DALLAS — When the 121st Diocesan Assembly of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America began its opening session, it was the first time the body had met in a completely in-person manner in more than three years, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The gathering marked several other firsts as well. It was the first Diocesan Assembly to be presided over by the Very Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan, who was elected as the 13th Primate of the Diocese one year ago.
More personally for Fr. Mesrop, the 2023 Assembly was his first Diocesan-scale event since recovering from an auto accident in the summer of 2022. “I cannot say enough how grateful I am to all of you, who have been so generous with your encouraging words and prayers,” Fr. Mesrop told the delegates in his welcoming remarks.
Under the Primate’s presidency, the 2023 Assembly convened on Thursday, May 4, and continued through adjournment on Saturday, May 6. In all, 132 parish representatives — clergy, parish council chairs, and Diocesan delegates — along with a substantial number of observers, gathered in person at the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center, in Plano, TX, to join the proceedings.
St. Sarkis Armenian Church of Carrollton, TX, hosted the 121st Assembly, with admirable levels of organization and hospitality. To complement the business aspect of the meeting, the weekend’s social and liturgical events took place on the extensive campus of St. Sarkis Church, which was consecrated one year ago. Hosting a Diocesan Assembly in Dallas was additional “first” for the weekend, said parish pastor Fr. Ghevond Ajamian in opening remarks.
Assembly chair Gregory Saraydarian (Holy Martyrs Church, Bayside, NY) called the inaugural session to order on May 4. A formal message from Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, was read to the delegates, after which Parsamyan set the warm-hearted tone of the meeting with his welcoming words.