Marta Batmasian

St. David Armenian Church Celebrates 30 Years with Style


By Sonig Kradjian

BOCA RATON, Fla. — The founding pastor of the St. David parish, Rev. Dr. Zaven Arzoumanian celebrated the new church edifice and the inauguration of the Mardigian Hall, and dedicated two decades of hard work in organizing the small parish which blossomed in time to become the pride not only of the large parish in Boca Raton with a large number of snowbirds, but also became a magnet for the church dignitaries visiting the Eastern Diocese: Karekin I, Catholicos of all Armenians, Patriarch Shnork Kaloustian, Patriarch Torkom Manoogian, Primate Barkev Mardirosian, and on this occasion, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, the Primate, and Ambassador of Armenia to the United States, Grigor Hovannissian.

Children performed at the St. David anniversary program.

A special Banquet committee chaired by philanthropist Marta Batmasian worked tirelessly to prepare the program for the afternoon. Marta was also the M.C. The banquet was held at the Mardigian Hall which was decorated by the hardworking committee members and was not only glowing, but had become a garden of orchids donated by Vartan and Armine Mnatsaganian in memory of their son David. More than 200 guests were in attendance to enjoy the lavish meal and celebrtations.

A booklet for the occasion was prepared by Fr. Paren Galstyan and Marta Batmasian. The booklet included all the Godfathers of the church, the benefactors and supporters, the long list of donors, the long list of individuals who have received recognition for their unique contributions, and the 15 chairpersons of the parish councils. Also included were special messages from the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian and Bishop Nareg Berberian, among others religious leaders. The booklet included a special proclamation by Mayor Susan Haynie of Boca Raton.


At the reception, Ani Manvelyan sang the American National Anthem and the children of the Alex and Marie Manoogian School sang the Armenian National Anthem accompanied on the piano by Marieta Mnatsakanian. Kaitlin Kalender recited a special poem to welcome the archbishop.

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A rendition by Talin Kalender and Sonig Kradjian of the Prince of Armenian Poetry Vahan Tekeyan in his famous poem “Yegeghetsin Haygagan” was very well received.

It was the Armenian spirit which had energized mistress of ceremonies Marta Batmasian with optimism and constant enthusiasm when she invited the ambassador to give the toast. She described briefly his very illustrious background. Indeed the ambassador gave a most eloquent toast.

During the dinner which was prepared by Torosian family, musical selections, poetry, recitations and video on the screen showed the history of this church and parish from its beginning to the 10th, 20th and present anniversaries. The video was a labor of love donated by Bedo Der Bedrosian. Thanks to Edward Zakarian, a parishioner, who also served as photographer.

Rudy Berberian and Harry Apoian offered reminiscences,  reviewed the purchase of the property 30 years ago which was worth $400,000, an enormous sum of money for that time, but the price was brought down to  $325,000.

The highly talented Hratch Boghosian gave a mesmerizing piano recital, on the piano donated to the church by Jimmy and Marta Batmasian 30 years ago.

Fr. Paren Galstyan gave the pastoral remarks and Archbishop Khajag Barsamian gave the congratulatory address. He emphasized that the time of mourning and weeping after the genocide has ended and it is time to rejoice and celebrate not only for our survival but also for our achievements including our devoted parishioners who have served this church for decades, and he bestowed “St. Vartan Award” to four members of the parish who have served the church in different capacities: Edward Aprahamian, Sr., Rose Raynolds, Harry Apoian and Rudy Berberian.

In addition to lavish dessert, a huge tricolor cake depicting the dome of the church with the colors of the Armenian Flag which was artfully cut by the archbishop, the ambassador, Batmasian, Galstyan and Gregorian.

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