BURBANK, Calif. — On Sunday, January 21, the eve of the Fast of the Catechumens, Very Rev. Fr. Yeremia Abgaryan celebrated the Divine Liturgy and delivered the sermon at St. Leon (Ghevontiants) Armenian Cathedral. With the Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian presiding over the service, the spiritual center of the Western Diocese was filled with hundreds of faithful who participated in the service. Among the Diocesan clergy participating in the service were the Very Rev. Fr. Dajad Dz. V. Yardemian, Archpriest Fr. Sarkis Petoyan, the Rev. Fr. Mikayel Kyureghyan, and the Rev. Fr. Nzhdeh Keshishyan. During the service, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian called forth to the nave Aida Askejian and her spouse Markar Askejian, Aida Sethian and her spouse Dr. Nubar Sethian, and Ara Babayan and her spouse Sonia Sumbulian Babayan.
The Primate introduced the honorees to the parishioners, informing the congregants about the selfless and unwavering service of the distinguished individuals rendered to the Armenian Apostolic Church. In recognition of their Christian zeal, unrelenting dedication, and steadfast support of the mission of the Armenian Church, Aida Askejian, Aida Sethian, and Ara Babayan were honored with the Pontifical Encyclical of Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II and were presented with the prestigious St. Nerses Shnorhali (the Graceful) medals.
In his remarks, the Diocesan Primate commended the honorees’ loyalty and commitment to serving Christ, our Lord, upholding the sacred traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church and staunch belief and support of the Stewardship Program of the Western Diocese which pursues the God-pleasing mission of educating and preparing the future wave of Diocesan clergy through to shepherd the flock of Christ.
The service was followed by a Stewardship luncheon in the Nazareth and Sima Kalaydjian Hall in honor of the medal recipients. It was attended by Diocesan Council Chairman Vartan Nazerian and his wife, Chairman of the Stewardship Committee Derik Ghookasian, and his spouse Adrineh, Stewardship Committee members, supporters, and friends.
Ara Babayan hails from a family dedicated to the Armenian Church, education, and service to the community. His grandfather was the archpriest of the Armenian Church in Aleppo, Syria, and a founding member of Aleppo’s famous old age home, which still continues to serve the elderly needing shelter, help and support.