan palace. I hope that this cross will be honored and worshiped, and be our — the Christians of La Plata — symbolic witness, to get a little closer to God and live in peace and happiness.”
The Gomidas Choir of St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral performed under the direction of AGBU Honor Member Makrouhi Olmesekian and offered a unique background to the religious ceremony that took place in the cathedral. Following the ceremony, which marked the unveiling and blessing of the khachkar, an artistic program took place with the Armenian Cultural Association’s Gayane Dance Ensemble, which performed under the direction of AGBU Honor Member Alicia Antreassian.