Worthy Tribute to Archpriest Zaven Arzoumanian in Los Angeles

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BURBANK, Calif. — Tekeyan Cultural Association’s Los Angeles Chapter organized a tribute honoring Rev. Dr. Zaven Arzoumanian’s 60 years of service to the Armenian Church. It was held under the auspices of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, with the Primate, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian presiding. It took place at the Zorayan Hall of St. Leon Cathedral here on Sunday, June 26.

A cross section of the prominent figures of the Armenian community of the Greater Los Angeles had filled the hall to capacity. Among the attendees were the former Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Primate of the Armenian Church in Iraq Archbishop Avak Asadourian, eight members of Tekeyan Cultural Association’s Board of Directors of the United States and Canada, parish priests and church members who had known and worked with the honoree.

Tekeyan Cultural Association’s chairman of the Los Angeles Chapter, Vatche Semerdjian, made the opening remarks. He portrayed the honoree as a prolific writer, who had written 11 books in the last 30 years. Most significant among these books were the last three, which were the continuation of Arcbishop Maghakia Ormanian’s famous tri-volume publication of the Armenian Church History, Azkabadoum. Semerdjian then passed the baton to the Master of Ceremonies, Hratch Sepetjian, to proceed with the program.

Sepetjian invited one by one the following clergymen and laypeople to deliver their remarks about Arzoumanian, the inquisitive person, the beloved parish priest and the erudite historian of the Armenian Church: Very Rev. Baret Yeretsian, Edmond Yervant Azadian, Archbishop Yeprem Tabakian, Dr. Haroutune Arzoumanian and Derderian.

Tabakian had the difficult task of presenting Arzoumanian’s 11 publications, which had immensely enriched the bibliography of the Armenian Church. Two of those publications, noted Tabakian, were written in English about the rituals and sacraments of the Armenian Church, thus making the non-Armenian speaking parishioners understand and grasp the essence of the first Christian nation in the world.

The last three publications, continued Tabakian, were the all important extension of Ormanian’s tri-volume publication of the history of the Armenian Church, from its inception until 1909. Arzoumanian’s three-volume publication covered the church history from 1910 until 1995 and its last volume was dedicated to Catholicos of all the Armenians Vazken the first of blessed memory.

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Dr. Haroutune Arzoumanian, the honoree’s younger brother, described his older brother’s personal characteristics. He noted that his brother loved to read, loved his church and had a keen memory that distinguished him from his two brothers and three sisters.

Daniel Arzoumanian went to the Seminary of Antelias at age 16, was ordained a celibate priest in 1954. Thereafter he went to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to serve as a parish priest. He received his initial theological education in England, then in the United States, where he graduated from Columbia University with a doctorate. He served as parish priest first in Philadelphia, then in Montreal, and later still in Boca Rotan, Orlando and St. Petersburg, Fla., and finally in Pasadena. Sepetjian read congratulatory letters sent by different colleagues of the honoree from all over the United States, among who was Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian, the former Primate of the Armenian Church in England, who now resides in Philadelphia. He also invited Salpi Kerkounian, a graduate of the University of Southern California, for a musical rendition on the flute, accompanied by her mother on the harp. The performance included two pieces from composer Khatchadour Avedisian.

Sepetjian then invited Rev. Zaven Arzoumanian to the podium. The humbled honoree thanked theWestern Diocese for providing the venue, the Tekeyan Cultural Association for organizing the event, the many presenters for their kind remarks and finally the audience.

Arzoumanian ventured to say that schooling starts at home, and he owes his love of books to his father. He then noted that his task in life has been to learn and to teach and expressed gratitude that his 57 years of service to God has included both teaching and writing, besides being a parish priest.

Derderian, the Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, delivered the closing remarks and asked Arzoumanian to offer the benediction. Reception followed the impressive ceremony.

— Kevork Keushkerian

 

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