By Karine Armen
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
LOS ANGELES —The Los Angeles chapter of the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA-LA) hosted an ecumenical prayer program titled “One Cause, Many Faiths – Uniting Voices for Armenians in Captivity,” at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in Los Angeles on Wednesday, January17 in support of the Armenians in captivity in Azerbaijan.
The program started with a welcome by Archbishop Jose Gomez, head of the Archdiocese of the Catholic Church in Los Angeles, followed by an opening prayer by Fr. Alexei Smith, Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Nicole Nishanian, Affiliate President of AIWA, Los Angeles, welcomed everyone, thanked the religious leaders, and introduced the program’s emcee, KTLA Channel 5 reporter Ellina Abovian. The politicians who participated were Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, L.A. City Council President Paul Krekorian, and California State Senator Anthony Portantino.
The event included musical performances by Greg Hosharian on instrumentals and vocals by soprano Natalie Buickians, whose mesmerizing voice carried beautifully throughout the Cathedral with selections of Soorp Soorp, Ave Maria, and Der Voghormia.
AIWA – LA Vice President Margaret Mgrublian, explained the reasons for the group’s decision to host the event: “The bonds between the diaspora and the homeland are so strong that we had several on our AIWA board who personally had connections with the families of the hostages being held by Azerbaijan. It was apparent that we needed to get the message across in a broader way. There is a distinct advantage to raising voices with the help of our non-Armenian communities.”