Monthly Archives: September 2012

Requiem for the late Archbishop Aghan Baliozian (1946-2012)

With great sorrow, the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America learned of the passing of His Eminence Archbishop Aghan Baliozian, the longtime Primate of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, who entered into his eternal rest on September 22, in Sydney, Australia. He was 66.

Archbishop Aghan was greatly beloved by the people he served. He was a leader in the international ecumenical movement, and was highly admired as a prominent figure in his country’s religious life. Click here for biographical background on Archbishop Aghan.

In a directive issued earlier this week, Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian requested that parishes of the Eastern Diocese remember Archbishop Aghan Baliozian through a hokehankisd service on Sunday, September 30.

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At Hollywood Grill a Beautiful Beach and Armenian Food Make a Perfect Pair

By Robyn and Doug Kalajian
FLArmenians Cuisine Contributors

Upon receiving news that our beautiful daughter Mandy would be joining us from New York City on a business trip to South Florida, we were forced to enjoy a wonderful meal in an absolutely idyllic setting.

For her, it was a grind, but it was a fun grind that involved escorting clients to art shows, performances and parties at glittering venues from the beach to downtown, often lasting well into the night. She was too busy or exhausted to chat, much less drag the old folks along.

However, as soon as the manic pace subsided, Mandy set aside a couple of days for fun with Mom and Dad. After regaling us with tales of her weeklong tour of chic South Beach eateries, she told us to pick any cuisine and any restaurant we liked for a family feast.

We picked the Hollywood Grill, possibly the world’s most unlikely setting for an Armenian restaurant.

A bit of explanation: When you think of Hollywood and Armenians, you probably think of Hollywood, California. The Florida city of the same name lies along the East Coast about halfway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, very much in the heart of South Florida’s relatively small but growing Armenian-American community.

The restaurant’s most unusual feature is that it’s on the beach. Not near the beach or across from the beach but actually on it, separated from the dunes and ocean only by a sand-strewn walking path known as the Hollywood Broadwalk.

There are very few such venues in all of South Florida. There are none, of course, in Armenia. That alone makes it special.

It’s also appropriately beach-side casual, with a narrow dining area barely larger than a covered home patio and no more formal in furnishings or decor. The menu, however, is far bigger and more sophisticated than you’d expect to find in a row of cheese-steak-and-burger shacks.

Of course, this is an Armenian restaurant so the menu isn’t to be taken literally, as we discovered when asking our very friendly server for several lamb dishes that are apparently available only if ordered ahead.

I got a kick out of seeing khash listed, if only because you so seldom read the phrase “cow feet” on a menu.  Alas, the waitress explained that the traditional feet-and-innards soup is best enjoyed before dawn and the restaurant doesn’t open until 1 p.m.  As an Armenian, I appreciated the philosophical dilemma. I suspect “odars” might not, but they’re unlikely to order such a thing anyway.

The menu is also unusual in another way, at least for us: The fare is not just Armenian but also Russian and Georgian. Dining at Hollywood Grill is a uniquely Trans-Caucasian experience in a tropical setting. In fact, in 2006 the Broward New Times ran a story about the Hollywood Grill and it’s diverse South Caucasian cuisine.

We weren’t feeling quite so adventurous, so we passed up the dumplings and borscht and stuck with mostly familiar choices — and none disappointed us.

The Greek salad was far more than enough for three, and very much Armenian with large chunks of cucumber, tomato and Armenian cheese mixed with herbs. No lettuce, thank you. There are several other salads available, including one laced with basturma!

The stuffed cabbage was neatly done, with a generous and moist meat stuffing. The lule kebab was excellent. The lahmajoun was most impressive, with a crisp and clearly home-made crust and served with generous slices of fresh tomato as well as raw onion, parsley, and lemon.

In all, it was a very satisfying meal and we were able to walk off at least a few of the calories while enjoying the balmy breeze as we strolled along the crystal-blue oceanfront.

The smile on Mandy’s face showed us how much she enjoyed the meal. What you won’t see are the smiles on our faces. We enjoyed the meal, too, but we enjoyed the company even more.

Robyn Kalajian is a retired culinary teacher in Florida and Chief Cook at www.TheArmenianKitchen.com. Douglas Kalajian is a retired editor/journalist and Sous Chef at www.TheArmenianKitchen.com.

Remarks on the 21st Anniversary of Armenian Independence Day

On August 23rd 1990 the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) Supreme Council adopted Armenia’s Declaration of Independence, whereby the country’s independence process was launched. By the Declaration, Armenian SSR was renamed the Republic of Armenia. The very next day, that is, on August 24, the law on the country’s flag was adopted, whereby the tricolor was recognized as Armenia’s national flag.

A year later, on September 21, 1991, Armenia held its referendum on independence, and, as a result, 95 percent of the participants voted in favor of Armenia’s independence.

For the first time in many centuries, after being under the oppression of various invaders, Armenia gained independence in 1918: the Armenian Nation established its Republic. It was then that the cohesion of Armenians allowed stopping the advance of the Ottoman Empire. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union we regained our independence. We are quite a young nation, having been ready to defend national sovereignty and provide security for our citizens.

For many nations of the world statehood is just a dream. We are proud that we have it now. And it is quite natural because it signifies an exceptional event which we had waited for a long time, which we had dreamed about for centuries and for which the best sons and daughters of our nation had sacrificed their lives. We lived and struggled as independent Armenia since 1991; this is the new mentality and the new political thinking for more than 20 years.

For me personally, September 21st is a significant day because on that very day we changed our self-assessment. On that day, we told all neighbors, friends close and distant, as well as foes, that we will exist eternally; that we had interests and goals; that we would defend fiercely ourselves, our interests and would pursue our national goals. On the other hand, our Republic had adopted the most advanced ideas, democratic rule, and had set the standard of human rights at the highest level. We adopted on the state level the universal human and national values, with the conviction that they complement each other.

Today, we are far from idealizing our Nation, but the most significant processes have already happened: psychologically and politically we are an independent Nation, taking care of our internal issues, as well as contributing our piece of efforts in combating contemporary challenges that the international community currently faces.

On this very significant occasion I would like to congratulate all Armenians throughout the World and wish us all peaceful work and the image befitting a proud citizen of the state, no matter where they live.

Taking this opportunity, I would also like to thank the people of all our friends and allies in the Coalition and outside of it, who have always supported our cause and helped in our efforts to rebuild our Country and to become a more prosperous Armenia. Certainly, our people’s ties have more profound historical roots, and especially the Armenian communities in your respective Countries have a great and visible role in this.

We remain deeply interested in the future development of relations with all your Nations, hoping that nobody will ever challenge your national security and independence, preventing you from peaceful prosperity.

May God bless you all and keep in peace your States and people.

LTC Arman Mkrtchyan
SNR Armenia to USCENTCOM
Tampa, Florida

This article original appeared in Coalition Magazine.

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