Archbishop Gorun Babian’s “Book of Soul” Presented at the Prelacy

On Thursday, October 11, 2018, Archbishop Gorun Babian’s posthumously published “Book of Soul – Poems, Spiritual Reflections, and Luminous Saints of the Armenian Church” was presented at the Prelacy “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall. The event was held under the auspices of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, and was organized by the Prelacy Cultural-Educational Committee, in conjunction with Hamazkayin Western Region. Clergy, Hamazkayin Western Region Chair Mrs. Seta Simonian and members, representatives of the “New Julfa Zartonk Society,” the late Archbishop’s brother Dr. Meher Babian and family, were among the guests in attendance.

The program began with the Lord’s Prayer and a requiem prayer in memory of the late Archbishop. On behalf of the Cultural-Educational Committee, Rev. Fr. Ghevont Kirazian welcomed the guests, and noting that our churches, monasteries, and religious leaders have for centuries served as torchbearers of our faith and culture, stated that the evening is dedicated to the legacy of one of those torchbearers.

Committee member and Ms. Zepure Ohanessian also greeted the guests and presented the evening’s program. On behalf of Hamazkayin Western Regional Executive, Mr. Edik Alaverdyan expressed thanks for the opportunity to collaborate with the Western Prelacy in paying tribute to Archbishop Babian. He stated that throughout its 90-year history Hamazkayin has remained committed to preserving and advancing our culture, especially through the publications. He spoke of Archbishop Babian as a legendary figure who during turbulent times in New Julfa in the late 1970’s succeeded in forging relations with the country’s new leadership and secured support for the Armenian community.

The book was presented by educator and community activist Mr. Saro Nazarian, who worked with Archbishop Babian in New Julfa. Mr. Nazarian gave an overview of the book’s numerous sections and through personal recollections paid tribute to the late Archbishop as a scholar and patriot who dedicated his entire life to serving our church, nation, culture, and literary heritage. He noted that Archbishop Babian was intended to serve in New Julfa for six months, but remained for twenty-five years for he loved the people and was loved and admired by the people for his diligent service. He concluded by stating that Archbishop Babian’s spirit will live on through his legacy of faith, service, and patriotism.

The cultural program included a musical performance by Allen Dishigrikyan on the piano and a vocal performance of religious and national songs by Suzie Mazmanian.

The Prelate began his message by greeting the guests, commending Mr. Saro Nazarian for his poignant and thorough presentation, as well as the organizers and program participants. He stated that the same hall had the evening before hosted a consultation meeting with representatives of parishes dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Northern American Prelacy and 45th anniversary of the Western Prelacy, adding that Archbishop Babian, with his nearly sixty years of service to the Holy See of Cilicia and Prelacies, created a worthy legacy and was a constant presence in the life of the people with his words, works, and writings.

Noting that the book presentation coincided with the eve of the Feast of the Holy Translators, the Prelate stated that during Archbishop Babian’s ordination to the priesthood in 1961 by His Holiness Catholicos Zareh I of blessed memory, he was renamed in honor of a colleague of St. Mesrob, the founder of our culture, and indeed he lived a life true to that name and calling. His Eminence recalled his days as a student at the Seminary where he first met Archbishop Babian, and in later years having had the opportunity to work with him, stated that the late Archbishop brought joy wherever he went with his genial nature, oratory, recitations, and songs.

The Prelate thanked the “Richard and Tina Carolan Literary Fund” for sponsoring the publication, which was realized by the ordinance of His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, the efforts of Dr. Meher Babian, and editing by Very Rev. Fr. Vaghinag Meloian. He concluded by echoing the keynote speaker’s sentiment that Archbishop Babian, in the words of the hymn dedicated to the Sts. Hripsimiants, truly belonged to the generation of “devoted servants.”

The Prelate also announced that each year, during the Representative Assembly, the Prelacy honors an individual for their service within the community. This year’s honoree was Mr. Nazarian, who was out of town at the time to receive his award. Stating that the evening was a most fitting opportunity, he invited Mr. Nazarian to receive his award.

The program concluded with the benediction and singing of Cilicia. A reception followed during which guests received copies of the book. Donations from the book will be allocated to the Catholicosate through Dr. Babian.

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