FAIR LAWN, N.J. — On Friday, October 5, more than 400 friends and admir- ers of longtime community activist Hirant Gulian paid tribute to him during a celebratory banquet sponsored by the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern). Along with attendees from throughout the New York-New Jersey region, well- wishers from six foreign countries and 10 US states participated in the tribute. To accommodate the overflow crowd at St. Leon Armenian Church, a large tent was set up outside the parish’s packed Abajian Hall, where additional tables were laid out for guests. The Diocesan Primate, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, presided over the occasion.
In the course of the evening Gulian received three honors: an encyclical and medal sent from Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians; a medal from the Republic of Armenia’s Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian and an award from Artsakh’s President Bako Sahakian. A special proclamation from New York Senator Charles Schumer was also presented to the honoree.
Among the special guests at the tribute were Archbishop Aram Ateshian, Vicar of the Armenian Patriarchate in Constantinople; Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian; Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, the Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical director; Bishop Mikael Mouradian of the Armenian Catholic Church, clergy from throughout the region as well as Barsamian.
Gulian, who has organized the Times Square Martyrs Day gatherings for 30 years, is a leader and supporter of numerous Armenian causes. And for this tribute, it seemed as if every major community organization had sent a repre- sentative: the Knights and Daughters of Vartan (with several and past Grand Commanders and Matrons present), the AGBU, Hamazkayin and Tekeyan cultural organizations, the Armenian National Committee, Constantinople Armenian Relief Society (CARS), the Essayan-Getronagan and Tibrevank alumni associations, the Gomidas Choir, Shushi Dance Ensemble and Hye Doon.
Following the invocation by Aykazian, the hon- orary co-chairs of the banquet, Harry and Suzanne Toufayan, in a toast to “our amazing friend for many years,” congratulated the hon- oree who “will do anything for the Armenian cause.”