By Taleen Babayan
BURBANK, Calif. — The religious, spiritual and cultural influences of Komitas Vartabed headlined the 2019 Reclaim Conference in honor of the 150th anniversary of his birth, in an all-day event and concert dedicated to the visionary church figure, held at the Western Diocese in Burbank, on Saturday, April 6, under the auspices of Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America.
While Komitas is known throughout the world as the savior of Armenian music, notating and preserving centuries-old music, essentially saving it from annihilation before the Armenian Genocide, he was first and foremost a valued member of the Armenian Church, contributing greatly to its mission and to its Divine Liturgy.
Establishing the tone of the conference in his opening remarks, Rev. Vazken Movsesian noted that the Armenian Church is “alive” but encouraged further engagement.
“We are learning about Komitas Vartabed today as a man of the church,” said Movsesian, who highlighted that Komitas had a deep understanding of his faith. “Our whole intention is to reclaim Komitas because he believed in the church and understood God through the Armenian Church.”
Reflecting on Komitas as an Armenian clergyman, Rev. Vazken Boyadjian, pastor of the Holy Resurrection Armenian Church in Redmond, Washington, recognized him as a “prophet.”