Western Prelacy’s 50th National Representatives Assembly

– H.H. ARAM I., CATHOLICOS WILL VISIT THE WESTERN PRELACY IN THE SPRING OF 2023
– CONTINUING THE HUMANITARIAN MISSION TO ARMENIA-ARTSAKH
– FULL ASSISTANCE TOWARDS THE ENDEAVORS OF THE CATHOLICOSATE
– LETTERS OF APPRECIATION TO THE POLITICAL LEADERS OF AMERICA
– FUND TO DEFEND THE WESTERN ARMENIAN LANGUAGE
– ELECTION OF THE NATIONAL MEETING

On Saturday, October 1, 2022, H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Prelate, presided over the 50th National Representatives Assembly which took place within the Holy Martyrs Armenian Church complex “Avedissian” Hall. In attendance were Clergy & Lay Delegates, Chairs of both Board of Regents and Boards of Trustees; whom selected 15 representatives and 3 reserve representatives to attend the National meeting which will take place on December 7-9, 2022, in Antelias, Lebanon.

The First session commenced with the opening prayer conducted by the clergy members, followed by the Prelate’s welcoming remarks. The Assembly elected the Tivan; Mr. Hrair Balyan and Mr. Garo Momjian as Chairmen of the Assembly, Archpriest Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian and Mr. Adroushan Armenian as Secretaries of the Assembly.
The Prelate delivered his speech which was attentively received by the Assembly. The National Representatives Assembly commended and applauded the praiseworthy service of the Prelate, his pro-Armenian work and future endeavors. Therefore, the Assembly unanimously decided to petition H.H. Aram I., Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, to appreciate Bishop Donoyan’s leadership, awarding him the honor and title of the Archbishop.
At the end of the first session, the Assembly’s agenda was approved, the members of the voting committee were elected, then, under the leadership and guidance of the Prelate, the members provided proposals and directives, which included:-

A) To continue the financial and moral support towards the Catholicosate and the endeavors of H.H. Aram I., Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.
B) To continue the financial support towards the “Martyrs” Fund established by the Western Prelacy.
C) To forward a letter of appreciation to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Mrs. Nancy Pelosi, for her visit to Armenia and her stance in favor of the Armenian people.
D) To forward a letter of appreciation to California Governor Mr. Gavin Newsom for declaring April 24th as the official commemoration day in all state universities and public schools.
E) To adopt Bishop Donoyan’s proposal towards the “Defense of the Western Armenian language” Fund, which will be under the auspices of the Catholicos.

The second session commenced following a lunch break and group photo. The session began with a moment of silence and prayer honoring the memory of the Armenian soldiers, and innocent Armenian civilians who died for the defense of the motherland. The Assembly resolved the electoral agenda and the Tivan congratulated the newly elected 15 representatives and 3 reserves, whom will attend the National meetings in Antelias, Lebanon.

The 50th National Representatives Assembly concluded by the Prelate’s closing remarks, benediction, singing of the Armenian national anthem, “Giligia” and “I Veh Partsants.”

THE PRELATES MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE 50TH REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY OF THE WESTERN PRELACY

As His Holiness Aram I designated 2020 as the year of the Diaspora, it gives us pause to reflect and revaluate our mission, our course and our future as the stewards of our national, ecclesial, cultural, humanitarian organizations and structures. As a result of the Genocide of 1915 and loss of our ancestral lands, today the Armenian population of the Diaspora exceeds that of the homeland. The See of Cilicia, our national institutions, political parties, our schools and cultural organization all played crucial roles in the development and advancement of the Armenian Diaspora. And now with you, distinguished representatives, I invite you, during this meeting to examine and reflect upon the “year of the Diaspora” and challenge you all, clergy, executive council and representatives to prepare written proposals and recommendations to the Prelacy on reorganizing the diaspora and qualitative evaluation of community life. As you all come from different walks of life including lawyers, doctors, businessmen, tradesmen, lecturers, teachers and leaders, you will have unique perspectives on this issue with the common goal of the betterment of our community. We request these written proposals by the end of November and prior to the convening of the National General Assembly in Antelias. Your responses will be a beautiful mosaic of ideas and recommendations which should examine topics like: How can we better serve our people? How can we strengthen our churches? How can we expand our outreach to other communities? How can we spread the Gospel message to the youth? Today inspired by the holy scripture I repeat the words of the Psalmist “How wonderful and delightful it is for brothers to live together in unity”

* * *

There are always going to be differences of opinion, disagreements and disputes however as a Christian community with common values, we should approach one another with love and mutual respect… for the unity of community and the stability of the Church. As prelate, along with the executive and religious councils, and you dear brothers and sisters I exhort you to be guided with these 3 thoughts:
1. The Armenian Church, because you are the duly elected representatives
2. The Holy See of Cilicia, because you are her soldiers and protectors
3. The Western Prelacy, because you are her guardian angels
It is my prayer that with renewed enthusiasm and focus, you embrace our common goal as one unified body, one force and one brotherhood for the advancement of this Prelacy’s mission above all other personal ambitions and factional rivalries.

* * *

I would like to mention the following issues that were ever-present in our thoughts, concerns and prayers. The Prelacy took decisive and positive steps in providing moral, humanitarian and financial support in the following area:
• Humanitarian mission and aid to Armenia and Artsakh
• Support to the Armenian Schools in Aleppo
• Moral and financial aid to the Diocese of Lebanon and the people suffering from the county’s financial crises
• Extraordinary support to the Catholicosate
• Financial aid to the Prelacy Schools in Lebanon
• Extraordinary fundraising and securing of donors for the Schools in the Western Prelacy

The Prelacy inaugurated many unprecedented cultural events during the last year:
• Expansion of publishing works
• Complete revamping of the weekly Armenian Church TV program with new featured programming and with the participation of Prelacy clergymen and guests in Armenian and English.
• Expanded use of social media across many platforms
• Establishment of the expansive bi-lingual Cilicia quarterly
• Christmas concert at St Mary’s Church

Special thanks are in order for our very dedicated volunteer members of the Executive and Religious councils who, leaving home life and work aside, are ever-present at the prelacy -sometimes 4 to 5 times a week. The same is true of the dedicated members of the Board of Regents who oversee our schools, the principals and Educational Committees. Noteworthy are two major breakthroughs in our school system, the doubling of the size of the Ferahian campus and the expansion of the Ari Giragos school through the middle school grades.

* * *

As you are all aware the Catholicosate of Cilicia has been providing spiritual guidance, clergymen and administrative order to the United States for 65 years and to the Western prelacy for nearly 50 years. It is my pleasure to officially announce to this body that His Holiness Aram I will grace the Western Prelacy with a pontifical Visit sometime in the spring of 2023. His visit will have four major themes:
1. Reorganize the work of the Western Prelacy and create new opportunities for activity
2. Being among the people, listening to their concerns, desires & hopes and being a source of comfort to our youth
3. Learn about all the prelacy departments and activities and offer his wise counsel in the areas of spiritual guidance, national issues, education, publishing and culture.
4. Honor His Holiness’ name through the establishment of the Aram I scholarship Fund to be used at his discretion for the Seminary and special projects in the Holy See.

* * *

The Church is not merely a stone or physical structure but rather the participation of faithful the life of the Church. With this said, my highest priority is the preparation of a new generation of dedicated clergymen to serve our faithful.

Dear representatives and guests .. with optimism let us look forward and continue our service to the nation, to the Holy see and the Western Prelacy with renewed faith and new hope for the future. I thank you and appreciate your unwavering solidarity and service to the Armenian Church and the Western Prelacy. As I have you in my prayers, I ask that you remember me in yours. With genuine and sincere brotherhood, let walk together down the path of service according to the divine commandment “that you love one another; as I have loved you.”

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