Consul Arsen Mikeyelyan

27th Anniversary of Armenia Independence Celebrated at St. Mary Armenian Church

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WASHINGTON — On Sunday, September 23, after the divine liturgy and thanksgiving prayer for the independence of Armenia, the Parish Council of St. Mary Armenian Church and Knights and Daughters of Vartan jointly celebrated the 27th Anniversary of the Independence of Armenia.

Present were Diocesan Legate Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Rev. Hovsep Karapetyan, newly appointed Armenian Consul Arsen Mikayelyan, and embassy secretaries Lucine Shirinyan and Dickran Tumanyan.

The celebration event started with the American and Armenian anthems, the latter played on piano by the a dedicated youngster, Andre Alexanian. After the opening prayer by Karapetyan, talented youngster Hovsep Seferian recited one of his own works about Armenia.

Andre Alexanian on the piano

Eric Ashbahian, representing the Parish Council, welcomed the audience and Mikayelyan.

Mikayelyan, the keynote speaker, was presented by Malvina Brown, vice matron of the Daughters of Vartan. Mikayelyan was born in 1982, in Gyumri. He has a master’s degree in political science from Yerevan State University as well as a degree from the Armenian Diplomatic Academy. He completed an Advanced Certificate Program at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Medford, Mass., through a grant from Aso Tavitian Foundation.

His experience includes working at the Public Diplomacy Department and at the Office of the Secretary General of the Armenian Foreign Ministry. From 2012 to 2015, he was posted to the Armenian Embassy in Romania.

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In 2014, he received the Armenian Defense Ministry Medal of Vazgen Sargsyan for “meritorious services for the military.” He is married and has three children.

Mikayelyan started his speech by telling the story of his great-grandfather who had immigrated to the United States in 1913 from Western Armenia. His family remained behind in Kars and during the Genocide, his wife was killed. His children found shelter in the Near East Relief orphanage in Alexandropol. Two of them reunited with their father in the US in the 1920s. Mikayelyan’s grandfather remained alone in Armenia and dedicated himself to the birth of the first Armenian republic.

Mikayelyan encouraged the audience to continue their dedicated life here in Washington because he has seen today with pride youngsters prepared with high culture. He then invited his daughter, 14-year-old Garina, who sang Dzizdernak.

Rev. Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan, Diocesan Legate Archbishop Vicken Aykazian and Armenian Embassy newly-appointed Consul Arsen Mikayelyan in the center surrounded by members of Knights and Daughters of Vartan

Afterwards Andre Alexanian played on the piano Yerevan-Erebouni and Pari Arakil, and Anais Chubukian rounded off the cultural program by playing two pieces on the violin.

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian closed the celebration by remembering the very day Armenia declared its independence, the scenery in the center of Athens, where he was at that moment, and the placement of the Tricolor among the flags of the independent countries of the world. He emphasized the need to help Armenia prosper because it is giving to us, Armenians of the Diaspora, the reason to continue living as Armenians.

The program ended with a reception hosted by the Daughters of Vartan.

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