It has become an annual tradition for the Coordinating Committee of Armenian Social Welfare Organizations to bring together the Lebanese-Armenian community’s underprivileged and deprived elderly to celebrate Christmas and New Year. This year, the gathering took place on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at 10:30 a.m., in the “Yertcho Samuelian – Yerakouyn” Hall of the Armenian Prelacy, under the patronage of the heads of the three Armenian Churches: Archbishop Kegham Khatcherian, Prelate of the Armenian Diocese in Lebanon; Armenian Catholic Eparchy of Beirut Assistant Bishop Mgr. Hovhannes Teyrouzian; and Rev. Soghomon Kilaghbian, representing the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East.
In her opening speech, MC Maral Harboyan emphasized the importance of Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I’s declaration of 2013 as “Year of the Armenian Mother.” Next, she invited student choirs and dance groups from the following Armenian schools to successively perform Christmas and Armenian traditional songs, and Armenian and non-Armenian dances: Armenian Evangelical Shamlian-Tatigian Secondary School, Yeghishe Manoukian College, AGBU Levon G. Nazarian Elementary School, and Armenian Catholic Mesrobian High School.
Next spoke Bishop Mgr. Hovhannes Teyrouzian, who led the lunchtime opening prayer, and then presented an excerpt (in Armenian and Arabic) from the Book of Psalms: “Each of us lives for 70 years, or 80 if we are healthy. But all that time is filled with trouble and sorrow. The years quickly pass, and we fly away.” He wished attendees to be always in good health in order to bless those around them with their wisdom.
Words of thanks were expressed to JMP–L, the Armenian Relief Cross, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), and the social service committees of the three Armenian religious denominations for sponsoring and supporting this event and for helping make it a success. Thanks were also given to Hi Food for donating the meals. For the various gifts distributed to the elderly, Mrs. Maral Harboyan thanked Mr. Nazaret and Mrs. Jane Ayanian, Mr. Hovsep and Mrs. Seta Imasdounian, and the Mayor of the Municipality of Bourj Hammoud. Women volunteers helped organize the distribution of the meals.
The next speaker was Rev. Soghomon Kilaghbian, who stressed the following section from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Rev. Kilaghbian said: “As Armenian Christians, we always have to be merciful and compassionate.”
Following his speech, Setrag and Shakeh Baghdassarian entertained attendees with a series of Armenian songs.
The last speech was delivered by Archbishop Kegham Khatcherian who said: “We have come today to give you speeches, but in fact you have a lot to teach us thanks to your long years of experience. Pray for the young so they can remember you.”
The event ended with a cake-cutting ceremony and distribution of gifts.
- Read the Armenian version of this article published in The Aztag Daily.