By Frank Avakian Stoneson
FLArmenians Naples Reporter
NAPLES, FL – The Armenian Church of Southwest Florida held its annual ‘Men’s Basterma Breakfast’ on February 15. Over 25 attendees were hosted by Nancy Kazarian and Dolly Matoian at the Kazarian home in Naples, FL.
This year’s gathering raised $2,400, with all proceeds going to support five soup kitchens in Armenia, sponsored by the Fund for Armenian Relief, that aid the elderly and disadvantaged.
LUTZ, FL – The 115th Diocesan Assembly was preceded by the annual clergy conference, held May 1 to 3, at the Bethany Center in Lutz, FL. Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), presided at the event where members of the clergy gathered for prayer, services, and a series of presentations on various aspects of the ministry.
Two visiting priests from Holy Etchmiadzin—the Rev. Fr. Arsen Mirzoyan and Rev. Fr. Sahak Sahakian—spoke about the church’s activities in Armenia. Fr. Mirzoyan spoke about Holy Etchmiadzin’s chancellery office, including its work to organize meetings of the Supreme Spiritual Council and the Ecclesiastical Representative Assembly. Fr. Sahakian spoke about the introduction of master’s and Ph.D. programs at the Gevorkian Theological Seminary.
Fr. Sahakian also read the message of His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. His Holiness reminded the clergy that they play a crucial role in strengthening the bond between young generations of Armenian Christians and the Armenian Church. He also encouraged clergy to continue making parish pilgrimages to Armenia and helping their local communities form bonds with the homeland.
The Rev. Fr. Hovhan Koja-Eynatyan reported on the activities of the Sacred Music Council, mentioning its publications, youth choir programs, fundraising efforts, and parish workshops. Fr. Gomidas Zohrabian reported on the Junior Choir subcommittee’s activities, highlighting the development of a Junior Choir Handbook, a calendar for parish visitations and workshops, and a promotional video.
The Very. Rev. Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan made a presentation called “Heart to Heart” on how clergy find peace and unity through their common worship experience. All the clergy discussed the topic further in small groups.
The Rev. Canon Michael and Mrs. Bonnie Jean Durning of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida gave a talk titled “Creation of Policies for Prevention of Abuse and the Use of Social Media.” They covered the concept of creating and maintaining spaces free from harassment, abuse, and exploitation. They also gave advice on when and how clergy should respond to evidence of abuse in a parish or other church-sponsored settings.
Jay Einspanier of Villanova University gave a presentation on marketing strategies for parish use.
Dn. Artur Petrosyan of the Diocese spoke about the new Creative Ministries project. He encouraged parishes to get involved by promoting the videos and resources in their communities, providing suggestions, and offering financial assistance.
Rev. Fr. Tavit Boyajian and Rev. Fr. Kapriel Mouradjian spoke about the work of the Clergy Benefits Committee, focusing on health and life insurance and other matters. The Rev. Fr. Yeprem Kelegian made a presentation about the Fund for Armenian Relief and encouraged parishes to visit FAR sites when they travel to Armenia.
The Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan gave a talk on the Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Church and presented some recent developments in liturgical scholarship.
In his message to clergy, Archbishop Barsamian gave an overview of the Supreme Spiritual Council meeting held at the Diocesan Center in November 2016, the opening of the new campus of St. Nersess Seminary, and plans for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral next year. He also reminded the clergy to tend to their physical and spiritual health, two important facets that can be overlooked amid the everyday stresses of modern life.
The Clergy Conference was chaired by the Very Rev. Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian. The Rev. Fr. Kapriel Mouradjian served as vice chair; and the Rev. Fr. Sevak Gabrielyan and Rev. Fr. Avedis Kalayjian served as the Armenian and English secretaries, respectively. A total of 48 priests from across the Diocese took part in the annual gathering.
The clergy conference was hosted by the St. Hagop Church of Pinellas Park, FL, under the guidance of its pastor, the Rev. Fr. Hovnan Demerjian, the local parish council, and organizing committee.
Mr. & Mrs. Edward & Janet Mardigian to be honored at May 3 banquet as Diocesan “Members of the Year”
Boca Raton, FL – The Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) is pleased to announce the details of the 111th Diocesan Assembly, scheduled to convene May 2 through 5, 2013, in Boca Raton, Florida.
St. David Armenian Church will host the Diocesan gathering, which will bring together several hundred Armenian Church leaders from throughout the Eastern Diocese—including clergy, parish delegates and parish council chairs, the Diocesan Council, leaders of Diocesan organizations, and members of the Diocesan staff.
His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Diocesan Primate, will preside over all the gatherings and events.
A highlight of the week of activities will be the annual Diocesan Assembly awards banquet, on the evening of Friday, May 3. At that time, Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Janet Mardigian will be honored as the Diocese’s 2013 “Armenian Church Members of the Year.” Natives of the St. John Armenian Church of Southfield, Michigan, Edward and Janet Mardigian have been heroic benefactors of the Diocese and the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), and are continuing the grand legacy of leadership, participation, and support established by Edward’s late parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Helen Mardigian.
The “Friend of the Armenians” award will be presented to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who visited Armenia in the wake of the 1988 earthquake.
Prior to the Assembly itself, clergy from across the Diocese will meet for their annual Clergy Conference and retreat, from Monday, April 29 through Wednesday, May 1.
The Diocesan Women’s Guild General Assembly also convenes during the week. This year, leaders of parish Women’s Guilds will begin their annual meeting on Thursday, May 2, at 10:00 a.m. under the presidency of the Primate, with all Diocesan clergy participating. The Women’s Guild Central Council’s fourth annual Woman of Wonder (WOW) Appreciation Luncheon will be held on Saturday, May 4. This year’s honorees are Carol Norigian, Nina Stapan, Claudette Sarian, Rose Kazanjian, and Naomi Davitian.
The Diocesan Assembly will convene on Thursday, May 2 at 4:00 p.m., with sessions continuing to the afternoon of Saturday, May 4. In addition to the regular business sessions and reports from the Diocesan Council, FAR, and various Diocesan organizations, one entire morning session will be devoted to a presentation of the new Diocesan theme for the coming year: “Living the Gospel of Christ.”
On Sunday, May 5, the Primate will preside over a special Divine Liturgy at St. David Church for the Assembly attendees.
The host parish, under the leadership of the Very Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian, has arranged for accommodations at the Marriott Boca Raton Hotel (5150 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton, FL 33431), where the sessions will also take place. To register, please click to print out the forms below and follow the instructions for submission.