From left, Dadour Dadourian, coordinator of the Cathedral Project, with Haik Kavookjian, its director and treasurer, review architectural renderings of St. Vartan Cathedral, May 3, 1967

Letter to the Editor: Call for New Diocesan Leadership

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To the Editor:

It was truly encouraging to read “Extraordinary Petition Requests Special Session of Eastern Diocesan Assembly on Cathedral Complex Proposal” (July 24, 2018 edition of the Mirror-Spectator). It appears this petition and the recent resignation of a devoted Diocesan Council member from New York prompted “A Statement from the Diocesan Council Regarding the Diocesan Development Plan Proposal” on August 11. I commend the 80 delegates, including 17 clergymen, who for the first time in the history of the Eastern Diocese, petitioned for a Special Assembly Session over this flawed proposal.

It is ironic that the Diocesan Council stated: “Because of the significance of the project, a lengthy and detailed presentation was given at the 116th Diocesan Assembly in May of 2018.” Why then did the Diocesan Council not list this significant project as an agenda item or even provide the one hundred and sixty six delegates present with a single sheet of paper on the topic?

The Diocesan Council is now stating: “It has always been the (Diocesan) Council’s intent to bring any final proposal or contract back to the Assembly prior to adoption or execution.” This clearly contradicts the public statements of James Kalustian, Diocesan Council chairman and former Supreme Spiritual Council member, who informed the Assembly that they wanted to sign the contract with the developer “this summer.”

Growing up at “Holy Cross Uptown” in New York, I’d see my father speaking with remarkable leaders like Yervant Alexanian, Haik Kavookjian and Dadour Dadourian. I find it incomprehensible that Alexanian, Kavookjian and Dadourian would believe fifty years later, as the Diocesan Council stated “The only realistic option to monetize the value of the Air Rights is to lease or sell them for development at the Diocesan Complex.” This is clearly not the only realistic option. The only realistic option is first a change in leadership, before other options are considered.

Rebecca Bakalian Hachikian

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Los Angeles

August 12, 2018

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