By Aram Arkun
RICHMOND, Va. — Approximately 100 guests gathered to celebrate the 55th anniversary of St. James Armenian Church with a musical program, speakers and dinner.
Master of ceremonies Linda Sharigian reminisced about the early days of the church, and Parish Council Chairman Rob Norris praised the efforts of all those who contributed to the foundation and development of the church. Particular attention was paid to the hardworking members of the Ladies Auxiliary, now called the Women’s Guild, and awards of appreciation were bestowed upon Roxie Kricorian, secretary of the church, though she was absent that day due to health reasons, and Lucy Grey, chair of the Women’s Guild.
Armine Khachatryan, a graduate of the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory, performed various Armenian classical and folk pieces on the piano, while Vivian Chakarian, an editor of the Central News Division of the Voice of America and member of the choirs of Sourp Khach and Saint Mary Armenian Churches in theWashington, DC, area, sang a number of traditional Armenian pieces.
Prior pastor Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan, now the pastor of St. Mary Armenian Church, came to extol the efforts of the local community, while the present pastor, Fr. Mesrob Hovsepyan, expressed his thanks for the active participation of the local Armenians. Fr. Simeon Odabashian, the vicar general of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), who came from New York to participate in the festive evening and to celebrate the Divine Liturgy the next day, expressed his admiration at the way the small community had come together to put on a major event as a four-day food festival. He also emphasized that being part of the larger worldwide Church of Armenia gave the community extra support and strength.